Dryburgh Abbey Hotel
Five-time winner of The Country Sports Hotel of the Year Award? and for good reason.
When it comes to the Country Sports Hotel of the Year Award, Dryburgh Abbey is to competition what grit is to snow, having received this accolade now for an astonishing five years in succession!
There's something fishy going on here, you may be wondering. And you're dead right - the Tweed's illustrious banks being just a whisker from the front door certainly help its cause, as well as the liberal local shooting opportunities. It's fair to say then, that this is a hotel which well and truly caters for fieldsports enthusiasts.
Not convinced yet? The list goes on...
Set within 11 acres of private grounds, the four-star hotel is adjacent to the majestic Dryburgh Abbey - nominally founded in 1150 and burial place of Sir Walter Scott. Inside the baronial country house, guests are able to enjoy an indoor pool and refined comfort in all of the 38 bedrooms. Correct me if I'm wrong, but rolling out of bed early and walking 20 seconds to the river, catching a fresh grilse (hopefully) and then taking a warm plunge before a full English breakfast is an enticing routine. I reckon I could get used to that.
The owner of such an all-encompassing country sporting establishment would clearly have to be of the right ilk to understand what is it that Rods and Shots are looking for. Rest assured, that box is well and truly ticked as well.
John Wallace, now retired, was a founding partner of Eskdale Shooting Services, alongside Wilson Young. With a weighty portfolio showcasing several of the country's finest estates, his working life has been dedicated to attracting guests from all necks of the woods to shoot and fish in Scotland - a skill he has poured into Dryburgh Abbey Hotel since the acquisition in 2007.
Any hotel that has more fishing paintings and mounted salmon casts than customary d?cor would deem appropriate instantly gets my seal of approval, but to receive such cosmic praise year-in, year-out means every facet of the hotel must run flawlessly. On arrival you are welcomed as if royalty, and throughout your stay you are treated to the comfort and cuisine of royalty. I think I want to be a Royal? different article, perhaps. Either way, John has a stellar team running the show.
When my father bought the hotel, the Country Sports Hotel Award, together with improving the menu in terms of provenance and local ingredients, was always our target,? says hotel general manager Mark Wallace. And we are delighted to have achieved both over the last few years.
Long may the ambition continue!
The hotel is neatly positioned a toddler's stone's throw from the Lower Dryburgh beat, a stretch of river with a five-year average of 225 salmon and 41 sea trout. It's so close, in fact, that you can dine with a view of the riffles. And this is the ideal base from which to explore the fishing on the rest of the world's most prolific Atlantic salmon river - all 98 miles of it.
The hotel boasts excellent rod and drying rooms, provides packed lunches, and has flexible meal times to suit anglers. But even if the fish are taking, don't stay out too long - you'd be foolish to miss the incredible cuisine streaming from the AA Rosette restaurant, courtesy of head chef Mark Wilkinson and his gastronomic team.
There is a well-appointed gunroom for the secure storage of guns and cartridges during the night. And for during the day, sporting access to 100,000 acres - all within easy reach - with a number of quality estates providing rampant variety in terms of countryside and quarry.
And if you have a dog, bring it along. The hotel has also been awarded Dog Friendly Hotel of the Year for the past three. The setting also played host to the Spaniel Championship in January 2015.