Scotland’s first vegan hotel opened in June 2019, and it’s already winning awards. National Geographic just bestowed a “Good Egg” award on the Saorsa 1875 for its commitment to sustainability. The 11-room Victorian lodging features vegan dining, upcycled furniture, eco cleaning products and runs on renewable energy.
Sandra McLaren-Stewart and her son Jack head the Scottish getaway. “We wanted to create a space where everybody—vegans and otherwise—can come together to celebrate the incredible innovation and diversity that we’re seeing across the movement,” Sandra said. “This isn’t about abstinence or sacrifice, it’s an environment where guests can experience amazing food, drink, and design that doesn’t come at the expense of our fellow animals.”
The Saorsa resides in Highland Perthshire in central Scotland. Rich in culture and history, this area boasts gorgeous landscapes. Scottish monarchs used to soak up the beauty of the green hills and rivers from their Perthshire residence, Scone Palace. The vegan hotel sits nestled within two acres of woodlands and overlooks the town of Pitlochry.
The 11 rooms of the 19th-century baronial house feature individual styles, antique furnishings and luxury linens. Each room’s name comes from a different local animal, such as the golden eagle, water vole and lynx. One is even named after the very Scottish-sounding western capercaillie, known to Americans as the wood grouse.
A lot of attention goes into the Saorsa’s dining. Australian chef Deborah Fleck changes the menu daily and cooks five-course set meals featuring local organic produce, some from on-site gardens. Meals are served communally, with guests encouraged to share stories and get to know one another. With carbon offset in mind, the Saorsa contracts with Green Earth Appeal to plant a tree for every dinner served.
Faodail, the hotel bar, mixes up innovative cocktails. Guests can try the ginger laddie, a combination of Bruichladdich classic laddie, Port Charlotte, Oloroso sherry, sweet vermouth and orange bitters. The auld pal features Copper Dog whisky, Cointreau, sweet vermouth, strawberries and verbena.
The hotel offers some fun weekend packages planned for Christmas and Hogmanay — New Year’s Eve to Americans. The three-night Christmas weekend starts with a champagne cocktail welcome reception and includes special meals, a Christmas film, guided walk and cocktail master class. The four-night Hogmanay extravaganza begins on December 30th and features similar activities, plus a street party in Pitlochry, afternoon tea and a New Year countdown.
Groups can take over all 11 rooms of the Saorsa for special events. Corporate getaways, wedding receptions, family gatherings and yoga retreats will all enjoy the Saorsa’s combination of Victorian elegance and luxurious modern amenities.
Images via Saorsa 1875