The Atholl Arms Hotel is located in the picturesque Perthshire village of Dunkeld. The historic hotel is situated at the head of Dunkelds Thomas Telford Bridge where the famous mighty River Tay flows. It is certainly a contender for the most dog friendly hotel in all of Scotland!
Dunkeld is our favourite place to visit with Baxter. It holds a lot of fond memories for us all especially as Laurie proposed on nearby Birnam Hill with the help of Baxter so I was really looking forward to our stay at the Atholl Arms. It has recently been bought over and the new owner Zsolt and his fantastic team of staff pride themselves on welcoming dogs just as much as their humans. Pepa the resident Boston Terrier is in charge of doggy relations and helps make sure the dog biscuit jar is always stocked for visiting guests.
On arrival the staff helped us with our bags to our room. We were staying in the Victoria Suite which had the most beautiful views over the Garden Terrace and the River Tay. The room had many of the hotels original features with high ceilings and ornate cornicing and was very tastefully decorated to suit the age of the hotel. One of the nicest touches for us though was that waiting for Baxter in the room was a bowl of fresh water, a blanket, a towel in case he took a paddle in the river and complimentary dog biscuits. Every dog that stays at the Atholl Arms will have this in their room when they check in which I think just shows how welcome dogs are at the hotel.
After we unpacked we headed over to the Atholl Arms Garden Terrace which is just across the road from the hotel. It has a beautiful well looked after garden with picnic benches and a patio area with more seating and parasoles so that you and your dog can have some shade from the sun on a hot day. There is also an outdoor bar where you can order drinks and food from the hotel. We ordered a sandwich and burger which were very delicious. Baxter was happy with a bowl of fresh water and biscuits and all 3 of us enjoyed probably the best views of the River Tay in all of Dunkeld while we had our meal.
After lunch we took a walk along the River Tay up to the majestic Dunkeld Cathedral. You can’t take your dog into the grounds of the Cathedral but there is a walk which starts at Dunkeld Square (The Cross) which takes you along outside the grounds of the Cathedral and still gives you very impressive views. It then continues up along the River Tay with various breathtaking views of the river to enjoy with your dog. If you are looking for more walks in the area then pop into Dunkeld’s Visit Scotland which is located across from the Atholl Memorial Fountain. They have no problem welcoming your four legged companion and are very knowledgeable of local walks for you all to enjoy.
If you are looking to do some shopping then Dunkeld also has a selection of dog friendly shops. The Naked Sheep, Highland Nomad, The Scottish Deli and Earn Equestrian and Country Sports (where a dog biscuit is always available!) always welcome doggy customers.
By the time we had finished our walk and did some exploring it was time for dinner so we headed back to our hotel. The Atholl Arms has a superb dog friendly bar and restaurant called the Meeting Place. It welcomes everyone so even if you are not staying at the hotel and are just visiting Dunkeld for the day it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat or drink. With the hotel recently being taken over the new owner had given the menu a revamp! As well as sourcing local Scottish produce and offering traditional favourites it has a great selection of vegetarian and vegan options too. Continuing with making dogs welcome throughout the hotel on the front on the menu it says ‘Pets Welcome! You love your pets… we do too!’ which made me love the hotel even more.
Since we were staying on the Sunday we opted for the traditional Sunday roast dinner. Baxter was quite happy to sit by our feet with his bowl of water and loved being fussed over by the friendly staff. There was nothing I could fault with our meal. The portions were fab, it was a good plateful which was great after the appetite we had built up and everything was cooked perfectly. The Yorkshire puddings in particular were delicious! We both cleared our plates and declared we couldn’t eat another bite… that was until we noticed the dessert menu. We couldn’t say no to the sticky toffee pudding. It was incredibly yummy and had the nice touch of a chocolate strawberry. It was the perfect end to the meal!
After our dinner we then headed to the bar area and relaxed with a couple of drinks. The bar is well stocked with a varied selection of wines, spirits and draught beers. If you don’t wish to sit at the bar and have a drink you also have the option of the hotel’s comfy and cosy reception area.
Before we headed off to bed we took Baxter for another walk along by the river. Dunkeld I find is incredibly relaxing at any time of day but at night time it is particularly tranquil. It’s really great being able to stay at a hotel with your dog that has so many nice dog walks close by. That night we all slept brilliantly. Our bed was very comfy and the bed linen was of a high standard which I find always makes a difference when staying away. Even though our room overlooked two roads and we had our windows open due to it being very warm that day there was no outside noise that disturbed our nights sleep.
In the morning we all woke up bright and early to enjoy our new favourite walk by the river. The previous night, before we headed to bed, we were asked where in the reception area we would like to have breakfast with Baxter. The only part of the hotel where your dog isn’t allowed is in the formal breakfast and dining area but to be completely honest the reception area is perfectly fine to have breakfast. You are all still made to feel just as welcome.
When we returned from our walk our table was all set and I absolutely loved that a bowl of water was put out for Baxter along with dog biscuits. We have never stayed anywhere that has done that for Baxter at breakfast. Again it shows the Atholl Arms loves their doggy guests. For breakfast Laurie ordered a full Scottish breakfast and I had scrambled eggs and sausages. The staff were kind enough to give us an extra sausage for Baxter too which made him extremely happy.
Over breakfast we got speaking to a really nice lady who was staying over with her dog Tin Tin. Baxter was quite pleased to make a new pal! While we were chatting she said she has stayed at the Atholl Arms many times over the years but this was her first time staying since it was bought over and like us loved the welcome pack for Tin Tin in their room and that also that dogs are allowed at breakfast. It’s all these nice touches that dog owners love and won’t forget!
After breakfast it was time for check out and I don’t think any of us wanted to leave. As I mentioned earlier Dunkeld is our favourite place to visit with Baxter and with a hotel as welcoming to dogs as the Atholl Arms it’s made us want to stay and visit even more now.
The Atholl Arms Hotel is leading the way with exactly how a dog friendly hotel should be. Never at any point did we feel that we were not welcome with Baxter and it made our trip even more relaxing and enjoyable knowing that Baxter could be with us for dinner and breakfast. The staff genuinely love doggy guests and that shows too with the fuss they made over Baxter and other visiting dogs. The fact that the hotel is in such a superb, beautiful location with plenty of walks and places to visit with your dog just makes it even more perfect for a dog friendly getaway.
Could the Atholl Arms be the most dog friendly hotel in all of Scotland, even the U.K.!? Baxter and I definitely think so and are already looking at booking our next stay!