Skibo Castle – The Highland’s Exclusive Club

Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands is one of the most exclusive hotel resorts in Scotland and is home to the prestigious Carnegie Club. It was originally a 13th century stone tower house with a courtyard, built as a residence fortress of Gilbert de Moravia, Bishop of Caithness, and Skibo Castle continued as a residence for Bishops till 1545. Its Gaelic name is Schytherbolle, which means "place of peace" or "fairyland".

It was rebuilt as a large fortified palace for John Gray in 1545 and when Andrew Carnegie bought the estate and built a mansion in the 19th century, the old castle was included in the structure. Skibo Castle is on a beautifully landscaped 7,500-acre estate of mature parklands, an hour from Inverness Airport. The estate stretches down to the Dornoch Firth and has plenty of wildlife on it.

Unless you are a member of the Carnegie Club you can stay at Skibo Castle only once. The list of members reads like a Who’s Who of the world and the castle is their peaceful haven. They are treated like honored houseguests and enjoy every form of luxury and style, unchanged from Edwardian times. Skibo Castle has been the venue of numerous celebrity weddings.

Magnificent reception rooms with Edwardian paneling and ancient fireplaces greet you. The luxurious bedrooms with their huge claw-foot baths are available in the main castle and lodges. Many quaint customs have continued from Carnegie’s times. At 8am, a kilted piper plays on the terrace to awaken the guests. They are serenaded forty-five minutes later over breakfast by an organist playing in the main hall. He sometimes has an owl with him and a full-time adult storyteller is at hand. A pleasant but slightly eccentric doorman opens doors which have some unusually low door handles, specially made for the diminutive Carnegie.

Current renovations at Skibo Castle have refurbished the bedrooms and added a glass roof to the original marble swimming pool. Nothing disturbs the original ambiance and image created by Carnegie. The glamorous new spa is located in a spruced up country cottage and excellent gymnasium facilities are available. The beautiful sporting estate offers golf, horse riding, canoeing, falconry and clay pigeon shooting.

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