Oban is on the West coast of Scotland just an hour south of Fort William. The name ‘Oban’ means ‘Little Bay’ and it occupies a delightful setting in the Firth of Lorn. The town has grown up around the Oban distillery which opened in 1794 and since then visitors have flocked to the town to visit the dramatic scenery, take ferries to the Islands and sample the excellent seafood landed in the small harbour. And of course to taste the local whisky!
Since last September Oban has had a new metro hotel, The Ranald, located on Stevenson Street, just off the main esplanade and only a couple of minutes walk from the ferry terminal and the railway station. The Ranald is Oban’s newest hotel and is located in an elegant townhouse in the centre of Oban.
The owners’ vision was to give Oban an hotel that provides affordable luxury and they have succeeded. The Ranald is modern and has been smartly decorated with a designer’s eye, featuring elegantly hand-painted walls and motifs throughout. The hotel has 17 ensuite rooms spread over three floors offering guests flat screen freeview TVs and iphone docking stations.There is complimentary wifi available throughout the hotel which makes getting online easy. The paintings in the bar have roughly-hewn paint spattered wooden frames which complement the images perfectly.
We were made very welcome in the elegant bar by Alex May and Ewelina Braiko who helped us plan our journey the next day and recommended places to visit nearby. Glen Coe got added to our must-see list, as did the waterfalls of Glen Nevis. We were able to walk to McCaig’s Tower which is one of the sights of Oban, a mini Colosseum built by a wealthy banker at the turn of the 20th century. Standing above the town it is a folly that is worth the short, albeit steep walk to visit.
Our bedroom was a good size and there were plenty of pillows and cushions. There were tea and coffee making facilities, along with some tasty Scottish short bread and a hair drier. The bathroom was smart and new with rectangular sink and very efficient and contemporary shower that powerfully wakes you up in the morning. On the wall was a contemporary print of a Scottish loch, rendered in bright colours. The duvets were cosy, the cotton sheets were thick and we had a good night’s sleep.
Breakfast was a buffet selection with juice or a mixed fruit smoothie. A delicious fruit compote was available to add to cereals and yoghurts, as well as pastries and toast. This was followed by a selection from the menu – we went for Scottish pancakes and a baked egg. Baked eggs are a Ranald speciality and can be ordered with several different flavours. I was drawn to ham and mushroom, but there was a haggis option…Bravely I ordered a Haggis baked egg. Hayley assured us that haggis would be delicious and never having eaten haggis before we waited in trepidation for it to appear…
Having risen in the oven the baked egg looked superb. The moment of truth. I broke through the cheesy topping and into the eggs. At the bottom was the haggis. I tasted it and was pleasantly surprised. A spicy and herby mince. I am still unaware exactly what the ingredients of haggis are, but they taste good! The pancakes were a more usual breakfast, but with compote and syrup they were a tasty start to the day.
Oban is the Seafood capital of Scotland, has ferries to the islands and is a short drive from the grandeur of Glen Coe. A recommended stopping place on any tour of Scotland.
41 STEVENSON STREET
We stayed as guests of The Ranald