Cameron House on Loch Lomond
Set on the banks of Loch Lomond—23 miles of glassy, deep loch between the Scotland Central Lowlands and the Highland peaks—this 18th-century baronial mansion stands out for its Gothic grandeur in an area where most hotels are small family-run inns. But while the exterior is all towers and turrets, inside the vibe is relaxed and comfortable thanks to a $40 million makeover in 2009. Interiors display a modern, humorous twist on the Scottish heritage: tartan fabrics adorn oversize contemporary armchairs; quirky animal sculptures by David Farrer festoon the paneled walls in the entrance hall; and in the 159 bedrooms, plaid carpets and antler chandeliers are mixed in with modern comforts (iPod docking stations, rain showers, L’Occitane amenities). Whether you choose to take in the mist-clad loch and purple heather-hued mountains from the spa or golf course, fish for salmon on the River Endrick, or sample a 20-year-old single malt whisky in front of a roaring fire, Cameron House delivers a stylish take on the quintessential Scottish experience.