I have wanted to visit Scotland for years so I was ridiculously excited when we were lucky enough to be invited to spend three nights at Cameron Lodges on the shores of Loch Lomond at the beginning of June.
Our accommodation, activities and an evening meal were all complimentary for the purposes of this review and we are very grateful to have been given this opportunity. As always, my thoughts, feelings and opinions are completely honest.
The trip was originally supposed to take place in 2020 – Covid meant we had to postpone – and whilst of course we were disappointed at the time, in reality it simply gave me longer to research and plan what we might get up to (I find that part almost as much fun as the actual travelling!).
There is some Scottish heritage in my family’s history and everyone I know who has visited Scotland describes how breathtakingly beautiful it is, so you can imagine how high my expectations were. Let’s just say that they were exceeded within minutes of crossing the border.
We decided that as we would be travelling such a long way from our home in Staffordshire we may as well make the most of our journey and extend our time in Scotland. As a result the original three-day stay ended up turning into a week-long mini road trip which saw us spending four fun days exploring Edinburgh before heading west to Cameron Lodges.
Cameron Lodges Resort
Cameron Lodges is a 5* luxury resort made up of two sites which are situated three miles apart from each other: Cameron House and Cameron Club.
We stayed at Cameron Club Lodges on the Cameron Club site which is also home to Cameron Club Cottages; Cameron Club Mansion House Apartments; Cameron Spa; The Clubhouse Restaurant and The Carrick golf course.
The other site, Cameron House, is where Cameron House Lodges; the newly renovated, redesigned and refurbished Cameron House Hotel and Cameron Leisure Club; the ‘Wee Demon’ golf course; the Marina and The Boathouse Restaurant can all be found. It’s also the main hub and starting point for the numerous activities, experiences and unrivalled adventures that the resort offers. The Hotel and the Leisure Club are due to re-open on 1st August 2021 and the facilities – which include a family swimming pool with waterslides – look amazing!
Cameron Club Lodges
We’ve learnt over the years that self catering accommodation tends to be the best choice for our family whenever we go on holiday – we have a couple of early risers (myself and our youngest daughter) whilst the two teens and the husband prefer later nights and slower mornings. Staying somewhere where we can adjust our rhythms to suit our individual preferences with meals and bedtimes makes our trips run much more smoothly so Cameron Club Lodges were the perfect family friendly option for us for a stay at Loch Lomond.
There are two, three and four bedroom, detached, luxury lodges to choose from, all within walking distance of the shores of Loch Lomond. Set in peaceful countryside and surrounded by lush greenery, it’s an incredibly relaxing setting (whilst not being too far from civilisation!).
Cameron Lodges resort is nestled quietly in a picture-perfect location on the south-western banks of Loch Lomond in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.
Loch Lomond is a freshwater loch and the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain, which I think is a pretty impressive claim to fame. It sits right at the heart of Loch Lomond And The Trossachs National Park, which straddles the Scottish Highland Boundary Faultline – the geographical marker for where the Highlands meet the Lowlands.
The summit of Ben Lomond (all 3,000 feet of it) keeps a careful watch over the land and water below; there is a huge array of nature and wildlife in the area; plus spectacular scenery, historic castles and pretty villages… what more could you want? Loch Lomond and the Cameron Lodges resort really is an ideal place to escape to, whether you’re wanting some peace and relaxation away from the rest of the world or whether you’re someone who want to explore everywhere. Perhaps even a mixture of the two, like us.
First Impressions of Cameron Lodges
As we turned into the easy-to-find entrance of the Cameron Club Lodges site, we slowed the car right down, wanting to take it all in. A long, winding road meandered past colourful rhododendron bushes, through the golf course and towards a horseshoe-shaped cluster of lodges surrounded by well manicured green space. A handsome pheasant wandered casually through the bushes and a pair of resident oystercatchers strutted confidently across the path.
We pulled up into one of the plentiful-but-unobtrusive car parking spots just as the cleaning team were leaving the lodge we’d be staying in. We couldn’t have timed it better if we’d tried! Check-in time is currently 5pm to allow for extra time to deep clean the properties – in non-Covid times it would usually be 4pm. All of the cleaning staff were wearing full PPE of gloves, masks/visors and aprons and as they left the property they sealed the front door with tape to show that it had been fully prepared and was ready for us.
It was immediately reassuring that all the Covid-compliant cleaning measures that we’d been promised had actually been carried out and it set my mind fully at ease knowing that the Cameron Lodges team really were doing everything within their power to make our stay as safe as possible.
We retrieved the key from the lockbox on the front of the property (the code had been emailed to us the day before we arrived) and as we stepped in through the front door we all stopped in our tracks and exclaimed “Wow” in unison. I think Lola may even have gasped out loud. It looked and felt like a brand new showhome – I’ve honestly never seen any self catering accommodation like it. It was as neat as a pin, and as immaculately clean and fresh as if no-one had ever stayed there before.
We stayed in a two-bedroom, detached lodge on the Cameron Club site – Lodge 125. When we first arranged our stay I was a little nervous about it only being two bedrooms, despite plenty of reassurances from the lovely Reservations team that there would be enough space. We usually choose accommodation that has at least three bedrooms so we have plenty of room to spread out (and because the girls usually object to sharing!). Two bedrooms felt like it might be a bit of a squash for us all but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The lodge and all of the rooms in it were so much bigger then we had anticipated and there was more than enough living and sleeping space for the five of us. Exceeding expectations right from the start is always a good sign that your stay is going to be a good one.
Our lodge was what I call an ‘upside-down’ house with the bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor and the living space (kitchen, lounge and dining room) upstairs to take advantage of the views.
The ground floor of our lodge comprised of the bedrooms and bathrooms, comfortably sleeping four people:
- Master bedroom
- Ensuite to Master bedroom containing toilet, sink, bath and a huge shower
- Twin bedroom
- Ensuite to twin bedroom containing toilet, sink and shower
Plus a large entrance hallway with plenty of space for shoes (and all the suitcases as you’re unloading and packing up the car on arrival and departure).
The bedrooms were big – the twin room had enough space that the girls didn’t complain once about having to share – and the beds themselves were very comfy. All bedlinen and towels were of course provided, along with fluffy white bathrobes for the grown-ups and complimentary travel-sized toiletries in the bathrooms which were a lovely (and unexpected) added bonus.
The top floor of our lodge comprised of:
- Spacious open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen
- Hidden pull-down double bed in the lounge
- Shower room with toilet and sink
- Dressing room
As I said before, my initial mild concern about space was completely unfounded – there was plenty of room for us all! The sofas were just the right size for us all to pile on to together to snuggle up and watch ‘The Masked Dancer’ every evening and it was really lovely being able to open the doors to the balcony first thing in the morning to let in the fresh air and listen to the birdsong.
The girls were VERY excited about the secret bed in the lounge. Behind what looked to be an ordinary set of tall cupboard doors was actually a fully made-up double bed which is where Ella slept for the duration of our stay. We didn’t bother putting it away again each morning once she was awake – we just left it out (mostly because it was scattered with all the books she’d brought with her) and there was still loads of room to move around it. It didn’t feel like it was in the way at all.
The kitchen was fully equipped with everything you could possibly need including a built in electric oven, grill and microwave, electric hob, toaster, kettle, coffee machine, full-size fridge and freezer and even a separate wine/beer mini-fridge. Everything was spotlessly clean – the appliances could easily have been brand new.
I have to be honest though and say that my absolute favourite thing about the kitchen was how meticulously the drawers and cupboards were arranged. Every piece of cutlery, every glass, every utensil, pot and pan had its place and was laid out carefully – it was almost like a work of art. The attention to detail was phenomenal, I can’t even begin to imagine how long it must take the cleaners to set everything out like that every time they welcome a new set of guests to stay.
Useful Things To Know
Cameron Lodges offers such a variety of accommodation options and different activities – here are some useful things to know before you go:
- Until Cameron House Hotel re-opens on 1st August 2021, all guests staying at the resort on both sites get complimentary use of the Thermal and Hydro facilities at Cameron Spa, including the rooftop infinity pool. Spa treatments (eg: massages etc…) are extra.
- Once the hotel is open again, guests staying at Cameron Club Lodges (where we stayed) have complimentary access to both Cameron Spa and the hotel facilities, whilst guests staying in a Cameron House Lodge (the other site) have free use of the hotel facilities and will receive a discounted rate for the spa.
- There are dedicated times within which children are allowed to swim at Cameron Spa, a morning session and an afternoon session. Children are, understandably, not allowed in the rooftop infinity pool.
- All activities (everything from meals at the restaurant, to swimming, to bike hire, to cruises on the loch) need to be booked in advance.
- No dogs or pets are allowed at Cameron Lodges.
- In order to be emailed the code for the key lockbox to gain access to your lodge on the day you arrive, you have to phone at least 24 hours in advance and give your credit or debit card details as security. No charges are made to your card. Presumably during non-Covid times this is all done in person at the Reception desk when you check-in, it’s just that in order to keep in-person contact to an absolute minimum so that everyone stays safe, everything is currently being done via email and telephone instead.
- Electricity usage during your stay is metered and the charge for the amount you use is payable on departure.
- For those travelling with little ones: our lodge had a baby gate already installed at the top of the stairs and cots and highchairs are available on request. You’ll need to take your own cot bedding as that isn’t provided.
- There are several restaurants across the two sites, a farm shop just over the main road from the Cameron Club site entrance and the nearest supermarket (a Co-Op which was a decent size and had everything we needed and more) is in Balloch – just a ten minute drive away.
Suggested Improvements for Cameron Lodges
Truthfully, I almost didn’t include this section in this review because I genuinely couldn’t think of any improvements that would have made our stay easier or better. We had a fantastic time at Cameron Lodges and I definitely recommend it as a fabulous place to stay in Loch Lomond (and Scotland in general) whether you’re a small family, an extended/multi-generational family, a couple, a solo traveller, a group of friends, someone looking for adventure, someone wanting to relax and no matter what your age. It really does have something for everyone.
I had to think really long and hard for several days whilst in the process of writing this and in the end all I could come up with was that a more simple and/or automated booking system for swimming pool times and activities might have been better than the current process of having to email to make a reservation. Being able to see clearly exactly what was available and when would have been much easier than an email conversation chain going backwards and forwards.
The only tiny hiccup we had during our stay was that there was a bit of a mix-up with our swimming reservation which meant that we sadly weren’t able to swim during our time there. The Cameron Lodges team were brilliant and did everything they possibly could to fit us in and make amends when there wasn’t enough space for us – the customer service really is excellent. Being unable to swim didn’t have any major negative impact on our stay because we found plenty of other things to do instead, it’s just something that could perhaps have been avoided if a slightly different process was in place.
The only other thing I could think of was maybe adding in some hooks to store coats in the ground floor hallway! We were very lucky with the weather during our stay but I imagine that if there was a rainy day it would be helpful to have somewhere to hang up coats to dry.
Things We Loved
There were so many things that we loved about Cameron Lodges…
- The space: Our lodge was much bigger than I thought it was going to be and having that little bit more space than we’d anticipated really made a difference.
- The pull down bed: Such a brilliant, space-saving idea with a novelty factor that the girls absolutely loved. I think if we’d have stayed for longer than three nights they would all have wanted to take turns sleeping in it.
- Cleanliness: There literally wasn’t a single speck of dust anywhere – the whole lodge was spotless. The whole Cameron Lodges site felt very Covid-safe.
- The quality: The 5* rating is absolutely deserved. It seemed like we were staying in a luxury hotel rather than a self catering lodge. Everything from the bedsheets to the kitchen appliances felt like the best of the best and it made for a much more special experience.
- The attention to detail: Complimentary, soft, fluffy bathrobes for every adult and lovely toiletries in every bathroom; beautifully arranged drawers and cupboards in the kitchen; plus a bottle of chilled Prosecco and a box of delicious Scottish shortbread waiting for us on arrival made us feel really valued as guests. Cameron Lodges really goes out of their way with the personal touches to make your stay as exceptional as possible.
- The activities: There are SO many things to do at Cameron Lodges. We could easily have stayed for a week or more and not seen or done everything. There will be another blog post coming soon with information about all of the on- and off-site things we got up to during our stay.
- The peace and quiet: The location really was stunning and such a contrast to the hustle and bustle and noise and busy-ness of Edinburgh where we’d spent the previous four days. The seclusion and privacy of Cameron Lodges means it’s a perfect place to unwind and relax.
Would We Stay At Cameron Lodges Again?
As usual I’d planned far too many things and we simply couldn’t fit them all in – there was so much more we wanted to do during our stay and we ran out of time to do them before we had to head home. I would have loved to have tried out stand-up paddleboarding and/or the kayaks on the Loch, Lola would have adored the pony trekking, the husband was quite keen to do the cruise on the Loch, Mimi wanted to have a go at the segway safari and Ella would have been happy hiring the bikes again and going for a longer exploration.
Plus there’s the nearby Balloch Castle Country Park, the tree-top adventures at Loch Lomond Shores and an infinite number of walks and hikes in the area. The possibilities for fun really are endless.
As I said before, self catering does tend to work best for us as a family and the lodge we stayed in was first class, I wouldn’t hesitate to book to stay in one again. Even so, Cameron House Hotel looks to be incredibly family friendly – they have family bedrooms and suites with bunkbeds for the children, boardgames & Lego and even kid-sized bathrobes.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ll definitely be making a return visit to the Cameron Lodges resort one day…
We would like to say a very big thank you to the Cameron Lodges team for such a fantastic stay. We had a brilliant time and made many happy memories together as a family.