By Jordan Rhodes
In 1898, Scottish American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie returned to his beloved birthplace in the Highlands of Scotland with the hope that his wife, Louise, and their daughter, Margaret, would also fall in love with the wild, romantic landscape. After paying a visit to Skibo Castle just north of Inverness, much to Carnegie’s delight his family did fall under its spell, and after purchasing the property one year later they set about updating the dilapidated estate, while also tripling its size. Until Carnegie’s death in 1919, many well-known historical figures, including Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts enjoyed the glorious gardens, nine-hole golf course and well-stocked fishing lochs he so lovingly created.
Today, members of the castle’s exclusive Carnegie Club can also indulge in its storied past. The current owners possess the same vision as the Carnegie family to restore the property to its former glory, and guests can enjoy an experience quite similar to one in the early 1900s, albeit with completely modern, luxurious facilities and amenities. The castle has retained its original splendor of mahogany finishes, stone accents and stained glass windows, while bedrooms boast antique furniture, marble bathrooms and breathtaking views of the gardens and grounds. A typical day includes rising to the sound of bagpipes on the front lawn, followed by a full English breakfast in Mrs. Carnegie’s dining room. Afterwards, guests can partake in a number of recreational activities, which vary from season to season. These might include falconry, a round on the 18-hole championship links golf course open only to guests, spa treatments in the world-class facility, sporting clays or a scheduled pheasant shoot, salmon and trout fishing surrounded by glorious views of the Highlands, or horseback riding across the golden fields. Each evening, guests retreat to their spacious accommodations to dress for the spectacular dinners. Typically, multi-course meals with wine pairings are held in Mr. Carnegie’s dining room following a cocktail hour, and afterwards, dependent on the day of the week, a wide variety of entertainment can be enjoyed, such as piano sing-alongs, dancing to Scottish reels, games of snooker, or nightcaps and cigars in the gun room. For those who dream of living the life of Mr. Carnegie, there is surely no better way to do it.
Many fellow Fairfield County, CT residents are among those who enjoy the club. According to Greenwich resident and member, Jeffrey R. Jay M.D., “we’ve been coming here for 20 years. We love the links golf course on Dornoch firth which is one of the top 10 in Scotland, the traditional castle accommodations, the spa and indoor pool, and the attentive staff. What other private club has 6,000 unspoiled and undeveloped acres for hiking, salmon and trout fishing, grouse hunting, riding and tennis and that holds no more than 150 guests at a time? That’s 40 acres per guest, so it is very easy to find peace and quiet, unwind and disconnect from our hectic world around us in Greenwich.Our guests routinely tell us it is the nicest place they have ever stayed in the United Kingdom with rooms that are amazing, immaculate grounds and the best vistas in the Highlands.”
Another Greenwich resident, Alease Fisher Tallman writes,
”Our family has been going to Skibo for 10 years for the charm and gracious living The Carnegie Club lets you revel in. Here is a typical Saturday: awakened by bagpipes, hearty breakfast in Mrs. Carnegie’s graceful dining room, visit from the falconer and his falcons and owls that swoop and dive in the Great Hall, nature walk with the kids and with the very-well-informed and entertaining guide, Andrew, ride in your golf cart through the rhododendron forest to the golf course for lunch overlooking the moors, round of golf for the men, horseback riding for the ladies, massage at the spa, dinner in Mr Carnegie’s opulent dining room, followed by spirited dancing in the Great Hall! What’s not to love?!”
Families will also have a ball while visiting, and the carefully cultivated programs at the fully staffed Children’s Barn ensure they can enjoy the best the castle has to offer. Activities are planned around all ages, and evening babysitters are included in the daily charge, so parents are free to experience the nightly festivities.
Truly unrivaled, The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle is the ultimate luxury, Scottish experience, and the club is currently accepting membership applications for the coming year. For more information, please email email@example.com.