Looking for a Bucket List destination to add to your Scotland itinerary? Greywalls Hotel & Chez Roux in Muirfield, Gullane, East Lothian is just the spot.
Affectionately known as “Greywalls” among the world’s most well-traveled, this destination hotel in the Scottish Lowlands (the southern part of the country) has a magical quality that offers an unparalleled experience of the Scottish countryside.
The serenely beautiful property, moreover, is an elegant Scottish Edwardian Country Estate complete with a gorgeous walled garden and a world-class Muirfield Golf Course, the world’s oldest golf club, which has been around since 1744. (Crazy! I know.)
If staying here feels in parts like communing in a private mansion, that’s because it technically is one. The architecture here reflects the archival history of Scotland through materials: stone, wood, and thick, historic glass.
The enchanting walled garden was designed by famed landscape architect Gertrude Jekyll. The rooms are exceptionally cozy and cottage-like, appointed with tartan, wallpaper, and stand-alone tubs that feel like a welcome respite on overcast days.
Even in the summer, the setting exudes a comfortable gentility. There’s a lot of dark stained wood, in-room fireplaces, and valance lighting. You get the idea.
Communal areas like the ridiculously charming library (above) feature rustic wood stoves, antique chess sets, warm low lighting, hand-made furniture, and classic novels. There’s a Steinway & Sons grand piano that often gets played.
Like several of the rooms and suites on-site, the back lounge overlooks the Muirfield, which adds a delightful, picture-box charm to the experience. Below is the view taken one evening during our last stay:
In the spring, you can see golfers from all over the world practicing their swings here, in the golden hour sun, and it’s wonderfully peaceful. Enjoy dinner, tea, or a drink in the lounge while the sun slowly sets.
^ This kind of scene, moreover, can be particularly charming and long-lasting in the Spring, because the sun doesn’t set here until around 11 PM during the high tourism season.
As a result, the landscape at Greywalls basks in a gorgeous cast of golden-hour-like sun until well into the evening.
Because Scotland is so far North geographically, this is the norm even here in the Lowlands. Sunshine daydreams, indeed!
Other guest suites, like the self-contained cottage rooms, enjoy uninterrupted views out over the lush greens and Firth of Forth.
Otherwise, they look toward the gardens or the gently rolling farmland of the Lammermui Hills. (<— A great place to venture for local produce, dairy, butcher, and preserves! Or, check out the Haddington Farmers Market for local whisky, heather honey, Scottish breakfast tea, and Scottish shortbread. You can also frequently see local bagpipers performing here, but I digress.)
The overall sentiment here is one of inviting warmth and decadence, which is miraculously without pretense. Sure, Greywalls is a destination for the well-heeled– but the team has mastered the art of non-intrusive hospitality, and it shows in every detail of the resort’s dedicated maintenance and preservation.
The gardens, for one, are a whimsical destination in their own right.
In addition to the perfectly-manicured-yet-lushly-wild-looking landscape, the on-site walled garden features giant rhododendrons, lilacs, bluebells, Scottish heather, rapeseed, and peonies, which all bloom gorgeously in the Spring.
Guests are welcome to stroll here unattended, which makes spending time at Greywalls feel like a journey through your own secret garden. Sit beneath a lilac tree and savor the enchanting smells in this Gertrude Jekyll-designed landscape. It’s beautiful at all hours of the day– and even after a seasonal rain storm.
The iconic on-site Chez Roux restaurant, meanwhile, serves award-winning globally-informed takes on traditional Scottish cuisine.
In the main dining room, the aptly-named Whisky Room (featuring the region’s finest bottles!), or the Sun Room overlooking the gardens, enjoy breakfasting on signature local dishes like smoked salmon on rye bread, traditional Scottish oats, and Scottish Breakfast tea.
Or, consider trying haggis, roasted guinea fowl, and authentic local whisky at dinner, which is always beautiful in the summer because of the long local sunsets. (And it wouldn’t be a trip to Scotland without tasting local scotch whisky! For those who drink, consider asking the staff about how to best pair it with your meal.)
Of course, those with less adventurous palettes will find delight in the more international aspects of their menu, which also features always-locally sourced dishes like Sauteed Orkney Scallops, Walnut Gnocchi, and Pan-Fried Scottish Salmon with Crab & Courgette risotto.
Everything is as lovely in its conception as it is in taste; it’s a warm and thoughtful menu that’s elegant without being stuffy– a serene combo rarely achieved in this kind of travel context.
(The hotel is part of the ICMI collection of hotels, which stands for Inverlochy Castle Management International. With a hotel management company this esteemed, the property is bound to be impressive– but our recent stay here exceeded all expectations with ample warmth and approachability. You don’t have to play golf or come from Old Money to feel at home here!)
Ultimately, we love the hotel’s enchanting layout, which feels like a sumptuous dream landscape on approach– and the contemplative gardens, which are a gorgeous place to experience Greywall’s own Afternoon Tea service, complete with macarons, finger sandwiches, decadent opera cakes, and the finest seasonal tea.
It’s also a great place to stay if interested in exploring somewhat-nearby destinations like Abbotsford, The Home of Sir Walter Scott in Melrose, or the rolling rapeseed-yellow hills of Cupar, Fife.
And during the Spring and Summer, when all the seasonal garden tours have locals opening their private estates to visitors– well, there’s no better place to call home away from home.
Ultimately, staying at Greywalls is a sensory thrill that never fails to excite. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or several days, you can’t go wrong.
It’s a Bucket List destination in its own right, whether your aim is to explore the Scottish countryside or simply relax in the lounge. Add it to your list, travel lovers!
Related: Travelling around the UK and Europe? Visit our critically-acclaimed Travel Well section for detailed guides to everything from the Best Spas in Paris to the Coolest Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London.