Exterior view of Ardfin nestled into the natural landscape.

Inner Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom


It isn’t easy to juxtapose the wild and rugged terrain of the Hebridean island outpost of Jura with luxury hospitality (and its attention to detail, cosiness and comforts). But the Scottish buy-out property Ardfin and its attached hotel, The Quads, do just so… and in somewhat spectacular fashion.

Ten years in the making, we found the ‘exclusive’ (both because of its seclusion and dedication to luxury) 12,000-acre Ardfin estate at the southern tip of the remote Isle of Jura (population 300), deep in the untamed beauty of one of Scotland‘s wildest landscapes. Jura may be a bit of a trek to get to (unless you arrive by helicopter, of course) but if you’re willing to go the distance (literally), you’ll soon be rewarded. In our humble, peripatetic opinion… Ardfin makes the journey all worthwhile.

It’s hard to be unimpressed by the island’s rugged terrain and majestic nature; the drive through Jura certainly set the stage for what lay ahead. We immediately felt a sense of tranquillity, a complete and utter pace change to Glasgow where we started this Scottish adventure, let alone back home in London. Lest to say, a sojourn to Jura is an invitation into a world where time slows right down

Ardfin’s sea-facing championship golf course – designed by acclaimed architect David McLay Kidd – has grown rather quickly in fame. The course unfolds along the dramatic coastline landscape, sure to enthrall those who play, and even us who don’t. However, we were far more excited by its places to stay: the private-use Victorian villa known as Jura House and a 15-suite hotel called The Quads. 

All of Ardfin’s spaces have had the Midas-like touch of interior designer Louise Jones, in gorgeous, classic takes on Hebridean style – lashings of tartan, antlers and floral prints – teamed with a tasteful cornucopia of antiques and art. It’s far from minimalist, we warn you, but it oozes a sense of place, presenting a vibe that is a heady mix of private members’ club, boudoir, country house and sanctuary, all delivered with meticulous attention to design detail. No expense has been spared – as the stunning billiards room, pool and bar illustrate.

The spaces here are masterfully executed – our suite in The Quads was stunning and our bathroom in particular a highlight. All the private quarters at Ardfin exude a refined elegance, with an approach to luxury that may come across as understated … as if to let the breathtaking views of Loch Tarbert take centre stage. But somehow, despite the chilled ambience, we know nothing here has been left to chance. Every view, every texture, every amenity is in place for a reason.

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While you’re Out There
Ardfin offers exclusive access to Jura’s sole whisky distillery, The Jura Distillery (we wouldn’t have them call it anything different!). On nearby Islay, there are ten others to discover: Arberg, Ardnahoe, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Port Ellen. Jura also distils island gin and rum. If it’s all too much, head for the Ardfin bar. Here we got an intensive whisky education that was a mere stumble back to our room.

Some aspects are deserving of reflection. Ardfin’s commitment to sustainability could be more prominently showcased, aligning with the ethos of conservation that defines this pristine region. Embracing more than the basic eco-friendly practices would not only enhance the estate’s appeal but also ensure its preservation for generations to come. Yes, to be ‘green’ is undoubtedly a big ask with a world-class golf course to maintain on-site; and we realise some sustainable initiatives are just downright hard to execute when you’re a property based in the middle of nowhere, but we felt more could have been done to highlight the hotel’s responsible stewardship. After all, Jura is said to be among Scotland’s last great wildernesses; it would have been interesting to see what Ardfin’s role is in that.

Beyond golf, Ardfin presents an array of activities tailored to delight discerning guests: from guided hikes through the island’s unspoiled wilderness to sea excursions exploring the rich marine life of the Inner Hebrides, as well as human stories. Each experience is crafted to deepen one’s appreciation for Jura’s raw allure, supported by a team that is ever ready to help. Getting out into the wilds of the island helped us appreciate just how profound the sense of seclusion is here. We truly disconnected from the outside world and immersed ourselves fully in the serenity of the surroundings; and loved it so much that we didn’t care to look at our electronic devices when we got back to Ardfin, right up until the very end of our stay. At Ardfin, luxury finds its purest expression.


Photography courtesy of Ardfin

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