SAORSA 1875: THE UK’S FIRST LUXURY VEGAN HOTEL
Saorsa 1875, hailed as the UK’s first Vegan hotel, takes a serene position in Pitlochry, Scotland and oozes modernity, a good measure of quirkiness and homely surroundings but firm ethics promoting a plant-based, cruelty free environment right through to its core. A welcome change from the usual vegan cliches, absolute perfection for those wanting to explore a plant-based lifestyle or simply enjoy a relaxing break with an open mind.
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Pitlochry is a relatively small town, approximately an hour and a half’s drive from Edinburgh on the outskirts of the Cairngorms National Park, is beautiful and quite a seasonal tourist spot.
The hotel is located off an A road in Pitlochry surrounded in a tranquil setting of small gardens and a woodland consisting of walking trails. Parking is available right outside the property making things hugely convenient when exploring the area.
The word ‘Saorsa’ in Gaelic is the word for ‘freedom’ and 1875 is the year that the almost gothic façade house was built. The hotel was established in 2018 by Sandra Mclaren-Stewart, (who showcases her passion for design throughout the hotel), her son Jack (who has a background in cocktails) and husband. This family run set-up follow a vegan lifestyle and it’s evident in the attention to detail of the place. It’s well thought out and executed at every turn. Although they were away during the stay, you most certainly get a family feel throughout at Saorsa 1875. Their aim for the hotel is for it to be a place for vegans, vegetarians, and the plant curious. It most definitely ticks the boxes.
On entry into the double-faced 19th century baronial property, you are instantly met with an almost rock n roll, neon lights, bare light bulbs, bohemian eclectic vibe as you approach the front desk. It’s not your traditional hotel reception but a cool and discreet alternative. It’s not slap-dash but well executed and drives curiosity to explore the rest of the property.
The Bar & Lounge
The bar and lounge is most definitely a bright and airy space but with comfy sofas and oversized cushions. High ceilings and sash windows add great period character Floral fabrics and brightly coloured velvets give the room a level of modern yet comfy feel.
It’s the place to sink in, relax, enjoy a drink or read a book. Cosy evenings and winter days can be spent next to the fire.
The Library & Games Room
Head over to this room to scope out one of the selection of books or games free for guests to use. Filled with lots of decorative pieces such as plants, ornaments and china tea cups, it’s a great place for a game of cards or book meeting!
The Dining Room
Tables scattered across the room hued with a spray of light from the large bay windows at the top end, the dining room is the setting for all the show-stopping cuisine that is cooked here. The walls are hung with large, striking art work and block candles adorn the statement candlesticks.
There are 11 rooms at the hotel (The Honeybee that sleeps 1 to the Water Vole, Red Squirrel, Wildcat, Capercaillie, Otter, Pine Marten, which are doubles and sleep 2 to finally the Super king rooms for 2 – Red Deer, Puffin, Golden Eagle and Lynx), which are all names after endangered Scottish wildlife species.
Each room is individually designed with it’s own unique touches and complementing colour palette. Rooms come with beautifully soft high thread count bedding and no goose-down duvets for obvious reasons
Vegan furnishings are mostly upcycled pieces, minus leather, or fur. There are no televisions but rooms are provided with glossy fronted magazines, upholstered armchairs, Bluetooth speakers and cloud-like beds.
There’s an array of vegan snacks in your tea/coffee tray and plant-based milk is available in the fridge on the landing.
Bathrooms have simple, clean lines and come with a rain shower as well as Fig and Vanilla Natural Spa Factory toiletries some of which you can purchase from the hotel.
Wining & Dining
Dining is a complete trip and the star of the show at the hotel without a doubt.
Breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner and drinks are available at set times throughout the day. Dinner should be booked in advance (as the restaurant is also open to non-residents) and breakfast options are confirmed the night before to ensure everything is ready and prepped in the morning.
Meals can be accompanied by a selection of vegan wines. Pop into the bar pre or post dinner for one of the many cocktails on the menu based on local spirits. Select from a range of whiskey’s, aperitifs, Digestifs and of course cocktails.
Each night a different five course taster menu is served in the dining room consisting of seasonal, foraged and local produce, and plant-based ingredients put together and overseen by Australian ex-Noma chef, Deborah Fleck. Beautifully plated and presented, each course is an explosion of flavours and ingredients cooked inventively.
A Sample 5 Course Menu
Breakfast is a healthy affair with fresh fruit, homemade granola, juices, smoothie bowls packed full of berries and seeds, vegan croissants, peanut butter, homemade preserves and toast. Homemade beans on toast can also be cooked to order consisting of black beans soaked overnight, then cooked with tomato paste, smoked paprika, black pepper and bay leaves.
Hot drink including teas and coffees are available, with coffee sourced from local artisan roaster, Glen Lyon and cappuccinos, a personal favourite for breakfast are made with Sproud, pea milk.
The gardens surrounding the property have many tranquil spots to relax in as well as a yurt that you can escape to for a yoga session. There is a yoga class a couple of times a week as well as retreats which can be booked at certain times of the year.
Soarsa 1875 is completely free from animal products including furnishings, toiletries, cleaning products are all vegan including the food and drink of course.
The hotel supports the Green Earth Appeal by planting a tree for every dinner served. The property is entirely powered by Ecotricity, a green energy company that’s certified by the Vegan Society.
Food wastage is also kept to a minimum as meals are cooked to order and by guests confirming selections for breakfast.
Textiles used in the interiors are fairtrade and the stoves are powered by offcuts from the birch trees on the grounds.
Towels and linens are only washed and changed at guests request or if required saving on unnecessary water usage.
The hotel’s suppliers have been carefully selected and are also cruelty-free, from a human-rights-focused food co-operative in Glasgow, to the wine is also sourced to ensure there is no non-vegan filtration.
Saorsa 1875 Round-Up
It is evident that the team at Saorsa 1875 has paid the greatest attention to detail in establishing a hotel based on their own passion for veganism and lifestyle. The service is attentive, friendly and accommodating. Younger staff members are at your service, which gives it a cool edge and there is nothing stuffy about the place, without compromising standards. The hotel is most definitely a place for those who already follow a predominantly plant-based lifestyle but also those who are experimenting or wanting to experience plant-based living to feed their curiosity.
Unwind, deplug, explore and partake in a short affair with a slower pace of life eliminating animals and embracing the environment at Saorsa 1875.
In charge of security and sensory customer experiences in the form of cuddles are adorable rescue pups Ziggy and Whisky!
- Address: Saorsa 1875. 2 East Moulin Road. Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5DW
- Tel.: +44 (0)1796 475217
- Website: Saorsa 1875
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