Following an investment of £2.2million and a complete refurbishment, which was unveiled in June, Crerar Hotels’ Balmoral Arms in Royal Deeside has become Ballater’s only official five-star AA-rated business.

The newly refurbished property, which is the closest five-star accommodation to The Queen’s official Scottish residence in the heart of the Victorian village, has received the prestigious rating following its latest AA inspection.

Inspectors were impressed with the results of the significant investment which has seen the hotel preserve the unique character of the building whilst completely upgrading the 46 bedrooms and suites, all public spaces including the restaurant and soon-to-launch spa.




The hotel, which was formerly The Deeside Inn, is now fit for royalty and is located just a stone’s throw from Balmoral Castle and a host of other activities within the Royal Deeside area such as the Royal Lochnagar Distillery and the Cairngorms National Park.


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The upgrade from the four-star to five-star grading follows hot on the heels of Crerar Hotels Glencoe Inn which also received the five-star rating and an upgrade to four-stars for Oban Bay Hotel and Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa – highlighting one of the most improved portfolios in Scotland in recent years.


The accommodation has been upgraded and the property now offers a selection of rooms and suites to suit every kind of traveller from those looking for a luxury staycation to those looking for an upmarket base for those who will spend more time outside than in.


The hotel offers six impressive suites including four Premium Suites, all named after iconic nearby points of interest, with additional space and luxury touches such as pure British wool bedding, Scottish inspired toiletries from the Highland Soap Company, and sweet treats from Tunnocks.


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Guests can also experience two Junior Suites, feature rooms inspired by the rugged landscape of the Cairngorms, as well as Coorie Doubles, Cosy Doubles and Classic Rooms.


All rooms feature contemporary interiors whilst showcasing hints of the hotel’s Victorian heritage and Highland hues.


Chris Wayne-Wills, CEO of Crerar Hotels, said: “Following the relaunch of Balmoral Arms just last month, we are ecstatic that we’ve achieved the prestigious AA five-star rating.


“As part of our ongoing investment in our properties and people, we are now the most improved Scottish hotel company thanks to our many upgraded AA ratings, especially within the past two years where we’ve seen Glencoe receive a five-star AA rating plus a AA Breakfast Award, dining rosettes across our portfolio and  Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa and Oban Bay Hotel receiving their four-stars.


“Balmoral Arms, led by Joanna Whysall and her ever-growing team, really encapsulates authentic Scottish hospitality and its spectacular location which has really inspired the design concept and approach when completing the refurbishment.


“The investment has allowed us to create a truly breath-taking offering which will drive more tourists to the area and create more footfall for Royal Deeside. Relaunching as Balmoral Arms has also allowed us to further offer an experience which is more fitting with the area’s strong royal heritage.”


The upgrades continue at Balmoral arms with the newly launched classic Scottish brasserie and grill, 1852, named after the year in which the Balmoral Castle was purchased by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria, is where simple cooking and rich flavours come together to give a real taste of the Cairngorms.


The hotel also prides itself on using fresh produce from the surrounding hills and lochs and the Aberdeenshire area, whilst dishes are inspired by its iconic location.


The Ghillies Bar, named after the Highland attendants and popular with hotel guests and locals alike, offers live music, roaring fires and local whiskies and ales combined with hearty traditional Scottish bites.


The Balmoral Arms refurbishment is part of a wider Crerar Hotel Group programme of investment across 2022 which sees a total of £4.5million spent across the Ballater hotel as well as Golf View Hotel & Spa and Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa.


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