TRIGONY HOUSE HOTEL, NR THORNHILL, DUMFRIESSHIRE
WHAT’S THE SCOOP? Trigony House is one of the UK’s most dog-friendly hotels – and it has lots of awards to prove it. The wonderfully-relaxed country house has a great vibe with friendly local staff, delicious food and a perfectly manicured garden that’s best enjoyed from the outdoor hot tub.
When we visited, there were ten pooches soaking up the hotel’s posh but not pretentious atmosphere, from Border Terriers to Greyhounds. It’s a very special place that both dogs and their owners will want to return to, again and again.
ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? Most definitely. Not only is this is one of Britain’s most dog-friendly hotels but it’s in Scotland so everyone is prepared for wet weather. Staff are used to dealing with muddy paws and there’s an outdoor dog wash station with towels, warm water and dog-friendly shampoo available on request.
Dogs get a hotel-branded bowl in their room, plus Bonios, poo bags and walk suggestions, and sausages come as standard for breakfast. You can even treat your pooch to a pamper session – check out our review of the dog reiki. As far as I’m aware, Trigony House is one of the only places in the UK where you can have this done.
Pets can go pretty much everywhere in the hotel, aside from the formal dining room and kitchen area. This means that when it comes to mealtimes, you can choose to dine with your dog in either the bar area or cosy lounge. Alternatively, staff are happy for well-behaved pooches to be left in the room. Overnight stays cost £9.50 per night per dog.
Before you visit, check out the really helpful “dog-friendly directory” on the Trigony House website. It has plenty of suggestions for places to visit with your pet from historic castles to delicious ice creameries. It’s really handy as it tells you how far each attraction is from the hotel and the resident Golden Retriever has also given them a “Roxy Rating (keep reading to see a picture of her!)
AND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? You’ll sleep like a baby in any one of the hotel’s nine dog-friendly bedrooms. Each one has been individually decorated and ours – Room 4 – was a sunny yellow room on the first floor with views over the well-manicured garden. We stayed in a Classic room although you can always upgrade to Superior or the Garden Suite (scroll to the bottom for more details).
Our room had everything we needed for a short stay from a flatscreen TV to information about the local attractions. The huge mugs that came with the tea and coffee facilities helped feed our caffeine addiction and the little jar of sugary homemade shortbread was delicious. Thankfully, it was replenished on a daily basis!
The en-suite shower room was small but perfectly formed and the Ishga toiletries smelled lush. They were made from organic seaweed and the same brand is used in the gorgeous Trigony Garden Spa, where you can indulge in a spot of pampering or enjoy the views from the outdoor hot tub.
Room 4 was also close to the DVD library at the top of the stairs, which came in handy on rainy days. We loved snuggling up in the cosy throw on the bed with a film and there was a hot water bottle in the wardrobe too, for extra warmth. Board games and books were also available to borrow.
HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? Award-winning – and very tasty. The restaurant’s “rustic cuisine” is highly regarded and the seasonal menu changes regularly so even if you’ve stayed at the hotel before, there’s almost always something new to try.
Expect popular classic dishes such as fish and chips and steak, served with a modern twist. There great veggie and vegan options too, if you fancy going meat-free. The morning menu is well worth getting out of bed for as well, with everything from haggis and black pudding to homemade potato cakes.
There’s a big emphasis on local produce with all the hotel’s vegetables, herbs and fruit coming from its walled garden during the summer months. Many of the other free-range, organic ingredients are locally sourced but whatever you choose to eat, it probably won’t have come from outside Scotland.
As mentioned earlier, dogs are not allowed in the main restaurant but they are welcome in the bar and lounge areas – both great places to relax with a wee dram of Scottish whisky or glass of fine wine.
ANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? Yes, resident Golden Retriever Roxy will be on hand to check you in. She’ll probably dine by your side at breakfast too, in the hope you might drop some food!
WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? The hotel has lots of suggestions for good walks ranging from 20-minute leg stretches to full-day yomps. There’s a peaceful woodland area just moments away and if you wander down the road that runs alongside the hotel, you can do a nice three-mile circular walk via an atmospheric churchyard.
If you’re feeling energetic, jump in the car and spend five minutes driving to Penpont, where you can pick up the Southern Upland Way. This 212-mile trail is Britain’s first official coast-to-coast footpath, running from Portpatrick on the south-west coast to Cockburnspath in the east.
The Forest of Ae makes for a great day out, too. Interestingly, it is one of the largest forests in Scotland but has the shortest place name in Britain. There are a range of marked trails around the forest, which is a 20-minute drive from the hotel. We opted for the green route, which took around two hours. It’s a good place to visit on a rainy day too, as the trees will shelter you from the worst of the wet weather.
WHAT ERNIE LOVED: Meeting the other guests (both human and canine), being pampered during his dog reiki session, the sausage at breakfast
WHAT I LOVED: The fact dogs were allowed almost everywhere, the wonderfully friendly staff, the treatments at the Trigony Garden Spa (especially the reiki)
GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: Classic double rooms start from £125 per night on a B&B basis. If you would like to include dinner (and you really should!), rates start from £195. Superior rooms cost £20 more per night or the Garden Suite – which has a conservatory and its own private garden – starts from £170. A range of packages, such as spa breaks, romantic breaks and breaks including activities (such as falconry experiences or vintage car hire), are also available. For more information or to book, call 01848 331211 or visit the hotel website.