Just Like Ike: Stay at Culzean Castle Hotel

Photo: Ecos / Shutterstock

Contributor Cynthia Graham recalls a recent visit to Scotland and a stay at the luxurious Culzean Castle Hotel experience

Commissions may be earned from our affiliate partner links


Located high on a cliff overlooking the water of the Firth of Clyde and boasting an enchanting old Roman viaduct entrance way, Culzean Castle holds a special place in the heart of many Americans.  

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower stayed here before, during, and after his presidency, and had a strong affinity for the beautiful castle and its expansive grounds. Ike’s legacy lives on here, with one of the castle’s most elegant accommodations even named after him: the Eisenhower Suite. The choice of name came about in honor of Eisenhower’s role as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Western Europe during WWII.


carina-M-Culzean Castle Hotel sitting on the coast-unsplash
Culzean Castle Hotel sits dramatically on the Ayrshire coast (Photo: Carina M / Unsplash)


Run by the National Trust for Scotland and dubbed t Scotland’s “Eisenhower Hotel”, Culzean Castle Hotel consist of six unique guest rooms and is considered one of the most exclusive (and certainly unique) places to stay in Scotland. During the day, the castle serves as a museum with visitors coming and going to enjoy the magnificent structure and the area around it. At night, though, the breathtaking views, exotic animals (in the deer park), and romantic beach and cliff walks are all yours to explore.


Culzean Castle Hotel Offers a Unique Luxury Experience


The castle is surrounded by over 600 acres of wonderful things to do and explore, ensuring that, if you’re looking for that special romantic getaway location, this will be hard to beat.

The castle’s original stone tower was built to defend the area in the 1300s, and centuries later, David Kennedy, the 10th Earl of Cassillis, modernized the castle to create d the “ultimate bachelor pad” in which to entertain his friends. Most of the buildings you see today were completed in 1792.


louisa-bihi-Culdean Castle Hotel interioir unsplash
Guests have the unique opportunity to view Eisenhower’s quarters at Culzean Castle Hotel (Photo: Louisa Bihi / Unsplash)


The six exclusive guest rooms that comprise the Culzean Castle Hotel are all located on the top floor, well away from the daytime visitors. And there’s no worries getting there, as a dedicated 1920s elevator will whisk you to your room.


Afternoon Tea at Culzean Castle


Culzean Castle also offers a superb afternoon tea on for its guests, along with meals for an additional charge. For an authentic Scottish experience, guests can also partake in a fun whisky tasting experience through a local distillery (be sure to contact the castle directly for this as well as dining options).

A little side note: be sure to check out the entrance to the viaduct that leads to the castle. It starts at what looks like an old ruined Roman arch but was in fact designed by architect Robert Adam in the 18th century to create a very dramatic entranceway.


tom graham culzean castle roman arch entry bigger
Be sure to explore the grounds of Culzean Castle (Photo: Tom Graham / Riley)


And yes, from here you will have spectacular photo opportunities of the castle and the grounds, with the classic arch definitely adding to that unique bachelor pad charm.

In addition to the sleeping quarters, you’ll find a grand circular Drawing Room and an elegant private Dining Room available for guest use. There are also acres of property to explore, including the deer park, a swan pond, a walled garden, and an adventure cove.


Rich in History… and Fun


Any stay here must include taking a walk through the castle’s many elaborately decorated rooms. Visit at your own pace or take a guided tour, offered twice a day. For added fun, there are Lego figures hidden throughout the castle for youngsters to search out. Some are hard to find on your own, but if you’re having difficulties, you might try looking in the chandelier (or ask your guide!).

The property is rich in history, and the elegantly appointed accommodations set in a beautiful location makes “The Eisenhower” at Culzean Castle Hotel an outstanding and exclusive getaway destination in Scotland.


Culzean Castle Hotel Scotland guest entrance and acanon
Culzean Castle is one of the most romantic settings in Scotland (Photo: Tom Graham / Riley)


Located approximately 50 miles from Glasgow and just 12 miles from the town of Ayr, Tte castle is only open to tourists from March to October. Be sure to check their website for opening times, prices and other information.

To learn more about one of the most remarkable places to visit in Scotland for US history buffs, including details of the unique Culzean Castle Hotel accommodation options, visit their website at www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/culzean.


Great Places to Stay Near Culzean Castle


In addition to the accommodations on offer at Culzean Castle Hotel, be sure to check out these other great places to stay nearby:

Brewhouse Flat: An easy five-minute walk from Culzean Castle, Brewhouse Flat is set in a fun cottage in Maybole that’s also close to a golf course. Guest parking provided. 

Woodland Bay Hotel: Located in Girvan just 12 miles from Culzean Castle, Woodland Bay Hotel features comfy rooms in a classic Scottish hotel setting. 

Honesty Cottage: As quaint as it sounds, Honesty Cottage in Girvan is a short drive to Culzean Castle and offers superior accommodations for those wanting an authentic Scottish cottage experience.

Meadowbank: Meadowbank is another great cottage to consider when in Girvan. Close to the beach, you’re only a few minutes drive from great golf and Culzean Castle. 




Contributor Cynthia Graham’s award-winning blog is ranked in the top 1,000 travel blogs. Find her on Twitter at @lovetravelingto; Facebook: www.facebook.com/bluebagnomads; and on her blog: www.bluebagnomads.com.

RileyScotland - SBar logo