I send them away and lure them back with a piece of raw beef placed on the glove. It’s like channelling the area’s wildness, to which various birds of prey – most famously golden eagles – are indigenous. This extraordinary playground offers plenty of choice – fishing, clay pigeon shooting, off-road driving, horse riding – but whatever your pursuit, it’s nice to come home to a soak in the spa (or a bathtub in the room). That is not the end of the day’s fun, however. We’re just getting ready for a night out. This hotel is in fact a small town: half-a-dozen restaurants and bars, and enough corridors to get truly lost in. I live in London and have experienced what owners Ennismore have done with their hip Hoxton hotels there.
The American Bar here is more fin de siècle Paris, or Venice even – sumptuous with its dark, rich décor and low lighting. My Smoking Gun cocktail is made with 12 year-old Balvenie malt and presented with gunpowder, lit before me. In the formal Strathearn Restaurant, my father and I savour beef carved tableside. Around a neighbouring table, an extended family laughs away.
Finally it dawns on me: that whether you are taking hawks on the glove, quaffing Smoking Guns in good company or slumbering before the lobby’s fizzing and popping log fire, this is really one big family home – for all generations.