This article originally appeared on The Whiskey Wash.
Whiskey tourism is becoming big business these days, whether visitors make the trek to Scotland’s mystical whisky isle of Islay, the countryside of bourbon-rich Kentucky, or the myriad craft distilleries popping up all across the United States. For most of us who visit distilleries, the days end when the visitor center or gift shop closes. A select few however, can get the benefit of seeing the quieter, after-hours side of a whiskey-making operation by staying onsite or super close nearby at an affiliated lodging offering.
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Most typical lodging options at distilleries are guest houses and small lodges on the grounds of or immediately adjacent to old Scottish whisky distilleries, such as Bowmore. Beyond the reaches of Scotland, one can find select overnight accommodations at some American and Canadian distilleries. No matter where it may be, you can expect to get caught up in the sense of timelessness that abounds at many of these places, calling you to wander the grounds, whisk(e)y in hand, as you soak in the surroundings. You can then retire to your room, drifting off, perhaps, to the sweet smells of fresh spirit being made.
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Here are a select mix of facilities to scope out for those wanting to stay at, or near to, distilleries, listed in no particular order of preference. In some cases, operational times and lodging costs may vary depending upon the season – check out their associated websites for more details.
The Bowmore distillery, as one of the better-known Islay distilleries, has what looks to be some of the best lodging options as well. You’ve got the Harbour Inn, which is situated in the heart of the Bowmore village, for starters. It is an old, whitewashed inn with seven super nice bedrooms and an award-winning, on-site restaurant. If you want to go full tilt here and actually stay on the distillery’s grounds, you need to grab yourself some time at one of the five cottages on the Bowmore estate. Varying in size from one to four bedrooms, these renovated buildings, for the most part, once housed key workers for Bowmore such as the cooper. They are steeped in history, and include their own kitchens for your whisky-inspired cooking adventures.
The Isle of Jura in Scotland hosts just one distillery – Jura. It is a beautiful island, but often overlooked because of its better-known Islay neighbor. The Jura distillery, though, is set in a particularly scenic location, and the Jura Hotel is mere steps away. This family-run facility boasts a bar, restaurant, super amazing views, and a small range of rooms scaled across the price spectrum. If you love Jura whisky, and want to stay literally at the foot of its altar, this particular hotel makes that happen easily.
The Lowlands region of Scotland plays host to the recently revitalized Annandale distillery. Known at one time as the Johnnie Walker distillery, its first single malts are still a few years away from bottling. Tours are going on there already though, so if you’re interested you may want to check out the super-close Distillery Holiday Cottages. These renovated lodging options are located next door to the owner’s horse farm. There’s quite a bit of history and interplay between the distillery and farm, which means you’ll find quite some tales to be told as you stay in the one of two self-contained luxury cottages which were once used as part of the farm’s operations.
Much beloved Ardbeg, like Bowmore, holds a coveted place on Islay. Should you want to stay here, you have but one option for lodging at the distillery – the Seaview Cottage. It is a sweet solo choice, however, as you are literally at the heart of Ardbeg, staying in the former home of the distillery manager turned luxury cottage rental. It sleeps up to six, and like so many others in this list also include a kitchen for you to do your own cooking in.
The eclectic McMenamins brewpub chain in the Pacific Northwest is characterized by the creative reuse of old facilities such as poor farms, farmhouses, and funeral parlors. The flagship of its operations is Edgefield, a 74-acre parcel of adult drinking paradise, complete with on-site brewery, winery, multiple restaurants, movie theater, golf course, and, of course, a distillery producing whiskey and other spirits. After a day spent here consuming all of this, one certainly needs a place to rest their head (and liver), and that’s where Edgefield’s hotel comes into play. This 100+ European-style guestrooms facility screams turn of the century, and it is located a mere 20 minutes from the center of Portland, Oregon.
If Canadian whisky is your thing, you could hardly go wrong with finding your way to the remote part of Nova Scotia, Canada, where the Glenora Inn & Distillery is located. This distillery produces some very well regarded Canadian single malt whisky, and is perhaps best known to whisky history buffs for its famous battle with the Scottish whisky industry over the use of the term “Glen” in the Glen Breton whisky’s naming. Associated with the distillery is a rather attractive country inn which manages a mix of rooms overlooking a flowered courtyard and some self contained log chalets nestled on the nearby mountainside. Included in the mix as well is a restaurant and pub should you get hungry.