What qualifies Balnakeil to make grand claims about it's splendour is this. It's a stunning A' listed nine bedroom Highland lodge. Each room enjoys spectacular sea or mountain views and you can step out the back door on to a mile and a half long white sandy beach. And it is a house that was, in all truth, built for enjoyment and entertainment.
Balnakeil's magnificent location is a pretty one mile walk from Durness, in Sutherland, along a rugged coastline with rocky inlets, deep coves and spectacular beaches of silver sand.
The original house was built in 1642 by the Mackay chieftains as a family mansion on the site of what was a summer palace for the medieval Bishops of Caithness.
The first occupant of the then rebuilt mansion, Donald, son of the third Lord Reay was, according to poet Rob Donn, "the apex of society and entertainment, of the men of poetry and of music". And in 1740, the minister in the nearby manse, the Rev Murdo Macdonald, wrote in his diary that he couldn't concentrate on composing his Sunday sermons for all the merrymaking going on at the house on Saturday evenings!
Today Balnakeil prides itself on continuing its finest traditions of playing host to those who wish to combine fun and relaxation in equal measure.
Timeless, high quality decor is a feature throughout and a house that sleeps 17 needs to have the space to entertain in style (and hold a ceilidh) which Balnakeil can do with ease.
The kitchen/dining/ living area includes table to seat 16/17 and features an AGA and stove. A large games room with table football and air hockey, board games, books, DVDs, stove, a comfy sofa and a flatscreen 3D smart TV will keep the young at heart entertained, whilst those looking to take things easier can rest in the sumptuous drawing room upstairs, with a view over the beach, before joining the others for dinner in the dining room.
Sue Bourne, manager of Cottages & Castles, said: "Properties are booking up fast for Christmas and New Year but we still have some gems like Balnekeil available. This gorgeous property is a truly peaceful location amidst an awe-inspiring landscape. It's an ideal place to bring in 2013 in true Scottish style and will be sure to provide wonderful memories."
Price for a stay at Balnakeil in Durness for 7 nights for 17 people over New Year is 3950.