Gullane, Scotland

Photo: Flickr user: pascal https://www.flickr.com/photos/pascal-blachier/ [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D
You’ve been chasing dinner reservations for years. Trips to Copenhagen, Lima, Mexico City, and San Sebastián have been planned around a single restaurant. Lately, you’ve been taking a different approach. You’re still following award-winning chefs. It’s not to the restaurants that made them famous, though. Now you’re booking weekends at their hotels. Each one has a delicious restaurant, of course.

This concept started in earnest with Alain Ducasse, who opened a hotel in Provence in the 1990s. Nobu Matsuhisa, Alex Atala, and Massimo Bottura followed suit. It’s now a worldwide trend.

Your sights are currently set on East Lothian just outside of Edinburgh. The area on the east coast of Scotland is known for its scenic golf courses, rolling hills, and pretty villages. One of those villages, Gullane, attracts nature lovers with its bird sanctuary, location along the John Muir Way, and golden-sand beach. No wonder it’s become popular with commuters.

Photo: The Bonnie Badger

Tom and Michaela Kitchin have been traveling between Edinburgh and Gullane a lot lately. You know Tom as the award-winning chef of the Kitchin, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the capital. He was only 29—the youngest Michelin winner ever—when he received his first star. Accolades kept coming. Just over a year ago, the couple added the Bonnie Badger to their impressive portfolio.

The Bonnie Badger has been an inn for years. After its main house was built in 1836, it was a coaching and golf inn in the centuries that followed. In 2018, the Kitchins gut-renovated the property. They ripped out walls and turned the old horse stable into a fine-dining restaurant. They kept sandstone walls, wooden beams, and brick fireplaces. They created 13 bedrooms and designed each one individually. They added Scottish-made products whenever possible. While they maintained the friendly, local vibe with its casual bar and year-round garden.

So you’re heading to the Bonnie Badger for a cozy weekend. You’ll sip champagne and eat homemade cake in the Garden Room when you arrive. You’ll settle into your room in the Honeysuckle cottage. You’ll walk to Gullane Bents, the famous windswept beach, when the sun peeks out. You’ll return to the garden for a Bonnie Beastie cocktail by the log fireplace. You’ll eat Loch Fyne oysters, pumpkin soup, Borders pheasant, and a rhubarb crumble soufflé in the Stables. You’ll cap off the night with a wee dram in the Broc Bar. Then you’ll feast on eggs, bacon, and sausage from nearby East Fortune Farm in the morning. A whole weekend is so much better than a single night.

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