The age-old tradition of hunting lodges has gotten pretty, well, old. The image of a sprawling estate where men decked out in tweed coats and flat caps chase game across rolling green hills has more than an air of antiquation to it. But in the heart of the Scottish Highlands (a classic hunting ground if there ever was one) there’s new life being breathed into a 120-year-old Victorian estate where contemporary trumps tradition—and hunting is no longer the only thing to do.
Following a multimillion-dollar renovation to the historic private estate, the new Tulchan Club is more country getaway than hunter’s hideout, with bucolic grounds filled with verdant glens and moorlands and a collection of luxurious amenities inside. The property takes an old formula—that of a manly country retreat—and ups the ante with an exclusive membership model that allows a total of just 25 members access to the estate. That might just make it the hardest club on the planet to get into (save for, perhaps, the illuminati). Even more appropriate for the 21st century is the de-emphasis on hunting (a pastime we’ll admit is pretty contentious). Guests can actually hunt pheasant and roe deer, and salmon fishing (as well as hiking) in the nearby Cairngorms National Park is a major attraction, but so is conservation: Preserving the local moorland and forests—and its inhabitants—is a big focus here.
What that leaves us with is an old hunting estate that’s anything but an old hunting estate. The manse has been updated with new interiors and technology, including a cinema, a drawing room furnished with an antique Blünther piano, a wine cellar and a library outfitter with a bar and large fireplace. There’s also an on-site spa, as well as the Tulchan Estate Farm, which supplies the property’s restaurant with everything from home-bred Wagyu beef and free-range eggs to freshly picked herbs and vegetables that go straight from the soil to the kitchen.
To gain access to it all, however, requires one of the coveted memberships to Tulchan Club—and they start at about £95,500 per year. Once you’ve got that, the estate is all yours, along with 27 of your closest friends.