You Can’t Beat a Scottish Retreat

In its days as a luxury hotel, Rodono House, on the shores of St Mary?s Loch in the heart of the Borders, was famous for its wild society parties, where the rich and famous could let their hair down, well away from prying eyes. On one memorable night in 1934, a group of guests drove a Model T Ford onto the frozen lake and left it there; when the ice melted, the car sank to the bottom of the lake, where it still lies. At the height of the Profumo scandal in the 1960s, Mandy Rice-Davies sought refuge from the news-hounds at Rodono. Now, peaceful again and beautifully restored as an elegant private house, this historic Borders retreat is for sale through Savills (0131?247 3711) at a guide price of more than £950,000.

Rodono House (the name is old Scottish for the rowan tree) was built by John Scott as a shooting lodge in 1866. Sadly, Mr Scott died a year later, and in 1873, his widow sold the estate. It changed hands again when the Earl of Wemyss and March bought the property and leased it for 100 years as an exclusive country-house hotel.

In 1994, the present Earl?s daughter, Lady Elizabeth Benson, sold the hotel into private hands. Today, Rodono, with its fine reception rooms, six bedrooms, cottage, outbuildings, and six acres of wooded grounds on the banks of the loch, is again the ?jewel? John Scott dreamed of when he chose the site in 1855.

This article first appeared in Country Life magazine on March 9, 2006.

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