The Castle Hotel, originally known as Sandston, was built as a family home for the Dukes of Gordon during the 18th century. Later it was refurbished and extended with stone from the ruins of Huntly Castle in 1769 and renamed Huntly Lodge. The 5th and final Duke of Gordon enlisted Archibald Simpson - the celebrated Aberdeen architect, to help with its design.
The last Duchess of Gordon, Elizabeth Brodie (also known as the Good Duchess)
lived in the house for many years. From census records it is known that as many as 57 person lived and worked in Huntly Lodge. There were companions, cooks, gardeners, laundrywomen, messenger boys and many more. Whole families were employed on the estate.When the Duchess died in 1865 thousands of people crowded on the snow covered lawns of Huntly Lodge in bitter cold weather to pay their last respects.
Huntly Lodge was sold from the main estate in 1924, and was used as a hospital during World War 2. It became the Castel Hotel shortly afterwards.
It has since been owned by several families, most recent the Sutherlands owned it for about thirty years, then the Plumptons from the South of England, and most recently, the Meiklejohn family for the last 15 years.
To this day, the house has a lovely atmosphere, and sometimes it feels as if time has stood still.