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“Shocking - Nothing like their website portrayed!”
Review of Dalhousie Castle

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Dalhousie Castle
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bonnyrigg
Reviewed 13 September 2013

Where do I start???

What was supposed to be a romantic mid-week break to celebrate my other half's 40th turned into a bloody disaster!

This hotel clearly markets itself as a luxury hotel but it is far from it. I booked this hotel after finding it on a luxury hotel website (crispwhitesheets.com) and then reading the TripAdvisor reviews...which 5 months prior all appeared very good.

When we arrived at 2pm on the Tuesday we were told our room wasn't ready...no problem...I had booked afternoon Champagne Tea so we proceeded to the Orangery. We must have waited 15 minutes before we were even attended to and asked if we'd like a drink. This was the first sign that the hotel was clearly under-staffed! For what it's worth, the Champagne Tea was pretty good for the £20pp price.

After tea (3pm) we went back to reception where we were told our room was finally ready. When we arrived at our room there were piles of dirty lining and rubbish outside the room and the cleaning staff were still frantically rushing around trying to finish the room. So we were asked to go and wait in the library. Once the room was finally ready we went back with our bags only to find the toilet was still dirty from the previous guests...so very off putting!

We headed out to the Fringe festival that evening and watched a cool contemporary dance act before enjoying a fabulous meal at Stac Polly...definitely recommend eating there!

The next morning the lack of staff was again made obvious by the wait we had for someone to take our order for the cooked breakfast. The other items on offer at the buffet weren't all that appealing either.

After enjoying a nice hack and pub lunch in the countryside we returned to the hotel for the 4pm spa treatment I had booked for my gf several weeks before our trip. I had tried to book one for myself at the same time and for the same time as my gf but was told there was no availability, not even an hour either side of 4pm either. Strange as this appeared at the time, it all became quite evident upon our arrival at the spa as to why there were no other slots available...only 1 of the 4 spa personnel were on duty that day...during peak season...when the hotel was virtually full!

The spa itself was pathetic...the sauna wasn't working and you had to stand up on the bench to get a whiff of steam in the steam room. My gf asked for a deep tissue massage but was informed that only a 'relaxation' massage was available which she said was just like having a gentle rub with oils...hardly a massage!

Whilst my gf was having her 'rub' I returned back to our room to have a quick look at my emails. Whilst sitting in my robe I noticed all these small animals walking around the edge of my computer screen and then I felt things walking around my neck. I threw off my robe only to discover loads of small bugs crawling through my robe. When I looked closely, I noticed hundreds of them all over the room...on the walls, on the ceiling, on our clothes...it was disgusting! I ran down to get the GM who came straight to our room. He said they were corn-fly from the nearby corn fields and suggested it was our fault for leaving the window open during the day...not that we were even warned about the flies. So they moved us to another room. Unfortunately, because it was peak season with the Edinburgh festival going on, we had to down-grade to a room which was slanting and had the most annoying bathroom extractor fan which whizzed round for a good 20 minutes after turning off the bathroom light.

That evening we dined at the Dungeon restaurant. We headed to the library for pre-dinner drinks. The poor waiter slipped as he was bringing our drinks to us, ending up with 2 bloody marys all over himself and the floor...our bad luck had obviously rubbed off. After re-making our drinks, the waiter took our order for dinner but he wasn't able to answer some of our questions without phoning the kitchen first...slightly painful. The meal itself was ok but completely over-priced...£15-£18 for a starter and £35-£45 for a main. Fortunately, our meal was included in our romantic mid-week break package otherwise I think I would have walked out when I saw the portion sizes!

The next morning, to our delight, there were 4 members of staff serving breakfast and our cooked breakfast order was taken right away. Fortunate, really, since we couldn't wait to get out of the hotel.

I cannot believe that the regular price for the 4-poster themed rooms is £430/night. The package I mentioned above was 2 nights for the price of one with dinner in the Dungeon one night included.

The only positives I can say about this hotel were it's ancient look and the porter (Peter I think?) who was very helpful and always there if you needed something.

This place clearly needs a change of management and some investment in extra staff!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank theboyyates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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916 - 922 of 1,472 reviews

Reviewed 11 September 2013

We really enjoyed the falconry experience (pricey but absolutely worth it!) and the Dungeon restaurant (excellent food and excellent service), however the hotel itself was a bit disappointing. The room was adequate, but quite small and the mattress was very uncomfortable. It was bright and had big windows which was nice. The breakfast was ok, although the service at breakfast was not nearly as good as the service at the Dungeon restaurant the evening before. Overall, I would consider going again for the falconry and to eat at the restaurant, but I don't think I would stay at the castle overnight again. I thought I would mention that the reception rooms were very nice (there was a wedding on the evening we stayed and another group coming the day we were leaving) and they seemed to do a very nice job. Also, the chapel was lovely and seems like a great spot for a wedding.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank DCDC77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2013

We stayed 2 nights for a wedding in room 25. Our room was very spacious with a separate seating area and two big windows. Bathroom was completely renovated, nice and modern with tub/shower. Reception staff was efficient. Maid staff were very attentive, we did not require service but they left us new towels and waters.

Internet in the room was patchy and we had to stand under the router by the entry door to be able to connect which was inconvenient.

The spa was small but super modern and nice. Service was excellent – they accommodated me on short notice for a quick manicure/pedicure with Megan who was very good and friendly.
We enjoyed relaxing times at the library with the friendly service of Ross. We also took the castle tour with Andrew, who was absolutely charming and entertaining.

Breakfast at the Orangerie was good. The restaurant setting is very nice, with glass windows overlooking the greenery. They had a selection of buffet items – fresh fruits, yogurts, cereals, cold cuts, and warm items available to order. We tried eggs which were very fresh; we also tried the porridge but we did not find it very tasty (more like packaged taste). Service was good.

We had lunch there once and we really enjoyed it – food was excellent, although service was slow (but friendly). We tried the pumpkin soup, the halibut and the steak sandwich – all fresh and delicious.

We had dinner at the Dungeon once – carrot and cumin soup, haggis, chicken with potatoes and strawberry tart – all good.

The hotel could arrange for taxi if needed which was very efficient and with friendly service. The fare to Edinburgh train station was at a reasonable fixed price of £18.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Vero_PK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

My husband and I were recently on our honeymoon in Scotland. We thought the most romantic thing we could do while in Scotland would be to stay in a castle. I did some research and found Dalhousie Castle-the website looked beautiful! My husband had already booked our room before I read the TripAdvisor reviews so I tried to stay positive and keep an open-mind, hoping that we would not run into any issues that other reviewers had mentioned. Unfortunately, we hit the first bump upon check-in when the front desk staff had two different bookings for us, for 1 night and 2 nights but we had actually booked a 3 nights stay. They accommodated us with 3 nights but we were brought down to the basement to a bare bones room with a view of a fire escape. The porter who had escorted us to the room was extremely helpful in assisting us with acquiring a room in the castle as we had originally booked, it being our honeymoon and all. They ended up moving us to a much nicer room but seemed a bit annoyed at having to make the changes for us despite us having email confirmation of our booking. The room was quite spacious and definitely had the feel of being in a castle. It had a nice view of the large grassy area adjacent to the falconry. The bed was king-sized but not very comfortable at all. The bathroom was updated and the tub/shower had excellent water pressure. They gave a small supply of soap & shampoo but it was never replenished during our stay. The bed was always made up but sometimes appeared very sloppy as though they just threw the covers up. We were told the room was one of the more recently renovated and did not notice any of the "wear & tear" other reviewers had mentioned. Although, the downstairs room we originally saw was in pretty bad shape. Just as a side note, if you do plan to stay here, the dungeon restaurant is worth the experience but only once. You begin your evening with drinks in the library where a person comes to take your order. However, this person has absolutely no knowledge of the food on the menu so do not plan on asking any questions. We encountered the same thing downstairs, which was somewhat explained by a recent menu change. The food was delicious and of the same quality as many high-end restaurants we have visited in NYC. Though for the cost of the meal, the service did not match up. I highly recommend the falconry experience. We had never done anything like this before & we had such a great time. We did the "Ultimate Experience" where we got to fly 5 different birds of varying size. It was a costly experience but we thought it was worth it! Lastly, I did not find the "spa" to be anything special. It was very basic and the services were average. Everything looked much better in the photos on the website. I would have had no complaints if the hotel charged a more reasonable rate but at £250/night, I expected service comparable to a luxury hotel. Staying in a castle is an experience I will always cherish but if I had to plan our trip all over again, I would have booked 1 or 2 nights maximum.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jamie_Holland405
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

My husband, 11 yr. old son & I traveled to London, Edinburgh & Paris for a whirlwind 12 day European vacation. We stayed at Dalhousie when we went visited Edinburgh. We could have stayed closer to the city but thought it would be great fun for our son to stay in a castle. And it was. He loved looking at the swords and armor in the Dungeon Restaurant. The grounds were very well maintained. The falconry was spectacular. It was very relaxing and a beautifully appointed room. We wished we could have stayed longer.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Mary Queen of Scots suite. There is an adjoining room with a pull out sofa for our...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank ChiTownVeronica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

Stayed at the Dalhousie castle for 5 nights. This is an experience in itself. The castle is beautiful, rooms are very spacious. The rooms are very well equipped with all modern facilities. Staff was very helpful. We had our 10 month old infant with us, so we needed a few extra services and the staff was always ready to help. The Dalhousie castle is a must visit during your Scotland trip.
One small suggestion would be to add Wi Fi at the Dower House cause walking up everytime to the main castle for internet can be a task.
Bonnyrigg is just a 5 minute drive away and you can find a lot of convenience stores, take out restaurants, etc which is again very convenient.

Room Tip: If you stay at the Dower House choose the Ground Floor rooms as you get a large conservatory all to...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Chirag80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2013

We discovered this castle by accident and were very pleasantly surprised by its great Scottish baronial character and interior decor. There was a falconry exhibition going on outside, which also impressed us. We had lunch in the orangerie, which was nicely decorated although some of the upholstery seemed a little past its best. Unfortunately this appeared to be some way from the kitchen and was a little short staffed. Our Cullen Skink soup was not authentic, although that's not unusual. I had a simple steamed fish dish, which was pleasant, but my husband ordered the pie of the day which arrived in three small airline-style serving dishes placed on a wooden board, which made it look cheap and was impossible to eat from without ordering a plate. (Hotels take note, people don't generally like this, please serve meals on proper plates) The pie was also very greasy and disappointing. Overall though it was fine for an un-booked Monday lunch. The hotel has great potential as a venue for romantic weekend breaks or as a small wedding venue.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank GBTraveller1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dalhousie Castle

Address: Dalhousie Castle grounds, Bonnyrigg EH19 3JB, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Midlothian > Bonnyrigg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bonnyrigg
Price Range: £83 - £236 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dalhousie Castle 4*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa is a magnificent 13th century fortress set within acres of wooded parkland on the picturesque banks of the River Esk. From the moment you arrive at Dalhousie Castle a warm Scottish welcome awaits. Whether relaxing in the the Spa, gathering in the library next to the open fire, dining in the vaulted 2 Rosette winning dungeon restaurant, or retiring to your chambers, you will always feel as welcome as the 'Laird'. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dalhousie Castle Bonnyrigg, Scotland
Dalhousie Castle Hotel Bonnyrigg
Castle Dalhousie

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