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!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Dalhousie Castle Bonnyrigg, Scotland
- Dalhousie Castle Hotel Bonnyrigg
- Castle Dalhousie