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“Requires better food and trained staff”
Review of Dalhousie Castle

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Dalhousie Castle
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bonnyrigg
Baden-Baden, Germany
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Requires better food and trained staff”
Reviewed 1 October 2013

I think there is quite a lot of small things this castle hotel could work on, which if attended to would make it wildly successful. There is a new owner, we heard, who is making changes so hopefully it's only a matter of time before the below us addressed. The staff was generally very nice but not particularly attentive. Probably more due to lack of training and knowledge than anything else. The rooms were nice but slight run down, Wallpaper in bath had holes in it, a light didn't work. No one checked to see if we were well settled or had any questions. You typically wouldn't expect that from a large city hotel but from a small castle hotel with not that much to do, you should. Especially since they say they are five stars. You never really get over the feeling they are trying to charge you for everything but without the commiserate level of service to warrant it. For example, "would you like a paper delivered to your room?" If you say yes, then they'll charge you for the trouble. At the prices they are charging for a room, inexcusable. This might all have been overlooked, but the dining experience was really awful. I actually couldn't even eat the main course in the Dungeon restaurant (which by the way is really cool!). The continental breakfast also looked like they grabbed as many pre-packaged groceries they could and put it on the table. There was some nice fresh fruit. However, for a spa hotel- there was no healthy, spa menuto speak of. Also food was expensive - especially in light of really fantastic restaurant food we had enjoyed in Edinburgh from top rated restaurants. At half the price! Also my husband is gluten free and there was little he could eat on the lunch menu. He ate a hamburger without the roll, but again you would expect a few nice salads on the menu.

Spa was nice and service friendly. The masseuses were very nice but not sure if they understood pressure points or the rationale behind the massage techniques. Again with a little training a good experience could have been great and worth the expense.

Lastly, since there is nothing to do, there could be more information on walks in the area - the one on the grounds takes about a half hour. We actually found another one by accident which was quite nice. In addition to archery and falconry, there could be croquet or other lawn and board games. Some books to read instead of decorate the library would also be nice.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank Jensfoodreviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Oakville, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 September 2013

We wanted a Castle Hotel experience while in Scotland and picked Dalhousie in Bonnyrigg after reading the Trip Advisor reviews on-line and viewing the pictures. We took a bus from Central Edinburgh to the last stop in Bonnyrigg; After asking a gentleman who got off at the same stop and because there were no suggestions on-line re the distance between Bonnyrigg and the hotel, we decided to try to walk to the hotel. The distance and lack of sidewalk for a good part of the walk is not advisable from our experience. Take a cab from Bonnyrigg for sure if you're taking the bus from Edinburgh. Dalhousie Castle itself is fine - not luxurious, but its a Castle afterall. Our room was clean and tidy and had all the amenities that one would need while travelling. But, the Service at Dalhousie leaves ALOT to be desired....especially in the Library/Bar Room. They should definitely step up their level of service which would make the Dalhousie experience more pleasurable...especially in the Library/Bar area and at Reception. . Also, we were locked out of our room the morning of our departure and it took ages before somebody finally came up to look at it. Then when they couldn't open the door, they had to get the Manager. Luckily for us, she was able to get in through an old service stairway which went up to our room, but she gave us no apology and didn't even offer to compensate us in anyway for 'their' problem. It had been suggested by the first person who looked at it, that they'd had a previously problem with this lock, but obviously had done nothing about it. The grounds were beautiful and the different walks they suggested on a map, were good...even though we were there only one night, so could not do all three walks. The Dungeon Diningroom was a fun experience and the food served was okay, but not worth the price they charge. The Orangery Diningroom for Breakfast/Lunch is excellent and the Servers very personable. We enjoyed our Dalhousie Castle Hotel experience, but were glad we'd only booked for one night.

Room Tip: We were in the Cromwell Room because we needed a room for 'three'. I would choose a Themed...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank disco_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 September 2013

We had a party of 5 stay in 3 rooms for 3 nights. Our mother has wanted for years to stay in a haunted Scottish castle and has now realized her dream. The castle is beautiful, as are the grounds. Yes, the rooms and renovated areas are dated, probably 40 years old, but still very well kept. The bathroom fixtures appear to be newer, though. I imagine if the rooms and common areas were recently renovated, you could expect to spend at least triple what we paid, which was 150 pounds per room, per night, for a double room, a triple room, and my basic 4-poster queen bedroom. All our rooms were clean and well kept. I found my room to be very quiet and the bed to be very comfortable. The bathrooms were nice, with plush towels and, perhaps most importantly, a shower with great water pressure and no shortage of hot water.

Our service was quite good overall, from hauling our bags up to the rooms and bringing them down again, to the service at the included breakfasts and in the restaurants. Outside of breakfast, we dined once for lunch/tea in the Orangery, where breakfast is served. It also has a very nice view of the grounds. We also dined once in the dungeon for dinner. There did not seem to be any issues with any of our requests from the front desk staff or while dining.

We also had a great falconry experience on our first day at the grounds outside as well. Really, a very good time at a very splendid and well preserved castle that is 500-700 years old.

The main negative was that we could not obtain one lower level room for our 80-year old mother, requiring her to walk up and down 84 stairs each trip. Also, the entrees at the Dungeon restaurant was not to our preference and the prices were rather high for the quantity and quality of food served.

Overall, I'd have given it 4-stars otherwise, but as with most people who visit, we came because it was a castle. Best of all, mom awoke in the night to the ghost saying "Hello" to her, though heard or saw nothing else. The other issues were minor enough to be overlooked in our case, as we seemed to have had better luck than some other recent reviewers. Granted, it is somewhat past peak season, though we were told the castle was still full. Overall, a lovely stay, except for having mom manage so many stairs. Had I known a lower level room wasn't available, we'd have probably just stayed for one or two nights instead.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank darrenq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 September 2013

We arrived at the hotel around 6:30 in the evening. The person that checked us in and took us to our rooms suggested that it was a little late to use the spa. He said we could use it the following morning as he said it opened at 8:00 am. Well, I should have looked into this and not trusted him. It turns out the spa was open until 8:00 pm - that would have been enough time to have used the facilities in the evening. The bad part was that it didn't open at 8:00 as he said, rather, it opened at 10:00 am. Therefore we didn't use that part of the facilities. When we arrived for breakfast, none of the waiters offered to give us coffee or take our order. The continental breakfast buffet only had a couple of pieces of cheese and 1 piece of fruit left - very pathetic. We were very disappointed. I don't know that I would recommend this hotel to my friends/family. Kind of sad about that as I really looked forward to staying there.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank torontoguyabroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mangatawhiri
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2013

We enjoyed our stay in the castle once we got through the check in process. I was not impressed with the guy on reception who totally blanked me and only spoke to my husband....I must mention that he was not scottish ( all the scottish people we have met have been very friendly).

Our room was lovely and big. As was the bed...it was huge! But creaky...being an old castle, lots of things creaked.

Dinner in the dungeon was very nice. The complimentary pre-starters and pre-desserts a nice touch. Price did not matter as we had a package deal. Breakfast was also included and lovely with good service. The waitresses were professional and friendly.

Peter the night porter was great, givign us an after hours tour of the castle. A bit spooky at times but worth staying up for...thanks Pete!

An all round good stay

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MrsSchu103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
Level 5 Contributor
23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 September 2013

I went to Scotland in September with 4 friends, we stayed in this hotel for 1 night. As no lift, their staff helped us to pick up all luggages to and from lobby. Even an extra bed was placed in the room, the space is good enough for 3 people. We had had a excellent afternoon tea on the first day, and a delicious traditional english breakfast in the following morning. All staffs are friendly and helpful.

It is a perfect hotel for lovers or couples who want to spent a romantic time at a special place.

Room Tip: 1/F or above
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Christine W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 September 2013

My husband and I did not have a reservation, but instead as we were driving to Edinburgh and thought we would check for a vacancy. Lucky we did. We spent our first night in a four poster room(#40) that was fantastic on a pretty good deal (now that we have seen what the normal going rate is). Great bed, great mattress, nice bathroom, overall very beautiful. We booked the dinner package in the dungeon and enjoyed a pretty good meal (although I would agree with earlier posts it seemed pricey for what it was, but as it was in our deal it didn't worry me). We did also have starting drinks in the library which is a nice setting but could use some music or something so you don't just hear the other guests talking. We also tried the spa on the first night and loved he foot bath, we had been walking heaps on this holiday.

Because we enjoyed our first night so much we decided to check for vacancy two more nights and moved to room #16 (40 wasn't available). 16 was not awesome. The bed was very uncomfortable, we had a yippy dog next door, the razor outlet in the bathroom didn't work, and even the wifi was totally hit and miss around the room, and the price was pretty close to our first night in the great room. So on the morning of night #3, I called down and asked to move out to the lodge if rooms were available. It was so we moved again. Best idea ever! Room 36 was great, bed was good again, we had this nice private observatory and a lovely courtyard view. We even had a semi private dry sauna and jacuzzi tub just for lodge guests and the lodge was half the price of the castle. No wifi in the lodge but the room and price were right so it didn't bother me.

We were happy with breakfast options and enjoyed exploring the castle hotel grounds.

Room Tip: 40 or 36. Not 16
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank smitha135
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dalhousie Castle

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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