My husband had said he was going to take me out to a nice restaurant, a pleasant surprise in the first place, and was a little sad when he said it was out of town a ways as that meant he wouldn't be able to have any wine with the meal, but as he pulled up the castle my jaw dropped. When I realised he had booked a room I was absolutely speechless. The building is very impressive on the drive up, the front door huge, and the reception professional and calm. The porter showed us to our room, the Sir Walter Scott on the first floor, up past grand staircases, historical wall decorations, and period furniture. Amazing. And then our room!
Upon entering, the four poster bed dominated the room, the two chairs in front of it lending an air of civilisation, and a beautiful period desk with the requisite wear and tear that age would give it. And the view! Though the window wasn't wide, being a castle with 3ft thick walls, that's forgiveable. And the view! Even though it's only a short drive from the city, I felt like I'd stepped into another world, or time even. A beautiful view of the grounds below.
We explored what areas of the castle we could, and walked a bit about the grounds before going to the library for our pre-dinner drinks. Sad the waiter didn't do cocktails, as a little frilly drink with an umbrella would have really made the scene, and the ale choice was poor, but it was a nice setting. The books weren't too old, mostly 1920-1970, I'd guess. And heavily dominated by business management, not much in the way of literature, poetry, philosophy or other interesting genres. The board games in the corner did catch my eye though.
And dinner. We were led down to the dungeon by our very friendly waiter, sat in a nice quiet corner of the main room under a SUIT OF ARMOR! My husband sampled the wine, and we were served our delightful 5-course meal. He's a vegetarian, but being in Scotland, we were lucky they had anything for him. The musrooms on his main dish were extraordinary. Mine was likewise excellent. I shan't go into the details too much, but exquisite does not begin to describe it. The range of tastes, textures, and look was fantastic.
We didn't do the spa, and just had an early night. I did notice the bathtub had a bit of a stained ring on it. You know how bleach leaves little runs through the dirt? Like that. And our room was really warm. Fortuntely the bed was uber comfy, so kicking off some of the covers and opening the window worked. The TV could use some instructions.
The next morning we got up early and went for a walk around the grounds. I was really happy I had brought sensible shoes, because I'm really glad I didn't miss the walk! We went down to breakfast -- warm sun next to a window, fine service, good food... no complaints there as I sat there slowly enjoying my food with my morning paper.
Afterwards we booked me into the Falconry thing and then went for another walk as my time wasn't until noon. Again, some nice walks around there. Why go to a spa when you can walk all over the countryside? And the Falconry was great. How can you spend the night in a castle without doing the Falconry? Would have loved more time, or perhaps just not sharing the experience with the others, but no matter, it was still good.
All in all, a very satisfying day. I would recommend this to anyone.
- 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