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“Good food ruined by terrible service”
2 of 5 bubbles Review of Altnaharra Hotel

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Altnaharra Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Altnaharra
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Good food ruined by terrible service”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 August 2013

I ate at the hotel's restaurant in the evening - the menu, at £32 for 4 courses and coffee, etc. (not including wine) was good value. The food was well-prepared and the chef is making a considerable effort to raise standards. He is, however, let down by appallingly slow, uninformed, and ungracious service. The kitchen is very close to the dining room and since the door was apparently not closed, every bang, clatter, discussion between the waitresses, was audible and intrusive. The wine list comes from Justerini and Brooks but the wines available by the glass are only four and very ordinary. Nobody seems to know much about them. At one point in the meal, having had a glass of white wine before starting, I asked to see the wine list to choose another wine in anticipation of the main course. The wine list was brought, minutes ticked by, and nobody asked me what I might want. I had to find someone to order! A table by mine had the cheese option for dessert. Not unreasonably, they wished to know what the cheeses were. The waitress had no idea and said as much. She came back with an answer but had little idea. Nobody came after dessert to ask about coffee - one table had to ring the bell at reception for service. I gave up and went to pay. If the Hotel wishes to present itself as one with style and charm then it needs to do something about its staff who currently are letting down the chef and left me with a very poor impression. And, finally, on the evening I was there, the gents' lavatory was not clean and unhygienic. Again, unacceptable.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jonathan N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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152 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Midlands, England
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2013

Was going to write a long review but comfort1st's review of August 3rd has really said everything I was going to say and I endorse their comments wholeheartedly. We stayed for four nights at the end of July, the fishing was poor but then the hotel can't control the weather. Blazing sunshine and lochs two feet below normal does not make for good fishing. Walter 's irrepressable good humour made the days enjoyable none the less. With the current owners policies, with manager Becky's organisational skills, and Daniel the chefs first class food, the Altnaharra's troubles of recent years are now well behind it. We have been going to the Altnaharra intermittently since the mid 1990's, through good times and bad and are delighted to see it back on form. We just wish it was a bit nearer.

Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Peregrinakis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
97 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 August 2013

We came for dinner to the hotel restaurant. We used to come a lot - every wedding anniversary, but for the last few years the place has either been closed or devoid of a chef so this is our first visit for a while. It now has new owners and a new manager who has a real feeling for the place; she has managed to catch the right balance between "laid back" and efficient. The staff are very friendly, helpful and unobtrusive. It makes for a very relaxed evening.

The lounge and restaurant have been refurbished recently and are tastefully and sensitively done, but have retained the memorabilia from way back - cases of fishing flies, displays of rods and catches, records and the like - reminding you that this is a sporting hotel after all.

The new chef is super, providing a short menu - a couple of choices for each course - but one that is absolutely first class. The menu changes each evening. We had the duck starter, which was of a size that in some restaurants would have been the main and was cooked and presented perfectly. The mains were superb too - a perfectly cooked fillet steak for me and a wonderful sea bass for my wife. The presentation really is good with imaginative vegetable choices for each main. The fillet was big and with an excellent, light sauce. Sweets good too, and coffee in the lounge afterwards. The wine list is extensive and at usual quality restaurant prices.

A really super experience all round with an attentive, professional staff who knew when to chat and when to leave us alone, and a wonderful meal. In our view the place has regained the quality that it lost about fifteen years ago and the new owners and manager have put the place back where it should be. About time too!

It's worth a visit for dinner, or even a cup of tea while passing through. If you stay for dinner, go for the three course rather than the four. It's under £30 and worth far more. It's not at all expensive for this quality.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ian N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2013 via mobile

I stayed here for 2 nights at the start of August. On arrival we were welcomed by the manager and shown to our room by another member of staff. I have to say she was perhaps not the most confident of employees but she did what she had to - showing us around the Hotel and then to our Delux Room. We stayed in Hope - a lovely room with three windows looking out to the courtyard. My partner was disappointed we didn't have a room with a fire but to be honest it was so warm we had no need.

What makes this hotel a find is the food - for £32 you get 4 courses of some of the best Scottish food I have ever tasted. Venison, beef, halibut, crab, duck and their packed lunches are just something else.

Their knowledge of the local fishing lochs are second to none in the area, and you don't have to be salmon fishing or boat fishing. We had a lovely couple of hours night fishing before our dinner - Free!

We also manged to walk Ben Klibreck - our second most Northerly Munro.

Would I'd return? Yes

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank comfort1st
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2013

Stayed for four nights in June, using the hotel as the base for fishing, walking and general sight-seeing in the Highlands. The hotel was absolutely lovely and instantly felt like a home-from-home, albeit our home is not nearly so well furnished! Apart from all you'd expect from being in the middle of nowhere (stunning views, wild deer on the road etc) two things really stood out: first, total silence and an amazingly comfortable bed for a great night's sleep and second, the restaurant. On the latter, we hadn't planned to eat there every night but our first meal was so stunning that we decided to see if it was a fluke. It wasn't and we ate there all four nights; the chef at this hotel must be one of Scotland's best kept secrets! We fished, walked, and did all of the Highland 'things', but you could very easily just go here for the food and wine alone. Totally superb and will definitely visit again!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank frankiem369
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Skilgate
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 July 2013

I had high hopes about this hotel. It was supposed to be a bit of luxury at the end of a gruelling land end to John o groats trip. Unfortunately some members of staff although friendly let the place down.

It started badly as when I arrived I had to wait about 10 mins pressing a bell repeatedly for reception. I was not shown around or given any info on the hotel. It continued with constantly having to try and find a members of staff for bits and pieces. They seemed to spend most there time in the kitchen or in there office rather than out with their guests. We gave up on coffee the first night as we thought it would take too long. I don't want to moan too much as with effort and a bit of pride in what they're doing it wouldn't take much to turn the place around.

That said the food was very good. i think if the chef knew how his food was being presented he would go nuts! the people there were generally very helpful. The hotel is in a great location.

I hope that they can make the effort as they will ultimately be rewarded.

One more point I always leave what I believe is a generous tip. I could not on this occasion.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Rupertmurray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
scotland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 July 2013

This is not a luxury hotel.Would not use it again.Bedroom was ok but the bedding was more suitable for the middle of winter,not a warm July night and the bathroom was not very clean.The staff were nice but a strange hotel.Not worth £130 a night.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank shirob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Duncan M, Owner at Altnaharra Hotel, responded to this review, 15 July 2013
I generally like to comment on our less than perfect reviews firstly because we are always eager to improve and second, because we definitely don't want dissatisfied customers. For our part, we unashamedly seek to provide a very relaxed atmosphere within the hotel; staff are always on duty, but there is no formal reception etc. and guests will never be badgered. We are primarily a sporting hotel, with many of our guests being fishermen/women staying for a week or more and we set our stall out to make guests feel very much at home. Perhaps this is what this guest has described as 'strange', as it does feel different to many establishments?

Also, if guests have the remotest issue such as the thickness of the bedding (as mentioned), we really wish they would simply mention it. We provide three thicknesses of bed covers depending on the weather and what guests want. It is difficult to second-guess everybody's preferences but we are always happy to be as accommodating as possible and would happily attend to anything of this nature.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Altnaharra Hotel

Property: Altnaharra Hotel
Address: Altnaharra, Altnaharra IV27 4UF, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Caithness and Sutherland > Altnaharra
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Altnaharra
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Originally a drover's inn, and with a history dating back to the late 17th Century, the Altnaharra Hotel has been attracting fishing enthusiasts from far and wide for over 190 years, earning itself a much-deserved reputation as a world class fishing destination.Retaining many of its period features reflecting its long history, the Altnaharra Hotel has been lovingly and meticulously restored to provide a getaway for fishing and shooting enthusiasts, as well as those looking for a relaxing and tranquil retreat.In addition, The Altnaharra offers two beautifully restored self-catering cottages, each with two bedrooms. We can also offer very affordable rooms in our log cabin, exclusively for LEJOG cyclists and Munro Baggers. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Altnaharra Hotel Scotland

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