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“I Wish They Were All Like This !”

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Ardtara Country House
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Upperlands
Certificate of Excellence
Derry, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“I Wish They Were All Like This !”
Reviewed 22 May 2014

I took my extended family to The Ardtara Country House, for a special occasion on 17th May.
Having been here before about 10 years ago I was delighted to be back.
Just as I remembered, it has all the charm and character that is expected of Country House.
We were treated to drinks in the lounge whilst our meals were prepared and after a short while were lead to the dining room, with a beautiful open fire. We were the only diners in the room for the duration of our meal. We had various combinations of starters & mains, with soup, duck, beef, salmon and steak all of which were excellent and finished off with deserts and tea with chocolates.
The service by Leah was first class, without being intrusive, she was on-hand at all times in case we needed anything. We sat for a while after the meal as there was no rush to get us out and we even had the option of returning to the lounge, if we had wanted to stay longer.
It felt like we had been invited to dinner in their house.
I would recommend The Ardtara Country House to anyone who wishes to experience something a little different and special. There are loads of hotels & restaurants that provide great food and good service, but very few that can do it in this setting in a 19th Century house.
I was most impressed and would recommend it to anyone who wishes to be well looked after and not just another customer.

Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Shane D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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292 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (55)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 May 2014 via mobile

I recently visited Ardtara House with my girlfriend's family for a special occasion and we were looking to have a lovely 3 course meal. I must say the location is superb with fantastic gardens surrounding the house. The house itself could do with a coat of white or cream paint but it was full of charm but I did notice a lot of cob webs in the door way on the way in. Whether intended by the owners or not to add to the charm, I don't know! A polite front of house colleague directed us in to a nice room where we ordered drinks while we waited to be seated in our room. Unfortunately the beer four of us had was completely flat and somewhat set the tone for what was to follow...
We were seated at our table and one of my friends spilt her wine by accident due to the tables that were put together being uneven. We ordered wine off the extensive wine list and it was great I have to say. Starters were a mixed bag, some of the portion sizes were minimal to say the least but tasted quite nice. But unfortunately the main course was an unmitigated disaster! Those who ordered duck, well it tasted pretty awful and the potatoes were definitely off. Two duck servings were returned to the kitchen, one of which was wrongly cooked and the other whose potatoes were rancid! We were told at that stage that there was no duck left, then miraculously two freshly cooked duck breasts returned from the kitchen! Those who ordered the chicken breast said it tasted very bland and was quite cold. However, the steak eaters amongst the group fared the best and the rib eyes did taste pretty nice. However, they obviously forgot to cook mine as my main course came along 15 minutes after everyone elses which quite simply is not good enough! Steak knives also took their time to arrive and had my fellow diners followed usual dining ettiquette and waited for me, everyone's meal would have been stone cold! We ordered vegetables to accompany our main courses but were simply told 'we have none' - unbelievable! Our main courses left such a bad taste in our mouths that we simply didn't want to find out what horrors awaited with dessert. We let our feelings be made known to the female waitress taking charge for the night and she was extremely apolgetic. She offered us all a drink on the house which really was the very least that could have been offered to us. I must say that the service was really good and the waiters and waitresses are playing their part. We all felt quite embarassed for the issues they had to deal with. Unfortunately the chef and his team in the kitchen are not doing theirs...I know this country house is up for sale and I hate seeing any hotel going out of business. However, if the owners don't do something quickly to fix things it is surely doomed. The most dissappointing thing is that Ardtara House has such fantastic potential - the owners just need to fix alot of things and fast!

Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Steven L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maebeth M, Guest Relations Manager at Ardtara Country House, responded to this review, 24 May 2014
We regret that your meals were not up to your expectations.
In acknowledgement of this (on a very busy Saturday evening),
we offered complimentary drinks for your entire party and no
charge for your private room.
If you wish to return (and we hope you do) we believe that you
will be as pleased as the other 40 diners were on that particular
day. Sincerely, the Ardtara Management Team.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 May 2014

Perfect location for exploring Northern Ireland (eg Causeway Trail, Antrim coast, Derry). Good points: charming (if slightly amateur) staff, good food with a relaxed "country house" vibe. It is a lovely building and location with antiques and good facilities. Less good points: It is getting tired - cracked windows, peeling paint and so on. But 4 stars for the lovely people and location. I would go back.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JKH325
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2014

I see the other reviews on the website and to be honest only for the pictures of the house I thought I had stayed in a different house! Not sure when these pictures were taken but they no longer reflect the nature of this house. Four of us decided to stay at Ardtara house knowing it was a bit expensive. The rooms we got are dark, jaded and faded and needed to be completely striped and everything replaced. They could also get rid of the very large cobweb running from one curtain to another and send the cleaner to Spec savers. We just dumped the bags and off for the rest of the day. We had dinner that evening and yes the food is fine and what you expect. The shower's and TV's in both rooms did not work and when we were leaving the next day the Manager?? said that we should have told a member of staff about the Tv. When we explained it was at 12.20 am when we discovered it she just continued to say we should have contacted the staff. She did not comment on the shower's not working. The whole package is an overpriced Bed and Breakfast and to be fair I don't mean to insult the Bed & Breakfast industry. If I had may way this house would be stripped of any awards it has got in recent years. They most have got the awards from the pictures on the Web site. In this day and age if you are prepared to pay the high price you expect the high service and luxury. Keep away.

Room Tip: Look at other Country houses.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Tom M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Coleraine
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2014

The snow was on the ground and we nearly postponed, but husband reckoned we could make it, so,off we set to Ardtara for the 1st time. Having parked the car we entered the warm and welcoming hall (complete with grand piano) where the friendly receptionist explained that because of the bad weather there had been a few cancellations and therefore between that and it being midweek we were the only guests-they don't know what they missed!! She then accompanied us to our room and when the door opened we were immediately impressed with the décor and furnishings (very much in keeping with the age of the house) the lovely fireplace and best of all the lovely welcoming fire (which was really nice when we looked out on the lawn covered in snow). The bed had spotless white bed linen and the bathroom (complete with slipper bath and separate shower cubicle) had lots of fluffy towels. Also good plumbing - really hot water! We had booked dinner for 7pm and were treated to a table laid in the small cosy room which is normally used as the bar instead of the cavernous dining room. As to our meal - where to start? A menu any 5star restaurant would be very proud of - 3 types of freshly baked bread and homemade flavoured oils were produced while we chose our meal -all starters main courses and desserts were unusual and delicious - can honestly say the best meal we have ever had the pleasure of eating!! After a great nights sleep in the very comfortable bed we made it down to our 'private' dining room to have breakfast. Bowls of cereal, jugs of fresh juice and yoghurt awaited us to choose from and another wonderful menu of breakfast choices to peruse! Theo (the very friendly, knowledgeable chef) was a mine of information and although husband is a toast and tea only breakfast man I can be persuaded to have something cooked! It wasn't easy but I finally decided on a scotch pancake (the size of a dinner plate but light as a feather) with fresh berry compote and Chantilly cream - I know what you're thinking - gorgous!!! Finally, we can only recommend Ardtara House as a wonderful experience from beginning to end - very friendly staff - thanks Valerie, Theo et al - warm, clean, comfortable with helpful, friendly staff. - What are you waiting for- get booking!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kathleen J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Larne, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2014 via mobile

Better late than never we meet friends for dinner pre Christmas the meal was fantastic our waitress was FAB will be back soon.
The only downside was the pre dinner drinks Sorry no draft beer available for my friend who had the benefit of me as the non drinking driver in the party.
Three courses of the best food I had eaten in a while whilst writing this review I have decided to book for Easter as a treat and we will take a room this time save the drive home to larne

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Paul M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2014

Just spent our first night at Ardtara. A fantastic experience. Just one night to relax, unwind and recharge.

We had a fantastic welcome from Nicola who showed us up to room 2. Garden view; 4 Windows; canopied bed; chaise longue; occasional chairs; great bathroom and living flame gas fire that Nicola lit for us. Spotlessly clean. Complimentary toiletries excellent and abundant

Evening meal was superb and breakfast one of the best we have enjoyed. Go for the food if nothing else. Fabulous.

Valerie very welcoming and her staff could not have done more to ensure our stay was just what we needed. To leave stresses behind and to just have a great night away. We so did!

Would recommend you try it.

Thank you Ardtara. Revitalised!

Room Tip: Garden view room.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JRogers55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ardtara Country House

Property: Ardtara Country House
Address: 8 Gorteade Road, Upperlands BT46 5SA, Northern Ireland
Region: United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > County Londonderry > Upperlands
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Upperlands
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Ardtara Country House 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
“Most Romantic Country House Of The Year” (AA Award). Ardtara is an elegantly restored 19th-century manor house, situated between Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway Coast. Once home to the Clark family, world-famous linen makers, Ardtara is now widely regarded as one of the finest country house hotels in Northern Ireland. The nine bedrooms are spacious with high ceilings, modern en-suite bathrooms, deluxe king-size beds, charming antiques and original grand (working) fireplaces. All set in the privacy and tranquility of eight wooded acres. Ardtara has also been selected as a “Fodor’s Choice” hotel, has Four Stars from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and is a member of the Ireland’s prestigious Blue Book hotel guide. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ardtara Country House Hotel Upperlands
Ardtara Hotel Derry
Ardtara Country House Upperlands, Northern Ireland

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