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“The Horror Hotel”
Review of Macdonald Hotels

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Macdonald Hotels
Ranked #18 of 65 Hotels in Aberdeen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 January 2009

On arrival at the hotel via a very tight turn and narrow road and checking into reception we found that we had been allocated an upstairs room despite having asked for a ground floor room due to my partners mobility problems. We were then told the room was just down the corridor. They failed to mention the corridor was very lengthy and our room was at the far end of it.

For the price we were paying £115 per night the room was small, the window was defective (you could not shut it as the latches were broken so it had to remain open all the time. The room was warm enough or so we thought at the time. The heat was all coming from the bathroom radiator which was stuck on full heat the control being defective. The walls were paper thin so every time somebody opened the sliding door wardrobe in the next room you could hear it. The extremely loud fan in the bathroom activated every time you switched on the light.

Breakfasts: A traditional scottish cooked breakfast consists of One egg, one piece of smoked bacon,one organic sausage (from east anglia) and a piece of black pudding. All that was
edible on the plate was the egg. The coffee was excellent. The toast was warm when it arrived but cooled instantly as it was thin crusty bread.

Room service: We ordered room service for some sandwiches at 8pm and they arrived at 9pm and they were inedible there was only half of the filling(no marie rose sauce in the prawn
marie rose and no pickle in the cheese and pickle, the salad dressing had seeped into the bread making them soggy and inedible)

The waiters and waitresess were very polite and friendly as were some of the reception staff.

What was extremely worrying was a foreign shooting party in the foyer who were "playing" with their weapons. As exforces I know very well that guns are not toys and they certainly should not be anywhere near members of the general public unsupervised. One of them actually bumped my partners head with the barrell of their weapon.

I would not recommed this hotel to anyone and it certainly does not live up to its 4 star rating. Its dark and dingy and in much need of a makeover.

Stayed: January 2009
Thank shalako42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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640 - 646 of 676 reviews

Reviewed 17 December 2008

Our wedding - Friday 5th December 2008
We just got married in Aberdeen and had our wedding reception at the Norwood Hall Hotel. We just wanted to say what a fantastic service we received, 130 guests joined as in our celebration booking out the hotel completely for 2 nights, so at times it felt like the hotel was our home for the weekend!
I have to say I was a little worried about the service beforehand as I had read a few reports on trip advisor that were not so good, however we experienced friendly and top class service all throughout our stay. The reception staff checked in our guests (80 arriving from Ireland at the same time) with smiles, cups of tea and bacon sandwiches, which went down a treat. All our guests commented on the wedding meal on how good it was, as the Bride I can say that the whole meal was delicious and dietary requirements were all catered for.
Norwood Hall is a perfect wedding venue especially for a winter wedding.

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Thank Curley09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2008

Having agreed to attend a lunch function at the hotel I can honestly say that I will never return to eat there, and nor will my two guests.

Despite pre-advisement on two occasions that there were special dietary requirments (vegetarian) the hotel failed to cater for two of the three who pre-order this option, and the one plate of food that was delivered to the table was utterly appalling. The pasta was overcooked, the sauce(!) glutenous and overall totally unappetising.

When the further two people were fed the offering was utterly unacceptable for an establishment that claims to be dedicated to providing first class food using the finest ingredients - it looked like store cupboard leftovers.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled on business
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Thank Bonny_Blue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 December 2008

I have to agree with previous reviews that it is a bit dark inside when you arrive at reception, and the bar and breakfast room could do with sprucing up a tad, but it is a traditional old gaff, and let's face it, as long as I get a quiet, comfy room, hot shower and a hearty breakfast, I am a happy camper. And I did. I can't vouch for weddings though, as I was only there for one day/night on business. I thought some of the (male) staff could be happier, but they were mostly quite efficient.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled on business
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Thank MitchamboyManty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2008

This was recommended for a brief stay. The external appearance of the main hotel from the front is certainly impressive. However if you walk to the side or rear it is structurally in poor shape. Arriving at night, while well lit externally internally it is oppressively dark. This continues in daylight. Every area is dull at best and the restaurant is so dull you can hardly see the person sitting opposite far less what you are eating.

The reception is confused at best. I was handed the key to a room where there was already someone in the room! I was allocated to the annexe which is "cheaper (in a relative sense as my discounted rate as still 145GBP per night)" but the standard of these rooms is very poor given the rate charged. I cannot imagine what the top line rate is but I would walk away if it was any higher.

I have stayed in a lot of hotels across the world but I have never burst into a room where another guest is sitting looking very surprised! I fetched the desk clerk to come and apologise but he seemed rather less than impressed that it was his fault! As the two guests we agreed to solve his rather simple problem by swapping rooms. Of course this meant the guest got my bill the following day. When I dumped my case I found that the doors only lock from the inside, therefore resembling bathroom locks. This is very odd indeed and of course I was portrayed as strange as I had expected the door to lock with the room key from the outside.

I am not tall but this is the first hotel where I could touch the annexe corridor ceiling without even going on tip toe. Anyone in the 6' 5" range would need to bend over in the corridors of the annexe upstairs. The corridor got colder and colder the further you stray from the reception. This is very unwelcoming. The bed was rock hard as was the pillow. The latter was so hard it gave me a stiff neck and I slept very poorly. The room lamp had a bulb missing. The small digital TV was too far away, badly placed to the side and not fitting for such an expensive room. As has been pointed out elsewhere the walls in the annexe rooms are way too thin. While I wasn't exposed to coupling in the next room that other guests had to tolerate I was treated to some very loud snoring. This is not the guests fault of course it's just shoddy and cheap construction of an annexe.

The food in the restaurant was very average and as elsewhere not cheap. I had a mushroom rissotto which was wet and not good value at 15GBP. The dullness of the room is really tedious. You really think it is so dull they are either saving electricity by using cheap bulbs or hiding shoddy decoration or dirt. The restaurant staff were obviously foreign (non UK) students and were pleasant enough. The looped background classical music played on a very cheap ipod however was much too loud. Moreover the dreadful 1 minute decreshendo dirge, which we eventually asked to have changed, was the only track! My dinner guest asked for two types of fish on the menu and neither was available. Smoked salmon was offered as a main course!

The setting of the hotel is undeniably good in pleasant countryside. It is on a busy road (which you can't hear) but within a couple of hundred yards the disused Deeside railway has been changed into a great walking or bicycling path.

Transport into and out of Aberdeen by taxi is efficient (booked by room number not name) but like everything else in Aberdeen is way over priced. The taxi rides varied from 11 to 20GBP for very similar and very short distances. Quite unacceptable and of course they all want tips for absolutely nothing! I used Rustico for an Italian meal. This was good value but the atmosphere was blighted by some very roudy local parties where the women insisted in bellowing at their men folks jokes to show how good a time they were having.

Aberdeen is a strange town. It generally overvalues itself in a very big way as locals and businesses have got used to providing bad service and/or over charging for it. This hotel would not be in business elsewhere as the standard is too low for its charging structure. The check out was characterised by every guest complaining about the bill or service. One of our party was told we had checked out and went off in tour taxi leaving two of us in the breakfast room. Just how a computer inventory can check out guests who had not checked out I can't understand. You were left with the impression they did not know what they were doing nor did they care the confusion they created.

It needs cleaned throughout and someone to turn the lights on! It could be great but someone needs to point out that business travellers don't leave their understanding of value for money at home. I would not return to this hotel and would definitely suggest you avoid it. The problem is Aberdeen is notorious for its poor accomodation, grumpy service and locals and worst of all plainly exorbitant pricing. There has to be a rude awakening for this town some time very soon as the North Sea money pit dries up for good. I suspect in ten years a lot of these hotels will be boarded up unless they buck up their ideas of standards and a fair cost to charge guests.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled on business
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1  Thank rjmacf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2008

If you are thinking of getting married at Norwood Hall - DONT! Ther service is Terrible, i sent an email to their wedding co-ordinator address asking for a brochure and avaliability etc and days and days went by with no response. Eventually getting through to them on the phone to ask where my response was i was told, We can reply to Hotmail/yahoo email addresses, Why not say this on your website????

The woman was very huffy and was not interested, i asked them to forward me a brochure to a different email address and eventually got it although the brochure was like something that has just been thrown together in seconds, not high standard and not very good at all.

They wont even give times to come and see and even if they do and you go to meet them at the arranged time they arent there!

I recommend trying other hotels in the area, they are very helpful and even set up the rooms so you can see what they will look like on the day.

Norwood on the other hand, a complete waste of time!

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Jasmine010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2008

Like the previous reviewer, I also experienced terrible service from Norwood when it came to arranging my wedding.

Initially, I had arranged to see the Norwood wedding-planner to discuss my requirements and be shown the facilities. When myself and fiance arrived at the agreed time, we were told the wedding-planner had left for the day! The duty manager had to show us the facilities but could not provide any details re. the wedding services. We had to therefore make another appointment to see the wedding-planner. Arrived for the second time to be told that the wedding-planner had left early - no notice given! Eventually we decided on the Norwood because we loved the venue and arranged to pay our £500 deposit.

Due to a change in circumstannces, I decided to get married overseas very recently. My initial wedding date was for end of May 2009. I knew that there was a possibility that I could lose my deposit altogether but thought that as I was giving quite a lot of notice and that this was a popular time to get hitched, the Norwwod would at least consider a partial refund. However, when I phoned them to cancel, the events planner was extremely blunt, verging on rude, and told me in no uncertain terms that my cancellation was to be in writing and that I would not receive any refund whatsoever. I know that this was a contractual agreement but I also klnow that the Norwood will have no problem booking another event for that date. It makes me wonder how they can justify keeping my full deposit!

From my experience, I am glad that I did not get married at the Norwood - I hate to think how my big day could have been spoiled due to their appalling customer service! I would advise anybody not to fall for the venue like I did, but to make sure you trust that the staff will ensure you have the best day of your life!

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank ClaraScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Macdonald Hotels

Address: Garthdee Road, Aberdeen AB15 9FX, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Aberdeenshire > Aberdeen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Luxury Hotel in Aberdeen
Price Range: £70 - £123 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Hotels 4*
Number of rooms: 73
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Norwood Hall Hotel was built in 1881 on the site of the 15th Century Pitfodels Castle. This truly magnificent Victorian mansion exudes character and charm, with roaring log fires, sweeping staircases and magnificent interior design. Set in seven acres of secluded gardens and woodlands this four star hotel is the ideal venue to host your wedding,family gathering, business meeting and team away day. Norwood Hall has 73 en-suite bedrooms including junior suites, four poster rooms and superb original house rooms, which include all the luxury and modern facilities of a 4 star hotel, whilst still retaining the history and ambience of days gone by.The new conference centre boasts seven superb conference rooms with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment which, along with the traditional Norwood hospitality and customer service, is guaranteed to make your conference a successful event. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Norwood Hall Aberdeen
Hotel Norwood Hall
Macdonald Hotels Aberdeen, Scotland

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