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“Tried hard, but only average”

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Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort
Ranked #8 of 11 Hotels in Aviemore
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Tried hard, but only average”
Reviewed 14 April 2012

The location is stunning. Aviemore and the Cairngorms are beautiful and the resort is ideal as a base to explore the area. The resort is a bit confusing initially, it's unclear whether to go to the main reception or the individual hotel to check-in. Reception staff were friendly and helpful although information given was not always consistent from customer to customer based on overhearing what others were told. The room was pleasant enough though quite cramped, the view was nice. The ensuite was clean, but the shower was poor and the products supplied were pretty nasty. The biggest disappointment with our stay was the restaurant. One of the major factors in choosing this hotel was the "fine dining" restaurant as we enjoy eating well when away. This was simply not a true description of the experience. The service was chaotic and disorganised, with an apparent lack of any kind of system or set procedures for service. The staff were all very nice and tried hard but they were really all over the shop. The quality of the food was also disappointing, cheap cuts of meat and sub-standard ingredients were used and the menu read as far more appetising than the food ended up being. The staff seemed to be struggling with the volume of custom even though there were always empty tables, and the number of children in the restaurant late in the evening was surprising. As it was school holidays we expected lots of families, but not necessarily in the fine dining restaurant at 9.30pm! The staff did their best to apologise for the slowness of service and noise level of the restaurant. They also tried to keep up the high end pretense by silver service and laying napkins etc but it was simply not enough. The worst part was getting the bill, customers were being asked to walk to the greeting table to obtain their bill and without exception each had to wait 5-10mins to get it. There were bits of paper everywhere and on no occasion was our bill correct, and always undercharged I should add. Often a highlight of a quality hotel stay, the breakfast was poor quality and had a very awkward setup. Despite this, we had an enjoyable stay. The other resort facilities including shop, bars, leisure centre etc were very good. We would certainly return to the area, but perhaps not this resort.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank BenTorrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2012 via mobile

Didn't stay in hotel but experienced main restaurant area, cinema and pool. Restaurant for lunch is poor with main offering carvery which is probably more than most people want - aside from this choice is limited and overall food quality is not great.

The cinema is very over priced (more than mainstream chains) and today they had a single member of staff dealing with tickets and popcorn, therefore we queued for almost 30 minutes which is just not acceptable. Despite suggesting the lone (and very pleasant) member of staff call for back up none was forthcoming.

The pool is good though expensive if you visit, as we did, as a non resident

We've come here over the years and it strikes me that they can't seem to get the formula right. This has to come down to local management and the decisions they take. There are no excuses in a 4 star chain. You only have to look elsewhere to places such as The Druie or The Mountain Cafe which are queued every day for lunch. Why? Because the food is imaginative and high quality and service consistently good. It's not rocket science...

Stayed April 2012
Helpful?
Thank mccaskie02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Aviemore hotels

Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2012

Poor customer service. Food was well below standard. The room was clean except for the bathroom which was well below standard.We had a inch gap at bottom of door ( a fire door ). The corridor smelt of urine. After complaining about it. Nothing was done. Don't bother taking your alarm clock. The radiators turn on at 6am and that's enough to wake the dead. The swimming pool is a cold 28 to 29 degrees C and free to residents, The soft play was good for the kids but at a cost of £4.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dusa77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle upon Tyne
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2012

I stayed here with my family at a weekend in March. We have 2 young boys and they were well catered for in 2 single beds, rather than the usual fold-down bed-settee offered by most big hotels. The room we had was very comfortable, clean and well appointed. the hotel itself is in good condition and the staff are very friendly. The kids loved the leisure pool and the slide and I must say the breakfast was A1! The best thing is the location, in the Scottish Highlands, with loads of walking / cycling etc on doorstep. The 'resort' has quite a good shopping plaza and a choice of restaurants / bars and a great play park for the kids. It is in walking distance of Aviemore station and the town's shops, cafes etc. A great place to stay for peace and tranquility.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank BigBilbo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2012

Having stayed at a couple of Macdonald Hotels before, we were looking forward to staying at the Highlands Hotel for a family wedding celebration but it was disappointing. There were some very basic things wrong that would be really easy to fix.

On arrival at the Resort, it was difficult to be sure where to park and where to check-in because there were signs to all sorts of receptions - Resort Reception, conference centres, lodges and different hotel receptions. We managed to find the correct one to check in at but other members of our party had checked in at other buildings.

On checking in we were not asked if we wanted a morning paper or an alarm call, nor were we told where breakfast was to be served nor when. All very basic stuff.

When we asked reception at the Highland Hotel where the wedding dinner was being held, we were directed to the main conference centre (a separate building a few minutes walk away). When we got there, we were told the dinner was back in the Highland Hotel. This is so, so basic. A wedding is a big money earner for a hotel and all staff manning receptions should know where any event is taking place. Poor.

Having said that, the dinner was excellent and the service was very friendly and efficient.

The room was comfortable with a large Queen size bed, with a trouser press, iron, tea & coffee making facilities and an en-suite bathroom with full bath and shower over the bath. The TV was an old-style CRT (not flat screen) but did the job. The bathroom was adequate but it required a fair bit of strength to lift the knob that routed the water to the shower rather than the bath taps. There was a gap between the top of the bath and the bottom of the shower screen which meant it was impossible to prevent water going on to the floor. The toilet's flush was not particularly effective. The room was clean and comfortable.

Returning from our room to the reception was not easy! The hotel consists of 2 or 3 adjoining buildings: ours being on a slightly different level to the block where reception was. We had to go upstairs and then back down again to reach reception. That was not a problem, in itself, but there were no signs pointing to reception from where our room was. That is such a simple thing to fix - very basic.

Service at breakfast was good and friendly. We were surprised that a Scottish hotel would not offer potato scones as part of the standard breakfast (fried bread was served). When my wife expressed her surprise, she was told that all Macdonal Hotels have the same breakfast and potato scones weren't included and did she know how expensive they were (!).

The fire alarm went off at breakfast and the staff told people not to leave until they located what the source of the alarm was. My view is that if the alarm goes off, you evacuate the building irrespective of what the cause might be (other than a scheduled alarm test).

The resort has a swimming pool, cinema and other entertainment facilities but we did not take advantage of these when there. Aviemore is a good base for exploring the Cairngorm National Park and there is a steam engine that leaves from Aviemore station - just 5 minutes walk from the hotel/resort.

I have rated this stay as "Average". For £89 (special advance rate) it isn't cheap and I would have expected better. I don't want to give the wrong impression. I wouldn't object to staying at the hotel again - our stay was OK - no major complaints. However, it could be a lot better with improvements to signage, better plumbing in the bathroom, some modernisation, greater focus on customer service and more overall attention to detail. It could be very good, but is just OK.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank HAL11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2012

I stayed here with family at the end of March in the Highlands hotel. The rooms are adequate but with no distinctive features or comforts and in need some repairs. In our rooms we had a broken toilet and non-working shower (which had been the case for 2 weeks). The sound-proofing between rooms is not great. The staff are friendly but at times seem a bit stretched. The included breakfast was standard fayre. The resort has some good facilities. the gym is reasonable and there is a large pool with a slide and wave machine. There is a well stocked shop on site. There are a number of bars, but they all lacked some character and natural light. The main let down were the attached restaurants. We ate at "Giovanni's" on the first night. There were not enough staff, the ambience was absent and the food was very poor. On the second night we took the free transport to the Scottish Steak Club (part of the same hotel chain). The service was terrible. We waited more than 1 hour for food with no explanation. The staffing level was low and lacked professionalism. The food when it arrived was very poor considering the price of ~£25/head. I would not eat at either again.

In summary a reasonable resort for the area with some good on-site facilities. The rooms need an up-grade and the restaurants spoilt the experience.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank adeno_34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
scotland
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 March 2012

Just enjoyed another short break at the Macdonald Highland hotel and was again very pleased with our stay. Usual bright, clean, comfortable room. One or two signs of wear and tear in the bathroom but it was spotlessly clean. Delicious evening meal in the restaurant. Was disappointed that the buffet breakfast was not on offer during our midweek stay but I believe it is available at weekends. Breakfast was fine - but I missed the buffet selection! Otherwise another very enjoyable stay and we will be back!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tiggScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Property: Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort
Address: Aviemore Highlands, Aviemore PH22 1PN, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Badenoch and Strathspey > Aviemore
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 11 Hotels in Aviemore
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 151
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Relax in style and complete comfort at the 4-star Macdonald Highlands Hotel. With 151 luxury rooms-with-a-view and its own signature restaurant, Aspects, boasting spectacular views of the Cairngorm Mountains, the Highlands Hotel is ideal for discerning business and leisure travellers. For relaxation there's direct access to Aviemore Activity Centre, a TV lounge with comfy sofas and a DVD player, and the cozy Laggan whisky bar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Macdonald Highlands Aviemore
Macdonald Highlands Hotel At Macdonald Aviemore Resort Scotland
Hotel Macdonald Highlands

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