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“No complaints. Perfectly adequate.”

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Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort
Ranked #7 of 11 Hotels in Aviemore
Lancaster, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“No complaints. Perfectly adequate.”
Reviewed 14 March 2014

We used the Macdonald Highlands Hotel as a base on a recent 2 day skiing trip to Cairn Gorm ski area and found it to be perfectly adequate. As other reviewers have said the hotel is undergoing refurbishment at the moment but it caused us no inconvenience or annoyance whatsoever. Yes there was plastic on some of the carpets on the stairway and yes we did see workmen knocking about, but so what? Our room had not been refurbished yet as evidenced by the yucky decor but everything was clean and in order, and the daily visits from housekeeping left nothing to be desired. All the staff were very friendly including housekeeping, reception and dining room staff.The breakfast was excellent... good food and efficient, friendly service. Do be warned there is a dress code at Aspects restaurant in the evening which meant we had to give it a miss as we neglected to bring anything other than casual attire.

Room Tip: Ask for a refurbished room when booking in the near future.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank OutAndAb0utDave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General M, General Manager at Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, responded to this review, 21 April 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for the time taken to write a review.
I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us and found the resort accommodating.
Thank you for your kind words regarding our staff - that is something that we work very hard on here at the resort.

We look forward to welcome you back again,

Best regards,
The General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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scotland
Level 6 Contributor
110 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2014

Recently enjoyed another weekend break at the Macdonald Highland and again had a great time. Our room and bathroom were spotless as usual, although the latter was showing some signs of wear and tear. Heated towel rail also not working, which is disappointing. We ate at Aspects and Giovannis and these both exceeded the expectations which one might have about 'chain' hotel restaurants. Both were excellent. Once again, the Highland was a great, comfortable base for a weekend of outdoor activities in the Cairngorms!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank tiggScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General M, General Manager at Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, responded to this review, 8 March 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for the time taken to write a review.
I am delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us and found the resort accommodating.
It is great that you had the chance to dine in our restaurants and enjoyed both - your comments have been passed on to the relevant department.

We look forward to welcome you back again,
Best regards,
The General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Berwick, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2014

We used hotel to break a long journey. Room very good as recently refurbished -make sure you get a refurbished room as work ongoing. Of particular note is the very friendly staff. Only slight negative was the toiletries in the bathroom were a tad minimalist. Lovely dish of fruit in room though.

Room Tip: Ask for refurbished away from ongoing renovations
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank marina061
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General M, General Manager at Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, responded to this review, 8 March 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review on Trip Advisor.
I am delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us and found the room you stayed in accommodating.
Thank you for your wonderful words regarding our staff - it is something that we work very hard on and your comments have been passed on.

We hope to welcome you back again,

Best regards,
The General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derbyshire
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2014 via mobile

We are currently staying at the hotel and cannot fault the service we have received since our first day. The staff have been so polite helpful and friendly, the food in the restaurant is excellent, we are staying in one of the nice newly refurbished rooms. Part of the hotel is undergoing refurbishment at the moment but it hasnt interfered with our stay in any way, any workmen we have passed in the corridor have been polite, and any noise has been minimal.
We would definitely return back in the future. Many thanks to everyone that has made our stay a pleasant experience.

Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank SnakehipsDerbyshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General M, General Manager at Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, responded to this review, 8 March 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to share your resort experience.
I am delighted to read your review and learn that you had such a wonderful stay with us.
We always aim for the highest possible guest service and it is always a pleasure when guests find this to be the case.
Please note that all your wonderful words regarding our staff have been passed on.

We look forward to welcome you back again,

Best regards,
The General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Prestwick
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2014 via mobile

I hate to put bad reviews on trip advisor but really think this needs to be brought to the attention of the manager.

Me and my partner had the week off work and decided to go round scotland. We started at hilton at dunkeld which was fab. However our holiday was ruined by the service and state of the hotel.

We arrived and were checked in promptly. I was shocked to see there was workman everywhere and the noise was awful. The lift to our room wasn't working correctly and the floors were covered in plastic leading to the room. Was just vile. We got to our room and I couldn't believe it. Size was fine but it was decor from the 80s. I know the hotel is going through a refurb but it was horrendous. We phoned reception to see if we could move rooms and we even said we wouldn't mind paying for an upgrade however the receptionist was rude and told us all the rooms were the same and clearly a refurb was going on. She said she would call us back to see if she had anything available and funnily enough we received no phone call. I was quite annoyed but we decided to just make the most of it and went to the pool. The whirlpool was closed off and also half the pool was shut because of swimming lessons. The steam room and sauna on a positive was nice. We went out for dinner at the Italian tavern in aviemore and it was the best part of the trip. Food was amazing however we came back and the room was freezing, got no sleep as there was obviously a problem with the seal on the window as the wind was blowing through. I decided to go to the spa for a treatment the next day and it was fantastic, really made up for such an appalling stay. Rachel the therapist was amazing so full credit to her. After checking out we decided to go to the Spey shopping centre and what do you know? Closed for 3 days for a stocktake. Absolutely ridiculous. Clearly the macdonald are more interested in making money and are happy to have disgruntled customers. We will not be returning and they should be ashamed to call themselves a 4 star. I've stayed at hilton colymbridge and the cairngorm hotel and the macdonald really need to raise their game to compete with these hotels.

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Kerri87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General M, General Manager at Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, responded to this review, 8 March 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for the time and effort taken to write a review.
I am sorry to learn that you were dissapointed with your recent stay with us. We always strive for the best possible service and take it seriously when guests find this not to be the case.
I am sorry that you were unhappy with your room - unfortunately the hotel was fully booked and I apologise for the fact that no alternative room was available at the time.
I am happy that you enjoyed the steam room and sauna and thank you for your kind words regarding Rachel - your wonderful comments have been passed on.

If you would like to discuss your disapointment in more detail on a personal level - please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Best regards,
The General Manager
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Travellers are raving about these Aviemore hotels

Biggar, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
771 reviews
159 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 817 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2014

The Macdonald Highlands Hotel is one of four hotels which form the “MacDonald Highland Resort” a few minutes walk from Aviemore town centre. The other properties are The Academy Hotel (aimed at families), The Aviemore Inn and the Four Seasons Hotel which have separate listings on TA.

Just to confuse matters there is also a listing for the Resort on TA which has a mix of reviews from all four hotels and the lodges which are onsite. Just make sure you’re looking at the relevant reviews for each property. The Highlands Hotel is categorised as an “AA” four star hotel, the others are three star.

Our stay was based on a group booking for the purposes of skiing at nearby Cairngorm Mountain, a short drive away and the hotel is a convenient base for this activity.

Check in for our party was not as smooth as we had hoped. Unfortunately the hotel had allocated one less room than requested and as our visit coincided with a school half term holiday the hotel was at capacity - a tricky situation. The receptionist initially didn’t handle this particularly well and we got the feeling, rightly or wrongly, that she was looking to allocate responsibility for the error on us. Fortunately our organisers had a confirmation email which showed this was not the case.

Meantime two of the single guys in our group returned to the reception to advise that they had been allocated a double bedroom so this was re-allocated to my wife and I and luckily an additional twin room was eventually found (someone had apparently checked out and their room was cleaned). Crisis averted.

The hotel is currently undergoing refurbishment of 98 of their 151 rooms so despite the smell of fresh paint we counted ourselves lucky to be in one of these re-modelled rooms. We didn’t experience any noise or sight of workmen during our visit - it was a weekend so they were either not around when we were in the hotel or were very discrete.

Having stayed in the hotel before I can safely comment that the rooms are much improved. Everything was new from furnishings, to carpet to the ensuite. There is plenty of storage space for guests between the built-in wardrobe and drawers. As pointed out by another TA reporter however there doesn’t appear to be anywhere specifically to put skis or other outdoor equipment at the hotel - a dryroom or store would be handy for this purpose in this particular location where skis and mountain bikes will be fairly common.

The room was quite spacious, warm, as was the hotel in general and the bed very comfortable. Remember to leave one of your key cards slotted in to the power switch if you want to keep the heating on in your absence. We didn’t have much time to try out the flat screen television so can’t comment on the availability of channels. There are tea/coffee making facilities with biscuits, a safe and an iron & ironing board in the room.

The ensuite didn’t have a bath however the walk-in shower had good water pressure and plenty of hot water. Typical of this style of shower, water tends to run on to the bathroom floor which is a bit of a nuisance - the floor tiles can become slippy - however the decent shower was appreciated. There is a heated mirror and heated towel rail although a unit for piping music/television audio into the room and the extractor fan weren’t working at the time of our visit - possibly snagging issues with the refit.

Overall I would say the rooms are very comfortable in their refurbished state - hopefully they will stay that way however that is dependent not only on the hotel but also the guests! (Hopefully visitors will appreciate the improvements and respect the property).

There are several restaurants within the grounds of the resort to meet different needs and budgets - from café style to more formal dining. We were fortunate to have the more formal Aspects Restaurant located within the same building and we had booked it for dinner (I heard guests checking in at the same time as us being told it was fully booked that evening). Breakfast was also served at Aspects. It’s a large restaurant however it is well enough designed to accommodate groups or individuals and during our visit a few larger groups (ourselves included) were located at the top of the room so as not to disturb couples or family groups elsewhere. It worked very well. The menu for us was small - about three or four choices per course - however we all found something we liked and the staff were able to take individual preferences into account e.g. I asked for the Hake without the Mussel Broth which was easily accommodated. My other choices were Chicken Terrine for starters and Tiramisu for dessert. My wife and I have dined here previously in a non-group setting and the menu was more extensive and probably still is.

The food was well presented (restaurant style), tasted very good and the service was mostly professional and efficient (at least one local sadly could take lessons from some of her international colleagues - better to keep a “couldn’t be bothered” attitude to yourself although this was perhaps a one-off slip). There was a decent choice of wines on offer and as usual for a hotel or restaurant these were suitably marked up price-wise. Breakfast was buffet style with staff bringing tea/coffee and toast - there was a decent choice of items and it all got refreshed fairly often so no complaints.

The Laggan Bar, below Aspects is a comfortable lounge - typical prices included a gin & tonic £6.90 and a small glass of wine (175ml) £5.60. We did more of our socialising in the nearby Cairngorm Hotel which has a busy bar and lounge and pub prices! There is a new pub opposite this which we didn’t get a chance to try (former site of the Taste of India restaurant I think).

The Highlands Hotel shares a leisure pool within the grounds of the resort with the other hotels although we were too busy queuing at Cairngorm Mountain waiting for lifts to open to have time to enjoy it!

Overall the improvements combined with the Aspects restaurant probably make the hotel worthy of its four star rating - by the AA and myself.

Room Tip: Ask for a refurbished one if available
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rantin rover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General M, General Manager at Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, responded to this review, 8 March 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for the time taken to write a detailed review of your resort experience.
I am delighted to read your review and learn that yourself and your party enjoyed your stay with us.
I am happy that you had the opportunity to make use of all facilties on site and enjoy the dining and bar experineces as well.

We hope to get the opportunity to welcome you back to the resort again.

Best regards,
The General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kinross, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2014

I've stayed in hotels all over the world and would suggest that some of the reviews on here are slightly exaggerated? From our perspective, check in and out was smooth (although I take the point about one one person on the desk).

Plus points, Staff were attentive, polite and nothing was too much trouble. Breakfast was excellent again staff were motivated, polite and efficient. Room was clean, fresh and well made up

Neg - Still some issues with ongoing renovations. There was a considerable pot hole in near the front of the hotel, which some poor gentleman stepped in whilst dressed for dinner on Saturday night. Although he did not vanish, it soaked him up to his ankles.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank greg4bs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General M, General Manager at Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, responded to this review, 8 March 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for the time taken to write a review.
I am happy that you enjoyed your time at the resort and found it accommodating for your stay.
Thank you for your wonderful comments regarding our staff - I am delighted that they were helpful and made you feel welcome.

We hope to welcome you back again in the near future.

Best regards,
The General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #7 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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