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“Bring in the bulldozers”

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Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club
Ranked #14 of 21 Hotels in Fort William
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 23 October 2009

Ben Nevis Hotel, Fort William, Scotland, 18 Sept 09
Thankfully not too often, but nevertheless from time to time, an establishment is encountered that has to be endured, since even at first glance to be enjoyed is out of the question. In the case of the Ben Nevis, it is hard to think of a single redeeming feature.

Externally the buildings comprising the hotel are plainly in need of a thorough “clean and brush up”. It is not helpful, of course, that they are located on a main road with traffic noise all night long nor that the outlook from the front of the hotel embraces an industrial estate. Small, underwhelming grounds are made more depressing by the fact that there is little evidence of maintenance – grass not mown, hanging baskets limp and drooping and a generally dreary unkempt ambiance. This was epitomised by a garden sized chess set. Given that it was located outside and pieces were of plastic, not surprisingly that they looked grubby. Why it is thought that anyone would actually want to play chess with outsized pieces in scruffy surroundings will have to remain one of life’s unanswered questions.

Externalities were matched inside as well. Self-evidently, the hotel had not been refurbished is decades. Carpets were thread bare and holed, walls were marked and scuffed. The hotel does not possess a lift. The largish dark Reception/sitting area was adequately comfortable, but the WIFI seemed not to work – at any rate, for my laptop (modern). The bar was scruffy, unappealing and, for a hotel of this size, small. In the restaurant, although table linen was clean, the furniture was a disgrace. Seats were embellished with smears of what probably had originally been chocolate source, but in appearance could have been something far less mentionable. Service was slow. Food, although pretentiously described, would stand fair comparison with roadside cafes at the lower end of the spectrum. Highlights of breakfast, in particular, were greasy grey sausages, limp pink bacon and eggs that had congealed under arc lamps – unspeakable!

The bedroom (No. 249) was small and poky. Just enough room was left between the walls and the sides of the bed to allow for access. Little space or facilities were available for unpacking. The adjoining bathroom had decorative embellishments which included hairs in the bath from the previous occupant – or who knows, perhaps, the one before that. The shower did not benefit from a mixer tap, and so had a tendency to fly off under excessive water pressure. The shower head was split, and so gushed water in a pattern that politely be described as erratic. Tea making facilities were skimpy and included a mug cracked from top to bottm with a seepage stain a centimetre above the base. Plainly, therefore, this had been its condition for some considerable period of time.

All in all, the condition of and standards evinced by this hotel spoke of two things – (1) an almost total lack of care and (2) indolent and slapdash management. Having stayed in hotels worldwide for over fifty years, I would rate this as one of the ten worst that I’ve ever encountered. Amazingly, it even advertised an appeal for funds to refurbish the establishment; in most commercial enterprises, this is normally taken to be the responsibility of the owners. It was noteworthy also that they "welcomed constructive criticism". My suggestion - bring in the bulldozers!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank RW_Cornwall_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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830 - 836 of 1,017 reviews

Reviewed 21 September 2009

we stayed for one night in the hotel, as part of a wedding group. the meal was lovely, shame about the room tho. we had booked a double room,but ended up with 2 single beds pushed together,that tended to drif apart ,and to top it up, it was absolutley freezing, forcing us to sleep with our close on.wouldn't go back in a hurry.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank ScotlandAnonymus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2009

Arrival at the hotel - staff very welcoming, keys and directions to room given promptly. Very cosy lounge with fire place. Felt almost at home.

Room - (1st room) basic, not worth the money. Sliding glass wardrobe door fell off its hinges, and as I was pregnant , hubby wasnt at all pleased!
(2nd room, post - march to reception) four poster bed, flat screen lcd tv, nice bathroom, view overlooking Ben Nevis Range...........much more like it! Coffee/tea making facilities , bottled water, also, hot chocolate and shortbread rounds , nice touch. Bed comfortable and room nice and quiet.

Food - I personally really enjoyed the food. Good choice from the a la carte menu, something for everyone, and delicious. Buffet breakfast, again, plenty to choose from.
Have to chase down a waiter/ress for extra drinks though, as they only seem to take one drinks order at the start of the meal then dont seem to bother after that.....

Leisure facilities - this made the holiday for me.......... imagine sitting in a jacuzzi, nice and relaxed and warm, looking out onto a snow covered Ben Nevis..........total heaven. Would go back again, just for that experience. Swimming pool lovely and warm, sauna and steam room nice. Bliss.

All in all, a lovely hotel. My partner is a keen snow boarder and we go (nearly) every year, as its a 10 minute drive up to the Nevis range. Definately worth a visit!

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Debzie83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2009

This old style hotel was really good, not all the mod cons but use your imagination and think of the style it would have had in years past with everyone dressing for dinner! The staircase, the bar. Well worth the stop for the night or if time longer.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank 2schmick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2009

Even without the raw sewagebubbling up in the parking lot,it was an unpleasant stay. Room was quiet, but very tiny for 3 people, not enough room for 3 suitcases. Not clean;papers under bed,hair in sink/tub that was not ours....
Gym was nice. Restuarant food was adequate, but staff need customer relation training. I asked what was in a "traitional Scottish" dish the waitress didn't know and cold not go ask the chef!Definately would not recommend to anyone!

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Eurekasadie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 July 2009

Stayed at the Ben Nevis Hotel, would sum up by saying is ok. The hotel comes across as something from the 60s and could do with a refurbish to the exterior. The room I stayed in was fine, nice decor although the bathroom was in need of modernisation.
Does cater for, in the main, coach parties and is busy. In need of repair and is quite a standard hotel, nothing special.

Breakfast has a good selection.

The town itself is nice, with great views, with a good selection of shops and restaurants in the town.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled on business
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Thank moon_uk_dundee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2009

had the unfortunate need to stay in this hotel for a recent wedding the bed room was old in dier need of refurbushment the bathroom floor seemed like it hadnt seen a mop in weeks feet sticking to it as i went in and came out of bath the bath was dirty still hairs from previous occupant all in all a poor stay and one i will not partake in again if i can help it

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled solo
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Thank billyboy1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club

Address: North Road, Fort William PH33 6TG, Scotland
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Lochaber > Fort William
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Fort William
Price Range: £52 - £143 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club 3*
Number of rooms: 117
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated just on the outskirts of Fort William, at the foot of Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis & Leisure Club offers stunning views of the mountain and is close to the ski slopes of the Nevis Range. The Ben Nevis Hotel and Leisure Club offers a restaurant, a bar, free parking and a Leisure Club with a heated indoor swimming-pool. The hotel’s restaurant, with its views over Ben Nevis, has a table d’hôte menu. Guests can relax in the bar area, and a full Scottish breakfast is served every morning. Access to the Ben Nevis Hotel’s fitness centre is free to all guests. Facilities include a 15-metre long swimming pool, a sauna, as well as a steam room and gym. All the traditionally furnished rooms have a bathroom. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas and also in Superior Rooms as well as all bedrooms if you book direct. There is also tea and coffee-making facilities and a work desk for guests to use. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ben Nevis Hotel And Leisure Club
Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club Fort William, Scotland

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