we stayed at fonab for a one night birthday celebration, was immediately impressed on arriving at the hotel as it is a beautiful setting and the castle itself and modern annex are stunning. check in was efficient.
our room (castle signature room) was sadly overlooking the building site for the impending spa (supposed to be open in the autumn - they must be whizzing it up as all i could see so far were bare bones of a building bare girders still)
i was a bit disappointed as the reviews on trip advisor seem to imply that all of the rooms have lovely views- this one room sadly did not have the lovely view i was hoping for so when booking remember to ask for a loch view room if you feel this will negatively affect your experience.
the room itself however was a lovely spacious immaculately decorated affair. (no bath tho just a very large walk in shower) .
must agree with the other reviews that it was very hot at night (was late july and a sunny summer weekend) so would have appreciated air con or even a fan as the windows only open a crack (first floor safety feature i am sure and also due to old style original sash windows) and we slept fitfully due to the heat of the room. unsure if fonab would consider the outlay for air con units for rooms in scotland considering you don't need them for 11 months of the year! ;-) nice comfy bed though with good quality linens.
we went for an afternoon celebration drink in the lounge bar after arrival which has stunning views and large floor to ceiling windows that open to provide an airy feel.
it was a sunday so afternoon teas were in full swing and looked awesome so i suspect well worth a visit for this. as it crept nearer to dinner time we were provided with menus to peruse as we had booked the brasserie for dinner.(nice touch) only criticism is we had to hunt for a member of staff (to the extent of going downstairs to reception) to get us our tab as it was left unmanned for a period after the hustle of the afternoon.
at dinner there was a slight fluster in the brasserie as we were told the table that had been reserved for us was occupied (we were fifteen mins late for dinner so this may have caused the issue) so were seated at a less desirable table in the centre of the restaurant. the very kind and professional front of house manager moved us to a beautiful window seat as soon as it became available- a move i very much appreciated.
sadly i did not especially enjoy my main course- i am vegetarian and bit into not one but two full dried heads of what i thought was star anise in the white sauce for my spinach and ricotta cannelloni so got two texturally unpleasant bursts of dry husky fibrous aniseed.(not sure if this was the desired effect, perhaps my palate is uncultured but i found it unpleasant!) also the wine i ordered came with a dead midge and another floater in it- was speedily replaced but could have been avoided by checking before serving. my partner felt his food was nice but not wowed. perhaps worth a revisit when sandemans (the fine dining restaurant) is opened.
After dinner we headed back up to the lounge bar- (we were using fonab as a destination location for a single evening for a birthday treat so were not planning to leave the hotel)- the lounge bar was deserted yet again with no staff to be found.
i truly believe fonab are missing a trick here- if the lounge bar is open it should be staffed or even a bell or pager to reach a staff member to get a drink rather than feeling awkward and having to chase for staff members so you can continue to enjoy your evening with an after dinner cocktail or coffee.
we took our drinks outside to the seating area which over looks the loch- sadly the inimitable midges got the best of us after only ten minutes as they were in full ravenous form! beautiful views though.
dinner and drinks for a luxury hotel i thought were very reasonable price point wise i must add.
breakfast the next day was an affair not to be missed- i extremely enjoyed all that i had and the brasserie was as beautiful in the daytime as it was at night. the fantastic breakfast experience made me feel possibly i had just chosen badly or been unfortunate at dinner? both myself and my partner felt breakfast was exceptional and i could see what fellow guests were having looked beyond expectations also.
overall i had a good time at fonab and my experience was mainly positive but would not rush back immediately, i feel there are some teething issues with younger staff members and service issues that need to be ironed out. the level of service i witnessed varied wildly from the excellent touches to unprofessional and offhand comments made by younger staff members (myself and my partner were some of the younger guests at the hotel so possibly these comments were made in a friendly way to be "mates"- they were not harmful but i found them unprofessional and unbecoming to what should be an elegant establishment). just needs a bit more staff training to ensure they remain polite and professional - needs a little tightening up to be a true luxury five star experience but i am sure they will get there and certainly have the location, beautiful building and stunning interior to go with it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Fonab Castle is a wonderful and historic building on the banks of Loch Faskally, by Pitlochry. It has been transformed by the Clark family into a fabulous and glamorous new 5 Star hotel. The hotel offers 26 bedrooms including 4 suites and a luxurious Penthouse suite (a number with loch views). The hotel brasserie and lounge provide outstanding vistas of the loch itself and Sandemans our fine dining restaurant is a tranquil setting for experiencing exquisite cuisine and fine wines. The Spa at Fonab is our brand new Spa offering a host of pampering and relaxation experiences. With Thermal Suite, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, treatment rooms and nail bar and pedicure. We look forward to welcoming you to a unique experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fonab Castle Hotel Pitlochry, Scotland