This is a hotel which is trying very hard. I organised a trip for a group of Rotarians from Bristol and Paris to enable them to play golf, drink whisky and sample the scenery of Scotland. The quote I was offered was unbelievably competitive (£45 pppn DB&B), so much so that I began to worry how it could be so cheap. Then I started reading some of the reviews and my concerns began to grow. However, it turns out that this hotel's business model is geared towards tour groups (there were French, Austrian and German tour busses during our stay) which is well worth remembering, and I needn't have worried.
Anyone who gets the deal we were offered needs their heads read if they are expecting five star luxury or a Michelin-starred dining room. Some of the comments on this site are clearly from people who expect too much.
The food (dinner and breakfast) was of a perfectly reasonable standard and there was plenty of it. Our Parisien friends were perfectly happy and, let's be honest, the French are particularly interested in cuisine. So on the food front, I heard no complaints, and I saw plenty of empty plates!
The bar was well-stocked (particularly if you like whisky) and prices were not unreasonable for a hotel bar. It didn't stay open very late, but this appears to be in line with this part of Scotland, and usually the bar maid from the previous night would serve you breakfast. The staff here work very hard!
The hotel itself was totally clean and comfortable. Yes, it appears a little bit tired in a few places, but it's worth remembering that this hotel may go 3 months without profit if the weather closes it for the winter. At the prices they charge, I think they do very well to maintain the hotel as they do.
Some people have complained about hot rooms. A building (quite an impressive building) like this, in this area, is built specifically to keep in the heat, using thick walls. Our first day was blessed with a mini-heatwave; thereafter the room was fine. I slept like a log, although that was probably due to the whisky! One guest (out of 17) who was unhappy with their room was moved without question.
Which leaves the staff. Firstly, Carrie was FANTASTIC. She was a jack of all trades and master of them too, and couldn't have been more helpful. She even ran an impromptu whisky tasting for us when the arranged one fell through. The waiting and bar staff were friendly and helpful, too. I did get the slight impression that one or two staff could be a little quick to take offence, but looking at some of the comments on this site it would appear that they have had to deal with some right wallies in the past. We treated them with respect, and they were great.
I would have no hesitation in staying there again and would recommend it as a value-for-money place to discover the Highlands. Aviemore is about 10 miles away to the SW, Dufftown (distileries) is half an hour away NE. Should you wish, Balmoral around an hour away SE and Inverness 45 minutes away NW.
All of us came away completely happy with our time at the Craiglynne. I think it is a hotel that has had problems in the past but is determined to improve and is on track to achieve that. I think they deserve to.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Old world charm at the newly restored The Craiglynne Hotel. Our Victorian granite hotel, situated under the majestic Cairngorms, has just been restored and refurbished to the highest standards. With 82 stylish rooms and superb grounds, relaxing here during your stay is irresistible; however we also highly recommend visiting the beautiful villages, mountains, rivers and forests nearby. After a day exploring, there's nothing better than sinking into an armchair by one of our roaring log fires to share stories of Lochness, Inverness and the hugely popular whisky trail. When you are looking for hotels in Grantown-on-Spey, near Aviemore, stay with us and be one of the first to enjoy our restored hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Crerar Craiglynne
- The Craiglynne Hotel Grantown-On-Spey, Scotland