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“Poor Food”

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Culloden Estate & Spa
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Holywood
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 August 2012

Very nice loking hotel inside and out. But for us, the food needs to be good at a hotel of that standard. Overcooked food, soggy chips, cold coffee, strange breakfast. Nice staff at bar but overworked at certain times.

A bit of a let down , Belfast a great city to visit. The people are great and so many things to see and do.

Great beds and rooms and all you need in room (no fridge but).

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Irishsea_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cullodenhotel, General Manager at Culloden Estate & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2012

Dear Irishsea_12

I wish to thank you for taking the time to leave your opinion on tripadvisor.

With regards to your review of your experience, my team and I would have welcomed the opportunity to have spoken to you on the evening of your visit regarding the points which you have detailed above.

At the Hastings Hotels Group we are passionate about food and believe that eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. We embrace the use of carefully selected local and seasonal quality foods to enable our chefs to prepare and create the most delicious dishes in our kitchens.

I was shocked at your description of the food you received as we are regularly commended on the quality of the food. I will, however, take your comments on board and monitor this area closely over the coming months.

I hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back to the Culloden Estate and Spa in the near future.

Yours sincerely


Stephen Meldrum
General Manger

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Reviewed 28 August 2012

My best friend and myself decided to get away from the men and rightly treat ourselves to a wee day at the spa at the culloden and a treat it definitely was. On arrival we were welcomed by the warm staff at the spa and given slippers and dressing gowns. We were shown around the spa and taken to a beautifully decorated room where we could change and leave our stuff. We spent our afternoon before our treatment using the fabulous facilities at the spa, using the steam room, pool and jacuzzi; relaxing and having a great catch up. When it came close to our time for our facials we lay in the relaxation room, flicking through magazines and making use of the refreshments provided! Our beauticians came and got us at our scheduled time and took us to the our treatment rooms, which are gorgeous. We were taken through the treatment and given specific facials for our skin types, mine being an exfoliating facial. It was absolutely fabulous and I found myself falling asleep on more than one occasion. I have had other facials in the past but this was definitely the best. The facial lasted about 45 minutes and after we were both given leaflets and taken through the different products that were used . There was no pressure to buy anything but the beauticians were very good in giving tips for keeping skin bright and radiant. After we were taken to a different relaxation room with beds and new robes as ours had got wet from the pool. We were both lay and relaxed in the room: there was fresh fruit, water and herbal tea and we were told to help ourselves. Overall we had a brilliant relaxing treatment in a beautiful spa with excellent attentive staff. Would highly recommend a visit!! We are already planning our next treat day!

Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
Thank LJ S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cullodenhotel, General Manager at Culloden Estate & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2012

Dear LJS

Following your review of 28 August 2012, I am writing to express my thanks at your very kind comments; it is such a joy to receive a review of extreme praise.

I was delighted that you had rated your experince with us to be “absolutely fabulous”. We look forward to having the opportunity to welcome you back to the Culloden Estate and Spa in the near future.

Yours sincerely




Mr Stephen Meldrum
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2012

A few months ago I entered in a "text in" competition in the Daily Mirror for a two night stay B&B for two in the Culloden Hotel and Spa. The winner would also win an evening meal for two and full use of the Gym and Spa. I didn't think anything of it and nearly keeled over when I got a phone call from a lovely lady from the Daily Mirror.

I had Won! And I got to go on my mini mid week break on Wednesday and Thursday evening, while my Mum and Non-Bio Dad looked after the little uns!

We checked in on Wednesday about 4pm. The Front desk reception workers were very quick and friendly. We arrived in our room and it was lovely! It had the usual facilities, bath with shower in the bathroom, trouser press, tea, coffee, TV and MASSIVE bed.

We had a few drinks in our room and got ready to head out for dinner. We had decided to go to a Pub called "The Dirty Duck Ale House". Its amazing. Here is their web page. The Hotel is right beside a train station and we simply got the train to Hollywood and then a 2 minute walk to the pub! The food (and beer) was amazing and it was a real treat not to have to wash and dry dishes after having food!

The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, I realised that we had not received one of the rubber duckies that the Hastings Hotel groups usually provide. Some of you may have read my sadness on Twitter. Hastings Hotel group AND the Culloden both heard my woes and within 30 mins of my tweet I was presented with these...



Not just a rubber duckie BUT two limited addition ones (Giants Causeway and Titanic). I was thrilled!

I also used the gym. Its was quite warm as there didn't seem to be any air con, but it made the refrigerated towels even more satisfying!

We then picked up our two little ladies and brought them to the Spa for a swim! They loved it! There were in the pool for an hour!

After we left them back at my parents, it was time to get ready for our posh dinner!



And on to the dinner!






Everyone go a complementary Salmon mousse with a potato bread crouton. The crouton was amazing. I did not try the mousse as I don't like fish but hubby said it was lush!

For Starter I had Pigeon. It was the first time I had ever tried anything "Gamey" and it wasn't for me.





For main I had a Steak. It was THE best Steak I have ever had. It melted in your mouth and was cooked to perfection.



And dessert I had a trio of strawberry desserts (a tart, shortbread and sorbet). Hubby had the white chocolate terrine....I ate about half of it because it was that good!



Our waiter was called Mike and his service throuh out the night was amazing. He was quick and efficient and answered all our questions about the food with ease and with knowledgeable facts. He really put me at ease as I would quite often feel out of place in "Fancy" places.

Once the food was eaten (clean plates all around) and the wine was drunk, The next stop was our room for some more pre chilled wine (yes the staff bought us up an ice bucket). When we arrived back at our room there was a lovely little surprise! Turn down service.



The blankets were turned down and a vanilla fudge was left at the side of the bed! It was so so lovely! What did I do at the end of a romantic posh night? Wine in a tumbler!



The next morning after breakfast, it was another session in the gym, this time for a spin class. Back to the room to pack up and then to the spa. I had left my Dressing Gown in the spa the day before. But a quick call to house keeping and in about 2/3 minutes I had a new one delivered to me.

We asked if we could leave later than the 11am check out as we wanted to relax in the spa. It was of course not a problem and we checked out at 12noon.

I have to say my stay was amazing. So relaxing and full of fabulous surprises. All the staff we were in contact with were very friendly and helpful. I would highly recommend the Culloden Hotel to anyone wanting a mini break, weather your from the area of further a field! I is so close to public transport and a great location.

for pictures etc see http://www.fashionfloozy.co.uk/2012/08/my-two-nights-of-luxury.html

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Christine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cullodenhotel, General Manager at Culloden Estate & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2012

Dear Christine D

In response to your TripAdvisor review, I wish to thank you for taking the time to leave your comments for others.

I was delighted to learn that you had found the Culloden Estate & Spa to be “Amazing”. Within the Hastings Hotels Group one of our vision and values is “Passionate commitment to excellent service” this is about making sure every guest has a very special experience, something which my team and I are committed to. We do not want to meet your expectations we want to exceed them every time.

I would like to thank you once again for your comments; we hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back to the Culloden Estate and Spa in the near future.

Yours sincerely




Mr Stephen Meldrum
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2012

Stayed with my husband for a one night stay to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We have stayed here before on another occasion. It's a lovely comfortable hotel with very friendly and helpful staff.

The rate we paid was on the hotel website and exceptionally good value for dinner, bed and breakfast. However for guests paying a higher rate they may come away a little disappointed. The corridors around the guest bedrooms were needing cleared of trays and rubbish consistently.

The hotel bar is very cosy and we had a bite to eat there after checking in and waiting for our room. We had an executive bedroom which was exceptionally comfortable. Toiletries were very sparse in the room as were towels, this is probably just a sign of the times.

We spent the afternoon in the spa - we used the pool, steam room and jacuzzi. The area is relatively small but very clean. We also had a treatment each, the therapist was fabulous and we both thought the treatments (facial & massage) to be excellent.

Dinner in the restaurant could not be faulted, both food and service was perfect. The atmosphere was slightly lacking but that was due to the fact that there were not many in for dinner and the music played was pretty dire!

The breakfast was something I had been looking forward to as it was really exceptional on our previous visit, however this time, although good it was nothing above a standard hotel breakfast.

We had a great stay and would definitely return, I just think the hotel needs to go above and beyond with little touches to truly deserve its 5 star status.

Room Tip: Hotel near a main road. Ask for room not facing road.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank coco40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2012

We were greeted at the reception desk and shown to a lovely table overlooking the gardens. The weather was beautiful and the choice of food superb. Also we had a background pianist to set the scene! The staff were very attentive. I had informed the hotel that one of the party had specific dietary needs and this was not a problem - she received a specific selection catered for her gluten free needs which surpassed her expectations. It was a superb way to spend a Sunday afternoon and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Can't wait for another reason to treat ourselves again!

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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Thank RoseChelsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cullodenhotel, General Manager at Culloden Estate & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2012

Dear thegirliesIreland

Following your review of 27 August 2012, I am writing to express my thanks at your very kind comments; it is such a joy to receive a review of extreme praise.

I was delighted that you had rated your experience with us to be “delightful”. We look forward to having the opportunity to welcome you back to the Culloden Estate and Spa in the near future.

Yours sincerely




Mr Stephen Meldrum
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2012

On Sunday 26th August we attended the hotel for a family birthday party. On arrival we were escorted into the Drawing room, where little private space had been set aside for our party. After our group enjoyed a drink we moved through the the main restaurant for dinner. The age group or our party varied but the hotel were happy for us to eat from the restaurant menu, bar menu or kids menu, allowing everyone to have their meal of choice.

I chose pigeon, followed by roast beef and finished off with sticky toffee pudding; all of the courses were absolutely delicious and beautifully presented. The quality of the food was matched by the friendly efficient service provided by the waiting staff, who ensured we all enjoyed our delicious meal.

Overall it was an excellent day enjoyed by all the family with great food and great service

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Tim B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cullodenhotel, General Manager at Culloden Estate & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2012

Dear Tim B

I wish to thank you for taking the time to leave a review on TripAdvisor regarding your experience at the Culloden Estate and Spa.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your very kind words regarding the Culloden Hotel. I was delighted to learn you had rated your experience with us to be “overall an excellent day enjoyed by all the family”.

We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back to the Culloden Estate and Spa in the near future.

Yours sincerely


Mr Stephen Meldrum
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2012

Myself and my husband have recently returned from a two-night stay at the Culloden. We were staying with a travel zoo voucher – which was a decent enough deal – but I certainly wouldn’t want to have paid any more than we did for our stay. Check in was quick and smooth and we were given some help with our bags to the room. We were positioned on the 3rd floor, in room 709. The corridor where the room was positioned is well decorated, with a lavish feel thanks to beautiful carpets and wallpaper. We were staying in what was labelled as an executive room, in the newest wing of the hotel. The room was beautiful. The decoration was subtle and comfortable. There was a view from the room onto the car park of the Stuart Suite, the roof and entrance of the Stuart Suite, with some beautiful tree’s and Lough in the background. The bed was huge and incredibly comfortable – we slept very well here, as the hotel was quiet at night throughout our stay. We also each had the choice of foam or down pillows. There was plenty of storage space although they could do with a few more hangers in the wardrobes. The bathroom was large and clean – with a good sized shower and comfortable bath.

The Culloden is a beautiful space on the inside and out. It has an enviable position overlooking Belfast Lough, with beautifully kept grounds. It has the feel of a country Mansion inside with many period features to drink in. It was a great place for a relaxing break and we enjoyed reading the paper and having a coffee in the luxurious surroundings while appreciating the lovely views. They had a huge vase of fresh lilies’ in the foyer while we were staying and it was lovely to walk past them and smell their scent.

We had a meal with our package in the Mitre restaurant. We were given a table right by the window with a spectacular view. It was a very relaxing environment and we certainly had a nice meal – there was nothing wrong with it - but it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. This is also where breakfast was served which really was quite excellent. Served in a Buffet style during our stay - we were impressed by the quality of breakfast and the local produce on offer – I particularly liked the local Muesli and Granola as well as the Armagh apple juice. The fruit was freshly cut and delicious.

We had a meal on our second evening in the Cultra Inn which was absolutely scrumptious. I had chicken Caesar salad for starter and my husband had breads/oils. We both had fillet steak for main and we shared the ‘slider’ for dessert. Service was excellent while the environment was cosy and peaceful.

We have a few gripes though and hence our score of 4 rather than 5.

The spa leaves quite a lot to be desired. We headed to the Spa with the intent to spend a few hours relaxing. Unfortunately that was not to be. The pool is quite small and there were several kids with various floats in it while we visited. There were only 3 loungers by the pool which were all taken so listening to my ipod and reading a book was not an option. The tiles around the pool are very grubby and there is a vent by the bottom end of the pool which was literally filthy. It was all rather off putting and I don’t think we stayed for more than 20 minutes in all.

We had a few cracked tiles in our bathroom and there was somebody’s false eyelash stuck to the lid of the bathroom bin (YUK!). I thought there was a distinct lack of good quality toiletries on offer in the room and the cleaner seemed somewhat mean with the toilet roll. In the room our tea tray didn’t have any hot chocolate and they only left 2 miserable coffee biscuits’ each day which also seemed mean.

There was no black-out curtain and the light coming in disturbed my sleep in the morning. As well as that light seemed to flood in from the corridor below the boor overnight.

On our second morning we didn’t get any toast for the table at breakfast.

We went for some tea on our first afternoon and I asked for a menu for coffee. The waiter was not helpful at all and started listing various coffees they could offer. What I actually wanted was a full menu to see if we could get fruit tea or hot chocolate or flavoured coffee and also to decide whether to have a sandwich or a tray bake for example. However, we were never offered a menu. So we ordered a tea, a latte and two scones – yet only received one scone with our drinks. We then couldn’t get anyone’s attention to get a second scone and just ended up sharing what they did bring. It was a bad start to our stay – thank goodness things did get better!

Finally – it was my 30th birthday while we were staying here and the hotel didn’t acknowledge it in any way whatsoever which I thought was a real shame. Many times we have stayed abroad on a birthday and had some sort of kind celebratory gesture.

We had a nice time here for sure, but if I could give it three and a half on trip advisor I probably would rather than a four – which is generous.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Thank TAmember13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Culloden Estate & Spa

Address: 142 Bangor Road, Holywood BT18 0EX, Northern Ireland
Region: United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > County Down > Holywood
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Holywood
Price Range: £201 - £341 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Culloden Estate & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 105
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Standing high on the wooded slopes of the Holywood hills, overlooking Belfast Lough, is the magnificent Culloden Estate and Spa, one of the most prestigious 5 star hotels in Northern Ireland.Originally built as an official palace for the Bishops of Down, the Culloden stands in 12 acres of beautiful gardens and is 5 miles from Belfast City Centre. The exclusive Spa offers health and leisure facilities, and a full range of ESPA spa therapies. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Culloden Estate Hotel Holywood
Culloden Estate And Spa
Culloden Hotel
Culloden Estate Holywood
Culloden Estate & Spa Holywood, Northern Ireland

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