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Macdonald Houstoun House
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Uphall
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 20 February 2014

I have /stayed any times but the last time so many mistakes and restaurant staff so unfriendly! We also ordered room service and they were actually rude!!! So we will never go back !we go to Edinburgh at least once a month so they lose out ! Please tell restaurant staff its ok to smile!?!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank essySpeyside
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herve B, General Manager at Macdonald Houstoun House, responded to this reviewResponded 2 December 2015

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1,156 - 1,162 of 1,502 reviews

Reviewed 20 February 2014

Very happy to use an ITISON voucher deal for dinner, bed & breakfast at this lovely hotel.
Having used Houston House for our wedding reception last year & had an amazing experience, we are glad to say that on the whole we were not disappointed at returning as a regular customer.
We were given a lovely quiet bedroom in one of the annex buildings. It was spotlessly clean with fabulous king size bed, tea/coffee making facilities, toiletries in the bathroom & the usual hair dyer, trouser press etc. Plenty of space in the room with 2 arm chairs, ample wardrobe space, etc. just fab. We also had breakfast in our room, which @ a £3 tray charge is a bargain. Good quality cooked or continental breakfast of your choice, just can't fault it.
Now to the issues:
1) Jeremy Wares Restaurant. If your dinner isn't included, it's VERY EXPENSIVE. £8.00 for a starter, £18.00 - £25.00 for a main course. This doesn't include potatoes or vegetables which are £3.50 extra PER PORTION, which I really object to. Also, a SMALL glass of wine = £6.95!!!!! Why there has to be a massive mark up on alcohol, I have yet to discover the answer.
Thankfully we had a £30 allowance for dinner which enabled us to have a starter & main course each. Although the staff are lovely, we waited 45 MINUTES for our starter. When it arrived, my husband had 6 oysters which he said were very good. I had the pulled pork terrine, which was flavourless. Mains, my husband had fish, which he said was very good. I had chicken, which again was flavourless. Our waitress did ask for feedback on our experience, as she explained it was a new menu & they'd received good feedback so far. I had to be honest & report my dishes as totally flavourless. The waitress took this comment on board & asked how I suggest improve it. She said she would pass on my comments & I was very impressed by her professional manner.
2) Spa/Leisure facilities:
Currently under going refurbishment. No official male changing room when we were there. No staff around to help direct my husband as to where to go & change. Signage very confusing or non existent. Couldn't find how to access the pool from the male toilets where he eventually chose to get changed due to lack of staff & confusing signage. Made for a stressful experience as it seemed only access to the pool was via the ladies changing room????? He felt VERY uncomfortable with this option & actually gave up trying to find staff/access the pool, asking me if we could just leave,which we did, having not used the facilities. Very disappointing.
3) Reception staff:
Normally we find the staff to be lovely here, but on this occasion, we felt the young girl at reception required some training. We reported an issue with a faulty toilet flush in our bathroom on departure, all she said was "ok". No apology, no acknowledgement of the issue, no indication of what she was going to do to resolve this issue for the next guest.
4) Disabled access:
Ground floor of the hotel accessible with accessible toilet. Everywhere else has LOTS of steps/stairs. Not suitable if you have mobility difficulties. Not sure if ANY of the bedrooms are accessible by wheelchair.
Having said all of the above, we love Houston House & will return if we can get a special deal.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank womenabroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herve B, General Manager at Macdonald Houstoun House, responded to this reviewResponded 2 December 2015

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Reviewed 20 February 2014

I have just returned from a two night stay. Check in was very professional and quick. Nice room but take your own cases. Room No 36 very clean with a bottle of wine and fresh fruit provided. Changed the wine from red to white, no problem again. I then discovered I only had one wine glass, one robe and one pair of slippers, again no problem getting this resolved. Went for a swim, pool ok, however they are upgrading the changing facilities at present, ladies are still the same, gents have no toilet or shower facilities and have been built next to the reception desk. I understand work is being carried out so again not a problem. Now the down side, we were booked into the restaurant for evening dinner, even though we were not in a hurry waiting a hour for a plate of soup was a bit long, and only after the soup arrived were we offered any bread. The main course wasn’t too long a wait but I have never come across a chicken as small in all my life, it was not even a kiddies portion. Thankfully the desert was of a good size which made me think I had eaten a three course meal. I would make sure that you have had nibbles in your room before eating, really poor quality. Not the same can be said about the breakfast, service was very good and a lovely warm and fresh full English was eaten. Overall I would recommend staying at the hotel but would recommend eating dinner out.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank AlfieandElla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herve B, General Manager at Macdonald Houstoun House, responded to this reviewResponded 2 December 2015

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Reviewed 18 February 2014

Spa day followed by dinner in Jeremy Wares restaurant.

On arrival the reception manager in the spa was most helpful and informative.

Spa treatments were very very good and staff were really lovely enthusiastic re treatments and products - a credit to Houston House.

The spa is having a big refurbishment so currently the changing facilities are less than optimal and the place was cold especially on arrival despite a burning gas fire in lounge.

Lunch was absolutely lovely

Swimming pool, sauna and steam room were fine.

Then onto Jeremy Wares restaurant -well unfortunately I totally agree with previous review AVERAGE!!

Scotland in February is cold but I would have expected the dining area to be comfortable -it was cold!

Starters - blue cheese walnut salad turned out to be mostly lettuce leaves with only a hint of what should have been the main ingredients -very disappointing and overpriced , salmon was ok and the third guest had pulled pork terrine which was ok.
We were asked if we would like bread- surely a restaurant which makes renowned claims should ensure the guests are provided with bread?
Mains 2 x chicken and 1monkfish.
Spiced monkfish was tasty but there was only 2 tiny medallions of fish and it was only warm and at a cost in excess of £21.
Desserts were reasonably good followed by a cheese board.

In my recent experience of dining in good restaurants(castle terrace,tom kitchen) the waiting staff are trained to explain the food and cheeses. These establishments also offer pre starters and amuse bouche. Perhaps I had higher expectations of this restaurant?

Waiting staff never returned to ask if we wanted coffee -it was as though they disappeared.

I think the waiting staff are poorly trained and that should be rectified as a matter of urgency.

West Lothian needs a high quality eating experience and this has such potential but at present does not cut the mustard.

Mrs E Sinclair

Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
2  Thank macsin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herve B, General Manager at Macdonald Houstoun House, responded to this reviewResponded 2 December 2015

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Reviewed 17 February 2014

A very nice sounding menu, however the minute, flavourless portions failed to live up to expectations. The waiting staff were inattentive and in my opinion the 'fine dining' prices were not matched with a fine dining experience. Extremely disappointed and will not return.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
2  Thank Jennifer L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herve B, General Manager at Macdonald Houstoun House, responded to this reviewResponded 2 December 2015

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Reviewed 15 February 2014 via mobile

Gorgeous hotel amazing gardens and tennis court with gym. Great for a spa weekend or relaxing weekend. Restaraunt was fantastic. 15 min walk to Uphall train station for easy access to Edinburgh. Great find at a great price

  • Stayed: January 2014
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3  Thank KatieA103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herve B, General Manager at Macdonald Houstoun House, responded to this reviewResponded 2 December 2015

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Reviewed 15 February 2014

I don't normally write reviews (this is my first on trip advisor) but I felt compelled to after a 2 night stay in the Houston House hotel while on a business trip. In summary the hotel rooms are average at best, the food is way over priced and very poor as is the service. If you want a hotel in Livingston area my advice would be look elsewhere.

For more detail on why I came to the conclusion above I have split my review in to 3 categories below.

Costs
The rooms are very overpriced and at over £100 pounds a night breakfast was not included - that was another £17.50 or £15.50 if you bought vouchers at reception. The costs don't end there if you want the bottle of water they give you in your room its costs £4.50. The hotel charges like a wounded bull.

Rooms
There were 4 of us staying and the rooms all varied with 3 of us in the newer part of the hotel and 1 in the older part. I had a look in the older part of the hotel and the room looked very dated and run down with creaking floorboards and the most vile curtains I have ever seen. My room was a double and was clean enough but nothing special. The bathroom was very small and the water pressure was terrible. On the second day it took almost 20 minutes to get any water out the shower - I almost gave up !!! I mentioned this on checkout and was told that someone would look at it. Not very comforting as I was on my way out.

Food
This is where the hotel really let its self down. We booked a table and when we arrived were placed in a side dining room as there was an event in the main dining room. The waiters were very unfriendly and after ordering drinks we were asked if we wanted bread but if we did they now charged for it. We said we would have some for the table to be told that it was £1.75 per person for as much as you wanted but the waiter had to hand it out. The one person in our party who wanted bread therefore asked for four bits only to be asked by the waiter if she was joking. It was then a very uncomfortable situation which ended up in the waiter handing out two bits of bread, which ended up being stale. The menu was fairly limited and we all ordered different starters all of which were overpriced and very average. For the mains I ordered a steak which at nearly £25 did not even come with potatoes, chips or even a salad. The chips were £3.50 extra and were soggy and greasy. I asked for my steak cooked medium and it came rare. By the time a new one arrived the rest of the table had finished their meals.

Breakfast was equally disappointing and one of our party were told off for coming down at 6.50am when breakfast started a 7.00am. None of our party thought the food was worth £5 let alone £15.50.

I cannot comment on the Spa as I did not get the chance to attend.

Room Tip: If you don't want a dilapidated room make sure that you choose the newer part of the hotel, the...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled on business
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4  Thank Scott T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herve B, General Manager at Macdonald Houstoun House, responded to this reviewResponded 2 December 2015

Thank you for your review

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 Houstoun House

Address: West Lothian, Uphall EH52 6JS, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > West Lothian > Uphall
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Uphall
Price Range: £71 - £141 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Houstoun House 4*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in a secluded spot near Livingston just west of Edinburgh, and set in 22 acres of beautiful woodlands, Macdonald Houstoun House is the perfect country hotel and retreat. Once visited by Mary Queen of Scots, the historic building has the classic grace of a 16th century Tower House. Inside, 70 rooms blend luxury and character, with a unique feature bedroom in the Tower For food-lovers, the Jeremy Wares at Houstoun House restaurant has two AA Rosettes for excellent local ingredients, expertly cooked in season. In the cellar, the cosy Vaulted Bar is the perfect spot for a drink or afternoon tea. Our Leisure Club and Spa have ample scope for working off the calories and a host of rejuvenating treatments. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Macdonald Houstoun House Hotel Livingston
Macdonald Houstoun Hotel
Macdonald Houstoun Livingston
Houston House Hotel
Macdonald Houstoun House Uphall, West Lothian

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