This is the first review I have given on Trip Advisor as having working for years in the hospitality industry and travelled the world on business I expect high standards and find the idea of writing reviews a bit of a chore - just another half an hour in front of a computer. I believe that if you have paying guests they should be given the highest standards possible (sadly not always the case, but hey, life's not perfect) however, I have felt compelled to put pen to paper (so to speak) due to our recent experience at this hotel. It was a weekend of highs (mostly highs) and lows..... Where to start?........... Lets do the good bits first.
We drove a good distance to get here and just wanted a good meal and somewhere decent to stay. One out of two ain't bad I guess. We were in one of the cottages (four of us on a golf outing - boys for golf and girls for wine, spa and chilling - more of that later).
Location - it's a bit of a trek, but it is through some stunning scenery! We travelled from the east coast down through Angus, Perthshire, and the Highlands, via, Killin, Loch Lomond, Inverary and whilst it was a long drive it passed quick enough and served to remind me just what an amazing and stunningly beautiful country we are privileged to live in. I haven't had a road drip this length in many years and just keep wondering "why not?" The roads are not fantastic (i.e. not mindless motorway) but who cares, go slower and enjoy Scotland!!
Accommodation - we were in cottage #1 - only one word - Wow! just Wow!!! Look at the pics on the hotel website and this is exactly what you get. Lounge/kitchen area is very spacious and beautiful, both rooms en-suite (one with Jack & Jill door to main bathroom). Top of the range everything and a very well catered kitchen with granite work-tops. Everything is just so comfortable and the artisan deer's antler light fitting above the beautiful glass topped dining table is just stunning. Beds are huge and very, very comfortable. Bedrooms are well equipped with lots of space, drawers, wardrobe etc. Each room also has a safe in the spacious wardrobe. Everything you could want is here - loads of towels, fluffy white robes - there is even a dark face-cloth for removing make up!! They have thought of everything, except a clothes brush, so take your own. The bathrooms are fantastic and you could hold a barn dance in the showers!! It really is top notch stuff and I can't make enough good noises about it, especially when we woke up to the sound of the sea on the beach on a lovely sunny morning. This is an amazing place to stay.
Staff - (now bear in mind that having been in this industry and know exactly how tough it can be and my husband is an ex-chef) we can be hyper-critical with the knowledge of personal experience. The staff were all JUST FANTASTIC!!! I don't really have a bad word to say about them, friendly, happy, unobtrusive, efficient (even the ones who were obviously training and still a bit nervous - i.e. shaking pouring the champers). A big shout out to Daniel, Mary-Ann and "Miss Hungary" (couldn't catch her name!) they made our stay very enjoyable, and the others were all great too.
Now that's the up side.............so to the downs. To be honest and totally clear, with a little adjustment and forewarning (hence this lengthy review) there is no real downside.
BUT....... the food was a total disappointment in the rather pricey Kintyre Club Dining Room. Firstly, we were with a veggie who had very little choice on the menu, however, after some suggestions for the chef she ended up with exactly what she asked for made to order in a busy restaurant. Like I said, they can't do enough for you. Top marks here. Secondly, we had a table in the bar - not what we were expecting in a fine dining restaurant, although to be fair they were very busy with golf parties, so on a quieter night it may have been different. Two of the three starters ordered were sub standard and eaten only because we were starving! Two of the main courses were sent back (not something we do lightly) and the other two were pretty bland and disappointing. Deserts were OK (Semifreddo means part frozen, not rock solid frozen block of ice!) and the cheese was nice but too cold to have any real flavour. They did take the two mains off the bill after I queried it, but on a bill of nearly £230 for 4 people not all of whom ate three courses it was definitely over priced for the quality. To be honest I will happily pay good money for quality, but this just didn't hit the mark. The table next to us (5 or 6 ladies) were arguing about their bill as the food was not good enough and in the morning, when checking out, another party was arguing the toss about the food charges because of the quality, but they should have complained at the time, next morning is too late, in my opinion. I suspect it was "sour grapes" as they had had the £300 penalty charge added to their bill for smoking cigars in their room - serves them right! We both smoke - we go outside - that's life, get over it!!! To top it all, the breakfast was mediocre in the extreme and when your sausage matches the colour of the black pudding, you know you have a problem. Poor, poor, poor, poor poor!!!!!
What else? Oh, if you fancy the GYM whilst the men play golf, forget it - the "gym" is a carpeted room with a few pieces of equipment - not good at all. AND, so much for our relaxing day in the spa, advertised as "open daily 10am - 6pm" - it isn't open on Sundays!! What is that all about????? We also had the impression there was a pool, sauna etc. there isn't. I don't know why we thought that, but we did. Maybe it is just what you expect when a "spa" is mentioned, but that was a big disappointment as we ended up walking round the golf course with the boys, just for something to do.
Back to the good bits............The PUB - great little pub - friendly, good staff and nice atmosphere. Really wish we had eaten here as the food looked fantastic and lots of it. "Miss Hungary" was great company behind the bar and the locals were happy to chat and have a laugh with you. Really enjoyed being in here and it was only a 30 yard "stagger" to the cottage.
So.......... overall a great weekend in a truly beautiful place in amazing accommodation, with a great team looking after us and a jolly decent little pub to chill out in. You can't really get much better than that and the only reason it's not been given full marks is the Kintyre Club food. If they ever get a decent chef and lay on a little something for the ladies whilst the guys play golf they have got a real winner, which I would happily drive another six hours to go back to. In fact, we probably will go back again and hopefully soon, but our plans will be adjusted to include the wherewith all to cook our own breakfast in the cottage and we will eat at night in the pub rather than the hotel.
Oh a word about the golf at the Dunes Course - wow! Now that's a golf course and a half!!! It's a definite "experience" for any golfer and will challenge the best. It's a helluva round of golf - take your crampons for climbing the hills!!! I've been dragged (kicking and screaming) round many courses as a caddy for my husband (excellent golfer btw) and this is just amazing, I've never seen another course like it. It is such a challenge that it might be worth paying for a guide as it is without doubt the "quirkiest" course I've ever experienced and someone who can guide you round would be well worth the extra expense.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Village at Machrihanish Dunes, consisting of Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club, The Ugadale Hotel & Cottages and The Old Clubhouse Pub, coupled with The Royal Hotel in nearby Campbeltown, offers you a golf destination rivaling the finest in the world. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Odigeo, Priceline and Hotels.com so you can book your The Ugadale Hotel & Cottages reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.