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“Good in its own way” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Cluny Bank Hotel

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The Cluny Bank Hotel
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Forres
Certificate of Excellence
Worksop
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Good in its own way”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 June 2013

We've just had a wonderful stay at the Cluny Bank. It was perfect for us but it would not have been perfect for everybody. But if your needs are like ours you would not be disappointed.

What it does it does very well. But this is not really a hotel, it is probably better described as a restaurant with rooms. Our room (the McGregor) was very comfortable, reasonably spacious, but had only a view of trees. If you like trees and nature (which I do) then it was wonderful: but if you want to see rolling vistas then you would be disappointed. We weren't!

As a "restaurant with rooms" it should not be expected to provide lounges, sun terraces, swimming pools, saunas or jacuzzis ............. and it doesn't. But what it does provide is peace and tranquilty; a welcome retreat at the end of a long day's touring (and some wonderful walks though woodland just a few yards from the front door).

Trip Advisor lists a number of critical reviews of the restaurant and food. Our experience was one of great satisfaction. Admittedly the menu was a little pricey, and the portions were not huge, but I never left the table hungry. What must be admired is the quality of the fare. The ingredients and the end product was far and above what I have been presented with in the virtually all the other hotels I have had the misfortune to stay in, both in the UK and overseas. Each year I spend over 100 nights in hotels and I would love to come across this quality of food in just a handful of them.

Cluny Bank is what it is because of its 2 owners, Lloyd and Julia. They own it and they run it. There are a few casual helpers (cleaners and waitresses) but apart from that it is a 2-man band. The chef comes out to see if the food is up to expectation (and will even tell you exactly how it has been prepared, cooked, and even where the ingredients came from): he will come and take your dessert orders and the rush back into the kitchen to produce them. Julia runs the front of house as receptionist, barmaid, waitress and manager. During the 4 days that we stayed there we never managed to sneak in without her catching us, asking how our day had been, and presenting us with fresh milk for our in-room tea-tray (despite there already being the obligatory plastic pots of UHT as found in every other room from Travelodge to Hilton). Such is their attention to detail and care.

Would I stay there again? The answer is most certainly YES. Would I recommend it? Again yes, but with reservation (because it would not be to everyone's taste).

I give it 9/10. It's not perfect, but at least they do try!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Oliver_McHilt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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210 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Newmarket, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
92 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2013

We were staying at Cluny Bank Hotel with friends. One of the friends is an avid reader of tripadvisot and had booked for two couples in advance with booking.com

When my husband and I arrived we were met by a very loud and enthusiastic Lloyd who showed us to our room in the annexe. The room was small and the bathroom very cramped. Lloyd told us not to open the door to the small unkempt patio as mice and frogs would come in. On investigating another source for fresh air apart from the door which led to the car park I discovered a cracked window and none of the windows opened.

I took a shower - spider in the bath - I hung up my clothes - spiders in the wardrobe.

At this point our friends arrived back and we showed them our room, they agreed we could not possibly stay in that room so we were moved to the Davies Room. The only view was from the bathroom, again the windows did not open. The other windows in the room did open, but were very dirty on the outside and the only view was another one of the patio and a steep ivy bank. The curtains were the same as my parents had in their home some 30 years ago.

To dinner ....... an extensive menu. Very expensive and nothing special. Way overpriced for what it was.

There was nowhere to sit other than in our rooms as the small bar/lounge was occupied in the evening by visiting diners.

The website shows room that show no likeness to the actual rooms.

Lloyd and Julia are actually very nice people, they were helpful and as my friend says her fudge is very tasty.

However, our room was so disappointing and we would not have stayed if our friends had not paid in advance.

Room Tip: Definitely no tips!!!
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank HoptonCintra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
215 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2013

This is a lovely small hotel and the owners obviously want to make your stay as enjoyable as it can be, from the moment we arrived to a hearty welcome from Lloyd and Jules. The food is superb and Lloyd is passionate about what he does, the desserts were wonderful and he even discussed with us what desserts we would like the following night! The standard of food is as good as we have had in what are considered to be top restuarants. Our hotel room was spacious and had everything in it that we needed. There were lots of nice little touches, fresh milk in your room for tea & coffee and of course the fudge!

Room Tip: Cavanagh Room is very spacious with a lovely sitting area and a huge bathroom
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Scotchick2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bern
Level Contributor
76 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2013

As a group of 3 mature couples, we stayed at Cluny Bank for 4 nights in order to really enjoy this part of Scotland! We all agreed that the website is somewhat overblown! Our room, although large with a very nice bathroom, was decorated with dated furniture and was painted in a very dark colour which together with the heavy drapes resulted in a rather oppressive atmosphere! Sadly the windows in all 3 rooms could use a really good clean!
We had dinner in the restaurant the first evening and were all amazed at the high cost, Lloyd's cuisine is good but not outstanding!
Our hosts were helpful and really friendly and I have to say Julia's fudge is worthy of a prize!!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank BeeBern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 April 2013

My husband and I just left the Cluny Bank Hotel after staying 2 nights. If we were not expected to meet relatives in another city in the south of Scotland, we would have loved to stay another day.
Upon our arrival, we started to bring our suitcases up the stairs to the front door when Lloyd
(the owner and chef) raced out of the the front door to carry them up for us. He greeted us with such enthusiasm that we felt like we were long lost relatives. His wife, Julia (Jules) greeted us as we stepped inside and had everything ready for us. Lloyd carried our cases up to our room and showed us inside. The size and decor of the room took our breath away! We felt like we had stepped back a century and entered a castle! The room was marvelous!
That evening we ate at their restaurant (we did have reservations) and enjoyed our meal.
The chef (Lloyd) checked on us several times as did Julia who served us. Dinner was not rushed and the service was fine. We had not planned on ordering dessert but the chef presented the dessert choices with such passion we could not refuse and we were not
disappointed. We had planned on dining somewhere else the second night, however since we enjoyed it so much the first night, we elected to eat there again. Again, we were not disappointed. In regard to breakfast, there is a fine selection of hot dishes on the menu and there is a cold buffet available also.
When we left to head south, both Lloyd and Julia were there to thank us. We left with the promise that if we returned to Scotland, the Cluny Bank would be our 1st stop.
NOTE: I would like to comment to the person who left the previous review. My husband and I have owned two hotels...one small and one large. We are very familiar with putting your heart and soul into making guests feel welcome. We are also familiar with how and what it takes to run a restaurant. The Cluny Bank is not a large hotel (it has 8 rooms) and it should not be compared to a 5 star major chain hotel. This is a very lovely home with a husband and wife who work 24/7 to make their guests feel special. It is unrealistic to expect them to stay open
late to wait for late dinner guests or to have extra food laying about like a major hotel kitchen has. Right at the moment we are at a major chain hotel, in a cookie cutter room and would trade it for one at the Cluny Bank in a heart beat.
So.....for the traveler who wants a special treat....give the Cluny Bank a try...you won't be disappointed!

Room Tip: Hotel is tricky to find....driveway is very narrow...located in a residential area.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank mtk1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Petersfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2013

I was unfortunately rather disappointed with the Cluny Bank Hotel, particularly after the extraordinary amount of “excellent” ratings on Trip Advisor. The location, building, rooms and general decor are very nice but the food, service and general reception soured my experience completely.
I had pre-arranged with the hotel that I would be late and placed my food order, and those of my two colleagues, in advance. However on arrival the owner hurriedly ushered me into the restaurant to eat, before I could even see my room. The meal was a let down: not bad but unmemorable, the highpoint being the pancetta-wrapped asparagus spear in the amuse bouche. Portions were very small (so I asked for two extra servings of breads) and my hare was overcooked, despite my request for “rare”. The wine was plonked on the table, no offer to taste it and we had to pour it ourselves throughout.
However what really offended me was the flippant and somewhat arrogant attitude of the head chef-co owner who made several comments to me (who would be footing the bill for all three of us) - in a joking-but-I-mean-it way - about my late arrival (10 minutes after my “authorised” late arrival) as if to suggest this was a major inconvenience. He then went on to “warn” me not to be late for breakfast the following morning. At breakfast he even quipped “at least you weren’t late this morning”. I’d like to think he was joking – but I’m not sure. Breakfast, incidentally, was also unexceptional.

To sum up: The building and the rooms are nice but “Franklin’s Restaurant” is far from the fine-dining experience that is suggested and the overall reception and service I received was rather condescending and disrespectful, making me feel like my spending £250 on a room and dinner for three was a bit of an inconvenience. I don’t think my late arrival is any excuse – should this be offered as one. A husband and wife team should be flexible enough to deal with 3 courses, plus drinks and wine plus a night’s accommodation - commencing only half hour after last orders in the kitchen.

I hope I caught them on a bad day, I don’t think I’ll ever know.

One final point: I think the hotel’s lengthy and rather arrogant responses (of which I will surely also be the recipient) to the postings of other dissatisfied customers on Trip Advisor say it all – the response to the "poor" rating posted by “AJBSH” a case in point. If I was in the hotel’s position I would take the criticism on the chin, with some humility, and sort out the problems.

Stayed April 2013, travelled on business
Helpful?
6 Thank Neil C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 April 2013

Our four day trip into the Highlands was blessed by gorgeous sunshine, snow capped mountains and the warm comfort of Cluny Bank Hotel. Taking the big things for granted, such as the quiet location, spotlessly clean, large and comfortable rooms, cosy bar etc. What really makes this small, cosy seven room hotel special are the little things: fresh flowers in the restaurant and hall, white linen table cloths and napkins, polished glasses at the dinner and breakfast table, fresh berries and fruit for breakfast, generous fresh fluffy towels in the bathroom, outstanding breakfasts and dinner (the dinners are special), an extensive and sensibly priced wine list, service you will not find in many of the best hotels around the world. Cluny Bank cannot offer some of the facilities one would expect from a large hotel, but every aspect of our stay would put many of the 5 star hotels I have stayed in around the world to shame.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank IanC770
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Cluny Bank Hotel

Property: The Cluny Bank Hotel
Address: 69 St. Leonards Road, Forres IV36 1DW, Scotland
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Moray > Forres
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Forres
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Cluny Bank Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Small Hotel (Restaurant with Rooms, really) set in the best residential area of Forres, Moray. There are lots of activities within easy reach of the hotel such as golf, the world famous Malt Whisky Trail, castles, beaches and much more. Inverness is only 30 miles (airport 25 miles) away and there are many places of interest which can be reached. We have an extremely good reputation for food as you will see from the reviews. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cluny Bank Hotel
The Cluny Bank Hotel Forres, Scotland

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