I have visited this amazing hotel about 25 times – and I’m only 28 – so I obviously recommend it very highly! My wife and I most recently stayed in October 2006.
Crieff Hydro is ideally located in the heart of Perthshire and makes a great base for exploring the surrounding loughs and glens. It is also a perfect place to stop on the way to the Highlands if you are travelling from the south of Scotland or England.
The family run hotel is stunning, on an elevated location overlooking Crieff town. It has retained its old castle feel, but provides 21st century service throughout. It has almost 900 acres of land, and offers an enormous selection of outdoor activities, like an 18-hole golf course, pitch & putt, driving range, tennis, shooting, off road driving, karting, miles and miles of scenic walking trails, horse riding from the private stables….. It even owns a few acres on the shores of Lough Earn and offers water sports in the summer. This is only a 30 minute drive from the Hydro.
The Hydro also has a huge leisure centre, spa & beauty complex, ladies boutique clothes shop, cinema, snooker room, and a kids club that is legendary amongst the many return visitors. It is currently putting the finishing touches to a brand new sports centre and kids arena. There are plenty of activities run throughout the week, all of which are advertised on the various notice boards. In the evening there is traditional Scottish dancing three or four times per week.
There is a massive choice of accommodation types, ranging from hotel rooms and suites to studio apartments and enormous state-of-the-art chalets. I have only ever stayed in the hotel, and the rooms have always been excellent, with a big bathroom, comfortable bed and flat screen TV and DVD player. Tea and coffee making facilities and an ironing board and iron are also available, as well as a fridge which you can fill with your own drinks and snacks. There is also a guest laundry room on the basement level, and ice machines located conveniently around the hotel.
The hotel offers two main restaurants. The Meikle has grown from the original dining room, and (thankfully) is still a relatively formal affair. I think that it is great to dress up for a five course dinner, stopping first for a drink while listening to piano music. The food is of a very high standard, and the wine list is impressive. Diners are asked to dress smartly – absolutely no jeans, trainers or t-shirts!! I still go for a jacket and tie.
On the other hand, the Brasserie is modern and more casual. The a la carte menu is fixed, but is frequently updated. There are also three or four daily specials for each course. The food is very good, and there is a large selection of steaks, meats, chicken, fish and pasta, as well as the normal array of beers and wines. You can also stop in here for a drink any time throughout the day, and there is an area for relaxing and reading the papers in.
What we normally do is check out the dinner menus after breakfast, and then book a table before heading off to do what ever we are doing. On a ‘dinner, bed & breakfast’ package you get the full five courses in the Meikle, or a credit of £19pp off the a la carte menu in the Brasserie (which you usually have to add a few pounds to if you want the full four courses).
Breakfast is served each morning in the Meikle, but the dress code is casual to allow people to head out and enjoy their day straight after. Apart from tea / coffee and toast, it is completely ‘serve yourself’. There is a large selection from the cold buffet, and then the hot food includes potato bread, sausage, bacon, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, and haggis, which is a real treat! There is a choice of eggs cooked to your liking. Despite being busy, there is very rarely a queue, and the food is always fresh and piping hot.
Food and drinks are also available throughout the day at the Hydro’s own golf club and in the Winter Garden in the hotel, and packed lunches can be prepared for £3.95 if you are heading out for the day.
The town of Crieff is small and compact, and really does not have much for the tourist. However it is attractive, has a good tourist office, and there are several shops selling all things Scottish. The Crieff Visitor Centre and the Stuart Glass Factory on the outskirts of town on the road to Stirling are worth a visit, and the newly refurbished Caledonian Bar in the town square (formerly Scorpios nightclub) serves a brilliant lunch for £4.00 - £7.00. A popular local attraction is the Glenturret Distillery, which has recently been bought by Famous Grouse whisky.
I’m looking forward to my next visit already!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arguably the most comprehensive family resort in Scotland, 4 star Crieff Hydro is centrally located in its own 900 acre estate with an unrivaled range of leisure pursuits for all ages. Choose from over 40 on-site leisure activities and take advantage of inclusive daily childcare for 2-12 year olds in the 700m2 kids club. Extensively redeveloped from top to bottom, Crieff Hydro is only an hours drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Crieff Hydro Hotel Crieff
- Crieff Hydro Resort
- Crieff Hotel Hydro
- Crieff Hydro Scotland
- Crieff Hydro Hotel And Resort Scotland