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“Excellent stay in Dornoch”

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Dornoch Castle Hotel
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Dornoch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 May 2014

The lobby/whiskey bar area was great - unique and a solid place to congregate in the evenings. The room (we had a 2 bedroom/1 bath) was excellent. Spacious enough, updated bath, very clean. Simon was very helpful with Scotch selections. The breakfast was wonderful (the gals in the breakfast room offered top-notch service and were pleasant to talk with in the mornings). I ordered a salmon for dinner and got a steak - not a bad tradeoff but kind of an odd goof. Didn't get to know some of the staff as well as we did at other small hotels/B&B's, but that's fine. Truly no real complaints - wonderful stay and would certainly welcome the opportunity to stay there again.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank DENColorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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364 - 370 of 805 reviews

Reviewed 1 May 2014

We have stayed in this hotel during a trip in Scottland with our English Cars.

There was a great choice of food and I just loved the English Breakfast which has been served there.

If you are a Whisky Lover meet with the sons of the Hotel onwers - they are great whisky freak's and give you some great tips about which distillerys to visit.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Patrick G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2014

Recently had the pleasure of staying two nights at Dornoch Castle on a trip to view antiques in Wick. I found every aspect of the hotel superb. The room was comfortable, clean and well kitted out, had a view over the walled garden behind the castle too. Dinner was truly sublime, whilst I enjoyed the Pigeon starter immensely, it was the Venison main that really blew my mind - genuinely don't remember having a finer bit of venison anywhere else. After-dinner drinks in the bar was an experience too, the huge medieval fire place is the perfect backdrop for getting tucked into one or two (or more...) drams from the castle's unrivalled selection of Whisky at very fair prices. Much like the beer I enjoyed, I was a very Happy Chappy.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank jonnymcm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2014

I've stayed here a few times now on business and it's been a joy every time. The bar and restaurant provide and excellent atmosphere for unwinding after a long day on the road and, if like me you enjoy whisky, there is a great selection of it on the bar, really unusual bottles I've not seen anywhere else and fairly priced. The staff are always welcoming and accommodating. Since I've been back the last time the food has even improved so I can't recommend the place highly enough really. It makes work feel slightly like being on holiday.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled on business
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Thank Angus M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2014 via mobile

Awful, awful, awful!!!!!!

Don't know where to start really. My husband & I booked a champagne deal weekend away for our wedding anniversary(£229 DB&B per night) we hadn't been away alone together for 7 years since our kids were born so it was a special break. The moment we walked in we were disappointed, to check-in there was a tiny wooden table in the corner of a very small cramped bar area, we were greeted by a very young girl who was pleasant enough we were then asked to book a table for dinner & our only options were 6.45pm or 8.15pm, we should have been made aware prior to our arrival to book if they know it gets busy, especially when I had been in touch with the hotel the day before!!!! We were then shown to our room. The whole hotel had an awful damp mouldy smell to it, yes it's an old building but that is no excuse, I have stayed in older places that don't have this awful odour. When we got to our room we were even more disappointed & upset. The bedding had some awful looking stains on it, the cushions on the chairs were dirty, the chairs you couldn't sit on because all the stuffing was gone so you were sat on the springs, the carpet was dated & the rug in front of the fire was old & badly needing replaced. The bathroom area was no better the bath panel was cracked & dirty, the base of the bath was covered in chips, the slate tiles around the sink were cracked, the tiny toilet cubicle has no ventilation at all & was very grubby. We sat there utterly heartbroken, throughout the constant noise of the boy racers cars screaming past, outside the hotel must be their drag strip!! It was too late for us to go else where so we decided to stay one night, try & make the best of an awful situation. We went for dinner, by this point we were starving as it was 8.15pm, sad you can't even go for dinner at a time you would like especially at their prices! The restaurant has no theme, no atmosphere, again tired & in need of some renovation. We struggled to have a conversation as there was a large & very noisy table celebrating someone's birthday. The food was nice enough. But we were disgusted to find after booking for Dinner, Bed & Breakfast to find your 'dinner' is just an allowance of £32 then you pay for extra, there is NO way you can have a 3 course meal at their prices for this, we ended up being over the 'allowance' with just a starter & a main!!! In all my years I have never stayed DB&B to them find you only have a budgeted allowance for dinner!!!! We went back to our room with very heavy hearts, on an occasion we should have felt happy & relaxed we were the total opposite!!! We went to bed but were woken at 2.50am by loud banging noises that lasted a good 5-10 minutes, then took a long time to get back to sleep, in a very stuffy room, we opened the window but had the noise of any passing traffic to contend with.
We got up the next morning shattered, packed our bags & decided to check out, we didn't even go for breakfast we just wanted out!! We were greeted by a very frosty & arrogant young girl, different from the one when we checked in, she disregarded everything we were saying & screwing her face up while speaking to us, didn't offer an apology & told us we still had to pay!!!!! She said the room we had was the best one the have & asked if we wanted to see another room.....clearly not as if the one we had was your 'best'. I was furious, but my husband had just had enough & wanted out, so she said she was charging us £100 for the second night that we were NOT staying & full price for the awful night we did stay - plus the cost of what we owed for going over our 'dinner allowance' & drinks. This all came to over £300!!!!!! We had already paid £50 deposit!!! Disgusting, we had to pay £350 for being in that place for a total of 16 hours - what a rip off, utterly disgusting!!! She didn't even offer to get the management, and when we did phone later to speak to a manager we kept getting told they weren't there & they will call back, they never have & I suspect they never will!!!!!

It was a 3 & a half hour drive for us to get here too.

We left sad, angry, heartbroken, upset & with a very bad taste in our mouth!!!!! And a VERY empty wallet! I have posted various photos as proof, feel free to have a look & save yourself the upset of staying in this awful place.

Save your money & go somewhere else with more class & respect for their residents, we ended up checking into Kincraig Castle Hotel which was amazing & ticked all the right boxes.

  • Stayed: April 2014
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20  Thank Munkyprim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dornochcastle, Manager at Dornoch Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 10 April 2014

Dear Munkyprim,

Thank you for the comments you have posted on Trip Advisor.

We are happy to accept criticism of service where it is due, and do our utmost to respond to any adverse comments positively.

I would just like to clarify the comments you have made, firstly with regards to dining times it does clearly state on the bottom of each email we send, you should book in advance to save disappointment.

With regards to the stains on the bedding, our housekeeping department work very hard to ensure the cleanliness of our rooms are kept to a very high standard, but on occasion’s things can sometimes get missed and we do apologise for this.

You have also mentioned about the bath panel being crack and chips on the bottom of the bath, we are currently in the process of fixing small faults in the rooms.

I feel maybe if you were unhappy with the room from the start you should have come to reception and discussed it with us, we could have maybe rectified the situation and could have let you see some of our other rooms you may have preferred, which I did offer you on check out but you declined and were just adamant you wanted to go home.

With regards to the noises outside your room as I said on checkout the hotel has no control over that and feel that comment is invalid.

It was myself that checked you out in the morning, I do deeply apologise if you thought I came crossed frosty and arrogant that was not my intention at all; I have since refunded the £100.00 cancellation charge to your card.


With regards to the phone call, I believed it was your mother who called the hotel to complain not yourself and would not talk to anyone other than the owner. The owner would have been quite happy to discuss that matter with you or your husband as you stayed in the hotel not your mother.


I believe maybe you weren't in the best frame of mind when checking in and whatever the hotel would have done wouldn't have been enough to satisfy you.

Our guests the night before and after raved about the rooms, food and service; you can see this by our previous reviews on trip advisor

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, however we have thousands of happy guests who return and visit us each year, Perhaps the Dornoch Castle just wasn't for you.

Kindest Regards
Danielle
Reception Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2014

From the first point of contact on this visit to the moment we booked out the next morning the staff could not have been more helpful and friendly.
The service could not be faulted, nor could the cuisine, and as an unexpected bonus was the knowledge the bartender had of the vast array of malt whiskies on offer, which he guided me to the brand he thought I would appreciate, and was not disappointed.
Anyone looking for a quiet getaway to relax should certainly give this establishment a worthwhile consideration, we shall certainly be returning again.
For some the lack of lifts may pose a problem, but what would you expect from a building of this age and so much character

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Andy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2014

From the moment we arrived till the moment we left this proved a most enjoyable experience. Pleasant, friendly staff on arrival and delighted with the room in the castle part itself. We had room 2 appropriately called 'Royal Dornoch' given that we were to play this magnificent golf course during our time there. Back to the room. Adequately sized but with a 4 poster bed and one of the most comfortable beds I have slept in. Dressing gowns and slippers just added to our enjoyment. This was a superior room so unable to comment on the quality of other standard rooms. The restaurant food was of a high standard although at this time of year the menu is somewhat restricted. Not the cheapest food we've eaten but it was good quality. Overall the hospitality was very good and if it appeals, the opportunity to try some of the whiskies available, should not be missed.

Room Tip: Get into the castle part of the hotel
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank sunnybeeFifeScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dornoch Castle Hotel

Address: Castle Street, Dornoch IV25 3SD, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Caithness and Sutherland > Dornoch
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Dornoch
Price Range: £126 - £187 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Dornoch Castle Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Castle is located in the historic town of Dornoch across from the stunning 13th century Cathedral, boasting stunning views of the town. The central position of the hotel makes it ideal for exploring Dornoch, home to the world famous Royal Dornoch Golf Course, which overlooks the breath taking golden sand beach. Dornoch is also well situated for those looking to explore more of what the Highlands have to offer. The historic Castle is built on the site of the original Bishop’s Palace of St Gilbert, who founded the Cathedral in the early 13th century. The building eventually sold on and in 1947 became a hotel after some extensive work, which maintain much of the character of the Castle as a stately, historic and comfortable home. The Castle boasts a total of 22 en-suite bedrooms situated both within the original castle and the modern garden extension. There is a variety of room types available including; standard, superior, deluxe and our award winning Old Courtroom. Due to the castle’s layout each bedroom has its own special ambiance, great care has been taking in creating a distinctive character in each bedroom. The Castle's restaurant has retained an AA rosette standard, through the exceptional work from the chefs. The malt whisky selection is second to none and can be enjoyed in the cosy stone-lined whisky bar with the roaring fire to protect you from the Scottish winds, in the summer the walled garden is the perfect setting to relax during the long summer nights. Coming Summer 2016: The Dornoch Distillery will be opening soon on the grounds of the Dornoch Castle Hotel producing 'Old Style' Whisky and Hand Crafted Organic Gin from scratch. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dornoch Castle Hotel Scotland

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