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“Not quite paradise”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Glenapp Castle

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Glenapp Castle
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ballantrae
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
114 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Not quite paradise”
Reviewed 23 September 2013

A lovely country house hotel, with all that you would expect from a non-corporate hotel, good staff, fabulous communal areas with antique furniture, comfy sofas, log fire. However, the rooms are looking in need of a bit of a spruce up, particularly the bathroom in the room I had - the stains on the blind were not attractive, and I don't think the bed was even a full double size. Didn't spend much time in the room, however, so it didn't matter too much. The views over the sea, with Ailsa Craig the main feature were fantastic, and we enjoyed walking around the grounds, with deer, red squirrel and pheasants around. We had dinner, which seemed to be an early thing for most people - we went in at 8pm, and were far behind most people, then went back into the sitting room for drinks. At 11pm the staff left, and the night watch woman introduced herself, asked us to keep the noise down (we were not being particularly loud, and it was only 11pm on a Saturay night) and said if we wanted anything else to order from her. Not a brilliant way to end the evening, it was clear she did not want us in the sitting room for whatever reason.
Breakfast the next morning was very nice, and again the staff were very helpful. The room had been tidied, with fresh towels etc when we went back, even though we were checking out that morning, which I found a particularly nice touch.

Room Tip: The room which is the only one for people with a dog is fantastic, seperate sitting area, and door s...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Diecysiete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    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 (70)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2013

There is no shortage of luxury hotels in the UK; we have a number in Scotland. All offer different things, some more successfully than others. Having been lucky enough to stay at a few extremely good hotels, I’m now convinced that it’s the little things that set apart a really special place from all the others.

And it’s the little extra touches that Glenapp Castle excels in, in spades! It starts with the unmarked road leading to mysterious wrought iron gates, your call on the entry phone results in the gates swinging open oh so majestically, and the manager and staff are at the castle front door all ready to greet you. Indulging one’s inner Downton addict? – well, of course!

The food is excellent, as one would expect, but the readiness of the staff to adjust the menu to suit individual preference is outstanding. The staff have the happy knack of making it appear that you are the most important guest they have had all year, including remembering what time you had your morning tea delivered to the room. I love that, there is something very special about not having to boil your own kettle and use those faintly revolting UHT cartons of milk for your morning cuppa. The most delightful thing was the lady bringing the tea apologising for the weather – as if it was something the hotel could do something about!!

The owner is very much in evidence, extremely charming, and greets you by name as do all the staff. They also ask you when you would like your breakfast toast bringing – so it doesn’t sit getting cold and soggy while you eat your bacon and eggs. They also tidy your room while you are at breakfast, so it is always neat when you return.

None of these are rocket science, but they show that the hotel have really thought about what would make a guest’s stay pleasant. Naturally, you need to have sufficient well trained staff to be able to do these things, but their attitude is what makes this hotel one of the very best. Bravo, Glenapp, we’ll be back!!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SarahSwan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denbigh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
93 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2013

I stayed here for four nights and from start to finish I was very well looked after by kind, friendly and courteous staff.
I booked a dinner bed and breakfast rate but asked to take lunch instead of dinner on two of the days.
I stayed in the Countess of Inchcape room on the second floor. This has a gorgeous view of Ailsa Craig and the sea from the bedroom window, (indeed from sat up in bed also) and the bathroom window. The other window in the bedroom looked out over the gardens and the croquet lawn at the side of the castle. All three windows were opening sash ones. The bathroom was large and had a roll top bath and separate shower cubicle. The Penhaligon's Quercus toiletries were a nice treat. You can hear the extractor fan from the kitchen below in the bathroom but not the bedroom.
Some suggestions would be a small stool to put by the bath so that you could place your towels etc on it rather than the floor. The pillows, mattress and valance on the bed could do with replacing. There were pretty posies of garden flowers on all the dining tables. I would have liked to have something similar in the room.
I enjoyed two dinners and two lunches. The food was delicious but not quite homely enough for my taste. I think there is too much emphasis placed on the quest for the Michelin star. The dishes were beautifully presented but for a stay of four nights like mine you were craving some vegetables or salads at the end of it. I must however give the chef credit for preparing different menus each day. Some places I have stayed in on the "Michelin quest" have provided a seasonal menu lasting a few months which is of no use if you want to stay a few nights or more.
The best meal for me was the lunch which started with buttered sole, roasted cauliflower and almonds. This was followed by a main course of partridge with pumpkin. I did ask for some vegetables to be served with this and a few carrots did appear and a tiny piece of leek. The dessert was poached pineapple with coconut ice cream and spiced bread.
The lunch menus were three courses preceded by canapes (some hot cheese gougeres and goats cheese mousse were good) and followed by coffee or tea and petit fours.
The dinner menus were six courses, one of which was a chef's pre dessert but I chose three out of these as it would have been too much for me.
I enjoyed the breakfasts, not least because there was not a buffet table in sight and it was possible to have a relaxed morning as it was served until 10.45am which I thought very civilised.
I only had one cooked breakfast on my last morning and this was tasty, served hot and on the most pretty Spode plate
The gardens and grounds of the castle are wonderful and in particular on this visit the hydrangeas and the walled garden which was still full of colour. It would be good to go back again in the spring when the azaleas and rhododenrons are in full bloom.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank hollins1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colleyville, Texas
Level Contributor
332 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 September 2013

This is a gorgeous property with very pretty grounds. The restaurant is excellent and the service was very good. It is a nice place to have a quiet retreat. We did have problem with Internet here. Also, it is very isolated and your GPS may not give good directions, so be sure and look up the location carefully before you go, as we drove by it down a small road for miles before we turned back.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Frank M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
64 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2013

When staying in such an expensive hotel which has no swimming pool, spa or other facilities, it has to offer something very special. I see it is part of the Relais & Chateau association which values Courtesy, Charm, Calm, Character and Cuisine and in these they certainly exceeded expectations. We were met by an army of staff who looked after our every need attentively and courteously throughout our stay.

The castle is full of character, beautifully restored, furnished with period furniture and very well maintained. Our large bedroom, complete with 4 poster bed and sitting area, had a door straight outside which was perfect for our old dog.

Dinner was outstanding. Fabulous food beautifully presented. The staff were attentive and knowledgeable yet not at all pretentious.

The only reason I have rated it 4 rather than 5 was that apart from dinner, the cuisine was disappointing. We were offered a uninspiring lunch menu of soup, sandwiches, fish & chips, smoked salmon, cured meats or steak. The soup was delicious but the selection of sandwiches were very traditional (ham, egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon and cheddar). The most worrying thing though is that they had never heard of a macchiato. I was served by a young lad who I heard asking in the kitchen what it was, only to be told that I must have meant a cappuccino, which is what I was duly served. I said that I would drink it but it was not what I asked for. This was not addressed by anyone and I did not make a fuss.

Breakfast was good quality but very ordinary choice. It was the normal selection of cereals plus the usual fry up or smoked haddock or kippers. The fruit platter was in fact old fashioned fruit salad. There was nothing different that you are less likely to have at home or more modern e.g. eggs Benedict or pancakes with maple syrup.

Given the prices and its proximity to Turnberry, I should imagine the hotel will attract many from abroad. They may be happy just to stay in a Scottish castle, but the staff must make sure that the cuisine keeps up to date.

However despite these small niggles, our stay was most enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, dinner fabulous and the castle and grounds beautiful. I recommend it and would certainly return.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank goldeng1rl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ayr, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 August 2013

On 23rd August friends took my wife and I to Glenapp Castle for afternoon tea.The staff,led by Hugh Macdowell,were exceptionally friendly,efficient and helpful.The afternoon tea was superb in every detail,and knocked Turnberry into a distant third place.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dr Duncan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 August 2013 via mobile

It was my daughters 7th birthday and we thought it would be a special treat to stay in a castle. Glenapp exceeded our expectations in every way. We were made to feel very welcome from the minute we arrived, a birthday card even awaited my daughter in our room. It is a warm and friendly hotel where the owner and staff ensure that your every need is catered for and that your stay is a happy one. The food is exquisite, the castle is beautiful, the surrounding gardens are well tended and serene. We could not fault one single thing and we look forward to our return next year.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Goneaplace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Glenapp Castle

Property: Glenapp Castle
Address: Ballantrae KA26 0NZ, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Ayrshire > South Ayrshire > Ballantrae
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ballantrae
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Glenapp Castle 5*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautiful Scots Baronial castle set in 36 acres of stunning gardens and woodland overlooking the Ayrshire coastline and out to Ailsa Craig, the Isle of Arran and Mull of Kintyre. The castle is Scotland's highest rated Country House Hotel with 5 AA Red Stars and 4 AA Rosettes, 5 VisitScotland Gold Stars, EatScotland Gold Award and a Michelin Star. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Glenapp Castle Ballantrae, Scotland
Glenapp Castle Hotel Ballantrae

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