A four day tour that turned out to be one of my best holidays ever. As others have said, the location is this hotel's best selling point. The views over Loch Long are breathtaking - especially with the sun shining. Old lawns sweep down to the roadside that flanks the loch.
Hotel staff are quite simply some of the best I have come across. We were greeted warmly by Duty Manager Elaine, who doubles as a great entertainments manager. The waiters are courteous, fast, friendly and polite - our Hungarian waiter, Bruno, looked after us wonderfully well. The food was excellent - portions were more than ample and everything was well -cooked. Some dishes were sublime - a divine smoked salmon mousse and a lovely beef in barbecue sauce were two dinner favourites.
Our room was kept spotlessly clean by unobtrusive cleaning staff. The room itself was newly decorated with a good view at the right angle. There was no shower and a rather high-sided bath, but a sturdy rail enabled extra leverage. Soap was provided, but bring your own shampoos and shower gels.
A nice touch for me was a decent sized mug provided with the tea and coffee, lots of drawer space and good mirrors on the wardrobes. The TV had good reception and the hairdryer worked well.
Our holiday included a trip to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. We had great seats with an excellent view across the arena - Loch Long being some distance from Edinburgh, this meant a late afternoon departure and a very late night, but it was so, so worth it. Although not local, our coach driver Bill, knew the area very well, which meant that a sudden road closure was not the problem it might have been to others. He also pointed out extra points of interest, all adding to the enjoyability.
The free bar was very well managed, perfectly drinkable wines, beers and spirits, with a lovely chilled rose wine available. Evening entertainment was enjoyable - Ian B., Saturday's singer - guitarist had a nice line in patter and quickly built a real rapport with the audience. He also has a CD on sale that made a nice little souvenir. If entertainment isn't your thing the lounge bar is very comfortable and cosy.
A truly Scottish touch was provided by local young Highland dancers on the Saturday evening -talented and enthusiastic youngsters who charmed us.
On our Sunday excursion we had the services of Dennis, a local driver, with a Mastermind like fund of information on the area. It was touches like this that made our bargain basement holiday really special.
Any downsides? This is an old building and although complying with all access requirements for wheelchair users, there are many, many stairs within the hotel. If you have mobility difficulties make that clear on your booking form. You will be responsible for getting your luggage to and from your room and it's quite a struggle if you are on the top floor with impaired mobility, like me.
Take a good insect repellent and cream for the odd midge bite as they are very active. Air fresheners now mask the musty smell referred to by others, and carpets looked very new in many parts of the building.
Our itinerary allowed for only short stops in the three towns we visited - Callender, Aberfoyle and Inverary, all of which seem to have the ubiquitous mill shops that sell cashmeres and woollens at bargain prices. Ignore these if you can and head for the small local shops that give a real flavour of the area.
We were very lucky with the weather, but do take sensible walking shoes and something waterproof - high heels and cobbles don't mix and the weather can change in an instant.
I'm not sure what those who were disappointed by this holiday expected- for the price paid, it was a fantastic few days.
- Also Known As:
- Claymore Hotel Arrochar, Scotland