Our advice if you are thinking of booking a highland heritage coach holiday is [don't].
The coach was basic compared to the one used to bring you to Scotland and they had a ridiculous policy of making you rotate seats every day. The hotel was shabby, dated and basic, but it was clean. We were shown the other hotels from the outside and they all looked pretty much the same.
Although you had to move seats on the coach, meal times were the opposite. You had to sit at a small table with others and remain on that table at your seat for every meal during the entire holiday. We refused, and eventually were allowed to sit on a table by ourselves. The dining room was so terribly packed that there was no room to move.
We stayed in the Ben Doran hotel in Tyndrum. In this hotel the dining room was on the top floor and if there would have been a need to evacuate the building quickly it would have been impossible to do so. In our opinion there may have been a breach of fire safety legislation with regards to the numbers and tight seating arrangements in that room.
The actual food was just ok. It was basic low quality food but there was enough. There was no flexibility on meal times, not even by a few minutes. There was a mandatory hand check and antibacterial hand wash on entry, with a row of staff and their plastic squirty bottles. If you remember the dinner ladies at school checking for clean hands as you went in for dinner, it was that kind of thing. Terrible. There was the same kind of hand squirting procedure every time you got on the coach and came into the building.
There was no reception to speak to. Open 15 minutes in the morning and the same in the evening. There was no WIFI, except in a few square feet in a corner of the ground floor entrance that was badly lit.
The entertainment wasn't too bad but really was aimed at the over 70's, which in fairness was almost everyone. However if you didn't want to do that there really was nowhere else to sit comfortably. There was a snooker room but not conducive to sitting in. There was the ground floor entrance but again not a nice place to sit.
The coach driver was friendly to the extreme and tried to be entertaining with his jokes and banter. If you like that kind of thing, he did a good job, but really less would have been much better.
The tours were ok but the choices of actual stops, all week, were strange. Stops were at garden type shopping centres with a cafe rather than places of more interest than shopping.
There was a cruise at Oban which was really the car ferry and you did not get off on the other side. We were so glad we knew that before we got on board. It was a pointless waste of time. We went’ sightseeing on our own and discovered Oban in less rushed time.
The concert at Fort William wasn't bad, but it wasn't that good either. It was a bit of a sales pitch for highland heritage and the act gave a mega hard sale on their CD as did one or two of the evening acts. Really that was very over the top, forceful and inappropriate.
It was a coach holiday but you really did spend a long time just sitting on the coach and looking out the window (for a week). There were very few stops to get off and go and see something.
We did not go on the optional day tour and had a much better time doing our own thing. We travelled under the public travel scheme called DRT, which was basically a taxi but charging you at local bus rate. If you ever need it – here is the number we used: Tel. 01838 300307 (you must stipulate you require DRT Service).
The hotel actually has a curfew and locks you in, or out. No flexibility.
The majority of the staff were foreign, Eastern Europeans. They deserve a medal for their continual hard work, probably on minimum wage. They really did work hard, were friendly and their English was very good. The only down side was because they worked in such a speedy regimented fashion they didn't have time to really look at you and acknowledge you as a person to any real degree.
If you like basic food, accommodation; sitting for hours on a coach; being surrounded by the +70 age group and all the entertainment aimed at that group. Totally being institutionalised and herded like cattle with very little flexibility then this holiday is for you.
On the plus side, you do see some beautiful countryside from the window of a coach, and it is cheap. You do get what you pay for and it's probably value for money.
To be fair to Highland heritage they have a product that appeals to a niche market. Most people on the holiday had been on several before and loved it, they had a great time. Highland heritage marketed their product well, they know their target group, they deliver a mass produced regimented service to keep costs low and if you want that kind of thing as many people did, they do it well. We were just not their niche market and won't be repeating the experience.
We were horrified on the first evening. Hated it on the second day and endured it on the following days. You do get into the being herded mentality; it was good value but still not the holiday for us.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With return coach transport form your local pick up point, and with its stunning setting in the village of Tyndrum, the Ben Doran is a great place to stay. Purpose built for Highland Heritage group by Ian Cleaver, MD, this beautifully kept hotel has a sparkling glazed entrance filled with flowers and plants providing year round colour. Uniquely, the dining room and the lounges can be found on the top floor making the most of the location's spectacular views. Here you can admire the panoramic outlook across the glens and mountains. Free WIFI in Quiet Room. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Muthu Ben Doran Hotel Tyndrum, Scotland