First of all, let me say that this is a perfectly decent, acceptable hotel, and one which fortunately does not take too much for granted despite there being, almost literally, no competition in the immediate area.
That said, there is a certain benign ambivalence about their service, and while some might find this 'quaint', certain simple things do detract from what could be a more enhanced experience.
Firstly, on arrival, our room was not ready until quarter to four; not in itself outrageous you might think; however we had arrived early at 1pm, so they had plenty of time to make the quite simple preparation for the next guest. To be fair, when we mentioned this purely in the passing, the waiter provided a couple of large glasses of Syrah on the house, which more than made up for the delay. However, when we later went out to check on the progress of our room, we returned to find that the couch we had been sitting on had disappeared, with the waiter saying that he was "re-arranging things for dinner later"!!! In fact, he was a bit 'peeved' that we wanted to sit in the two remaining 'comfortable' armchairs that were left … and this was in the bar area! Bizarre ...
Once in the room however (at 4pm), it was very pleasant indeed; we had booked a deluxe garden room, purely for the private terrace/deck that came with this. However, there was no outside furniture to take advantage of this space, which therefore rendered it a bit redundant unless you simply wanted to go out and stand for a bit! To be honest, the weather was not entirely conducive to sitting outside, although I did notice that there was external seating on the deck of the room next door. The other thing that annoyed me a little about the room was the bed; I explicitly enquired that the bed was a double/king, but it turned out to be two single mattresses zipped together, which I really do not like, particularly when the zip is so oversize as to cause a crevice very noticeable unless you have a particularly platonic relationship with your partner!
Dinner was booked for 7.30pm, but when we attended at the restaurant, we didn't get seated until nearer 8pm. Service was extremely slow, and we had to ask for a menu (and later, a wine menu) which were not automatically provided. By the time we ordered, two or three of the fairly limited menu main course items were unavailable. When they were eventually received, though, they were tasty enough. However, on requesting dessert, a rather sullen waiter advised that one of the choices was unavailable; on settling for the cheese board instead, he stated "Oh, I thought you were going to ask for another Bread and Butter pudding. We don't have any cheese left either." Two bread and butter puddings it was then, although hilariously, when they did arrive, we were advised that it was the last two of them as well! I wonder what the remainder of the diners were getting for pudding …
We decided to order breakfast in our room the following morning; this arrived almost on time, but the pancakes and maple syrup lacked the promised cream, and there was no orange juice as ordered. It really wasn't a massive deal, and we couldn't be bothered with the wait involved in phoning up and requesting them … but it was another minor hiccup.
Now, as I said at the start, none of this was a huge problem; we are pretty easily pleased, and really just enjoy getting away for a relaxing time with half decent food, accommodation and plenty of wine! In that regard, the hotel, location and general standards are more than acceptable; it was just that, in cumulo, it all added up to just take the edge of what should have been an even more enjoyable experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arriving at The Boat Hotel for the first time can be compared to returning as house guests of a close friend, where needs are anticipated before arrival and the welcome is genuine. Where else can you wear your Hunter wellies at 8am, golf spikes at 3pm and dress up or down for dinner? But while we offer our guests comfort, some luxury and indulgence, this is not a stuffy hotel where you can’t sit on the furniture or let your kids enjoy themselves. Nestled in a tranquil picturesque setting deep within the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, near Aviemore, lies the historic and unique award-winning Boat Hotel & Bistro. Adjacent to the renowned Boat of Garten Golf Club, we boast 2 AA Rosette food and stylish yet relaxing accommodations with exhilarating views. The Boat Hotel is a place where you can relax and enjoy your well deserved leisure time, then put your feet up. Hotel Highlights: * Dining options - 2 AA Rosette Bistro & Bar Dining * Range of guestrooms including king bed, deluxe garden terrace & four poster junior suites * Child friendly hotel near Landmark Forest Adventure Park and kids stay & eat free * Meeting & events facilities for up to 65 * Close to the Cairngorm Ski Resort and adjacent Boat of Garten Golf Club Events Diary. Whether you're looking for an active or relaxing break, an inspirational meeting or private dining venue for your next event, planning a fabulous wedding, looking to indulge in a glass of your favourite tipple by the log fire or simply join us for some of the best food in the Cairngorm National Park. The Boat Hotel & Bistro combines historic charm with modern facilities to provide the leading destination and first choice country retreat hotel in the Aviemore area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Boat Hotel Of Garten
- The Boat Hotel Boat Of Garten, Scotland