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“Warmest welcome in the Highlands”
Review of The Boat Hotel

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The Boat Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Boat of Garten
Reviewed 3 March 2009

We stayed at this hotel for 3 nights bed and breakfast February into March 2009. The hotel itself is an older traditional building in a great location particularly if you are interested in outdoor activities, walking, skiing, tennis, golfing or osprey watching all close by. The room was warm, comfortable and very clean with a spacious bathroom which had a bath and separate shower. The breakfasts are great with a choice of local produce and the bistro serves good quality food in pleasant surroundings. The hotel is pet friendly so it’s great for bringing your dog who can sit with you, and your drinks, in the reception area at night away from the areas where food is served. One of the biggest assets of this hotel are the staff who without exception were genuinely friendly, enthusiastic, competent and provide one of the warmest welcomes in the highlands. All of the staff, no matter their role in the hotel, went out their way to make us, and the dog, welcome. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone planning a trip to the Aviemore area.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank oscar73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,253 - 1,259 of 1,317 reviews

Reviewed 17 February 2009

We stayed here for a ski-ing trip. We were unable to get a hotel in Aviemore and so were delighted to find a hotel nearby available especially since it was the Feb half term. We booked through travelrepublic since on phoning the hotel they stated they were full. We had a double room at the back of the hotel, which was obviously above the kitchen area as the cooking fat smell had risen to the upstairs corridoor, and a little in the rooms.

Our bedroom window would not open having sealed shut with all the layers of paint. This was dissapointing as it could have helped freshen the air. The room was adequate, beds comfortable enough, bathroom small but deep bath and plenty of warm water. Shower was a nightmare going from far too hot to freezing cold, and so we abandoned and stuck with the bath which was rather nice after a day on the slopes.

The heating went off at night and did not come on again until 7am, so when we got up the room was freezing cold. I nearly got up at 4am to put on my ski thermals I was so cold, but made do with having the bed spread as a second duvet which helped slightly.

Breakfast was not served until 7.30am, which was slightly too late considering the slopes were so busy everyone wanted up there as early as possible. We went for breakfast on the first morning but it was 7.45am before staff even came to take our order for a full cooked and we felt it was just too late. The first people in for breakfast placed their order just before we arrived at 7.30 am and at 7.50am when we left they still did not have it.

On the Sunday breakfast was supposed to be served at 8.30am but management changed it to 7.30am but never put up any notices to inform the guests. So we never had breakfast the second day.

Dinner, we went with the bistro menu since I am such a fussy eater. the first night I had the steak pie which was very nice, although I was surprised it has tomato in it. Hubby had fish which he enjoyed. The second night we both had steak, again nice. The chips on the other hand were disgusting on both nights. Not sure if they are oven chips or what. The bistro is actually more like a bar meal, but has an open fire burning which is a nice touch. Puddings were also a dissapointment. I had the sticky toffee pudding which I can only describe as a slice of toffee loaf with a sauce - not moist and not very tasty either. Hubby had the crumble which he said was not fantastic, the second night we did not bother with pudding but ordered tea and hot chololate instead which took half and hour to arrive.

The waiting/bar staff seemed to "gush" over some guests and completely ignore othere. We were ignored! Not even offered salt or sauces with our meal. Same at breakfast they were not interested in taking our order of getting us tea.

We pre-paid £196 for 2 nights B&B but the hotel tried to charge us again at only £75 per night. They did remove it from our bill once it was pointed out to them, but they even had the pre-pay voucher in with all our bar tabs so should have picked up on it.

Drinks are very expensive. £5.50 for a glass of wine, and £3 for a bottle of beer.

All in all a nice enough hotel but I would agree with the AA 4 star rating as oppose to the visit scotland 4 stars.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank sanag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2009

Having been repeat visitors for a few years, my husband & I took a last minute weekend trip to cheer up a fairly gloomy January. We called the hotel directly to enquire about the rooms available and duly booked a suite. On arrival the very pleasant woman on reception couldn't find our reservation, and attempted to fob us off with someone else's booking - the booking she wanted to tell us was ours was actually for a single woman from Wales, rather than a local couple! Odd. However with some digging she found us, the result of spelling error or miscommunication on the phone. We were shown to the promised suite - which absolutely STANK. This apparently was no surprise to staff, there'd been a problem with the drains and work had been done the day before. Maybe they thought we would not notice! We requested another room and were found a superior double which was very pleasant, clean and sweet smelling. Without prompting our rate was properly adjusted. Dinner in the Bistro was fine, though not memorable, & in no way rosette material, although the largely French staff were very pleasant. Breakfast on the other hand was shambolic. It was served from 9am rather late I thought, but when we arrived around 9.15 the room was already in a state of disarray - tables not cleared, juice jugs empty etc. The staff were chatting behind the bar area and paying little attention to the customers. After around 15 minutes we reminded them we had not yet ordered. The food when it came was fine fresh etc, but by that time the tables around us were strewn with left overs - not very pleasant to sit amongst. All in all, while the rooms & cleaning have improved since the hotel changed hands, the service and food has really deteriorated. It's a shame but we probably won't be back.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Jade47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2009

I was perturbed to read other reviews where people had had a bad experience staying here, however I can assure you that our stay was one of pure indulgence, pamperdness, fun and very welcoming. You make it what you can and we certainly loved the friendly welcoming staff who could not do enough for us.

To be able to bring a pet is amazing and although it is understandable that they cannot go into the restaurant/bistro when people are eating, we were able to sit in the bistro when people had finished eating, with our pet. Management were incredible, making time to sit with us and getting to know us to the waiters and receptionist who also were brilliant and worked so hard over Xmas and New Year to make sure everything was as it should.

The garden rooms are absolutely fantastic, with every care taken to make sure your comforts have been seen to. A pure must for pet owners in that the patio doors lead out onto a decking area and into the garden, excellent.

The views were stunning and this hotel is situated in one of the best locations, with the steam railway right next door which will chug into Aviemore.

We did not have one bad meal. The breakfast was very fullfilling and tasty to both the restaurant and bistro meals, absolutely wonderfull, especially the fish and chips, the fish was to die for. New Years eve six course dinner in the restaurant was absolutely top notch and although we enjoy more conservative meals, the presentation was sublime, flavours out of this world, glad we stayed an extra night.

If you have had a bad experience before, staying at the Boat, I can assure you that the staff have worked hard to amend things. There is room for improvement, but things can only get better and if you choose not to stay again, more fool you. I know we will be going back, not too long away I hope.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank mcstud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 November 2008

We have loved Boat of Garten for years, but this was the first time we had stayed at the Boat. Our expectations were high, especially given that the restaurant has 2 AA rosettes and we had booked on what was described as a "gourmet" break.

First impressions were not great. Nobody was on reception when we arrived about 8pm and we had to ring the bell more than once before someone came. The room was a bit small and had certainly seen better days. The furnishings were drab, the shower room a little bit on the revolting side. Bizarre choices of artwork meant that a scene from somewhere in continental Europe sat in pride of place above our bed.

We ate in the Bistro on the first night. The food was adequate, the service amateurish. Our steaks, ordered rare and medium rare, came medium to well done. Our coffee (billed as coffee and petit fours) came without petit fours or milk. By the time the milk came, the coffee was quite cold.

The next morning, breakfast was okay, although our newspaper (ordered the night before) did not appear.

To this point, we had been disappointed with the service and food, but had high hopes for our meal in the 2 rosette restaurant. They were dashed. We arrived at 7:30pm to find no staff at the restaurant at all. Having kicked our heels outside for a minute or two, a waitress arrived without apology and showed us to our table. We were asked whether we wanted to see a menu as we were having the tasting menu - why on earth would we not want to see what we were going to eat? We were then given menus to share, even though we were the only people in what is supposed to be an award-winning restaurant. Thereafter it was a sorry tale of underseasoned and overcooked food. Pasta came as a tasteless sludge. Pork came so well done that it was dry and almost inedible. The final disaster, billed as a chocolate fondant, would have been dry if it was described as chocolate cake. We finally felt that we should point this out to the waiter, whose response betrayed a complete lack of concern.

A tasting menu is supposed to be a showcase of the chef's best dishes; it turned out to be a wishlist of dishes he was not able to cook properly.

To add to the disappointment, our bill was wrong. The reaction of staff when we pointed this out was very unimpressive.

The final indiginities came the following morning when there was no hot water for our shower; our breakfast took an age to arrive; and some of the service over breakfast could be described as border-line rude.

There are some well meaning staff, and the location is excellent, however we will not be back.

I am frankly bewildered by the number of recent positive reviews. They bear no relation to our experience and I would advise extreme caution (or low expectations) before booking here.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank Gordon73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2008

This was our 1st Wedding Anniversary returning to the Boat Hotel where we got engaged on February 4th 2006. We only stayed one night but it was still very memorable for us.

Our only comment was the service was not so good. Young, foreign, inexperienced waiting staff did not help, epsecially in the dining room at night. On our first visit we were very well attended and it felt a lot more professional. The food however remains first class.

Our rooms was good, we had a four poster bed and a roll top bath in the bathroom, dressing gowns and nice toiletries. Breakfast in the morning was again very nice and this time served in the Bistro.

We will return to the Boat as it hold special memories for us. I just hope the management continue to improve the service as it is such a nice hotel in the most lovely location.

Stayed: December 2007
1  Thank LindaEdinburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2008

Stayed for a Thursday night in late September with clients after a round of golf at Boat. All in all - unbeatable value and exceptionally enjoyable.

Staff treated us superbly - particularly the front receptionist.

A first class meal in the main restaurant with excellent wines at a very reasonable price. Drinks in the bar before and after were aided by the lovely choice of real ale and wide selection of whisky.

Full breakfast was a final treat before heading back down the A9.

Only complaint was the wine waiter appeared to lose interest in us towards the end of the meal.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled on business
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2  Thank Donald Duaghal M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Boat Hotel

Address: Deshar Road, Boat of Garten, Aviemore PH24 3BN, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Badenoch and Strathspey > Aviemore > Boat of Garten
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Boat of Garten
Price Range: £54 - £166 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Boat Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 34
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

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