More about Ardeonaig Hotel
beware room location and zip service for single diners
The hotel is located in a bucolic location, near great walking. The staff -- among which the turnover is high, one member confided -- was drilled very well -- they were friendly and helpful.
But becare where you book your room. The bar and the public rooms at the front draw villagers as well as guests and the noise level is deafening, well into the night. I was booked in a room directly over this front section. It seemed as if the happy, boisterous guests shared my accomodation with me. The walls may be old, but they're also thin. By midnight, the situation became intolerable. I visit the HIghlands for tranquillity, not to party.
I went to the desk and complained. To the managers' credit, she moved me into another room just down the hall. The situation was only marginally better -- aided by a sleeping pill, I could at least get some rest. Furnishings in both rooms were spare -- some items were do it yourself furniture pieces.
The food was good, but not remarkable. Many entrees were overly salted. I've had much better dinners -- outstanding dinners -- at Darroch Learg in Ballater. What partiuclarly annoyed me was that because I dined alone, the staff (some of them rather unctuous) seemed overly eager to speed me through dinner. The stood at the other side of the room and pounced when I was down to the last two bites of a course.
It's long been a notion of mine that single travelers often get poor treatment by hotels. When I booked, I asked for a room with a loch view. The manager said she just couldn't do that with a single. Clearly, some of the rooms are more stylishly and comfortably appointed -- and quieter -- than the ones I was assigned.
I've visited many Highland hotels. Ardeonaig is far from one of the best.
Having read rave reviews about this hotel I booked to stay here full of expectation. On a positive note I found the staff friendly and the surroundings pleasant and in keeping with a modern hotel. Unfortunately for me things went badly wrong and neither the staff nor the management where prepared to apologise let alone rectify them. What I was met with was far from the pleasant idyll I had been led to expect. Our "Superior" room had a good view of the carpark and was situated next to the laundry which rumbled throughout the night. The worst part of our experience was the food which was our reason for going. We were served dishes that were raw on the inside yet cooked to leather on the outside, dishes that were burnt, dishes that tasted of cleaning products, they even managed to get their house speciality desert wrong. We returned two dishes, one never reappeared and the other returned cooked to leather, yet we were made to feel in the wrong and ignorant for complaining. I gather the owner/chef wasn't in the kitchen that night and that might account for such a huge difference between my experience and others. We tried to complain at the time of the meal but were fobbed off, tried again in the morning but there was no one around to ask and I wrote to the owners outlining our experience but have had no response. In twenty years eating at some of the UK's finest hotels I have never experienced service nor cooking as appalling and lacking as this. At the prices Ardeonaig charge I felt I was badly over charged.
The hotel is clean and comfortable and the restaurant has a great deal of potential and I'm sure for many it will be fine but be warned, if things don't go well you'll have no redress as the owners and staff will ignore you. The customer is never right and certainly doesn't come first
Not sure why the complaints It Is Fantastic ! ! !
Having just returned home from five days aways two of these were fantastic, the other sadly typical Scottish hotels at their worst. Ardeonaig was our first and we should have stayed put, nothing was too much trouble, the food superb, lightly seasoned, fresh, exciting and with possibly one of the more extensive menus around. The service was attentive and polite (the new team was being bedded in for the summer season) we could not fault this as it's not often you see staff being trained these days, more often than not they're left to defend themselves at the customers expense.
I cannot believe stories about "noisy locals" only 4 families people live in Ardeonaig! This is a very quaint old Inn with several room classes from standard (near public areas) to Premier (with small sitting area and larger)
You cannot please everyone so as long as you remember that this is a grand little 3 star Inn with great flavour driven food, above average service, a fantastic breakfast and hands on owners then you shouldn't go wrong...........................
Don't go expecting 5 star that they're not, but they are surely the best 3 star establishment we've come across in Scotland. The service is often better than hotels twice their price!
A little piece of Sth Africa in Scotland
We stayed at the Ardeonaig on the last bank holiday weekend in May. Neither of the owners were around during our stay but the staff seemed welcoming and polite. We were shown around the hotel and our room and first impressions were quite good.
We had a loch view room which was OK. It was not my definition of luxurious by any stretch, I think 'clean and basic' would be more applicable. The bathroom however was not very well thought out as for some reason, they decided to stick a huge corner bath in the tiny space that it was. You had to negotiate your way around in order to to shut the door and get to the basin. It was very awkward and pretty ridiculous.
The communal areas were nicely appointed and comfortable. The library being particularly pleasant with loch views and drinks served at your leisure. You could help yourself to a variety of books, magazines or games and just relax.
Don't be fooled into thinking that the hotel is right on the loch, it's set back about 250m from the waters edge with a big field in front of it. There is also no access to just take a pleasant stroll along the waters edge, maybe you can do that elsewhere on the loch though.
Restaurant & Service
We were taken by surprise when we were asked which "sitting" we would like in the restaurant, something that really hacks me off in posh hotels in London, however, the last thing I expected in this far flung hotel in the middle of nowhere on Loch Tay.
Whilst dining, there seemed to be far too many staff just standing staring over everyone in a Big Brother type way. The service was almost overbearing with the bus boy actually measuring the distance between the knives and forks when he set the table. Don't get me wrong, I like good food, good service and a nice atmosphere, but this was OTT. It just didn't seem in keeping with the 'relaxed' atmosphere that the hotel could have had. The maitre D took himself far too seriously and staff standing around with hands behind their backs in a military fashion is not relaxing.
The food was OK but nothing to write home about, all the usual stuff you would expect. All in all, I think they are just trying too hard and missing the mark.
Unfortnately, throughout the course of the stay, we started to feel like we weren't really in Scotland at all. The entire place was Sth African, from the staff to the decoration and pictures on the walls.... Upon talking to one of the staff, it seems they are all recruited directly from Sth Africa by the owner who is from there. We felt it was a shame as we didn't really feel like we were in Scotland at all and I felt they should have made more of an effort to employ local people, not sort out work visa's for cheap labour from abroad.
The staff constantly knew where you were and what you were doing. We arrived back from a long drive one evening and when I went up to find out about dinner I got told "oh, we thought you'd be having the late sitting as we haven't seen you all day"... It felt a bit like having to check in with your mum and dad. Next time I drive all the way to Scotland, I'm going to find somewhere Scottish to stay!
Fantastic Wee Hotel
What can one say say when you've been treated like royalty, fed like a King and generally been spoilt rotten without even leaving the UK.................. good service in the UK! you must be joking I hear many people saying.
The attention to detail at this little country Inn was superb and well beyond what we've come to expect in the UK even by fussy Londoners! We booked into a main hotel room for three nights a little sceptically after reading other tripadvisor members reviews, but at every turn lay a suprise, a pleasant suprise.
The Room; spotlesly clean, good level of maintanence, great quality linen and duvets, excellent tea/coffee tray with freshly ground "ILLY" coffee, FRESH milk non of the small jigger things, mineral water and biscuits. The room whilst a little on the small side was tastefully decorated and very, very clean, the lounges and library more than made up for smallish room with their deep couches and little extra's like fresh, large, juicy dates and plums. The housekeeping team serviced our room in the mornings while we were at breakfast so we came back to a freshly made-up room each morning (more than I can say about some 5 star establishments) and again each even whilst we were having dinner they serviced and turned down. The bathroom rooms were fantastically clean, large bottles of Molton Brown, fluffy towels, great robes all and more than one expects from a quaint Inn. We were shown into a couple of "Premier" rooms by a very friendly housekeeping lady and both of the were superb, sitting areas in both, working fire place and very large bathroom (Wild Salmon) excellent views and wonderful bathroom (Craig) is probably what we'll book next, a little more money but then we only holiday for 3 weeks a year so why not spoil oneself or herself!
The Service; This as was the food (more later) was one of the highlights of our stay, attentive and very passionate. The owner (Pete the Chef/Patron and Sarah the pretty one) keep the staff on their toes, one only has to look up and they are at your side (not this in your face, hard sell service one gets in the city) , but genuine, often asking, helping, suggesting and always ensuring that you are at your most comfortable. (While we were there an elderly guest fell asleep in the lounge only for one of the owners to appear with a light blanket to carefully put over his legs, the old boy upon awakening 1/2 an hour or so later was most grateful and couldn't stop talking about this)
The service at dinner and breakfast is efficient, attentive, well trained and well above anything one would have expected.
The Food; Now, this is why we actually came to the Ardeonaig as it's reputation has filtered down to where we stay and is often talked about by those in the know. The menu is very extensive bordering on daunting but this on the other hand was a bonus as we always wanted three, four or five things at each stage. The wine list all 350 + wines on it South African were very well described with good, honest tasting notes so often lacking one long ponsy French dominated lists. The seasoning of the food was spot on, the portions very healthy and the presentation as we now began to expect faultless. We opted for the gourmet menu on our third evening, 7 courses came and went, 4 different wines and seved with such grace, style and enthusiasim we were bowled over.
The generosity and great hotel keeping we found here reminded us about our first trips to rural France 15 years ago, nothing was too much trouble, the food the star, the service at the sme level and the staff well, not French but great young South Africans.
Will we go back; Without a doubt!
The highlights; The food and the cream tea
The service; We can't praise it any more than it was
Last word; Attention to detail the was it was meant to be
Absolute "HEAVEN" with a twist of Africa
Well after reading the previous Tripadvisor members review and what a lot of nonsense. How can you slate people by their Nationality-racist to say the least!!! find me a Scot or a Brit that will put an effort into the lower eschelons of our hospitality industry let alone do any manual/serving work.
LET ME TELL A DIFFERENT, MORE POSITIVE STORY:
We arrived to a genuine, warm welcome not to a closed door as you often do in the UK and Scotland. The hanging baskets and flowers were just as the website picture, quite refreshing after many misleading websites promising the earth and delivering very little. This hotel certainly delivers what it promises.
We were shown in by a young New Zealander to reception and once a short amount of paper work was completed we were given a guide tour of the hotel and its facilities, again very much more civilised than being given a key and pointed down a dark passage as is often the case these days.
Exceptionally clean, good crisp linen, great big fluffy white towels and robes. The furnishing all in good order and the room very well maintained. The bathroom again of average size and as said before fantastically clean.
Our view was down towards the Loch, across the lawns and a newly planted orchard, Ben Lawers mountain towering majestically in the background. This is fantastic to stroll down to the harbour as the hotel has 300-400 meters of prime loch frontage with a harbour, seating and asmall boat house, we even used one of their small boats to go and look for Ospreys.
The hotel offers a great turndown service of an evening refreshing towels and generally tiding up. This I might add was repeated while we were at breakfast so we came back to a georgeously clean and sparkling room, so unobtrusive and professional like everything at the hotel.
The menu whilst being extensive was full of interesting things (Monkfish Cheeks in tempura batter, braised Lambs Tongues and lots of fantastic seafood) while still keeping some old favourites on (Fillet of Aberdeen Angus, Rump of local Black-faced Lamb, Huge Scallops).
The service in the dining room was very, very good, definately up to the standard of any top end restaurant in London. (The owner has had a few very good restaurants in our area Chiswick, London).
The wine list was and is exceptionally well thought out and is totally South African all 340 wines! On remarking about this one of the young waiting staff told us "the owner is a proud South African who would rather have a good knowlege of one wine growing area" we cannot fault this logic as we took recommended wines each evening and never had a dud.
The food here was every bit as good as "La Trompette" in Chiswick or any similiar restaurant...bordering on "orgasmic". The portion sizes adequate, the flavours superb and the variety each evening mesmerising.
The whole experience we had was "FANTASTIC" this is our second trip to the hotel the first with the previous owners 5 years ago and "WOW" what a breath of fresh air.
This is how a small hotel should be, beautiful location, well maintained, spotlessly clean, very comfortable, great food, great wine and top-notch service all wrapped up with loads of passion.
Not Quite Paradise
Ardeonaig has an odd paradigm. You’ll either love it, or walk away with mixed feelings. Despite the long drive from the main road, the hotel’s location is a picture-postcard come to life. The culinary experience is also second to none. The owners however, do cast a heavy presence in this small, intimate setting. There were several things we wished to do as paying guests, such as using the wood stove, taking a fishing trip, or eating dinner at our discretion. But for some odd reason, our intents consistently required sanction from owner Pete. That made me particularly uneasy. If you are a good little guest here, then great, but if you want to exercise your discretion as a consumer on vacation, then go elsewhere.
What a great find
Firstly, I did not actually stay here, only stopping in for a lovely pub lunch on a drive around the loughs and glens of Perthshire in October 2006.
This hotel is a real gem, and we visited based on the recent glowing recommendations of the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper. That in itself is something that any review here could not match!
The Ardeonaig Hotel is located seven miles down a winding road from the village of Killen, and overlooks the southern shore of Lough Tay. From the outside the hotel is beautiful, with a red phone box and a stable-style half door. Inside, the South African owner has decorated with his home country in mind. Everything is designed to provide a homely comfortable feel, and the smell from the open log fire in the dining room spread to each room.
We intend to return for a couple of nights in the near future to take advantage of the superb looking menu and wine list, and take the opportunity to enjoy the location. We might even try our hand at fishing, which is the main draw for many visitors!
I would love to get snowed in!
Arrived with high hopes having been recommended by a friend. We wanted a view of something other than the car park (and got a great view of the loch instead), and we didn't mind if the room wasn't fantastic because we weren't go to be in it very long (but is was anyway). The service is friendly and efficient without being overpowering, and provided mostly by South Africans.
The food? Don't get me started. The gourmet 6-course menu was stunning, even though I would probably not have normally ordered any of it had I seen it on an a la carte menu. The regular menu is superb too, and the breakfasts (including my favorite Stornoway black pudding) will keep you well satisfied for hours. The wines were also great and reasonably priced.
The place is very sociable, with a choice of lounges and a library to either mix and chat, or admire the view in solitary peace and quiet.
If you're an outdoor person, there is plenty to see and do in the area, even for the lazier types (me), there's enough to see and do for a couple fo days.
Ardeonaig is by no means cheap, but for a quick escape, its excellent. Wouldn't mind getting snowed in there actually.
Best Inn with rooms and restaurant in the UK
Having seen some mixed reviews, and having stayed in some great hotels this year (Case Del Mar, Corsica, Grand Hyatt, Sydney, The Penninsula, Hong Kong) amd eaten in too many Michelin star restaurants also, I was a little apprehensive about our visit. However, our early December weekend was great. Top notch service - professional and friendly, and none of the overpowering nonsense that has been reported elsewhere. The owning couple were charming - both at the front of the house, and the owner chef, who I briefly thanked for our stay. The two senior South African staff members were very friendly and exceptionally efficient. The highlight of a wet weekend was the excellent food and the overall service - a great gourmet dinner and superb choice of wines. So what if all the wines are from South Africa? They were superbly selected and good value, and the food was based around great Scottish produce.
The location is great - for all sorts of activities, and whilst the bedrooms aren't top-notch ours was spacious, clean and exactly what people should expect from a good quality inn serving exceptional food in great surroundings.
All the people involved in the hotel work hard and made us, as guests, feel that every moment of our stay was important to them.
Spurred on by the quality, we're off for our first visit to South Africa for the Easter break. This was the best "Inn with rooms and restaurant" that we've stayed in, and we've been to many around the UK.