Disappointed with the Craigendarroch
Had a stressful time time booking at the Craigendarroch. Kept confirming the wrong details time and time again. When we arrived the room was so small it resembled the cleaner's cupboard with a view out to a generator, skip and portacabin. When I companined we were eventually offered a triple room where two single beds had been pushed together. Wallpaper was peeling from the ceiling in the bedroom, the artexing was badly stained in the shower room and the dusting left alot to be desired. Will not be going back to the Craigendarroch even though the staff and food were very good.
A hotel living on its' past reputation
The Hilton Craigendarroch hotel is a three star masquerading as a four star- very tired looking inside the main building- our room, though comfortable, was in need of replacement furniture and furnishings- the bathroom needed a refit- clean, but not up to four star standard- tired fixtures and fittings- old linoleum on the floor and my pet hate- the shower curtain! The hotel lodges looked in much better shape and if i were going -i would aim for one of those rather than a room in the maze-like main buiding. Small balcony with plastic chairs which would have been nice to sit out on if they had been clean.
Oddly laid out small spa/pool area overlooked by the 'clubhouse' which is a good facility if you have kids to entertain. Club house in need of some style guidance- what were they thinking? Breakfast buffet was small and service was a bit lacking- tea and coffe arrived just as we were finishing- food was fine though. Overall - don't go expecting luxury- you will get overpriced three star accommodation.
Shadow of its former self
To make an informed choice about Craigendarroch you need to understand some of the history of the place.
Originally set up as an up-market timeshare resort and independent luxury hotel in the early 80s it has passed through various stages of ownership, ending up as a remote outpost of the Hilton empire. Standards have fallen over the years with every change of management and it''s lost much of the charm it once had.
The clubhouse has a superb pool/spa facility (which can become crowded - choose your times carefully), a gym, a squash court and a snooker room. There's also a games room for older children and a franchised creche.
The hotel itself has an excellent fine dining restaurant - the Oaks -and an atmospheric "study" bar. Tthe only other on-site catering is an awful clubhouse restaurant serving overpriced standard fare in a cramped location with all the atmosphere and charm of a motorway service station. But fear not - there are several good restaurants in the nearby town of Ballater, a moderate walk or a 2-minute car ride away.
I've just got back from my annual visit - a relative has a timeshare lodge - and I'm left with the feeling that the whole place is in dire need of a major revamp.. I lost count of the "We apologise for the inconvenience.." signs on broken facilities (pool slide, steam room, even the front door to the clubhouse ...) and the Hotel Craigendarroch is beginning to look worn out.
Craigendarroch is an idyllic location for a holiday. The Hotel Craigendarroch was excellent. It could be again, if the management would invest in refurbishing the facilities and giving their attention to detail. It's a good 3 star hotel (now) pretending to be the five star resort it once was.
Great time at Lodge
I was a bit put off by some of the reviews for the Craigendarroch and to be honest quite surprised too. As I am from Aberdeen the Craigendarroch and the lodges have always had a good reputation albeit I know they had become a bit dated. Having looked around I decided to risk it and take a weekend 4 day break to the lodges with my family.
I was more than impressed by check in which was effortless as was booking it. The lodge was excellent, extremely spacious, a little bit old fashioned but the kitchen was welll stocked with top of the range appliances and the bedrooms were well proportioned with my wife and I having a bedroom downstairs away from the kids with en suite bathroom which had a large jacuzzi bath. The lodge was spotless which goes against some of the other posts but I couldnt fault it and I have very high standards.
The wooden balcony from the livingroom overlooked a lovely pond area with fish and ducks that the kids loved and the area was very peaceful and you can easily lie in til late in the morning.
Used the hotel facilitities ie the pool and gym and they were ok. The kids area for toddlers really lets it down and to be honest I would let a small kid in it cause it looked so dirty but this was the only bad point I could find. We didnt eat in at the restaurants which I felt were over priced and if you want a cracking meal with very polite staff then go the Alexandria Hotel in the town but if its high season book it cause it will be busy.
I would def recommend the Craigendarroch to anyone.
Well....Nice country club...
I can't really say that it is the best hotel that you can find in Scotland, but it is a nice country hotel. Not in real Hilton shape but it can be considered as average. Not a good choice in hot summer days..(No a/c of course, not able to leave windows open because of mosquitos and other flying creatures:D)
STAYED IN LODGE 38 ON A TIMESHARE EXCHANGE. It had rather a lot of steps up to it as most of the lodges I passed on the way to the country club so if you have any type of walking difficulties I suggest that you liaise with the resort to ensure you have one with a few steps. This was a one bedroom unit with a bedroom at the back with twin beds with very firm mattresses and A DOUBLE MURPHY BED WHICH PULLED OUT OF THE WALL LENGTH UNIT in the lounge area. THIS UNIT HOUSES THE TELEVISION COCKTAIL CABINET DVD AND HI FI SYSTEM.
THE KITCHEN WAS VERY WELL STOCKED WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A SPATULA AND EVEN HAD SOME LOVELY CRYSTAL GLASSES FOR WINE. THERE WAS A DISHWASHER WHICH WE DIDN'T USE AND ALSO A WASHER/DRYER MACHINE WHICH I DID (BRING YOUR OWN POWDER FOR THAT!)HEATING WAS FROM ELECTRIC STORAGE HEATERS WHICH WAS METRED AND PAID FOR AT THE END OF THE STAY. TOOK ABOUT A DAY AND A HALF TO WARM IT THROUGH. LODGE MANUALS FOR THIS AND APPLIANCES VERY CLEAR AND EASY TO READ. LOADS OF INFO OF THINGS TO DO AROUND THE AREA BUT BE AWARE THAT IN FEBRUARY HALF TERM WHICH WAS WHEN WE WENT THERE IS NOTHING OPEN EXCEPT ROYAL LOCHNIVAR DISTILLERY AND THE ROYAL RAILWAY STATION AT BALLATER. THERE ARE VERY FEW PUBS/HOTELS SERVING ANY BAR FOOD AT THIS TIME IN THE VILLAGE AND A CHIP SHOP WHICH OPENS 4 - 8 ON 4 NIGHTS. MY ADVICE IS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF FOOD WITH YOU TO "EAT IN" THE NEAREST SUPERMARKET IS IN BANCORY SOME MILES AWAY. A LITTLE CO OP IN THE VILLAGE IS OPEN FOR ANYTHING YOU MAY NEED OR HAVE FORGOTTEN. WE ATE IN THE COUNTRY CLUB RESTARAUNT ON TWO OCCASIONS AND BOTH TIMES WE WERE OVERCHARGED. PLEASE CHECK YOUR BILLS CAREFULLY. THE MEALS WERE NOT THAT GOOD EITHER AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE disappointed with the poor quality and service. Some of the staff didn't seem to know what they were doing but others made up for that. My partner spent about forty minutes chasing up a waiter that had gone to get him some change!! As usual the bar prices were high priced with a glass of wine costing about £4.95. There was entertainment on three nights we were there,a disco and magic show for the children on two nights and an excellent duo on the Friday night before we left which would have suited us the rest of the week.
the swimming pool and jacuzzi were lovely and warm, towels supplied but the jacuzzi had a very steep step into it -it would be a problem to most people. everyone seemed to struggle getting in. There is a notice warning of the steep step in but it is behind a plant so not too clear!! the changing rooms and showers were first class with plenty of hot water and shampoo/body wash supplied also hair driers but the lockers need new keys and locks as i struggled with most of the ones I had. The small gym seemed well equipped and there was a billiard room and an "arcade type" games room with a pool table in it. There was also a beauty salon which we didn't use. I can thoroughly reccomend this area to stay in it is actually a 1.2 mile walk down a hill into Ballater village rather steep coming back up! A car is essential to enjoy this area as the views are spectatacular and the villages really lovely. A summer visit to this part of the world would enable visiters to enjoy the attractions as Balmoral Castle and many others do not open until at least April. All in all we had a lovely week despite the lack of local attractions and the setting of the lodges was perfect. Our party consisted of 2 adults and a 14 yr old.
My husband and myself enjoyed one (short) week at this fine resort. The service was wonderful as were the employees at the heakth club and crew who attended to the rooms. The unit was spacious, had everything we needed in the kitchen and other rooms. It was very quiet, which was appreciated after a long day of traveling around the gorgeous countryside. We walked all around Ballater and felt very safe. Hotel is located in a great wooded area, close to the quaint town of Ballater. Airport was 45 minutes away not too far. We'd stay there again, no question!
We especially loved The Oaks Restaurant, absolutely fantastic food and service.
Terrible - Do not stay here
Stayed in a deluxe room that was incredibly tired.
Missing remote control for TV, no bathrobes or slippers as promised.
You'd think after reading all the bad reviews from 2003 and 2004 that in 2006 they might have done something about it.....they haven't.
Staff too young and not interested, hotel very tired, not 4 star. Hilton have lost all pride they used to have associated with their name.
My rating of 3 out of 5 reflects a very mixed experience.
Starting with the positive: the location is fantastic, within the Cairngorm National Park and thus within easy access of some great walks, mountain bike rides, and all manner of outdoor activities.
And after a hard day of walking, biking, or whatever takes your fancy it's great to have access to the spa facilities. Need those muscles pummelled back into shape - well the masseur's great, but do remember to book ahead. Fancy some time in a sauna or steam room, then maybe a stint in the jacuzzi, and a swim to finish? No problem. The gym is good, though I was disappointed to see no free weights.
The staff were good - helpful, polite and they seem happy to be there. This is in stark contrast to the usual Hilton experience, where the staff can be downright hopeless.
Where it falls down though is as a hotel. Our suite was a disgrace, for the price. At @ $400 a night I expect something clean and in good repair. I don't expect a musty smelling room with non-working lights and stains on the cushions. It should be a great room - nice turret, a jacuzzi, reasonable size - but it's sadly run down.
The restaurants were also a let down. You've the choice of a "fine dining" Oak restaurant, and the more basic "Club" restaurant. The service in both is great, but the food was a let down. The Oak was reasonable, rather than anything particularly fine, and the Club restaurant introduced me to possible the toughest venison I've ever encountered.
So, good service, nice location, good facilities - but bad rooms, and bad restaurants. Certainly not worth the money they charge.
This is not a Hilton quality, truely needs a lot of improvement
My husband, two friends and I stayed in a two bedroom condo. We were dissapointed. We entered and it smelled moldy. The rugs were tattered and stained. The furniture was old and beds lacked full bedding. We had to request a top sheet as we knew that the blankets are not washed each week.
We requested a non-smoking room and found ash trays in each room and on the balcony.
A car is necessary as there is nothing close by and rapid transit is very expensive. It cost $300 to travel both ways to Glasgow. and took almost 4 hours each way.
Supermarkets are closed on Sundays. The food is very expensive. It cost $12.00 for one cup of coffee and one pot of tea at the hotel restaurant. There are no refills. Breakfast cost $30 per person and did not look very exciting.
Staff were polite but did not try to answer all our questions.
We were charged for utilities and and 2 newspapers ( which we did not order or receive). The washer and dryer were not working properlly.
This hotel did not meet the standards of a Hilton.