Mar Hall Birthday Treat
When we arrived at Mar Hall we where greeted by extremely friendly reception staff. Our luggage was then taken to our room by an also extremely helpful and friendly bell boy. We stayed in a suite in room 7. There was a fresh chocolate birthday cake for me and champagne on ice which was great. The suite was as you would expect from a five star SLH hotel. The view was just fantastic, with picturesque views of the river clyde through two large three quarter length windows. The suite had a four poster bed with modern but 'classic' fitments and decor that complimented the period mansion house. The very large bathroom was also to a very high standard with his and her sinks, bath and glass shower cubical. The main living area was also large with a number of different seating areas with views over the clyde. The room in short was outstanding and more then met my wife's and my very high standards.
The only negatives I would point out is the hotel let themselves down by using cheap bedding sheets and foam pillows.
The evening food was also exceptional but the cooked breakfast was not perhaps to the level you might expect for a hotel of this standard.The cooked breakfast at the weekend was buffet style and some of the cooked produce, in particular the sauages, tasted slightly cheap.Also there was no haggis which was a shame.Also, we felt the repetitive 'chill out' music which was played at Dinner was also not in keeping with the atmosphere and the level of dining experience. The final thing which was a dissapointment was that even though there were many grand open fire places throughout the Hotels public areas, not one of them was in use. Instead of log fires - logs which could be supplied via 'natural maintenance' from the hotels surrounding acres of land - there were instead candles in all of them (we were told this was due to Health and Safety) but we have stayed in many period mansion Hotels in Scotland and have found that an open log fire really adds to the romantic, relaxing feeling. To be honest, I'm being picky here with these things as the hotel on the whole was exceptional and obviously the hotel management and staff set themselves a very high standard and these are just a few very small negatives that could be easily addressed quite quickly.
Our hotel suite was kept spotlessly clean and tidy by the cleaning staff (who we never saw or heard more importantly) with champagne and belgium chocolates provided each day and always ready on our return from breakfast each morning. The bed was also turned down every evening in time for our return from dinner.
My wife and I spent Sunday afternoon reading the Sunday newspapers in the grand hall. The hall has high vaulted cellings and is 188 ft . in the afternoon light beams through large three quarter length period windows. The hall, is indeed, 'grand' and has a grand Victorian 'Empire' feel to it, with it's large beautiful period furniture, black grand piano and a few large tropical plants.
After all that reading and relaxing- never wanting for fresh tea or coffee- we had developed a bit of a hunger, so we ordered some afternoon tea. Scones with fresh clotted cream, mixed sandwiches including smoked salmon and a good selection of cakes, all served on traditional silverware which was very nice indeed.
In summary this hotel was excellent and my wife and I would highly recommend this exceptional scottish retreat to anyone thinking of going. We didn't make use of the Spa or fitness facilities that the Hotel had to offer so we cannot comment on these. On top of the five star grandeur of the mansion house I would say every single member of staff made us feel special, was friendly helpful and very efficient, our stay was made effortless - which for us is a big plus .I know it's a five star hotel but I've stayed in a lot of five star hotels around the world and unfortunately ,in the UK, I've found that five star staff don't always accompany a five star setting. Thankfully this was not the case at Mar Hall. My wife and I lead very stressful lives - don't we all ! - but if you are looking for a five star scottish retreat with good food, charm,history, character and excellent customer service then this is it. Go there and enjoy and if you can, stay in room 7 !