The Boat Hotel

3.5 out of 5 stars3.5 Stars

Deshar Road, Boat Of Garten, MO PH24
The Boat Hotel
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Satisfaction Very Good
Very Good

Value Score Poor Value

Costs 47% more than similarly rated 3.5 star hotels

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Good For Solo
  • Families70
  • Couples75
  • Solo83
  • Business68

More about The Boat Hotel

Don't stay in aviemore, stay here instead!

by A TripAdvisor Member

Having been on walking holidays in the Aviemore/Boat of Garten area before my husband and I have always stayed in one of the bland chain hotels with millions of bedrooms and lots of noisy coach parties in the centre of Aviemore. Never again! If you want a quiet, relaxing holiday venture a bit further north and stay in the Boat instead.

This has to be one of the best hotel's we've ever stayed in. The newly refurbished room, which was more like a suite, was wonderful. There were so many personal touches in the room that we felt like very special guests rather than tourists. The bar food was stunning too (think upmarket restaurant but nowhere near as expensive). Comparing the room prices to what you'd expect to pay in Aviemore for a similar standard hotel, its very good value.

We can't recommend this hotel enough, and would definetly stay here again.

Perfect in every way

by A TripAdvisor Member

With family travel constraints requiring us two Aussies to tie the knot in the Highlands of Scotland, we were a little daunted by the prospect of arranging our entire wedding by phone and internet. We needn't have worried in the slightest - Roddy and his staff at The Boat Hotel were amazing, from first email contact to final emotional farewell. The Boat Hotel itself is a charming, elegant hotel, which envelopes its guests in an atmosphere of calm hospitality, where everyone's individual needs are addressed without hesitation or question. The food is beautiful, with enormous and very tasty breakfasts, and a wide range of evening options from bar snacks to informal bistro and more formal restaurant environments. Quality local produce is used to its full potential in both traditional and more innovative dishes. The bedrooms through the hotel vary in size, but all are furnished with a careful eye on both comfort and style. See attached photos for a look at our suite...

Our party of 16 (aged from 3 to 93) stayed at The Boat for three nights midweek, and celebrated our wedding at Drumintoul Lodge on nearby Rothiemurchus Estate, all arranged through and catered by The Boat staff. If you are looking for the dream venue for a Highland wedding, this is it. The lodge is set in private grounds not far from a small loch - the perfect spot for an outdoor ceremony if you are lucky enough with the weather. If (as for us) the weather doesn't quite play the game, the Lodge itself has several beautiful roooms, furnished in traditional luxury, to host the ceremony. The dining room looks out over stunning scenery, and there are two other reception rooms on the ground floor, with dressing rooms and bathrooms upstairs for the bridal party. As the staff are all from the hotel, they bring along with them the unobtrusive but attentive service which makes The Boat so special. Local string quartet Animato played for us both in the ceremony itself and through the evening - another amazing internet find!

What more can I say but THANK YOU to Roddy and his staff at The Boat, for their care and attentiveness ... and for putting up with us all!!!

Has the boat sailed?

by TripAdvisor Member diabolo666

The website of The Boat Hotel promises a modern, boutique like experience filled with luxury and style. The reality is much more three star mundane, and so different from the cyber-promise that we couldn't help but be disappointed. So well done to the web designers. The hotel had just changed hands in the week we stayed, so the staff were jumpy and distracted - understandably so. The hotel itself is right next to the train station which is now home to a steam railway. The world divides between those who consider it heaven to be woken by the hisses and puffs and clangs of a steam train making ready and those who don't - we fall into the latter category! The room however, was clean, the bed comfortable, and the bathroom recently re-done featuring a plastic roll top bath and high quality linoleum on the floor. But it just didn't 'click' for us and the ambience we got was one of an old station hotel trying hard but not quite getting there. In common with all Scottish hotels of this ilk, the restaurant offered a three course 'fine dining' meal whilst the pub like bar was available for more informal food. To their credit, the dining room menu allowed a choice of either two or three courses at different prices, so we weren't compelled to chew our way through more food than we wanted. The food was pleasingly presented and of good quality but unremarkable.
So a middling 6 out of 120 for the boat - We hope the new owners will change the hotel rather than the website!

New Year's break at The Boat

by TripAdvisor Member WhitetigerUK

We had been searching for a while to find a traditional Scottish hotel to celebrate the New Year in. To be honest I had my heart set on a castle or manor house in the middle of no-where, but after many emails and calls to those who still had availability the cost eventually put me off... (£800+pp for a 2 or 3 night package).

Then we found The Boat Hotel. Starting from £400pp for a 3 night package which included the accommodation, evening meals and a variety of evening entertainment. Reviews of the hotel seemed pretty good, and the location was ideal - right in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park.

We went for one of the 2 suites they currently have available, which was a bit more, but provided a separate sitting area with views of the mountain range and the steam railway which is right by the hotel. You also get a very comfortable 4 poster bed, and bathroom with roll top bath and a spacey corner shower. The room is nicely decorated and made us feel right at home.

The exterior of the hotel could do with some work to reflect the high standards which you're presented with from when you walk into reception, so don't let it put you off when you get there!

Staff in the hotel were fantastic - I'd hate to be working over New Year, but all of the team here did it with style, grace and a smile. I really can't thank them enough for making our stay.

Food was excellent and definitely reflective of the 2 AA rosettes and various other awards received. The menus were different every night (presumably as it was a New Year's package), and varied in their style and flavourings. Breakfast was also very impressive - lots of choice.

On New Year's day we left the room to find a small gift had been left outside each room - only small, but a nice touch.

Our only real criticism for the whole stay was that amongst the New Year's Eve celebrations, Ceilidh band and piper, someone made the error of forgetting to play Auld Lang Syne... A few people were pretty shocked!, but overall the evening went well.

I am hugely fussy about hotels and a constant pain to my girlfriend (and my wallet) from looking to stay in the fanciest places which cost the earth. The Boat Hotel is not only very affordable, but ticks all the boxes you would usually associate with 4 or 5 star hotels.

Different to how the website describes it............

by TripAdvisor Member Conroy1973

I agree with the other review, this hotel is very different to how it is described on the web. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a boutique hotel - although the bedrooms/bathrooms are nice. The whole hotel has huge potential but needs somebody to sort out the public rooms & to train the staff (except for one member of staff who was helpful). The hotel doesn't have a cosy lounge or bar to sit and read your book, in fact the bar doesn't even have a real log fire! The bar is in desperate need of some comfy sofas as the lounge is very dated and unappealing. I would recommend this hotel for groups of walkers - the food in the bar is very good. Would also recommend having breakfast in your bedroom as the breakfast room is pretty depressing to sit and eat in! I really hope the new owners make some changes because this hotel does have potential but don't take the website too literally.


by TripAdvisor Member MellisGlasgow

Our welcome at The Boat was friendly, but the room was not what we would expect in a hotel of this rating. The bathroom only had a shower and the fittings were mediocre. It was pretty clean except in the nooks and crannies, but carpet in a bathroom is something we find unhygienic and this added to the tired appearance. The bedroom was roomy and well equipped but the carpet was stained. The hotel overlooks the steam railway and is right next to the station - great for Thomas the Tank Engine fans. At dinner on the first night our waiter told us that the hotel had changed hands that day and that many of the staff had arrived at the hotel only 30 minutes earlier, sent from the new owner's other hotel. As a consequence the staff were unsure of basic stuff such as what wines were available. Only the Osprey bistro appeared to be open. The food was good, but nothing special and not worth the prices charged. Breakfast the first morning was very good, but on subsequent mornings it deteriorated and the hotel had run out of some things on the menu. In summary, it was okay, decent value at the rate we got (£60 B&B per night per room and there were three of us in the room), but a bit disappointing.

Has gone terribly downhill

by TripAdvisor Member Dissecta

My Wife and I stayed at the Boat for a our anniversary and came away very, very disappointed.

We had been there in 2003 and had had a fabulous time. The food was great and the staff were excellent.

Unfortunately, the food is now poor to average and in some cases bizarre. I don't think I have ever encountered "traditional" porridge
with chives on it before and hopefully I will never again (I have attached a picture of the offending dish).

At dinner the first night I had steak which was well cooked but came with thick cut chips that were brown and soggy on the outside and raw
in the middle. I though this was a one off but the chips that came with the Fritto Miso I had the following night were exactly the same poor quality.

My wife had the steak that night and it was not medium rare as requested, however the chips did look nicer. A taste revealed that they were in fact McCain southern fries or (similar processed chip).

The Maitre D appears to think that being rude and throwing your wine into your glass is an attempt at sophistication.

The Hotel appears to only have 1 CD and I never wish to hear a live version of Hotel California ever again.

On positive note the room was clean.

When checking out we informed the front desk that we were very disappointed to see how Standards had fallen. We were informed that the Hotel had been recently taken over and was undergoing a period of

This may explain was why dinner was served in the bar and not the restaurant. I hope part of the transition is the replacement of the MD.

It should be said that some of the staff were obviously trying their best in difficult circumstances.

I do hope that this was a temporary blip and the hotel can return to it's previous high standards. As it stands it does not deserve the awards that litter the walls of reception.


by TripAdvisor Member 1976agnes

We only stayed the one night but for a couple looking for a base in the Cairngorms, I'd thoroughly recommend this hotel.

The room was beautiful - the bathroom was huge with double shower and gorgeous bath and a four-poster bed.

The food in the restaurant was also great. There was a good choice on the menu, for prices you'd expect with quality service on a busy night.

You're right next to the steam railway too so you can hop on for a wee trip without having to worry about the car!

We will never go back!

by TripAdvisor Member Toad33


After reading reviews about the hotel and looking at ther website, we were excited about staying at the Boat Hotel. From the hotel, we planned to visit the highlands. If I had not been obligated through my Visa guarantee, I would not have checked in after seeing the hotel.

Building maintenance: Extremely poor. Broken tile, dirty, furniture disheveled. Every time I sat down, I had to move to avoid being run over by an individual doing a poor job with a vacuum cleaner that obviously did not work.

Staff: Not sure what language they spoke, but I had a difficult time speaking English with them. After being served breakfast one morning, I was accused of taking someone else's order!

Room: Very small and smelled like stale cooking oil. I could not stand up from the toilet without hitting my head on the lavatory counter!

Recognition: When I complained about the quality of the food in the bistro, I was told I should try the food in their more expensive restaurant. If the restaurant is worthy of two rosettes, McDonalds should have ten!

Dont Go

by TripAdvisor Member Bellajohnston

The room was ok but the shower room was bad. The shower head was falling apart the soap holder was minus the top half and we were left with two very rusty screws (only one connected to the dish)The water in the shower eventually became warm after 5 minutes.
There was dirt and dust all around the skirting board in the shower room, and sink in the shower room had very poor drainage.
The meals were over priced. Often late and at one point we were served up a rancid steak .(The smell was over powering)The feeble excuse was that the Chef had a cold. Even after all this we waited fifty minutes to be served breakfast on our day of departure so had to forgo breakfast .
We also found out that the ownership had recently change and the hotel web site and brochures had not.



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