Excellant hotel, looked a bit normal from the outside but very swish when inside, we renewed our vows at the blacksmiths which was only 2 mins away.The room was really,really nice, the staff very nice, the bar prices were not bad compared to a hilton.The menu was not very vegi friendly and we walked to another hotel for dinner which was very nice but I can not remember the name of it.
Best Hotel I have ever stayed in!
I booked this hotel for a one night stay as a bit of a treat to try and break up an unpleasant long drive home from Aberdeen after a family funeral.
I had read all the reviews and my expectations were high, and I'm pleased to say that this hotel met every one of them.
Check in staff were friendly and helpful.
I had arranged a bottle of champagne and a box of fudge in our room and it was the nicest fudge I have ever tasted!
The room was beautiful with a seperate seating area, living flame fire (which you can have on without heat) a flat screen TV, excellent toiletries and lovely decor.
We had booked a meal, and were seated in a little curtained off area at the rear of the restaurant. The food was the best I've ever had, my husband had venison steak and I would recommend it to anyone as it was fantastic, and my chicken was beautifully cooked as well.
I really can't think of anything to fault Smiths.
It is a shame that breakfast isn't included in the room price, because of this we chose to leave early and stop off on our way home. We ended up in a Little Chef, and quite frankly have learnt my lesson as for £5 more each we could have had the breakfast at the hotel which would have been buffet style and we could have had more than we got at the Little Chef and I imagine it would have been significantly better quality food!
Smiths is great
We were in Scotland for my son's wedding in March 2007. The Smiths Hotel was really great. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The rooms were very clean and large. Nice amenities in the room--tea, cocoa, coffee and wrapped cookies. Boutique soaps in the bathroom were really nice.
We checked in around 10pm and the front desk people greeted us as though we were long-lost (rich) relatives:-) It was the friendliest reception I've ever experienced from hotel staff. The next day, the staff had changed, and they were just as friendly. One person working behind the front desk wore a traditional kilt suit. I think that was the only time we saw someone dressed like this in Scotland--so that was fun for us (tourists from Iowa.)
We had drinks in the lounge/restaurant but did not eat at the hotel. The service in the bar area was good--prompt and friendly.
(We ate at the Gables Restaurant in Gretna for my son's wedding dinner--it was probably the best meal we had in the UK--excellent.)
I had read the reviews of Smiths and was worried people being rude , but our experience really couldn't have been better. I would
stay at the Smiths again and heartily recommend this hotel.
Shelter from the storm
A dark rainy night, half way to our Scottish holiday destination, the journey start so delayed that we'd had to phone ahead to cancel dinner in the hotel's restaurant; it wasn't the best of evenings.
From the outside the place looks a bit nondescript, but the reception staff were efficient and friendly, the place was clean and reasonably tastefully decorated in a modern/bland kind of way and we were pleased to check in.
The room was all we could have wished: large, clean, comfortable, lovely bathroom and power shower, the bed firm and comfortable. The champagne I'd ordered was there on cue and a room service snack arrived promptly and was perfectly fine.
Breakfast the next morning was tasty and good (although never seems as good from a buffet as it does served to your table) and the staff were helpful and friendly again.
I have to say the twee-ness of the Gretna Green experience itself is one we were keen to get away from, but this hotel did everything we needed it to do and a bit of luxury (by our standards) was just what we needexd.
We got married in Gretna Green and stayed at Smiths. The hotel was lovely, clean, modern and stylish. The food was fantastic (we had our wedding meal there) and everyone was so accomadating and made our special day truly perfect. My maid-of-honour and I had massages on the morning and I had my hair done and the salon was great. Everyone made it seem as if I was the only person the get married there and people went out of their way to make it great. We also had our children aged 1 and 2 and they were great with them too. Thank you so much.
Great, but ask for a quiet room
I've stayed on business several times. The rooms are good, the food and bar excellent, the friendly service also excellent. Only two things to be wary of. Some rooms overlook the motorway and are noisy so ask for one on the quiet side, and the wifi can be expensive because it is sold by the 'calendar' hour rather than cumulative logon time.
Cool, chic, contemporary, but below-par staff let them down
We had a great time getting married at Smiths, and have walked away with some terrific memories. I'll break down the elements of our stay:
Fabulous. Everything we'd hoped for - very contemporary and chic, but also cosy, rather than stark and cold. They've cut no corners in this area - and have obviously spent a lot of money on design. No complaints at all - fabulous environment.
Up and down. 2 outstanding members. Firstly, the friendly, smiley chap with a great sense of humour and kilt who welcomed us at Reception. A great start. Then, the congenial eastern European waitress (think her name was Marta) for whom nothing was too much. She seemed to be around over the whole weekend, and always recognised us and acknowledged us with a smile.
The rest went from mediocre to pretty awful. Lots of eastern Europeans whose English really was *too* bad to be put at front of house. It became really tiresome to have to repeat yourself at every turn; we soon noticed other guests chosing to point at a wine list or menu rather than go through the ritual of actually asking for something. Once we picked up on this trick, it became easier, but then you end up feeling as if it's you being rude.
We spent many occasions trying to attract the attention of bar staff. If you look at the attached photos, you'll see one of a bar man with his back to us. We'd been standing there for over 3 minutes when our photographer snapped him. The usual trick of shuffling or clearing your throat to attract attention didn't work - you actually had to call over, and again, it makes you feel awkward. Guests got into the habit of exchanging sarcastic asides to each other as a type of group therapy!
The worst member of staff, unhelpfully, didn't wear a name badge, but (note to management) she was slim, blonde, eastern European and seemed to be in a vaguely supervisory role. We're quite smiley, easygoing people, but she met our smiles with what I can only describe as a hostile manner. Example - she'd ask you what you wanted to eat, you'd tell her, but there'd be no response; the first time this happened, I repeated myself, because I thought she hadn't heard me - she responded with a quickly-barked 'I heard!' In the end, we stopped engaging with her, which meant she'd succeeded in bringing her negative attitude into our otherwise happy space.
On the Saturday afternoon, Marta told us it would be OK to order some tea & nibbles for the room, but that it might be quicker if we were to come down and fetch it. A bit miffed as we were mid-photo shoot, but went down anyway. Marta wasn't there, but her nemesis was, and said that Marta had told us something completely untrue - because they were serving lunch to *one wedding party*, the kitchen couldn't prepare anything, even tea until the evening (4 hours hence). Surely the biggest hotel in the UKs wedding capital might be able to plan in a few extra staff on, er, a Saturday in the middle of July. Marta reappeared, argued with her colleague that the kitchen had agreed to help us, and offered to go and sort it out. Grumpy Girl actually told her not to bother, until I intervened and insisted she did. Surprise surprise, a tray of tea and cakes was no problem, and Marta was so embarrassed that she insisted on bringing it up after all.
That evening, my husband saw a note behind the bar exhorting staff to 'up sell' whenever possible 'to help us through our current difficulties.' Someone should have mentioned this to Grumpy Girl.
Excellent - lovely, everything you'd expect from this type of hotel. Well cooked, delicate, imaginative, with enough 'safe' stuff to keep your more traditional eaters happy! Our compliments to the kitchen team - nothing was a disappointment.
We weren't expecting this - the atmosphere was fantastic. There were quieter periods - like when everyone was off getting married on the Saturday - but if there was just one other couple in the bar (the only public area that's open all the time), you'd strike up a conversation. Everyone was *so* friendly and relaxed.
But everything really came into its own in the late afternoon and evenings. From 3pm onwards, the bar was full, everyone knocking back Champagne, laughing, making friends with complete strangers and enjoying the atmosphere. We made friends with some really interesting people, literally getting chatting to someone ordering a drink next to you at the bar, or reapplying lipstick in the loo. It was brilliant.
On the whole, it was a slightly older crowd (we're in our early 40s, with the main age range from 30 - 65) and despite the *huge* amounts of alcohol being consumed, everything was really warm and good natured right through to the early morning when we went to bed. No aggression or lairy behaviour at all.
The guests, and the beautiful decor, really made our stay.
I'd go for either the £125 room or a suite - don't bother with the Exec Deluxe option as the difference is: slightly larger room, although our photographer (who was in a cheaper room) really couldn't tell, a bottle of wine and a fruit bowl comprising 2 peaches, 2 apples, some strawberries and a banana. Even the artwork's the same. I'd either save my money or spend more to get something that looks different. We often upgrade in order to avoid tired decor, but the hotel's so new that this really isn't a problem yet.
We had a room at the back, but didn't hear a thing - maybe during the weekdays the motorway's busier? The road is literally about 100 yards away but we really didn't notice it (except when you pull back the muslin curtain and look!)
We had a brilliant time, and still laugh when telling our friends about it. The ladies from the registration office are amazing and what we worried might be a 'production line' wedding was actually really touching and moving. The guests, and the atmosphere they created were unmatched, and one of our abiding memories is the bar and restaurant full of people in wedding dresses, mother-of-the-bride outfits and even cream leather outfits.
I'd ask the management team to *please* sort out the lacklustre staff so that others can have an unequivocally good time, without the reservations I've expressed. But don't let the staff put you off - this was a one-off experience and the environment was incredible.
A word of warning if you're not getting married, or hate the idea of weddings - you might feel a little overwhelmed if you turn up on a Saturday!
lovely hotel pity about the food
My Wife and I were attending wedding at another hotel but decided to stay in smiths hotel.The hotel itself is stunning,very modern the rooms are well finished and the staff are helpfull it was such a pitty about the food,we ate in smiths on sat evening(30/9/07),i had vennison which was so tough i couldnt even cut it with my knife and it was bone dry it came in four pieces and after two i gave up before my plate ended up on the table beside us, the fries were undercooked.My wife had chicken stuffed with haggis i must admit i have never seen haggis which looked so runny in the centre of the chicken and the portion of haggis inside was tiny almost laughable.When the waitress came to take our plates away and asked if we enjoyed our meal to which i replied no she asked what was wrong so i told her ,and she apologised 10 mins later the lady appeared with a dessert as a gesture of goodwill for the bad meal(nice touch but she never asked what i wanted).the barman didnt know what a long vodka was and the cleaning staff on sat afternoon had mouths that would make a sailor blush.On the whole it is a lovely hotel but it just lacked some 4 star touches like no bottled water in rooms no mini bar , but the meal would put me off going back the meal at the wedding we attented was perfect and i bet it didnt cost anything like smiths
we stayed at Smiths, as my brother and fiance were getting married at Anvil Hall and the reception was at Smiths.
Overall the rooms were fantastic, large, very comfortable bed, bunk bed area for the kiddies, many facilities in the room, and overall very very clean. The only negative was that my hubby and I travelled with our 2.1/2 year old daughter, who we thought was able to sleep on the bottom bunk. - until we noticed that although we could lock the room door to the coridor internally, all it took was for our daughter to pull down on the door handle and the door would automatically open (I am sure this was for easy escapr in case of a fire, however as parents, we were afraid she would awake in the middle of the night, become confused as to where she was, and perhaps wander out in to the coridor whilst we were asleep, perhaps we were being over cautious, but we ended up putting her in our bed with us)
The drinks are slightly on the expensive side, however no more than you would expect to pay in a decent bar anywhere in the country
I was in charge of room decoration for the wedding reception, and was able to have access to the room as soon as I needed it, and they even allowed me a late room check out as they knew I was busy decorating
I have to say at the wedding reception the food, drink and the staff were amazing. Staff were very attentive, the meal was delicious, the kiddies were served their main mean whilst the adults had starters, and there was an area at the edge of the room that restless kiddies could 'play' when they had finished their meal.
I would recommend smiths to adults, and children alike, and certainly recommend them for a wedding reception
Perfect Setting for a Perfect Day!!
When we decided to get married at Gretna Green in 2006 we stayed at Smiths and were really impressed by the service we received - nothing was too much.
We decided then and there that we would let Smiths organise our wedding for us. We were not disappointed. Michelle was our wedding co-ordinator and she kept us in touch with all the developments and if i wanted to add/admend anything all it took was one phone call - nothing was too much trouble.
From the moment we arrived on Friday 5th October we and our guests were treated like royality! We had 7 rooms in total and all of our guests were really impressed with the rooms - the cleaniness, the space and the facilities.
We had booked a suite and could not believe it when we entered the room....the bathroom was truely amazing - total luxury!!!
On the Saturday that we got married everything ran extremely smoothly - a hassle free wedding. Again the staff could not do enough for us, very helpful and very friendly.
I can not recommend this hotel enough, we will definitley stay here again.