- Reviews: 3726
ROYAL HOTEL - ULLAPOOL: PREMIER LUXURY?
You have to wonder what a hotel is like when the photo gallery on their website only has nature photos. I stayed here in a single room and found the hotel ok, but certainly not a ‘premier luxury’ hotel they describe. The restaurant is excellent. In fact it is their best feature, including free whiskey at breakfast. It to put a small amount on your porridge, not to get started on a boozy day. The hotel is old and frayed at the edges. It is in its own quiet grounds, but there is noise from the closing of doors. The rooms have automatic door closers that mean when someone lets a room door shut – BANG! My single room was ok. It had seen better days and parts of it had been redecorated since the 1970’s and some parts had not. There were parts of old shelves and an old desk in the room. The chair with the desk was ancient. A suitably old TV and electric kettle rounded out some of the museum aspects of the décor. I did have a large closet a small table and a kind of armchair. The room was small, but functional. The mattress was poor. It’s bad when you can feel the springs in your back. The did have a nice tea and coffee tray which is great for getting up to go to work the next day.
The bathroom was modernised and quite good actually. It had nice tile floors and a great modern shower. The toiletries were a little hit and miss, but I did also have tissues and some good towels. They also had a nice china toilet. The bathroom was the best part.
The best part of the hotel by far is the restaurant. Some of the tables look out over Loch Broom and the service was excellent. The food was really good at dinner time. Although the tables and chairs could do with an update, I had nice place settings and a nice candle amongst a small setting of stones. I had a very nice chicken dish with some very well prepared vegetables and a nice glass of red wine. I normally do not eat in hotel restaurants, but I would happily recommend this one. Their breakfast buffet in the morning was superb. Not just because of the whiskey, but also the mixture of hot and cold dishes, juices and service. They also have a fully cooked breakfast for you made up in the kitchen to order.
After dinner you can enjoy the nice The Waterfront Bar. In addition to cold pints of beer and a full drink selection they also service pasta and pizzas 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. They also have a small outside terrace is available for an al fresco meal or cold drink in warm weather.
The hotel is on the ‘edge’ of the town, but it’s only a pleasant 5-6 minute stroll before you start coming to the main shopping and waterfront area.
Except for the restaurant and bar, I think you could do better in this price range in this area. They are currently renovating the hotel and it has real potential. They just need better rooms and mattresses. Maybe after full renovation, it will be what it can be.
Interesting the Royal Hotel is thought to be the oldest continuous hotel in Ullapool and started as a Coaching Inn back in the 1890’s. There are a few old features and even clocks in the hotel that seem to support this.
• 54 bedrooms – all ensuite facilities (with a bath or shower)
• Excellent restaurant and breakfast overlooking Loch Broom
• Free car parking
• Free Wi-Fi (slow)
• Good bar
• 5-7 minute walk to everything in Uallapool
All rooms are ensuite (bath or shower), have free Wi-Fi, coffee/tea making facilities, have a TV (12 channels), and central heating (radiators). They also have a desk and large closet.
• Single Room (4)
• Twin Room (22)
• Double room (17)
King sized beds and some look out over Loch Broom
• Twin Room (22)
• Triple Room (6)
• Family Room (2)
- One has double and 2 single beds and looks out over the Loch. The other has 2 twin beds and a set of bunkbeds.
• Honeymoon Suite (3)
King sized 4 – poster bed, couch, 32 inch TV and large bay windows overlong the Loch.
FOOD & DRINK
• Main Restaurant
Serves a breakfast buffet and ‘to order’ breakfast and then evening meals. The menu is extensive and international with daily specials.
• Waterfront Bar
Italian pizza and pasta from 6-9pm with daily specials. Good draft beers and an outside eating and drinking terrace
• Just the bar and restaurant. Staff are helpful about the local area.
• None advertised
- Reviews: 3726
MERCURE AYR: OK IN AYR
Please note: This is now the Mecure Ayr Hotel.
When I stayed here it was an OK hotel with good sized rooms, nice staff, excellent location although a little rough around the edges. It was a Ramada Hotel for years and that’s what you normally get. It has recently been bought out by Mercure. Knowing Mercure, I have no doubt they will mess this up. I drove here and they do have a small car park – so ring and ask them for a space first. The hotel is functional. It has a gym (really old), indoor pool, restaurant with reasonable food, bar and ok rooms. The rooms do have loud door closers and vary in size. Ask for a corner room on a high floor and you get a larger and quieter room. In terms of location, you are a 2-3 minute walk to either the seafront or the shopping/dining areas of town – so in between.
I stayed here twice and had a reasonable night’s sleep (after having the staff tell one family to either get quiet or leave) each time. I enjoyed the seafront, a few good restaurants nearby and even had some reasonable food in the hotel restaurant. I found the staff very helpful and positive and they always had time for questions and directions. If you book far enough in advance and/or use one of their deals, you can stay here at a very reasonable rate for business travellers.
Like I said, it’s OK. Not stellar, but a reasonable 3 star hotel with a gym and heated swimming pool.
All rooms are non-smoking, have free Wi-Fi, satellite, modern bathroom with bathtub/shower, toiletries, coffee/tea making trays, trouser press and ‘iron’, hairdryer, full length mirror and a work desk. There are 3 categories of rooms:
• Standard Room
Double beds and some are sea facing
• Executive Room
All are sea facing and you can see the Isle of Arran on clear days. Complimentary newspaper.
Additional sitting room
FOOD & DRINK
• The Brasserie Restaurant – international menu
Breakfast: Monday-Friday: 07:00-09:30, Saturday: 07:30-10:00, Sunday: 08:00-11:00
Dinner: Daily from 18:00 - 21.30
• Bar (seems to have no name!)
Lunch: Bar snacks and meals every day from 11:00
• Room Service 24/7
• Sebastian Coe Health Club (Gym, sauna and heated indoor pool)
• Golf Simulator
• Beauty treatments and message services
• Laundry/dry cleaning
• Car parking (45 spaces) – chargeable and limited – book in advance
• Special offers on website and email newsletter
• 7 meeting rooms with natural light – up to 200 people
• Support equipment (i.e. projector) – all chargeable
- Reviews: 3726
STONEFIELD CASTLE: FADED GLORY
Stonefield Castle is actually a large house and a good example of Scottish Baronial architecture. Also known as Barmore House, it was originally owned by the MacAlasdair family. The head of the family served as the Constable of Tarbert Castle. Duty to neglect of duty and for allowing Tarbert Castle to fall into ruin – he lost both properties. Stonefield was acquired by Charles Campbell. He employed architects William Henry Playfair and William Notman to extend and remodel the house to its current form in 1837. Many of the original features still remain on the ground floor. The hotel was once even recommended by Condé Nast and a faded sign still testifies to this past achievement. Faded starts to be a theme when you see the sign and step inside. The reception area is a small dark corner before you enter the first grand room. When it was first built, it must have been simply stunning. There are several beautiful rooms, a great ‘hunting lodge’ type of bar and a huge dinning room. The dinning room is bland, but it gives you a wide panorama view of Loch Fyne which is a stone’s throw away.
My room was up a decaying staircase and past a few pieces of antique furniture. My room was ok. It has an ok bed, tea/coffee making facilities, a TV and closet. It also had a small stereo system. It was tastefully decorated and looked over a rear door and the start of a garden on the side facing away from the loch. The bathroom was a long, narrow affair that was at least modern and the towels were good. The only bad thing is that the shower had sort of a half length shower wall and this meant that there was always water across the floor making it slippery. I had to keep towels on the floor the whole time.
Staying at the hotel had some good points. Inside you have a lot of staff that are European students and who were polite enough. I enjoyed a few cold beers and some whisky sampling as I browsed though the house. There is a library room, complete with hundreds of book to have a read of. There were plenty of rooms to sit in and enjoy a good read and the ambiance. The hotel is very quiet and peaceful.
Outside in the grounds is the real plus of the property. The gradual paved drive between the front door and the main road is ½ a mile long. So running a mile is easy to figure out. There are walking paths across the grounds and around Loch Fyne. I really enjoyed my runs and walks over the several days I stayed at Stonefield.
The only downsides are that the hotel is a little worn and the breakfast times. You don’t pay a fortune to stay here in the standard rooms and the setting of the hotel increases the value of your stay to compensate. Breakfast times, however, are not geared for business travellers like me. They used to serve breakfast at 7am, which is ok. They have changed this and even covered over the earlier times on the door card you can leave for breakfast in your room. They do not start until 8am. Given that a full Scottish Breakfast is included, it’s a bit strange to have moved the times back and still try and attract business customers.
Overall, this is a very interesting hotel and grounds. I used it as a base to both work and explore the Kintyre Peninsula. It is quiet, affords people who like the outdoors a great experience and it is peaceful. You have 60 acres or woodlands on the estate alone to explore. I had a good night’s sleep every night after a nice walk and run.
I never ate dinner here, but you can pay a supplement and get a dinner package. I have to say the menu and the food looked nice. The dinning room scenery is incredible.
• 32 bedrooms with TV, tea/coffee facilities, en-suite and a good closet
• Good restaurant with panoramic views of Loch Fyne
• 60 acres of woodlands and trials
• Historic bar with over 50 single malt whiskies
• Full Scottish Breakfast included, dinner packages can be added
• Gardens with many plants collected in the Himalayas by Sir Joseph Hooker
• Tarbert Golf Club (9 holes) is nearby
• Business conference facilities for 2-60 delegates
- Reviews: 517
Glengorm Castle: Stay at a Castle
To be honest, I've never stayed there... nor even been inside the castle. I have walked, and been driven around the grounds. My cousins' daughter was friends with the Nelson's daughter, so went up to drop off/pick up the girls. A lot of the Fresh produce served in the Tobermory restauants comes from the grounds. There are the rooms in the castle and then cottages elsewhere on the grounds.
The View! The location. Being in a Castle!
The highland cattle raised on the grounds.
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