Continuing our Scottish trip, having spent a couple of days in Edinburgh, our next stop was the county of Aberdeenshire. Using the city of Aberdeen as a base, there were plenty of sites to visit and activities to do within driving distance that tickled our fancy. Without really knowing the best place to stay, and looking for something a bit more special, I took to scrutinizing the internet to search for castle stays in Scotland. Not only did I find exactly what I was looking for, the hidden gem that it is, I was pretty pleased with finding such a good deal!
The Ardoe House Hotel is a beautiful, Victorian mansion that prides itself with original features as well as traditional, Scottish décor. Ok, so it’s not technically a castle, but it definitely looks like one! Upon arriving at the secluded grounds, the postcard-perfect building certainly lived up to our expectations. Tucked away 3 miles outside the city of Aberdeen, with all its forest surroundings, really does make the perfect location.
As we made our way through the grand doors to the reception, we passed a cozy fireplace, stags on the carpet and a few tall armchairs that fit perfectly with the high ceilings. Excited to explore the rest of the hotel, we hurried to check in, where we were warmly welcomed by staff. Everyone was polite and well presented. Checking in was quick and easy too, so it wasn’t long before we reached our rooms.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the hotel room, but given the slightly worn carpet and walls of the corridor, I was waiting for something a little rustic. But that wasn’t the case at all! The rooms were extremely modern, very spacious and thoroughly clean. The king size bed was one of the best features, along with the thick, soft carpet and the fact that the bathroom was brand new. In the entrance way of the room there was plenty of cupboard space and a little further into the room was a hot drinks station, mini fridge and safe box. In terms of amenities and attention to detail, I was pretty impressed with the Ardoe House. Having said that, as part of the Mercure chain that’s no surprise! Some of the extras included spa slippers and bathroom toiletries, which were a pleasant touch on top of the basics that are usually provided (hairdryer, free wifi…)
The brand new bathroom had a walk in, electric shower, which offered the option of the over-head shower or movable hand shower. It was an ideal size and the large mirror with integrated lighting (very calming/cozy by the way) completed the look. I have to say, I fell in love with the bathroom and would love to have the same at home! The only downside was the lack of cupboard space. In fact, there wasn’t any, so it was a shame to put all of our toiletries on the counter top.
Making ourselves at home
In exploring the rest of the hotel, we discovered many events rooms, including one with a huge terrace leading on to the gardens. The Ardoe House Hotel would therefore make a fantastic venue for a wedding, party or Christmas/new year’s 'do.' The hotel is also equipped with a leisure center, providing fitness facilities, swimming pool (and hot tub) as well as a spa. Unfortunately, our time was limited and therefore we were unable to make use of the facilities. Maybe next time? 😉 The hotel also boasts 2 bars (one which serves food and the other being a whisky bar) as well as a restaurant. The first evening of arriving we decided to have a small dinner in the bar area. It was particularly busy, so there was an obvious lack of attention, as well as many items on the drinks menu being unavailable. This was the only time during our stay that we were slightly disappointed, but was soon forgotten after the great service we received during the rest of our stay.
Although we didn’t check out the evening restaurant, breakfast was served in the same area and the staff were very friendly, polite and well presented. This was the first time my other half’s parents had experienced breakfast like this in a hotel, so it was great to see how enchanted they were! Of course, it was also their first experience of a typical, cooked, full Scottish/English breakfast. Everything was provided; from hot food, to cereal, fruit, pastries, fresh uncut bread, condiments, cold meats and cheeses, juices, and of course tea and coffee. And honestly, it was all delicious. If there was one thing I would have loved to have had extra, it would have been haggis. But that’s really searching for something to say!
In reflection and conclusion of our stay at the Ardoe House Hotel, we were over the moon with our visit. The hotel is extremely comfortable, has great amenities and its traditional decor adds to the authenticity of a Scottish vacation. I felt that the location was perfect, as it was outside of the city, yet close enough to access as well as to drive to the sites we wanted to visit. My favorite aspect had to be the modernity and comfort of the rooms, in harmony with the authentic, rustic decor of the house. However, I was also extremely impressed with the fantastic value for money. I would love to stay here again and if I find myself visiting the county of Aberdeenshire in the future, I won’t hesitate to book a room at the Ardoe House Hotel. In the meantime, I might just check out the other hotels that the Mercure group have to offer…
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Would you like to stay at the Ardoe House Hotel? Where have you stayed that has made your trip memorable?