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“Very pleasant stay again” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Macdonald Highlands Hotel

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Macdonald Highlands Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Aviemore Highlands, Aviemore PH22 1PN, Scotland   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 11 Hotels in Aviemore
scotland
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Very pleasant stay again”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

Just enjoyed another short break at the Macdonald Highland hotel and was again very pleased with our stay. Usual bright, clean, comfortable room. One or two signs of wear and tear in the bathroom but it was spotlessly clean. Delicious evening meal in the restaurant. Was disappointed that the buffet breakfast was not on offer during our midweek stay but I believe it is available at weekends. Breakfast was fine - but I missed the buffet selection! Otherwise another very enjoyable stay and we will be back!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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416 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (74)
Date | Rating
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English first
Falkirk, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

We are regular guests at MacDonald hotels and this wasn't up to the normal standard. We upgraded to an executive room. Not very executive. A very old TV so not very pleasant to watch, no fridge in room and bulbs weren't working. The fridge and lightbulbs were replaced but still a pain to have to ask.

Breakfast was good as you would expect from MacDonald hotels, however the service wasn't the best.

I wouldn't rush back.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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London
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2012

We stayed at the Highlands hotel as part of a ski package. We were upgraded to this 4 star hotel from the 3 star MacDonald property. Online, the Highlands hotel looked grand, and I was really looking forward to staying here for the weekend.

When we arrived at the resort, we were most impressed. It was easy to find by car; we checked into the main resort reception, although I'm sure you can check in at each individual hotel reception on the resort.

Once I arrived in the room, I was most let down. This property is old, and they're trying to somewhat disguise this by nice duvet covers and a Scottish quilt. We had a ground floor room, and you could hear the neighbours talking in the corridor, as well as all the room doors shutting. We could hear the neighbours talking in their room too. Our widow overlooked the carpark that faced the main reception entrance, so we felt that our curtains always had to be closed.

The bathroom was quite small, but enough room in the main room to move around for a twin room. The bathroom wall/floor tiles and fittings were starting to come off the wall.

It was a clean room and bathroom; it just needs a face lift.

We requested a cold plate on arrival, as we had pre-paid for dinner and breakfast, but arrived too late for our first night dinner. The check in staff advised me (without my prompt) that there was a cold plate waiting in our room. This wasn't there. Out of principle, I phoned to enquire and they very promptly sent a plate to us.

The dining room was lovely with beautiful scenic views. This has been modernised. Breakfast was filling, and plentiful choice. The inclusive dinner had good choices, and was well presented, and certainly tasted very good! If it wasn't for the food, I wouldn't rate this hotel.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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West Lothian, Scotland
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2012

So the rooms were advertised on LateRooms at £70 per night, reduced from £200 per night, including breakfast. At that price you can't really complain, not much more than a standard Travel Lodge price for a "4 star" hotel. However, not all that glitters is gold...

The decor of the room is about 20 years out of date. Old, tired and dated. The bed was huge, but very soft, and the TV was very small and with an odd selection of channels. No free internet, in this day and age, in a 4 star hotel, crazy. Given there's no Vodafone mobile signal that meant I was completely cut off from the world (one could argue that's a good thing, but I didn't like it!).

Much worse was the bathroom. Mould around the fittings, mouldy sealant, dirty grouting everywhere, and where the grouting had been re-touched it was a shockingly poor job with fresh grouting just plastered over the dirty stuff and had been split onto the bath and handle (sharp, ouch!). Whole bathroom basically needs to be ripped out. And to be honest I hate showers over baths, would much rather just have a decent standalone shower.

Even worse still were the walls. I suspect they were made from paper, or maybe very thin tissue paper. You could hear _everything_ from the surrounding rooms. The couple next door snored so heavily they kept us awake a whole room away. The couple across the corridor were engaged in some early evening activities and you could hear it all. Most unpleasant and I'd have been mortified if I'd had my daughter with me. Absolutely no sound proofing whatsoever, which then meant you were paranoid about your own noise such as the volume of the TV, or even just normal conversation.

Breakfast was average. On the Friday it was quiet & we got table service with freshly prepared food which was excellent. However on the Saturday it was busy with a help-yourself buffet - the food had been sitting around and the eggs were mixed up cooked with uncooked in an unhealthy way (and my egg hadn't been cooked properly). Unimpressive and worrying from a food standards point of view.

Was great having access to the pool, which has decent lanes to do proper swimming (as well as a small flume). No complaints here and towels were provided free of charge. However I was disappointed that you only got a 10% discount for the cinema being a resident. Was also disappointed that the hotel bar was so over-priced, especially as it is off season. On that topic there's no fridge or mini-bar in the room and no soft drinks on room service, and no vending machines. Cue having to buy mega-expensive Coke from the bar, or walking in to town to buy from Tesco.

Definitely would not stay here again if I'm in Aviemore. Location is great, and the pool is fantastic, but the rooms/bathrooms need a serious overhaul and the breakfast standards need to be improved. I'd have been furious if I'd paid the advertised £200 per night. Can't see this establishment surviving unless they improve and overhaul the facilities.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Dundee
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

Having been to Aviemore a lot to ski and go out and about I had always fancied staying in the MacDonald Resort but I was very disappointed. Our room was in the Highland Hotel which was very basic, no fridge, tiny coffee and tea set, dark and not very clean. The size of the bed was fantastic and was comfy but the bathroom was tiny and eventually got annoying as you struggled to move around and the door handle kept falling off.

The pool area looked fantastic although when we were there the wave machine never came on and the the sauna, jacuzzi and steam room were all off !!

The staff in the breakfast area were very helpful but the staff at the reception and on the bar were pathetic, un helpful and rude. Once we found out our room was basic and not to our liking we asked if there was any other rooms she replied it will cost you £30 a night. Also when we we asked for air conditioning to be turn down she just replied NO and never said another word. Overall the staff were just strange.

I would recommend the cairngorm hotel which has a fantastic bar or the Hilton Resort.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Dundee, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

Well, where to start. We arrived on a Thursday evening and it was just getting dark. We followed the signs to the Resort Entrance which actually took us to the cinema! Eventually we found the reception which was located at the Laggan Bar and Aspects Restaurant. We were greeted at reception which doubled as a bar by the receptionist who told us where our room was. We got into a very old style lift which bounced as it stopped and walked down a few corridors to find our room (2305). We thought it would be quite nice for a 4 star hotel but when we got in it was fairly souless, painted in a dingy yellow, the bathroom wasn't big enough to swing the tiniest of cats and the door handle of the bathroom fell off! The duvet cover was too small for the duvet and the bottom sheet didn't fit the bed. Saying that though, it was comfortable to sleep in. The furniture is very old and the radiator didn't work and had been replaced with a storage heater which didn't seem to work either. The curtains were very floral and needed replacing. We noticed that there was no mini bar/fridge so we asked at reception if it would be possible to change rooms to have a fridge. We were told that it would cost us an extra £30 per night to have a fridge and that 'standard' rooms didn't have fridges, only executive rooms did. It would have cost us an extra £90 to be able to have a fridge so we didn't bother and just used an ice bucket instead.

The lounge bar was ok, there was a lovely wood burner but right above it was an air duct which pumped out cold air so it was fairly pointless having a fire when any heat that came out of it was immediately blown away by cold air. Drinks weren't too expensive but if you wanted a vodka and coke, you had to buy a separate can of coke for a couple of pounds on top of your vodka.

As it was very quite on the Thursday when we arrived we went to The Cairngorm pub/hotel at the bottom of the road and this provided a great atmosphere and became our lunchtime retreat.

We ate at Giovanni's restaurant in the resort on the Friday night. The food was nice but quite pricey - £8.95 for linguinne with pesto and wild mushrooms. On the Saturday night we ate at Aspects restaurant and after checking if it was £20 for two courses (it wasn't we just had a main course each as the prices were quite high. £19.95 for chicken breast and £18.95 for salmon. Steaks were either £22 or £24 depending on if it was ribeye or sirloin. The steaks we had were very tasty.
Breakfasts were good with a wide variety of things to eat and the service was good.

We used the gym and pool on the Friday which was nice although not all of the gym equipment was that good. The pool was nice but we didn't experience the wave machine.

There is a nice shopping centre at the resort and loads of ski/boarding shops in the town.

We definitely wouldn't stay here again. It's tired and in desparate need of updating and the staff on reception and at the bar could do with going on a customer service course.

It's a shame as we have a MacDonald villa in Spain and were expecting good things from this resort but we won't be recommending it to anyone.

Room Tip: Go for an executive room as you'll get a fridge and a dressing gown
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tillicoultry
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2012

We have just had another very enjoyable visit to the Macdonald Highlands hotel in Aviemore ,where your comfort as a guest is ensured by attentive staff ,and as always ,the food is first class .The executive bedrooms are spacious,bright and well equipped and have large bathrooms and lovely toiletries .There is a cinema on site ,and a swimming pool and fitness suite to excercise in ,if you feel inclined . There are lots of activities for children to enjoy as well ,ensuring a happy holiday for all the family .

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Macdonald Highlands Hotel

Address: Aviemore Highlands, Aviemore PH22 1PN, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Aviemore and the Cairngorms > Aviemore
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Aviemore
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Highlands Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 151
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Relax in style and complete comfort at the 4-star Macdonald Highlands Hotel. With 151 luxury rooms-with-a-view and its own signature restaurant, Aspects, boasting spectacular views of the Cairngorm Mountains, the Highlands Hotel is ideal for discerning business and leisure travelers. For relaxation there's direct access to the Leisure Arena, a TV lounge with comfy sofas and a DVD player, and the cozy Laggan whiskey bar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Macdonald Highlands Aviemore
Hotel Macdonald Highlands
Macdonald Highlands Hotel Aviemore, Scotland

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