My now fiance took me here in December to propose altho I didnt know it at the time. The location is fabulous and the views are pretty BUT............ On arrival we checked in and were assigned quite a nice room - Affrric turret suite - the best room apparently!! - nice but nothing special for 5 * - no added extras except for sherry in the room. With 5* you normally expect nice molton brown goodies, room service, water in the room etc but there was none of that! We then went downstairs to have a drink at the bar but there was no-one around - we hunted for staff for around 25 mins before we eventually got offered a drink. Not a great start!!! When the staff did arrive I was surpised at the extravagent price for a small and very average glass of wine - needless to say we didnt fancy drinking in the bar again. Anyway to cut a long story short I will always have fond memories of the hotel as it is where my fiance and I got engaged but I certainly wont be returning for our first wedding anniversary. My fiance had brought a bottle of champagne with him to pop the question and he had asked the management to set this up in the room for when we came back from dinner and for the proposal (he had told them he was planning on doing this). They were happy to do this but they were also happy to charge us corckage on our bottle of champagne informing my bewlidered fiance that after all they were a business and they were there to make money!!!!!!!!!! Understandable to a point but considering that most hotels send the couple a bottle of champagne on their engagement night in the hope that they will recommend the hotel or come back again and again - not really the kind of response you would expect!! Anyway the hotel manager then proceeded to announce our engagement at breakfast the next morning without consulting us first and to be honest we didnt really want a room full of strangers knowing we were engaged before our family but we were never given that option. A polite congratulations or maybe customary gesture of waiving the corckage would have been far more appropriate. You expect a 5* hotel to offer you wonderful service and to be attentive to your every need - we both felt this wasnt on offer here. The atmosphere was pretentious and I truly felt it was a money making machine in terms of very high corckage, meal and drinks costs. Given the cost of the rooms in the first place this was disappointing. Sadly my advice would be to take you money and go elsewhere.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are surprised and disappointed at these remarks, not only because this couple appeared to have had a wonderful stay at the lodge and left without any murmur of complaint, but also because it has taken a full 4 months for the complaint to be posted on Trip Advisor. This time delay may, of course, account for the various lapses in memory which this guest appears to have had and the numerous inaccuracies in their complaint.
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Firstly, their claim that there was no water in the room. In actual fact there are always 2 bottles of a premium brand of water in all our rooms – one sparkling and one still – beside the complimentary decanter of sherry.
Secondly, the time this guest claims that they waited to be served drinks. While we always strive to deliver efficient but discreet service, there may be occasions where another guest is being served first and a wait of 2 or 3 minutes may occur but 25 minutes is not possible and simply not true.
In terms of the size of the glass of wine, we are obliged by law to serve an exact measure every time so the amount of wine one receives cannot be subjective; it is simply a measure of wine as one would expect in any licensed establishment. Our wine list has been very carefully chosen and, while each particular wine cannot be to everyone's taste, each is quite select.
With regard to the comments made about the Affric room being 'nothing special for 5 star', we are quite mystified. Affric is indeed one of our premium plus rooms incorporating the turret of the lodge with a seating area from which guests can appreciate the spectacular views of the loch. In terms of 5 star amenities, it also has a super king sleigh bed dressed in the finest Egyptian cotton with goose down duvets, pillows and melt-into mattress topper, as well as fresh flowers, fluffy bath robes, a selection of current magazines, flat screen TV, DVD and radio/CD player. (There is a selection of DVDs and CDs available for guests to choose from.) In the en-suite bathroom there is a double ended jacuzzi bath, a spacious shower and luxurious Penhaligons toiletries, considered to be the crème de la crème and available only to the most exclusive of establishments. It is perhaps simply not a brand this guest is familiar with.
These amenities - as well as the additional facilties throughout the lodge including spa (with hot tub and sauna) and therapy room - have led both Visit Scotland and the AA to award Loch Ness Lodge 5 stars with the AA awarding a further 5 Gold Stars putting the lodge into the top 10% in the UK.
Concerning the mention made of there being no room service, this follows the guest's request to have dinner served in the room to allow her to watch X-Factor at the same time. It was explained to her very politely that it was simply not feasible to serve a 5 course dinner in the bedroom, course by course. After all, would this not miss vital elements of the fine dining experience?
On the following morning during breakfast, the events of the night before involving their engagement came up in the course of conversation and some of the other guests including another young couple who had also recently got engaged, joined in the conversation. It followed quite naturally to wish both couples congratulations and it is astonishing that this could be construed as a formal announcement!
With regard to the statement of the atmosphere being 'pretentious' this is precisely what we aim not to be. Instead we have always sought to offer an experience of luxury and professional service without any of the trappings of pretention and formality which can so often accompany this. In short, we aim to provide an ambience of relaxed elegance and the many glowing comments of our guests in both the visitors book and on our website reflect this.
As we feel that none of the above grievances have any substance, we suspect what has really prompted these comments is the corkage issue. In line with most establishments of our kind, we kindly request that guests do not bring alcohol into the lodge and, if guests do wish to consume their own wine or champagne, then a standard corkage is charged. This is normal in most exclusive establishments and is clearly stated in our terms and conditions.
This guest's fiancé did indeed liaise with us in advance of their stay to make arrangements for his proposal including having champagne waiting in the room on their return from a walk in the grounds just after the proposal. We were happy to help with these special requests but at no time were we told in advance that the champagne he wished to serve was his own. This only became clear when he presented the bottle to us during his stay. Of course, had he mentioned this when making his plans he would have been informed at that point.
However, because of the occasion, we reduced the corkage from £30 to £15 as a goodwill gesture.
Furthermore, they omit to mention that they were given a free upgrade from a premium to a premium plus room for both nights of their stay, valued at a total of £80.
At no time did any of the management or staff at the lodge say anything as crude as we are here to 'make money' but perhaps once again the lapse of time has affected this guest's memory of events. The lodge, of course, is a business but is primarily a lifestyle choice in which every member of the team strives to make the guest experience an exceptional one; the guest experience is, after all, what it is all about!
We are relieved that this couple does not intend to return to Loch Ness Lodge as they are clearly not in a position to appreciate the 5 star experience which we offer to all our valued guests. However, we are glad that they do have fond memories of the lodge and its the wonderful location and we do wish them well for their future.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.