Having last been to Stobo about 15 years ago, before any of the improvements and extensions had been done, and having read a mixture of reviews about it, I was slightly apprehensive as I brought my 83-yr-old mother for a much-needed break. However, I needn't have worried, as the experience was 5* from start to finish.
We were on the "Autumn Indulgence" package for 4 nights, which gave us accommodation, all meals and use of facilities and classes, and one back-massage each day. We stayed in Darnley, a large twin room on the ground floor with a nice view out over the drive, which was lovely. The bathroom was a bit of an experience - built into the turret, it had a chandelier and drapes on the ceiling ! Tea and coffee-making facilities were provided, as well as iron, hair-dryer, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and shower gel. A bowl of fruit was constantly refilled in the drawing room, available whenever needed. Thinking I might return alone, or with husband, I was able to have a look at some of the other rooms. There are 2 single rooms - smallish, with a view over an uninspiring inner courtyard, or you can upgrade to the deluxe rooms, which are gorgeous. Apparently the 2 single rooms are permanently booked up - perhaps the management could consider finding room for some more, as I'd like to return on my own, but don't think I'd like the room very much.
We were able to change our back massages for another treatment of equal value, or upgrade to something else. I can thoroughly recommend the "Top to Toe Sugar Glow", an exfoliation treatment for body and face, which left me so relaxed I could hardly speak, and promptly fell asleep on my bed. All the therapists we had were very good, very professional and very friendly, and willing to give impartial advice on anything they were asked about.
The 25m pool is a joy to swim in, and as it is the same depth all over, you could easily do the Aquafit Class - although beware the athletic young man who tried to get us to do salsa steps in the water at the same speed he was doing them on the side of the pool - interesting ! The selection of hydrotherapy, steam, sauna etc rooms is amazing, and they have an outdoor hot tub planned to be ready soon.
There is also a well-equipped gymnasium with a fitness team always willing to help if needed, and who also lead various fitness classes throughout the day, including Stretch, Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Circuit and many more, at all levels. In the evenings there are talks on various things, or classes to try - homeopathy, nutrition, or how about belly-dancing ? I went along to watch, but got roped in, and it was great fun !
Contrary to some reviewers, I found the food superb. Plenty of it, with lots of variety and imagination, and the staff were quite happy to alter dishes to your requirements - longer cooking, less fat, smaller portions etc. Unlike in some restaurants, the waiting staff knew what ingredients were in each dish, too. Not ideal if on a diet, but the fitness staff were able to get the menus beforehand, and with advice from the chef recommend which dishes would be suitable if you were aiming for weight loss. You could be as sociable or unsociable as you wished - at each meal, we were asked whether we wanted to have a table to ourselves, or join others.
I reserve my main bouquets, though, for the staff, who were without exception, exceptional ! No matter whether you were dealing with the head receptionist, a porter, a waitress or a domestic, everyone was so polite, friendly and helpful - nothing, however large or small, was too much bother for them, and everything was done with a smile. The system also takes away the embarrassing matter of tipping - they apply a percentage of the bill, but it is capped at £25, and a therapist I asked confirmed they do in fact get it, and it's quite separate from their wages.
I have no hesitation in recommending Stobo to anyone, and will definitely be coming back.
- Also Known As:
- Stobo Castle Hotel Stobo
- Castle Stobo
- Stobo Castle Peebles
- Stobo Castle Hotel
- Stobo Castle Scotland