We just had a brilliant week, our first stay at Douneside and no one wanted to come home. The house is perfectly set up for families, our two (2 & 4) rambled happily around the manicured lawns and vegetable gardens, the staff are supremely helpful and the rest of the guests were happy to have young families around. The area is good for young families too with three easy NTS Castles nearby with wonderful gardens, Burn O'Vat in a nature reserve with a great little stream for building a dam and a manageable clamber over the waterfall, as well as a vintage railway, circles of stones and even a few geocaches to hunt down.
We booked early as I was on post tour leave, which earns a valuable discount, and drove up from Salisbury taking a couple of stops in each direction. Having the car was ideal though plenty of guests seem to fly and then hire from Aberdeen airport. Packing was relatively easy as Douneside provides cot, high chair, kiddy crockery, swim toys for the pool, a handful of young toys (plenty for older kids with puzzles, croquet, football, golf and snooker). We did pack the monitor as we were able to stay in the main house so the kids went into the room opposite ours and the monitor reached the bar downstairs and the cheeseboard at the end of the dining table. So we would feed the kids at High Tea at 6pm, bath book and bed for them, allowing us the chance of 'grown-up' dinner after a tonic in the bar from 7.30pm - perfect!! And after a sturdy walk, up and over a castle, damming the stream for an hour and a swim in the hotel pool, there was no trouble getting the kids to sleep.
I have given Douneside a strong 4 out of 5, and would give it 5 in its class, because the fifth point would only come at a cost to other features of Douneside like its affordability. The last place I gave five points to was Tresanton in St Mawes...and I certainly couldn't spend POTL there without a new mortgage!! So Douneside can probably only ever sneak another half a point by serving more local produce, making their own bread and jam, and another for installing king size beds and renovating the bathrooms.
I will be strongly recommending Douneside to my friends, with or without kids or partners, serving or recently serving. I am hugely grateful to Ginnie, Paul and all of the staff for making us feel so very welcome and giving us a brilliant holiday - we all look forward to seeing you soon!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.