I don't get the chance to get to stay in the Highlands as often as I would like, but one thing I notice when I do, is that so many of these small hotels or luxury B&Bs are owned/run by people who have moved to the Highlands from elsewhere in the UK or from overseas. I'm not sure why that's the case, but just like so many of those I've visited in the past, Mark and Yolande (who have come to Scotland from South Africa) would appear to work incredibly hard to deliver a quality service and guest experience at the Columba House Hotel.
I stayed for one night at the end of April, and only became aware of the hotel because it was part of a 'free night' rewards offer I received through Moneysupermarket.com. Since none of the standard rooms were available under the offer, I paid for an upgrade to a 4-poster room (I was given the Spey Suite). The room was large and nicely-furnished. Bed was comfortable too. Decent selection of TV channels, but couldn't seem to find any radio channels. Also slightly disappointed that the wi-fi was only available in public areas of the hotel.
The welcome at the hotel was friendly, and the service remained so throughout my stay.
The bathroom was a good size, with a bathtub and a separate shower. If I was being picky, then I could say that it needed a bit of sprucing-up, but it's perfectly acceptable and, like the room itself, very clean.
I didn't eat dinner in the hotel restaurant, but judging by the comments from other guests in the lounge (where I enjoyed one of the very good selection of Single Malts from the hotel bar), the food had been very good indeed. I did take breakfast the following morning. The selection of cereals, etc was pretty good and the home-made bread was very nice. Unlike most of the other guests, who appeared to be enjoying some very nice Full Scottish Breakfasts, I decided to go for the smoked haddock with poached egg. Given that it was the first time I had ordered this for a hotel breakfast since I stayed at the Battlesteads Hotel near Hexham back in 2007 (didn't review at the time, but great hotel and fantastic food), it was always going to be difficult for the Columba House to come close to the delight of that hotel's thick and flaky piece of lightly-smoked haddock with a perfectly-cooked, runny poached egg on top. Unfortunately the Columba House offering was disappointing. The haddock was very thin and a bit rubbery (almost as if it had been defrosted) and the poached egg was overcooked. Next time I'll go for the Full Scottish - serves me right for trying to be healthy!
One other thing worth mentioning is the private road leading to the hotel. It's a very short road, but it isn't surfaced and has one or two pot-holes.
Overall, I thought the hotel was very good. I'd certainly consider going back again in the future. People like Mark and Yolande have become the back-bone of Scotland's tourism offer and deserve our support and encouragement.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to our Hotel:Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, an oasis amidst the magnificent scenery of the Spey Valley. Shimmering lochs are fringed by sandy beaches, and sparkling rivers lie in the shadows of heather-covered mountains. A paradise for outdoor activities, golf, fishing, climbing, rambling, pony trekking, water and winter sports, and those who appreciate invigorating Highland air, dramatic scenery and Highland hospitality.The village of Kingussie is in the Central Highlands of Scotland, surrounded by the Monadhliath and Cairngorm mountain ranges, it provides the opportunity to explore the peaceful countryside with the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife from Golden Eagle or Osprey to Red Deer Stag and Pine Martin. There is also an abundance of wild flowers, plants and trees. 2 miles from Kingussie is the rspb insh Marshes Reserve, one of the finest wetlands conservation areas in the UK. Many wildlife events are organised from here. Golf Pass available guaranteeing 30% reduced rate at all eight of the finest courses within the Cairngorms National Park.A romantic Highland Retreat, highest standards of accommodation, welcoming hospitality, & customer care. Nestling in a secluded, walled garden with ducks, red squirrels, rabbits, deer, pheasants & numerous beautiful birds in attendance. Regret we cannot accommodate children but offer indulgent refuge for grown-ups wishing to enjoy peace in beautiful surroundings with attentive service, & a relaxed adult atmosphere.All modern facilities while retaining the original charm of the Old Manse & Croft.Various stylish, en-suite, room types, doubles/twins/super-king doubles/a large suite and the superb, triple aspect, Penthouse Suite, with ever-changing views of the surrounding village and mountains, including romantic four-poster rooms with locally hand crafted traditional four-posters, mostly king size, and all with double baths, showers. Personal controllable heating, The pampered comfort we offer tells a story, which speaks for itself, as many guests return time and time again. ”Monarch of the Glen” was filmed entirely in the Spey Valley, including many scenes featuring Kingussie.The sport at which Kingussie excels is Shinty and if the team is playing at The Dell (their local ground) you will have the opportunity of watching one of the oldest Gaelic field sports, performed by a team with an unrivalled record of championship and cup wins in the modern era. So….break free from city life and take to the byways, vast moorland, hills, and highland glens. Breathe in the pure highland air, which brightens the eye and lightens the step. Total freedom to relax, unwind and accept the slower pace of the Highlands. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Columba House Hotel Kingussie, Scotland, UK