Officially rated three star, the Tor-na-Coile is a comfortable mid-market old hotel in the busy Royal Deeside town of Banchory. Having been allowed to run down somewhat over the past decade or so by former owners, new owners since 2009 have been refurbishing and improving many aspects of the hotel, beginning with public rooms and now moving on to bedrooms, about half of which have been completed. I suspect these are the rooms described as "deluxe" on the hotel web site and ours was spotless, comfortable and the brand new (if very small) bathroom beautifully done.
The hotel is a popular wedding/function venue, but also attracts couples, families and some business users. On my weekend stay there was a mix of family and function guests, but the hotel managed these well and there seemed to be plenty of space in terms of lounges, dining rooms and so on.
The refurbishment is a bit hit and miss in my honest opinion: in the dining room decor is still rather busy with swirly patterned wallpaper and carpets, and older bits of furniture and artworks clashing with more modern pieces. I suspect buying and refurbishing has been piecemeal and not done by an interior designer. In our room too, despite very fresh and modern decor, very old wardrobes and dressers were more shabby than chic. But despite all of that, the rooms and the public areas are comfortable.
There were other small niggles - no morning paper was delivered but was charged to my bill; the electric 'Mira' shower in our bathroom was hot but fairly feeble and as others have pointed out, wifi is poor and absolutely non existent in our upper floor room. For the cost of a couple of routers and relay boosters this makes no sense when wifi is advertised.
Food was good and reasonably priced. I found the menu slightly over-complicated and without enough sense of clarity and direction from the chef: Breast of free range Chicken stuffed with wild Mushroom and Asparagus carved onto a sun-blushed Tomato and Mascarpone Cheese Risotto" has about three ingredients too many IMO, and would be much better being simplified. Bizarrely, edible flowers also featured on all three of my courses, from 'deconstructed' haggis, neeps and tatties, to dessert. This smacks of a chef trying a little too hard to be "fancy" rather than concentrating on good local ingredients cooked well. The wine list is short and fairly standard small hotel fare, though prices are reasonable. The young staff were pleasant, mostly very efficient and helpful.
So a mixed bag and very much a work in progress, but I would recommend the hotel which offers good accommodation, an excellent setting and good food at reasonable prices. The management seems to be making a real effort to improve the hotel and deliver a good guest experience. Banchory is short of accommodation options other than B&Bs, as the other main hotel - the Banchory Lodge - was very poor on a recent visit and the other hotels are basically pubs with rooms, so the Tor-na-Coile is a worth considering if visiting the area.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A beautiful 4-Star Country House Hotel in the heart of Royal deeside. Offering luxury accommodation where the care and attention of our guests is paramount. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Tor-Na-Coille Hotel Banchory
- Tor-Na-Coille Banchory, Scotland