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“5 star food and service - wonderful spa” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa

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Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Cromwell Rd | Edinburgh, North Berwick EH39 4LZ, Scotland   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 5 hotels in North Berwick
Cheshire England
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
199 helpful votes 199 helpful votes
“5 star food and service - wonderful spa”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2008

This hotel has in my opinion a mixture of standards! some parts and aspects are close to 5 star and others are only 3 star at best! But overall the experience is a 3-4 star and in the main very pleasing

the rooms are very very different in size so make sure that you know what you are booking as even the sea view rooms can be on the very very small side - we had to move rooms when we arrived as although we had a sea view with a large bathroom it was right next to the very unrealiable and noisy lift system! There was no problem moving us though - we were upgraded to a junior suite although without a sea view as there were no other sea view rooms available - i believe some of the sea view rooms are very large and one of these would have been fantastic so try to get one of these, one with a bay in it or corner windows from what I could see would be perfect - the odd numbered rooms are mostly sea view although some of the sea view rooms are still very small - the rooms have mostly been refurbished to an acceptable and clean standard - there are a lot of aspects that have been sadly missed in the refurb which includes the corridors which are really not very nice and still have the same 70's pre refurb wallpapers and horrible "hospital like" swing doors - once through the corridors though with the bulging plaster behind the wallpaper the rooms are all done to a nice standard and they are clean with modern bathrooms

The restaurant is superb - the meal both nights was absolutely excellent - they have a wonderful chef who apparently trained or worked with Gordon Ramsey - the meal was very good value for the quality - we were very very impressed - the wine choice was also very very good and fairly reasonable - service throughout the hotel including the restaurant was excellent with all staff friendly and professional. The bar area is very nice too with large comfy inviting chairs

Breakfast was very good on both mornings and service again to a very high standard - we were also impressed that the orange juice was indeed properly freshly squeezed - expresso coffees were also available and the full breakfast was of exceptionally good quality particularly the bacon! They also had my favourite - chocolate croissants!!

The hotel is very very warm and for me to say that is unusual as I am always cold!! We were so glad that we were able to move rooms as the first very small room was very stuffy and the second room allowed us to open some windows to get some air in - there isnt any air conditioning and I think it is probably a very old heating system without much thermostat control going off the look of some of the very very old heating pipes that run round the rooms and corridors!- the whole hotel is just exceptionally warm. there is only one lift and it is very very unrealiable and noisy - it definitely didnt like going to the 2nd floor! However the staircase is very nice with the original wood banistair and provided some good exercise as it was often quicker to just take the stairs! It is unusual to just have one lift though in such a large hotel

The hotel is a grand old dame from the victorian era and some parts of the refurb have been done exceptionally wel i.e. the reception, bar and restaurant and to a certain extent the rooms although lots of small touches have been forgotten like plug sockets near the dressing table in our room were non existent which is very inconvenient when drying your hair!! Also shelving in the first room bathroom was non existend which is also inconvenient for women with a fair few toiletries! The corridors are the thing that I disliked the most and the woodwork in many parts of the hotel which hadnt been tastefully or sympathetically refurbished and looked lumpy and bumpy! Perhaps they do plan to improve on this area which gives the impression of a "run down 2-3 star hotel" when really it is of a much higher standard - perhaps there is just too much damage to the plaster and it would cost too much to renovate all the woodwork and corridor decor! And it didnt spoil our experience to be honest!

The spa was superb and again the staff are very very nice - Dan in particular the spa manager was wonderful! The pool and steam rooms and saunas are great - the outside jacuzzi is very unique and a wonderful unmissable experience - the changing rooms are nice but take care on the floors as the tiles are very very slippy beside the pool and into the changing areas! The changing areas are small but all brand new and clean. the pool is of a decent enough size for lap swimming and wasnt too crowded on all of the 3 visits I made over 2 days - it is nicely overlooked by the gym which my husband enjoyed visiting as it had some of the very latest equipment! The treatments we had were very good and again the staff were excellent

The Manager should be very proud of the team he has at The Marine as the staff can make or break even just a short stay and without exception they were all very very friendly and happy

If I were to summarise the bad points I would say that the carpets in the restaurant needed more regular hoovering, the lift definitely needed not only a service or some maintenance but also needs a good cleaning and if there is further investment the corridors and general woodwork around the hotel would benefit from significant improvement and take this very pleasant hotel to the next level!

The good points are most definitely the staff, the food, the views and the spa and most of the public rooms

  • Liked — the food, the public rooms and the spa
  • Disliked — The dated
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Newcastle upon Tyne
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2008

This was our second stay at the MacDonald Marine, the first being in December 2007 when I was heavily pregnant - so this time we had our 11 week old son with us!

On both occasions we booked the cheapest room type ('classic zip', I think). On our first trip we were allocated a very large room. Because I had read reviews here mentioning small rooms, I requested a large room for our second trip and, again, we were very happy with the size of room. At check in the receptionist said we'd been allocated a 'link' room and these tended to be larger - so it may be worth asking about these.

The hotel is beautifully decorated and furnished, particularly in the public areas. Breakfast is excellent. The pool and spa facilities are lovely. Sitting in the outdoor spa pool in the sleet in December with the salt water blowing in off the crashing waves was a magical experience (and worth flounting the 'no spa pools during pregnancy' rule for 5 minutes for!)

We found the staff and service great on both trips.

The restaurant for evening meals is very nice and food quality good but there is no a la carte menu and, on our first trip when we stayed DBB, the table d'hote was the same both nights. It was a 'festive menu' though and the hotel was very quiet so I'm not sure whether this is the case every weekend. Anyway, on the second night I mentioned to the waiter that I was disappointed to see the same menu (it had a number of 'off limits for pregnancy' choices on, so my potential selection was limited). He simply said 'what would you like to eat and we will try to arrange it?' And the chef prepared exactly what I asked for! We ate in the restaurant once on our second visit and were disappointed that they had run out of steak (typically we both wanted to order this!) We were eating quite late and the restaurant was busy. Our second choice was still nice though and we were given a complimentary drink. For info when weighing up the DBB package, the table d'hote menu is £35 excluding coffee.

The lounge/bar food menu is very limited and in our view poor value for money (though the food is nicely presented and tasty, portions are small). I think the room service menu is the same as the lounge menu - it doesn't have real 'main meal' options.

I booked the spa's pregnancy treatment on our first trip. This was disappointing and as a result I decided not to book a treatment on our second visit. The therapist seemed inexperienced (though I find this is often the case in hotel spas where therapists' jobs are not reliant on building a repeat-client base). The treatment bed was unstable, to the point of me asking the therapist to stop the massage as it was irritating me so much! She told me all the treatment rooms had the same problem.

We have fallen in love with North Berwick. I just love the stunning coastline on a blustery winter's day and my husband is a golfer so enjoys the many surrounding courses. There are plenty of places to eat in North Berwick and if you drive to Gullane (10 minutes away) there are many more options - The Old Clubhouse being a great choice for upmarket bar meals.

I think we have quite high expectations of hotels (I travel frequently for work and we always book 5 star properties for our holidays) and this one has impressed us. It has been excellent value for money on both trips (I forget what we paid in December but over Easter weekend we paid £280 for 3 nights b&b).

  • Liked — Pool and spa, breakfast
  • Disliked — There's no obvious ramp for buggies (or wheelchairs) at the main entrance
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne
Top Contributor
143 reviews 143 reviews
77 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
188 helpful votes 188 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2008

We stayed here with my husband's parents 2 weeks ago just for 1 night and were quite surprised at how plush the reception area was. We stayed here a few years ago before it was refurbished, and it was certainly a pleasant surprise. We were disappointed with our room, at £90 a night bed and breakfast the room was quite small, and it was red hot! I asked the maid about it and she didn't show much interest in helping me, so suggested turning the heating down. We did that, but had to ring reception about an hour later as it was still red hot, and to their credit, they sent someone up to fix it. We were surprised at the bed, I would have expected a kingsize bed in a hotel of this rating, not a double bed. There were tea making facilities and 2 bottles of water in the room. My husband's parents room was a lot bigger than ours, even though they paid the same price. It may have been because they were stopping 2 nights. The pool was slightly smaller than I had expected, but the rest of the facilities were fine. We had our evening meal in the bar, the menu is quite limited, and unfortunately we had to wait 45 minutes for this. When we queried the time, we were offered complimentary drinks. The restaurant looked really nice, but you could only have the set menu, which for the 4 of us would have been quite expensive.

The breakfast the next morning was good quality, the only problem was that we hadn't finished our cereal before the cooked breakfast was brought out!

All in all a pleasant stay.

Stayed February 2008
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4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2008

We have just returned from the Marine after my husband booked a romantic weekend break for my birthday.
The staff were absolutely fantastic, nothing was a problem and they made you feel very special.
The evening meal is a set price of £35 for three courses; this proved a real bargain, it was delicious. The breakfast was plentiful and really nice, it was good to have the self serve freshly squeezed orange juice.
The wine list is very comprehensive. The bar staff were very knowledgable and provided recommendations on anything you wished.
The spa facilities were excellent and most available free to residents. The outside spa is something not to be missed... It was freezing outside yet we braved the outdoor saltwater hydro pool - wow this was fantastic the water must have been about 30'c it felt as though we were bathing in the bahamas!
We had an executive double with a wonderful sea view. The room wasn't the biggest we have stayed in but beautifully decorated and comfortable.
The hotel was a five minute walk away from the centre of North Berwick. We walked to the train station and took the delighful 30 minute journey to Edinburgh.

  • Liked — Location and food
  • Disliked — Room was quite warm - no air conditioning
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2007

We had a baby with us which we didn't feel went down well amongst guests or staff, however we were given a large room with a sea view to fit the cot in, so this was a bonus. Rooms were nice and lovely view of the sea.

The guests are mainly male golfers or business men, so a nice relax in the spa, which is lovely, usually means it being packed with middle aged men.

The staff were generally rude and 'sad'. We had problems on checking out, we had a dinner voucher which they had lost and blamed us for, reception staff made us feel like criminals until they found it.

Overall I wouldn't stay at this hotel again or recommend it to anyone who has children.

  • Liked — View from the rooms, proximity to Edinburgh
  • Disliked — Staff
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2007

Stayed for 2 nights & found this to be a very comfortable hotel with excellent food served both at breakfast & dinner.
We had an 'executive seaview room' which was fine tho' on the small side, however the bathroom was a really good size!
The staff were, without exception, very helpful, polite & friendly & the whole place had a really pleasant atmosphere. The pool & spa are really excellent, we loved the indoor/outdoor saltwater spa pool best!
North Berwick is a really lovely small town with good facilities & being so close to Edinburgh is a definite 'plus' - particularly at Festival time.

Stayed August 2007
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spartanburg, SC
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2007

We stayed while playing North Berwick, Gullane and Muirfield. The acomodations were spacious and clean. Wonderful showers after a long day of golf. About a ten minute walk to town which has numerous places to eat and drink. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the hotel.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa

Address: Cromwell Rd | Edinburgh, North Berwick EH39 4LZ, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > East Lothian > North Berwick
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 hotels in North Berwick
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa boasts everything you could need for a short break on the Scottish coast. Our luxurious spa offers rejuvenating Elemis treatments performed by highly trained therapists. Experience award-winning dining in our restaurant or relax in our lounge while taking in the view over the Firth of Forth. Your guaranteed a great night sleep in our stylish bedrooms, exactly what you need after a day on one of the many surrounding world-class golf courses. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Macdonald Marine Hotel And Spa
Macdonald Marine Hotel North Berwick
Hotel Macdonald Marine
Berwick Hotel Marine North
Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa North Berwick, Scotland

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