In accordance with the previous “Poor” review I would like to adopt and underline some passages in this text which share my mind completely. There are surprising parallels to our stay a couple of weeks later which I cannot express better.
We had stayed at The Torridon in 2006 and loved every minute of it. However, this time we just did not “get it”. Management seems to have lost its way. We had booked a 3 days arrangement incl. Gourmet-Dinner. From the very arrival till the return of the key, there was no personal attention towards us from any person in the management. There was never any employee present at the reception-desk when we happened to appear. We were checked-in by a man (foreign origin) we never saw again. He presumably thought us to be non-resident dinner guests, sent us to the bar to wait for further service. Then he realized the situation, searched our room assignment, fetched the key, and helped with the luggage to our room. The room was the same as in 2006, yet refurbished. The bathroom became much bigger and modernized, however its attitude is very sterile and not really inviting. The downlights look nice, but lack brightness. Difficult to shave with the mirror behind the basin and poor light from above. A first unpleasant impression was due to the fact that the suite was bitterly cold! Heating was not completely turned on (obviously started too late before our arrival), so we turned on full, with the result that after dinner it was hot and sticky, until late in the night the small open windows had allowed the heat to escape. Turn-down service did evidently not mind the temperature.
The previous atmosphere, of a friendly family-owned hotel, was entirely absent. However, in the room we found a hand-written Welcome-Back-Again-Letter from the management.
An inappropriate tone of self-congratulation is reflected in the questionnaire in the bedroom, with its references to exclusive luxury and the personal touch. Examples of the matters on which the hotel seeks feedback are “What exceeded your expectations at the Torridon?” and “Who went the extra mile for you?” Sorry, we cannot report observations of any such kind from our side.
We felt the service at breakfast and in the evening in the restaurant was generally poor. For example, after being served the hot breakfast plate we were told “the toast is on the way”, but it wasn´t for a long time. No waiter was present, almost until the cooked food became cold. At that point, we thought that the quality of the service was a matter for the managers, but none of them ever appeared. Strange enough, we learned from the waiter that it is necessary to make a prior reservation, if you like a neat table at the oriel-window for breakfast although you are the first in the morning!
Once in the mood for it, we noticed other things, too. Years ago turndown service provided hot-water bottels in the beds. This much appreciated custom seems to have ceased. They indeed hoovered daily while the guests were having breakfast. They know very well that the guests are annoyed, therefore they close the usually open door during the procedure. Why not do the job 2 hours later? The Bar was heavily visited by guests from other accomodations than in the main building, making the stay not as cosy as years before. Same is the case with the restaurant, resulting in a certain lack of intimacy.
After the messed welcome the farewell was equally disappointing. On leaving the place, nobody asked if we enjoyed the stay.
We will not dispute that The Torridon is still an unrivaled upscale hotel in this very remote area of the Scottish Highlands. But once having experienced the lack of personal care, there do appear alternatives. Maybe, a lot of people still feel happy with the basic service provided in relation to the stark prices demanded. Sadly, the management does not seem to be aware of the imminent decline. We agree, the hotel has gone down a certain road. We also shall not be returning.