The MacKinnon Country House Hotel is not without character, but it has dual personality.
Built in 1912, it incarnates the conceptional country house. Everywhere are art, photographs and furnishings that connotate the grand or aristocratic life of earlier times – a framed thank you note signed by Winston Churchill, a portrait of George V. The breakfast room is imposing: the tables are covered with white linen cloths; salt and pepper shakers, and small jars of jam, are stacked neatly in a very elaborate wooden sideboard.
In our room, the plumbing was erratic, and water pressure so low that showers were little more than a trickle. On the positive side, the towels were large and fluffy, and the central heating comfortably warm.
As the hotel’s advertising words it, ‘A complimentary nip of whisky and shortbread are provided in your room on arrival.’ This is true, both are appreciated.
But we arrived at 2.30pm, after eight hours spent on mountainous and single-lane roads, shared with weekend travelers. Driving into the car-park, I took a few deep breaths, my wife walked into Reception, and told the proprietor, presumably Mr MacKinnon, that we had a booking for two nights. ‘The room’s not ready yet,’ he replied, scarcely raising his eyes from the computer monitor in front of him, ‘It will be another hour.’
‘What can I do then?’ she asked.
‘Go for a walk down the village. It’s really nice.’
Which we did! While Mr MacKinnon was acting within his rights, a ten minute-breather, in our room or in the lounge, would have been more therapeutic than a nip of whisky.
We had read that the hotel was ‘nestled in 4 acres of picturesque gardens’ . To us, the gardens had long been left to their own devices, not always a good thing. And walking through them, you always anticipated either a squelchy sound or dry crepitation, when stepping on to the next cylinder of dog dropping.
In the Breakfast Room, while we were there, the waiter and the waitress were wearing white gloves, … but the carpeted floor seemed not to have been vacuumed since dinner the previous night. Meals were served with apposite aplomb: but the waiter, arriving with my breakfast, nodded at my glass of orange juice and brusquely told me, ‘You’ll have to move that!!!’
In Portree, in Stirling, we coincidentally met other hotel guests, who judged the hotel to be excellent or woeful depending on which aspects of its character were dominant for them. It is a dissonant mixture.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.