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“Disappointing afternoon tea”
Review of Balbirnie House

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Balbirnie House
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Markinch
Certificate of Excellence
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
65 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Disappointing afternoon tea”
Reviewed May 13, 2012

I had heard of this hotel as a wedding and dining venue and wanted to see it for myself. Afternoon tea on cold wet day seemed ideal. However it was so disappointing. Alarm bells began ringing when I phoned up to reserve afternoon tea to be told they required 48 hours notice (why?) but was offered cream tea instead. It has obviously been a beautiful house but the decor is now tired with faded chintz and leather chairs with holes. An important part of afternoon or cream tea is the tea (the clue is in the name!). We weren't given any choice but were just presented with a pot of very strong ordinary teabag tea. I asked if they had Earl or Lady Grey and a pot of Earl Grey tea was brought quickly. We were given 2 large warm and delicious scones each, one plain and one fruit along with one small pot of rasp jam (no choice) between us and butter. There was plenty of thick cream but it was served on a saucer - good for cats but not the most elegant of dishes.
I get the impression from other reviews that this has been a very good hotel which has dropped its standards and that was certainly our experience.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank goldeng1rl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholas R, Owner at Balbirnie House, responded to this review, May 16, 2012
It was very kind of you to take the time to write, much appreciated.

Your comments however are very strange, and certainly deeply unfair, and we would not wish them to be mis-leading to our guests, so in the interests of clarity-

Your 'alarm bells' ringing - we only serve full afternoon tea, if indeed it has been pre-booked. Naturally, a hotel will not maintain stock of hand-made cakes etc, unless it is to be used, and no apologies for stating the obvious.

You reserved a Cream Tea, that is what was served- home-made scones, home-made jam, and tea.

With regard to your comments re ambience- With regard to the fabric of the assets- I happily convey that we do maintain a program of rolling refurbishments applicable to all areas, but obviously as a Grade A Listed Georgian mansion, within which here at Party Central we can see somewhere in the region of 750 guests every weekend, we are constantly told by our guests that they simply love our relaxed, homely and comfortable ambience. I am sorry this has not met with your approval. (One of our brides the other day termed it as- 'what sets Balbirnie firmly apart from the rest is the blend of country vintage and contemporary chic' - that perhaps states it better than I can.)

To read a further selection of our monthly guestbook comments and reviews, from guests known to have stayed in our hotel, or who have visited as a guest, please do take just a few moments to visit our web site.
From the many lovely emails, cards and letters which we receive, and in tandem with our guestbook records, every month we take a selection of those additional comments and place them on our latest news sections. As always, our thanks to Sarah Rees from our reception team, who takes the time every month to collate all of those very lovely comments and reviews. These can of course be fully trusted, and accepted as reality.

If there is ever any element of guest dissatisfaction whatsoever, then I would always ask please that any guest with any complaint, no matter how small, contacts me personally to discuss. My email- nicholas@balbirnie.co.uk Should you wish to personally discuss- My personal mobile 07768 958041

Best wishes, Nicholas Russell/ Hotel Manager/ Balbirnie House/ 1992 - Present
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (140)
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2012

We stayed one night which was bought as a Groupon deal - £109 for dinner, bed and breakfast, with prosecco and truffles in room on arrival. The receptionist was very friendly on arrival and we were given room 314 for our stay. The room was spacious and nicely furnished - bathroom was also good size. However the room definitely needs to be redecorated (it appears that there was at some time water damage and the wall paper is peeling and stained in some parts of the room). I think the hotel should really repair the decor before putting guests in that particular room but it did not spoil our stay in any way. We had a lovely meal in the Orangery restaurant and the service was excellent with very friendly and attentive waiting staff. The food was really excellent. Breakfast was bit more hit and miss. Was buffet style and the bacon and blackpudding etc needed to be crisper instead of steaming away and soggy in the metal urns/trays. We really enjoyed our stay and loved the hotel, even if it is looking a bit tired in some areas. The service throughout the hotel was excellent and we're definitely looking forward to our next stay although we'll request a different room next time for sure.

Room Tip: Avoid room 314 as it needs repair to the decor. We had a good look at room 304 as housekeeping had...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank randolph73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholas R, Owner at Balbirnie House, responded to this review, May 19, 2012
Hello Randolph,and delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Balbirnie House. I will be sure to pass your comments on to the team.

It was very kind of you to take the time to write, much appreciated.

(We did have a very minor minor ingress from external storm damage, and we have noted your comments.)

To read a further selection of our monthly guestbook comments and reviews, from guests known to have stayed in our hotel, or who have visited as a guest, please do take just a few moments to visit our web site.
From the many lovely emails, cards and letters which we receive, and in tandem with our guestbook records, every month we take a selection of those additional comments and place them on our latest news sections. As always, our thanks to Sarah Rees from our reception team, who takes the time every month to collate all of those very lovely comments and reviews. These can of course be fully trusted, and accepted as reality.

If there is ever any element of guest dissatisfaction whatsoever, then I would always ask please that any guest with any complaint, no matter how small, contacts me personally to discuss.

Best wishes, Nicholas Russell/ Hotel Manager/ Balbirnie House/ 1992 - Present
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Galashiels, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2012

came for a family lunch today and was excellent, good service from the young staff and food to die for. did find the bistro very warm to sit in for any length of time. we found every one very welcoming especially coming in the front door, they put out the red carpet, ( there was a wedding on) on well one can dream. overall a lovely plce to dine. ps pity about the sleeping policemen.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank vivien p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholas R, Owner at Balbirnie House, responded to this review, May 19, 2012
Dear Vivien, many thanks for your kind comments, and delighted to hear that you considered that the food in The Balbirnie Bistro was 'to die for'. We are overjoyed to hear those comments.

Delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Balbirnie House. I will be sure to pass your comments on to the team.

It was very kind of you to take the time to write, much appreciated.

To read a further selection of our monthly guestbook comments and reviews, from guests known to have stayed in our hotel, or who have visited as a guest, please do take just a few moments to visit our web site.
From the many lovely emails, cards and letters which we receive, and in tandem with our guestbook records, every month we take a selection of those additional comments and place them on our latest news sections. As always, our thanks to Donna Reid from our reception team, who takes the time every month to collate all of those very lovely comments and reviews. These can of course be fully trusted, and accepted as reality.

If there is ever any element of guest dissatisfaction whatsoever, then I would always ask please that any guest with any complaint, no matter how small, contacts me personally to discuss.

Best wishes, Nicholas Russell/ Hotel Manager/ Balbirnie House/ 1992 - Present
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leslie, null, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2012

Attended a Christmas Party night last year & decided to stay over too, which if you do so, you get a specially priced deal. Was well worth it, the party night was as usual great fun, fab food & dancing all night!! The accommodation was a suite, which was sheer luxury & huge. Breakfast in the morning was tasty, plenty of choice & just what was needed after the night before!! Staff are friendly, efficient & accommodating, will be back!!! ;-)

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Michelle M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholas R, Owner at Balbirnie House, responded to this review, May 19, 2012
Hello Michelle, how lovely to have such wonderful comments from a Senior Reviewer! That is great that you enjoyed your stay- it is such a special time of year to visit, and our Christmas parties are certainly renowned, staying over taken in conjunction at those events with phenomenal value offered for accommodation and breakfast.

We had a tremendous amount of wonderful feedback for Christmas parties last year- a good job as we have certainly had plenty of practice!

In passing, the DJ - Kyle Steele Music Services, is now also on our wedding supplier list. Great sound system, lights, set list and patter- as you will have seen - just what we need for 200 festive revellers doing the Conga together in Balbirnie's Millennium Ballroom! Party Central!

Delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Balbirnie House. I will be sure to pass your comments on to the team.

It was very kind of you to take the time to write, much appreciated. Please email me direct regarding this year's stay so that I can organise a Champagne Upgrade.

To read a further selection of our monthly guestbook comments and reviews, from guests known to have stayed in our hotel, or who have visited as a guest, please do take just a few moments to visit our web site.
From the many lovely emails, cards and letters which we receive, and in tandem with our guestbook records, every month we take a selection of those additional comments and place them on our latest news sections. As always, our thanks to Sarah Rees from our reception team, who takes the time every month to collate all of those very lovely comments and reviews. These can of course be fully trusted, and accepted as reality.

If there is ever any element of guest dissatisfaction whatsoever, then I would always ask please that any guest with any complaint, no matter how small, contacts me personally to discuss.

Best wishes, Nicholas Russell/ Hotel Manager/ Balbirnie House/ 1992 - Present
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 3, 2012

Well if first impressions count then this has the wow factor, however it was disappointing when i got past the front door - the front desk staff were not very customer focused and was distracted several times by other members of staff. Once i got to the room on first glance again it was a good first impression - however once id spent a few minutes in the room i noticed that yes it was large and spacious but it was also starting to look tired and in need of a redecorate - the plaster on the ceiling was cracked and the wallpaper in some of the corners was bubbled from the ingress of damp. The food in the restaurant (found in the cellar!) was good but nothing to write home about. Once i tried to go to sleep there was an extraction unit of some description outside my window and it was on all night so the room was actually very nosy. I stayed 2 nights on business and would stay again but only if several other hotels in the area were already full.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank beki1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholas R, Owner at Balbirnie House, responded to this review, May 19, 2012
Hello Beki, I will be sure to pass your comments on to the team. Sorry to hear that you were not met in a manner commensurate with your expectations. (What can happen sometimes is that our reception switchboard becomes regularly jammed with incoming enquiries, which taken in conjunction with arriving guests, can on occasion mean a small delay- which is what you seem to have experienced.)

It was very kind of you to take the time to write, much appreciated.

Now then - 'restaurant in the cellar'??? I take it your are referring to The Balbirnie Bistro, which is on the lower ground floor??? If you wish to dine in the Cellar, then that is a different matter, and is indeed in - 'the cellar'!!!

Sorry to hear that there was an apparent ingress water issue, in our Grade A Listed building we have a team permanently working on maintenance, but of course that does not excuse any such crossover with a guest stay. Alas I cannot reverse the hands of time, what I can do however is offer you a next stay on a Complimentary basis, please email me direct if that would be amenable. It would be very nice to have the opportunity to redeem your perspective.

To read a further selection of our monthly guestbook comments and reviews, from guests known to have stayed in our hotel, or who have visited as a guest, please do take just a few moments to visit our web site.
From the many lovely emails, cards and letters which we receive, and in tandem with our guestbook records, every month we take a selection of those additional comments and place them on our latest news sections. As always, our thanks to Sarah Rees from our reception team, who takes the time every month to collate all of those very lovely comments and reviews. These can of course be fully trusted, and accepted as reality.

If there is ever any element of guest dissatisfaction whatsoever, then I would always ask please that any guest with any complaint, no matter how small, contacts me personally to discuss.

Best wishes, Nicholas Russell/ Hotel Manager/ Balbirnie House/ 1992 - Present
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mur-de-Barrez, France
Level Contributor
125 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed May 1, 2012

My wife and I stayed here for two nights and I have never stayed in an hotel like it. From the minute we arrived, via the ferocious sleeping policemen and the varied potholes on the drive, to the second we left, the staff were unbelievably helpful and nice. We were upgraded to a suite which was magic and the whole ambience was just excellent. We ate each night at the hotel, first in the Bistro which was very pleasant and the second night in the Orangery which was equally nice. Service was prompt and very courteous, the food was excellent and, I thought, good value as well. Breakfast, I'm afraid, is the usual buffet affair although nothing wrong with its quality. However, on the last day, I had to ask twice if they would be bringing out more fried eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding.......(you get the idea) as the hot trays were empty. Just a wee bit annoying and we mentioned this on leaving. Like a previous review, I too found a litter of cars round the main entrance and some of them belonged to the staff!!!! Yes, the cold water could be a bit warm but running the tap sorted that however the hot water was not as hot as it might have been, warm but not hot. (Yes, we mentioned that as well.) Internet access in the room is very expensive so we made use of the free WiFi in the public areas.
Would we go again? Without doubt as it was worth it for a special treat and even if it was just a "normal" room!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Max W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholas R, Owner at Balbirnie House, responded to this review, May 19, 2012
Dear Toots, I thank you Sir for your lovely review, nice to have constructive feedback from a Senior Tripadvisor Contributor.

We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Balbirnie House. I will be sure to pass your comments on to the team.

It was very kind of you to take the time to write, much appreciated.

I note your comments about returning. Please email me direct and I will arrange a Champagne upgrade for you and your wife.

To read a further selection of our monthly guestbook comments and reviews, from guests known to have stayed in our hotel, or who have visited as a guest, please do take just a few moments to visit our web site.
From the many lovely emails, cards and letters which we receive, and in tandem with our guestbook records, every month we take a selection of those additional comments and place them on our latest news sections. As always, our thanks to Sarah Rees from our reception team, who takes the time every month to collate all of those very lovely comments and reviews. These can of course be fully trusted, and accepted as reality.

If there is ever any element of guest dissatisfaction whatsoever, then I would always ask please that any guest with any complaint, no matter how small, contacts me personally to discuss.

Best wishes, Nicholas Russell/ Hotel Manager/ Balbirnie House/ 1992 - Present
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
88 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2012

I visited Balbirnie last weekend with my GF, who booked and paid for our stay.

Plus....great looking building, the most friendly and helpful hotel staff I have ever encountered, lovely groungs (golf course) to wander around, a bedroom approx. 7m square.

Minus....the front of the hotel needs pot holes filling and the banning of the cars littering the area. Some of the stately home type furniture is looking tired and well passed its best. The food in the Orangery was tasty, but 2 out of the 4 courses were served luke warm at best.

I dont know how much my GF paid, but she thought it was well worth what she paid and really enjoyed the stay.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tdmsheeta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholas R, Owner at Balbirnie House, responded to this review, May 19, 2012
Delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Balbirnie House. I will be sure to pass your comments on to the team.

It was very kind of you to take the time to write, much appreciated.

Please note my comments below re sofas, and for the previous reviewer, sorry- I have just noted that I did not answer your comment about cold water being hot. When Balbirnie was re-plumbed in entirety, the system was made so efficient in providing hot water, that sometimes if taps have not run for a while, the cold water can become warm, as the cold pipes lie adjacent to the hot pipes. All you have to do is let the cold water run for a few seconds, and voila!

With regard to pot holes, there are a few on the lower driveway, which is normally maintained and repaired by Fife Council, beyond the boundary of our ownership.

To read a further selection of our monthly guestbook comments and reviews, from guests known to have stayed in our hotel, or who have visited as a guest, please do take just a few moments to visit our web site.
From the many lovely emails, cards and letters which we receive, and in tandem with our guestbook records, every month we take a selection of those additional comments and place them on our latest news sections. As always, our thanks to Sarah Rees from our reception team, who takes the time every month to collate all of those very lovely comments and reviews. These can of course be fully trusted, and accepted as reality.

If there is ever any element of guest dissatisfaction whatsoever, then I would always ask please that any guest with any complaint, no matter how small, contacts me personally to discuss.

Best wishes, Nicholas Russell/ Hotel Manager/ Balbirnie House/
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Balbirnie House

Property: Balbirnie House
Address: Balbirnie Park, Markinch, Glenrothes KY7 6NR, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Fife > Glenrothes > Markinch
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Markinch
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Balbirnie House 4*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Balbirnie House is a quite unique multi-award winning country house hotel which combines understated luxury with superb service and outstanding value. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest of the privately owned small luxury hotels in Scotland, Balbirnie offers a wonderful experience, whatever the occasion of your visit. Fine food, lovely surroundings and above all a real sense of friendly Scottish hospitality combine to create quite a unique setting for today’s house guests to enjoy. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balbirnie House Hotel Markinch
Balbirnie House Markinch, Scotland

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