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“Requires better food and trained staff”
Review of Dalhousie Castle

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Dalhousie Castle
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bonnyrigg
Reviewed October 1, 2013

I think there is quite a lot of small things this castle hotel could work on, which if attended to would make it wildly successful. There is a new owner, we heard, who is making changes so hopefully it's only a matter of time before the below us addressed. The staff was generally very nice but not particularly attentive. Probably more due to lack of training and knowledge than anything else. The rooms were nice but slight run down, Wallpaper in bath had holes in it, a light didn't work. No one checked to see if we were well settled or had any questions. You typically wouldn't expect that from a large city hotel but from a small castle hotel with not that much to do, you should. Especially since they say they are five stars. You never really get over the feeling they are trying to charge you for everything but without the commiserate level of service to warrant it. For example, "would you like a paper delivered to your room?" If you say yes, then they'll charge you for the trouble. At the prices they are charging for a room, inexcusable. This might all have been overlooked, but the dining experience was really awful. I actually couldn't even eat the main course in the Dungeon restaurant (which by the way is really cool!). The continental breakfast also looked like they grabbed as many pre-packaged groceries they could and put it on the table. There was some nice fresh fruit. However, for a spa hotel- there was no healthy, spa menuto speak of. Also food was expensive - especially in light of really fantastic restaurant food we had enjoyed in Edinburgh from top rated restaurants. At half the price! Also my husband is gluten free and there was little he could eat on the lunch menu. He ate a hamburger without the roll, but again you would expect a few nice salads on the menu.

Spa was nice and service friendly. The masseuses were very nice but not sure if they understood pressure points or the rationale behind the massage techniques. Again with a little training a good experience could have been great and worth the expense.

Lastly, since there is nothing to do, there could be more information on walks in the area - the one on the grounds takes about a half hour. We actually found another one by accident which was quite nice. In addition to archery and falconry, there could be croquet or other lawn and board games. Some books to read instead of decorate the library would also be nice.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jensfoodreviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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849 - 855 of 1,406 reviews

Reviewed September 29, 2013

We wanted a Castle Hotel experience while in Scotland and picked Dalhousie in Bonnyrigg after reading the Trip Advisor reviews on-line and viewing the pictures. We took a bus from Central Edinburgh to the last stop in Bonnyrigg; After asking a gentleman who got off at the same stop and because there were no suggestions on-line re the distance between Bonnyrigg and the hotel, we decided to try to walk to the hotel. The distance and lack of sidewalk for a good part of the walk is not advisable from our experience. Take a cab from Bonnyrigg for sure if you're taking the bus from Edinburgh. Dalhousie Castle itself is fine - not luxurious, but its a Castle afterall. Our room was clean and tidy and had all the amenities that one would need while travelling. But, the Service at Dalhousie leaves ALOT to be desired....especially in the Library/Bar Room. They should definitely step up their level of service which would make the Dalhousie experience more pleasurable...especially in the Library/Bar area and at Reception. . Also, we were locked out of our room the morning of our departure and it took ages before somebody finally came up to look at it. Then when they couldn't open the door, they had to get the Manager. Luckily for us, she was able to get in through an old service stairway which went up to our room, but she gave us no apology and didn't even offer to compensate us in anyway for 'their' problem. It had been suggested by the first person who looked at it, that they'd had a previously problem with this lock, but obviously had done nothing about it. The grounds were beautiful and the different walks they suggested on a map, were good...even though we were there only one night, so could not do all three walks. The Dungeon Diningroom was a fun experience and the food served was okay, but not worth the price they charge. The Orangery Diningroom for Breakfast/Lunch is excellent and the Servers very personable. We enjoyed our Dalhousie Castle Hotel experience, but were glad we'd only booked for one night.

Room Tip: We were in the Cromwell Room because we needed a room for 'three'. I would choose a Themed...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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Thank disco_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2013

We arrived at the hotel around 6:30 in the evening. The person that checked us in and took us to our rooms suggested that it was a little late to use the spa. He said we could use it the following morning as he said it opened at 8:00 am. Well, I should have looked into this and not trusted him. It turns out the spa was open until 8:00 pm - that would have been enough time to have used the facilities in the evening. The bad part was that it didn't open at 8:00 as he said, rather, it opened at 10:00 am. Therefore we didn't use that part of the facilities. When we arrived for breakfast, none of the waiters offered to give us coffee or take our order. The continental breakfast buffet only had a couple of pieces of cheese and 1 piece of fruit left - very pathetic. We were very disappointed. I don't know that I would recommend this hotel to my friends/family. Kind of sad about that as I really looked forward to staying there.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank torontoguyabroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

We enjoyed our stay in the castle once we got through the check in process. I was not impressed with the guy on reception who totally blanked me and only spoke to my husband....I must mention that he was not scottish ( all the scottish people we have met have been very friendly).

Our room was lovely and big. As was the bed...it was huge! But creaky...being an old castle, lots of things creaked.

Dinner in the dungeon was very nice. The complimentary pre-starters and pre-desserts a nice touch. Price did not matter as we had a package deal. Breakfast was also included and lovely with good service. The waitresses were professional and friendly.

Peter the night porter was great, givign us an after hours tour of the castle. A bit spooky at times but worth staying up for...thanks Pete!

An all round good stay

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank MrsSchu103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2013

I went to Scotland in September with 4 friends, we stayed in this hotel for 1 night. As no lift, their staff helped us to pick up all luggages to and from lobby. Even an extra bed was placed in the room, the space is good enough for 3 people. We had had a excellent afternoon tea on the first day, and a delicious traditional english breakfast in the following morning. All staffs are friendly and helpful.

It is a perfect hotel for lovers or couples who want to spent a romantic time at a special place.

Room Tip: 1/F or above
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Christine W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2013

My husband and I did not have a reservation, but instead as we were driving to Edinburgh and thought we would check for a vacancy. Lucky we did. We spent our first night in a four poster room(#40) that was fantastic on a pretty good deal (now that we have seen what the normal going rate is). Great bed, great mattress, nice bathroom, overall very beautiful. We booked the dinner package in the dungeon and enjoyed a pretty good meal (although I would agree with earlier posts it seemed pricey for what it was, but as it was in our deal it didn't worry me). We did also have starting drinks in the library which is a nice setting but could use some music or something so you don't just hear the other guests talking. We also tried the spa on the first night and loved he foot bath, we had been walking heaps on this holiday.

Because we enjoyed our first night so much we decided to check for vacancy two more nights and moved to room #16 (40 wasn't available). 16 was not awesome. The bed was very uncomfortable, we had a yippy dog next door, the razor outlet in the bathroom didn't work, and even the wifi was totally hit and miss around the room, and the price was pretty close to our first night in the great room. So on the morning of night #3, I called down and asked to move out to the lodge if rooms were available. It was so we moved again. Best idea ever! Room 36 was great, bed was good again, we had this nice private observatory and a lovely courtyard view. We even had a semi private dry sauna and jacuzzi tub just for lodge guests and the lodge was half the price of the castle. No wifi in the lodge but the room and price were right so it didn't bother me.

We were happy with breakfast options and enjoyed exploring the castle hotel grounds.

Room Tip: 40 or 36. Not 16
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank smitha135
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2013

Where do I start???

What was supposed to be a romantic mid-week break to celebrate my other half's 40th turned into a bloody disaster!

This hotel clearly markets itself as a luxury hotel but it is far from it. I booked this hotel after finding it on a luxury hotel website (crispwhitesheets.com) and then reading the TripAdvisor reviews...which 5 months prior all appeared very good.

When we arrived at 2pm on the Tuesday we were told our room wasn't ready...no problem...I had booked afternoon Champagne Tea so we proceeded to the Orangery. We must have waited 15 minutes before we were even attended to and asked if we'd like a drink. This was the first sign that the hotel was clearly under-staffed! For what it's worth, the Champagne Tea was pretty good for the £20pp price.

After tea (3pm) we went back to reception where we were told our room was finally ready. When we arrived at our room there were piles of dirty lining and rubbish outside the room and the cleaning staff were still frantically rushing around trying to finish the room. So we were asked to go and wait in the library. Once the room was finally ready we went back with our bags only to find the toilet was still dirty from the previous guests...so very off putting!

We headed out to the Fringe festival that evening and watched a cool contemporary dance act before enjoying a fabulous meal at Stac Polly...definitely recommend eating there!

The next morning the lack of staff was again made obvious by the wait we had for someone to take our order for the cooked breakfast. The other items on offer at the buffet weren't all that appealing either.

After enjoying a nice hack and pub lunch in the countryside we returned to the hotel for the 4pm spa treatment I had booked for my gf several weeks before our trip. I had tried to book one for myself at the same time and for the same time as my gf but was told there was no availability, not even an hour either side of 4pm either. Strange as this appeared at the time, it all became quite evident upon our arrival at the spa as to why there were no other slots available...only 1 of the 4 spa personnel were on duty that day...during peak season...when the hotel was virtually full!

The spa itself was pathetic...the sauna wasn't working and you had to stand up on the bench to get a whiff of steam in the steam room. My gf asked for a deep tissue massage but was informed that only a 'relaxation' massage was available which she said was just like having a gentle rub with oils...hardly a massage!

Whilst my gf was having her 'rub' I returned back to our room to have a quick look at my emails. Whilst sitting in my robe I noticed all these small animals walking around the edge of my computer screen and then I felt things walking around my neck. I threw off my robe only to discover loads of small bugs crawling through my robe. When I looked closely, I noticed hundreds of them all over the room...on the walls, on the ceiling, on our clothes...it was disgusting! I ran down to get the GM who came straight to our room. He said they were corn-fly from the nearby corn fields and suggested it was our fault for leaving the window open during the day...not that we were even warned about the flies. So they moved us to another room. Unfortunately, because it was peak season with the Edinburgh festival going on, we had to down-grade to a room which was slanting and had the most annoying bathroom extractor fan which whizzed round for a good 20 minutes after turning off the bathroom light.

That evening we dined at the Dungeon restaurant. We headed to the library for pre-dinner drinks. The poor waiter slipped as he was bringing our drinks to us, ending up with 2 bloody marys all over himself and the floor...our bad luck had obviously rubbed off. After re-making our drinks, the waiter took our order for dinner but he wasn't able to answer some of our questions without phoning the kitchen first...slightly painful. The meal itself was ok but completely over-priced...£15-£18 for a starter and £35-£45 for a main. Fortunately, our meal was included in our romantic mid-week break package otherwise I think I would have walked out when I saw the portion sizes!

The next morning, to our delight, there were 4 members of staff serving breakfast and our cooked breakfast order was taken right away. Fortunate, really, since we couldn't wait to get out of the hotel.

I cannot believe that the regular price for the 4-poster themed rooms is £430/night. The package I mentioned above was 2 nights for the price of one with dinner in the Dungeon one night included.

The only positives I can say about this hotel were it's ancient look and the porter (Peter I think?) who was very helpful and always there if you needed something.

This place clearly needs a change of management and some investment in extra staff!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank theboyyates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dalhousie Castle

Address: Dalhousie Castle grounds, Bonnyrigg EH19 3JB, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Midlothian > Bonnyrigg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bonnyrigg
Price Range: $113 - $304 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dalhousie Castle 4*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa is a magnificent 13th century fortress set within acres of wooded parkland on the picturesque banks of the River Esk. From the moment you arrive at Dalhousie Castle a warm Scottish welcome awaits. Whether relaxing in the the Spa, gathering in the library next to the open fire, dining in the vaulted 2 Rosette winning dungeon restaurant, or retiring to your chambers, you will always feel as welcome as the 'Laird'. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dalhousie Castle Bonnyrigg
Dalhousie Castle Hotel Bonnyrigg
Castle Dalhousie
Dalhousie Castle Scotland/Bonnyrigg

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