I went to Auchen Castle as a potential venue for my wedding. It looked very nice on the website and also in the brochure that was sent out. When we turned up the grounds were very picturesque and inside the castle was very nice. Judging from previous reviews the place has been improved greatly in the last 18 months.
However, what let the place down was the owner. I can't be entirely sure of his name as he didn't actually introduce himself when we arrived. We were shown around the facility by the nameless owner and what sticks out in my mind was that he seemed to be in a great hurry. He didn't give us any time to actually view the venue or the rooms before sitting us down to see if we had any questions.
During the very brief question and answer session he made bizarre statements such as 'she'd like to be the only bride on the day but like it or not...she's not going to be!' with reference to an up coming wedding. We were well aware that there was the possibility that there may be another wedding on the same day so this question wasn't even asked. He also referenced other brides and grooms by name, told us some of their very reasonable requests and in a very smug manner said, 'The first thing that springs to mind is 'Tough.'' Meaning he wasn't prepared to even try to deal with a simple request. I believe it was at this stage that I decided wholly that this place would not be our wedding venue. I didn't like the idea that he would then sit down with other wedding parties and complain about very simple wishes from myself or my fiancee.
However, it went on! After another story about booking rooms in the hotel, he eventually told us that he wasn't prepared to provide a basic booking service for the rooms as the vast majority of wedding venues do. It was left up to us to pay a deposit for every room in the hotel and on top of trying to organise a wedding, organise exactly what room every guest was going to stay in and also collect their payments before handing it over to him.
This was the stage at which my Fiancee had a bit of a cough. He simply stared until she was finished. Not so much as offering a glass of water. In fact, very little hospitality in that respect, at no point were any of us offered so much as a cup of tea.
I would also describe him as very patronising. In the middle of a very long disjointed story, he turned around to my mother and asked, 'Are you following me Dear?'
The final thing I will mention about the poor service, although this certainly isn't an exhaustive list, is our question about guests arriving the day before the wedding and eating at the hotel. You would be forgiven for thinking that there was a restaurant there as the main sign at the entrance says 'Hotel Restaurant.' However, he also informed us that we would have to organise for the guests to be taken out for dinner as they no longer had a restaurant. Given that he has now owned this venue for at least 18 months, and replacing the sign would be such a simple job, you might think that this would have been changed.
I found the owner's arrogant, conceited and patronising attitude very offensive and if this behaviour is a sign of how the wedding is to be coordinated, needless to say, we won't be handing over thousands of pounds to book our wedding at this venue.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Jewel of the Scottish Borders, in the heart of Robert Burns country, this beautiful 5 Star Castle boasts magnificent italian gardens, 26 beautiful boutique bedrooms and a breathtaking private lake. We're very proud to be one of Scotland's most sought after wedding destinations, only a short drive from world famous Gretna Green. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Auchen Castle Beattock, Scotland
- Hotel Auchen Castle
- Auchen Castle Hotel