My husband and I ended up booking Auchen Castle without actually seeing it first. This came about as the place we had initially booked closed down and we didn't have time to visit the castle before the booking. Obviously we were nervous about booking our wedding day somewhere we had not seen but we did a lot of research and the reviews under the new management all seemed positive.
Now, I can fully understand where others are coming from when they have commented on the owners 'Unique' manner. On our first visit to the castle we were indeed rushed around and did feel like an inconvenience, this left us feeling quite apprehensive about our big day to say the least. Also, the castle did not look like it was either clean or well finished (the builders were there at the time doing maintenance work) and this added to our feelings of trepidation. However, our second visit to the castle could not have been different. As it was mid-wedding season the castle was clean and free of builders(!) and the owner (unique manner withstanding) was actually extremely helpful and accommodating. We felt after this meeting that things were going to be ok.
The day before the wedding our guests and us arrived to a warm and friendly welcome by Lindsey the manager (I believe) and she did her utmost to ensure we were all settled and had everything we needed. She also explained how the following day would run and allayed any fears we had about timings and general day before stresses! She then introduced us to John (night manager) who was equally as accommodating. I must say at this point the staff were available when needed but were not overbearing and ever present - this really did make everyone feel at home and comfortable.
Now, I see other reviewers points about the furniture being a little bit tired in places, but this is a business which is being built back up and I don't see how a scratch on a wardrobe would affect anyone's happiness and delight at marrying the person of their dreams. It certainly had no bearing on my enjoyment of our day. The dining room and bar areas are tastefully furnished and this is in keeping with the feel of the castle. The four poster rooms are again furnished in keeping and the newer lake view rooms are modern and well equipped. The beds are wonderfully comfortable - this is something all the guests remarked on, and some of our guests have orthopaedic conditions which means a comfy bed for them is rarely found away from home, so this was a triumph. The place was also immaculately clean; this is coming from someone who has been known to leave a hotel if their housekeeping is not up to scratch.
The day of the wedding was extremely well managed by Lindsey and Gavin (manager of their other hotel) and everything went exactly as we wanted it to. This wasn't by luck - the team obviously know what they are doing and are very well oiled. Nothing was too much bother for them and at no point did we feel like it was just their job - they made us feel as though our day mattered to them. The meal was delicious and the servings were very generous - we might not have ordered the evening buffet had we known everyone would still be full.
The day after all our decor and belongings had been carefully collected together by John which made the task of packing up that much easier. There was another wedding party due into the castle that day but again, we did not feel rushed out of the door and were given time to enjoy breakfast and say goodbye to our guests.
All in all, what at first seemed like a venue we would not have chosen had we visited before booking ended up as a perfect choice. It was thoroughly enjoyable with lots of lovely special touches thrown in. All our guests loved the owl ring delivery and the sword to cut the cake made for some lovely photos. The grounds are lovely - not formal as such, but very in keeping with a Scottish castle. We did not notice the traffic noise from the motorway, I suppose it depends on which way the wind is blowing, but its far enough away to not be a problem and it certainly wouldn't be audible inside the stone walls of the building.
Please, please don't dismiss this wonderful venue because of the owners manner. It would be such a shame for others not to enjoy the place as we did just because of that.
- 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