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“Poor Service”
Review of Birnam Hotel

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Birnam Hotel
Ranked #4 of 5 Birnam B&B and Inns
Kirkwall
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Poor Service”
Reviewed October 30, 2013

I recently spent two nights at the Birnam during a weekend break for a friend’s wedding. On first arriving at the hotel I thought it looked great and the same on entering. Being checked in by the receptionist was also fine even if slightly regimented with information being given in a very formal manner whilst the receptionist almost stood to attention. She was however a bit nervous and was a pleasant enough girl. The room was nice with a good sized bathroom but although it all seemed clean it was in poor repair with paint peeling off the walls in the main room and mould on the walls of the bathroom which gave the appearance of it being dirty. We went to the Birnam Inn for our dinner that evening with other guests from the wedding and although the food could not be faulted in any way, the service was the worst I have ever experienced. It seemed like an effort for the waitress to wait on us and was short and unhappy whenever we asked for things like the ability to split our bill into couples or requesting a pint glass for my beer instead of the half pint glass I was given and our orders being taken in a very unpleasant manner. When she arrived back with two pizzas she was unaware of which was which and held them very close to her face before huffing and puffing all over them and saying that she would need to take them back to find out which was which. Once everyone was eating another two wedding guests appeared and asked if they could be seated with us. The Spanish waiter could not have been more pleasant to this request and immediately pulled a table in for them. However, when the waitress returned she did not seem so accommodating and after taking their order walked off muttering and wiping her nose with her hand. The waitress never once returned to ask if our meal was fine and did not clear our table when we finished. We also didn’t witness a single smile or courteous gesture. The following day the service was no better at breakfast and later in the morning the treatment of one of the bar staff by his colleague was nothing short of disgusting and tantamount to bullying. Pretending to punch him in an unplay full manner, shouting at him to go away to the other end of the bar for no apparent reason. When the young barman did eventually manage to communicate what he had been trying to say he was greeted with, “Awe for [--] sake that’s all I need”. Now I understand that we can all have bad days but this is not acceptable in a public area at lunchtime and particularly when there are children about. Conversely, the same bar man could not have been more polite to the other members of staff at the reception area which would indicate that he was not having a bad day. I would like to point out that there is both Spanish and Scottish staff working at the hotel. All of the Spanish staff I encountered were very pleasant and helpful, even though some struggled a bit with the language. Unfortunately out of the Scottish staff members there was only one I would happily say was pleasant and that was the girl at check in. The Birnam hotel has the potential to be a great stay but until such times as the locally employed staff get some quality training and start taking daily customer service medication they will not get any more business from me. Speaking as a Scotsman I was more than disappointed at the welcome or should I say lack of!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Iain W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
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English first
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2013

The first thing that I'd say about this place is that it looks stunning from the outside - set in a fantastic location. And, some of the staff do appear to be quite friendly and helpful - cannae fault all of them. However, having recommended this place to our wedding guests and booked ourselves into the bridal suite for the weekend, we really wish we hadn't. But we did get a full refund after a wee chat about how unhappy we were.

You can't blame them all - some of the staff were really helpful. Whilst we waited for the allotted 3pm check in time to get into our room on the surface it looked quite nice - a bit dusty and clearly not used much but hey - it was the bridal suite - we should have paid more attention as our bathroom was minging - clearly had missed the general room clean. I guess somebody thought they had done it - but it was revolting. Bags lobbed in - we duly went out and attempted to socialise with our 30 plus guests who'd arrived the night before the wedding. The evening food was great, pizzas lovely and cooked to order although the 'hosting' left a little to be desired. The waitress in the pizza place was appalling, last time I did my own hotel training and food hygiene certificate I don't remember wiping noses on sleeves and being stroppy to our guests being part of the training process. We put that bit down to her having a bad night, people have off nights. However breakfast was not much better - pasty sausages, orders delivered to wrong guests/wrong orders etc. We can forgive busy places having service issues, but pasty sausages are in my mind unforgivable - its hardly difficult in Scotland to get decent fodder. Shame really as those little touches (and a bit of quality service) would have helped to smooth the waters. We did complain, I can't say that the Manager was overly helpful - but we did EVENTUALLY get a full refund even though we stayed for one night.

We did take photos of the bathroom - we'll not share them as we had a full refund - however, I'd just say the Manager could do with a bit of CPD at some of the other excellent venues offered in the villages his hotel sits. OK it was the end of the season and I'm sure some staff get a bit jaded with serving visitors - however, if that's the case I suggest they get another job - good service is expected when eating out - not stroppy sleeve wipers with a CBA attitude which was very vocal.

This hotel, its managers attitude and some of the staff's sleeve/nose interactions COULD have ruined our weekend. However, we're made of sterner stuff. Putting the sofa for late night guests outside the bridal suite also not very conducive to a decent nights sleep but I know guests need to yap somewhere. That's fair.

I will say however this is the first time I've ever complained in a hotel about cleanliness standards - I didn't enjoy stepping into a previously used shower and hovering above a previously used and needing a clean loo which in the cold light of day was not pleasant at all and certainly NOT the way to start your actual wedding day. Potentially it was an oversight, we could forgive that, but the service we received when we asked the manager to come and look at our pink slimey sinks/bathrooms/shower was also appalling. I've never in my life walked out of a hotel either, or asked for a refund. I'm glad they gave us one - but whist it looks like a great hotel - and the food (on the whole) was lovely - I can't recommend it, not at the moment. Especially where there are several cracking places within metres of this place. We retreated to a local budget hostel - clean, bright, helpful and couldn't have tried harder to find space for us.

Perhaps they're having a bad run - lets hope its a one off, bed rooms are properly checked properly before they're let out, someone buys that waitress a hanky and a book on customer service, the manager takes some charm classes and they change sausage provider. There are very good butchers locally, one doesn't have to rely on national wholesalers supplying cost effective but rubbish sausages.

This place should be a fairytale, they've a fair bit to do, so every little touch helps.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fayjmck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Birnam hotels

Dundee, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed October 24, 2013

Just back from a one night stay, at this hotel, on an Itison deal. We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay. We had an afternoon tea included in our deal. Sandwiches and cakes were all freshly made and delicious. We had our evening meal in the hotel restaurant next door and all our dishes were of a high standard. The breakfast next morning was great and full of choice. Maybe the rooms are needing some upgrading but this certainly did not distract from our stay. The staff were all friendly and helpful. We would certainly not hesitate to return.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank aileen a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scotland
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2013

Decided to try this place again after a terrible experience years ago.The burgers are astonishingly good,the lager on tap perfectly chilled.Amazing friendly and polite staff on duty nothing too much trouble..Far far better than years ago when it was just a grotty badly run dump.will definately be returning.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank intrepidtraveller40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stonehaven, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed October 20, 2013

Our 2nd time here, and this time, very disappointed. Room on the 2nd floor had a badly cracked window. Window held open with an old bit of wood. Could not open the Bathroom window, and no extraction fan. Freezing shower and cold water from hot tap on sink. Takes a bit of work to get staff to remember that we are guests and doing them a favour by staying there and spending our money. Management most indignant that we were to blame for the lack of hot water and freezing shower. However, we did get some money taken off the bill on check-out. Afraid things will not improve due to lack of customer focus from Management. Could say more, but will leave it there. Wouldn't recommend to friends, family or colleagues....

Room Tip: Don't choose room 211
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Colin F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
edinburgh
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2013

well this is our second time back the general manger James was there to welcome us again. didn't think he would remember us but he did. and the bottle and chocolates in the room made our day.we had a lovely Sunday lunch very nice. we both got up early Monday morning for a walk up birnam hill 630am James was there. we got back late just before 10am to late for breakfast.but tea coffee toast and 2 full Scottish breakfasts to our room thank you. the room was clean and warm.only one bad point GM was on from 630 am till 12.30 am 18hr days and breakfast lady am till late. anyway after reading some of the reviews was not sure if i was going to come but pleased i did stay. staff could no do enough for us and what we saw everyone else.look forward to seeing you all soon on the 26th 27th oct with a group of our friend and sunday lunch for 10 of us

Room Tip: just ask james for a nice room or a upgade
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank adam&sharon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dundee, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2013

The hotel its self looks grand and the entrance is certainly that. But unfortunately that's about as far as the grandure goes, our room was on the second floor and looked out to the back yard and bin! On opening the door we were greeted with a wall with a recess with an ironing board and an iron and shelf which was actually your wardrobe! On entering the room which was large and spacious the bed looked massive but we later found that this was 2 single beds put together and was rather uncomfortable. The bathroom looked like it could do with refurbishment the shower curtain rail looked like it had been put up at the last minute as the hinges and glue from an old glass screen were still on the bath.......the shower tiles looked like they needed to have a good bleach and clean as it looked like some were black with mould. But the shower did run hot and ran well....the bedside lights didn't work and there was no where to plug the kettle in unless you moved it beside the dressing table, as for the television it was supposed to be free view, with DVD built in, but was only normal channels an no where for DVD's also I have a larger monitor at my work for my computer! Along with our deal we had afternoon tea which was served in the bar, the service was okay, after being asked twice what we would like, to be fair the food was a surprise and really tasty. With a good helping of sandwiches, cake and biscuits which would seem to have been all homemade. The breakfast the next day was also very tasty with a portion size that would be enough to keep you going throughout the day, we would have no complaints about the srevice as the hotel seemed empty for only 3 or 4 rooms full. Disappointed would her how we felt on our trip,has there was no chat or welcoming from any staff on arrival or departures, just the formalities. If hotels wish to participate on the itison voucher scheme, they should really think about using these as a way to encourage people back to pay full price. The room and service was not worth the half price deal we paid.

Room Tip: Ensure all services in the room work, before you need them
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AilyD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Birnam Hotel

Property: Birnam Hotel
Address: Birnam Cottage Perth Road, Birnam PH8 0AA, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Perth and Kinross > Birnam
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Birnam
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Birnam Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Style,elegance and good old-fashioned Scottish hospitality is what the newly upgraded Birnam Hotel is all about. Located in the stunning Perthshire countryside in the heart of Scotland, the Birnam Hotel is the ideal location. It is well renowned for hosting weddings and large functions in the magnificent Baronial Hall and smaller functions in its many other suites - the Birnam Hotel has it all. A truly warm welcome awaits you at the Birnam Hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Birnam Hotel Scotland

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