We attended the Mac Donald Highlands Hotel as part of a large ball which they hosted this may.
The 'resort' itself has been graced with the aesthetics for which inspiration must have been drawn from a concrete scheme in Glasgow's east end. Who gave planning permission for a combination of grey concrete blocks to be sneezed onto the beauty of the highlands is beyond me, not only does it not do it's environment justice but feels generally sterile and unwelcoming, losing all the rustic charm you would expect in a place where limestone and wood are plentiful.
Rooms at the Highlands resort undeserving of a four star rating are relatively small and dated, lacking bathrobes, mini-bar, free internet or safe. The heating is provided by 30 year old electric heaters (unassisted) which fill the room with the smell of singed dust, the television is old but had a decent range of channels. On a positive note the bed was very comfortable, and the shower pretty awesome.
The hotel staff were all quite original and friendly, except for one sneaky sub manager who at breakfast told us to follow him to the downstairs dining area as the upstairs had become full, this was done with the pretence that everything available would be the same as it was in the main breakfast set-up. However I later found this to be a blatant lie and the staff hadn't bothered to bring down a number of items downstairs. The breakfast was pretty good if you were to be seated in the main area and had a decent choice.
The bars at the hotel are ridiculously overpriced, which is interesting considering at this cost you would expect the staff to know their way around a bar which was not the case.
The spa facilities and service was disappointing, and while the swimming pool is good if you are swimming for endurance or to stay in shape, it wouldn't be as suitable for relaxing or if you are travelling with children is not very family friendly.
A fire alarm went off at 2am, and took half an hour for the hotel staff to figure out what was wrong and turn it off, in this time they weren't particularly helpful or open as to what was going on.
This place generally would be fitting for a conference or trade fair, but gives an unpleasant and cold feeling. If you plan to visit the highlands for a relaxing getaway I would recommend somewhere else where your money wouldn't be wasted.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Relax in style and complete comfort at the 4-star Macdonald Highlands Hotel. With 151 luxury rooms-with-a-view and its own signature restaurant, Aspects, boasting spectacular views of the Cairngorm Mountains, the Highlands Hotel is ideal for discerning business and leisure travelers. For relaxation there's direct access to the Leisure Arena, a TV lounge with comfy sofas and a DVD player, and the cozy Laggan whiskey bar. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Macdonald Highlands Aviemore
- Macdonald Highlands Hotel
- Hotel Macdonald Highlands
- Highlands Hotel At Macdonald Aviemore Resort Scotland