Sometime in November we received an e-mail from Crerar Hotels (North British trust formerly) promoting an offer of DB&B for an equivelant of £35 per person per night with a bottle of house wine chucked in each night for good measure.
Considering the economic gloom then there was a good chance that the UK would consist of 53 million Big-Issue sellers by January, we thought it was a good idea to book up. I must say having something to look forward to carries you through that post Christmas drudge.
Arrived in a freezing Pitlochry on the Friday afternoon. the hotel is just off the main street, just about enough parking, but my tip would be to stop outside the front door (coach space) unload your bags and then one of your party park the car as it is likely the only spaces will be right at the back.#
Slightly gloomy reception and a distinct smell of cleaning fluid emanating from the adjacent ladies and gents toilets. A bit offputting, not sure how this could be solved though.
Very friendly reception - efficient and we were soon struggling our way upstairs to the room. There is a lift and if we had thought about it we could have used it for the "bags run". Corridors and stairways are a bit tired, sludgy brown pattern carpet and sutcase-chipped paint. The hotel has nice features and I am sure a public area refurb is on the cards - it would pay dividends.
Our room was small and had a view of the kitchen roof! But hey...£35?!!!. Nicely redecorated, muted checks and tweed effects, attractive bed linen. Decent TV, Tea bits etc etc. A bit reminiscent of MacDonald Hotels and Resorts in style. It was warm...and it was -3 outside! Clean ensuite, shower in bath type, nice toiletries. No sign of budget-mindedness here.
We had a wander round Pitlochry - basically 2 companies control all the tourist shops here, you keep seeing the same handwriting on the tickets! There is an independent tourist shop right at the North end on the right which I would advise you to head for. Edinburgh Woolen Mill in their various guises just miss the boat in my opinion. Nice wee pub at the back of the gardens above the river. Great butcher next to the hotel!
Down to dinner. Very pleasantly surprised. At the price we were paying a variation on the Oliver Twist gruel theme might have been in order, but a well presented menu was in evidence, fresh fish, sorbet, simply cooked lamb, decent cheese selection. It is not Andrew Fairlie, but is competent hotel food with the odd spark of imagination. Well done.
The free bottle of wine was a decent French VDP DOC Red, which the hotel had thoughtfully chilled to match the outside temperature ..ie minus 3! Hey guys - this is what microwaves are invented for - 45 secs and you would have room temp. The last glass did not give us any more gum frostbite and was pleasant.
We were going to go out, but had settled into a fuzzy torpor so sat through the Race Night which Marc, the manager was running. Not really our thing, but was actually good fun and his enthusiasm came through. Needless to say we lost every race.
Breakfast on both mornings was well above average, certainly better than most business hotels i stay at. Freshly cooked to order - i do not know if they could manage this in peak season, but it was very good indeed.
Next night they ran a Burns Night, we could only stay for the meal as we went to the Pitlochry Festival Theatre for a Ghost Story reading (and skated back on totally lethal footpaths). Judging by some hungover people the next morning this was a good night.
There is a Leisure Centre which we did not use, perhaps next time. Seems to be well equipped and well run.
Interestingly they have a computer in the Lobby for you to post Trip Advisor Reviews on! I think this could be a double edged sword Mr Crerar as I saw one person obviously putting a flame-review on it as we returned late on Saturday night! (incidentally - did we not got to school together..I seem to recall us both being very enthusiastic about achieving long and luxuriant hair-styles. Judging by your web picture and my appearance now it was a bit of a waste of time in the long run!).
Conclusion. A stupidly cheap and very enjoyable weekend. If you see any offers from this hotel or hotel group - snap them up. Marketing-wise they are hitting the nail absolutely on the head in todays climate. It is not 5 star - as you would expect, but it is very much exceeding expectations on 3 star status.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Traditional Scottish family hotel .5 mile from train/bus stations; in city centre; splendid views over Perthshire Hills & Lochs. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Scotland`s Hotel And Leisure Club
- Scotlands Hotel Leisure
- Scotlands Hotel Pitlochry
- Scotland's Hotel & Leisure Club Pitlochry