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“Good long standing management is the key here I think”

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Atholl Palace Hotel
Ranked #8 of 18 Hotels in Pitlochry
Aberdeenshire
Level Contributor
35 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Good long standing management is the key here I think”
Reviewed December 2, 2012

Not sure why I've never reviewed this before - for nearly 10 years I organised an annual dinner dance here, and the last 2 years have had the pleasure of attending but not having to work!!

It's a beautiful hotel with fantastic views and an amazing variety of wildlife in the grounds. It must be a nightmare to keep, and each year I noticed changes for the better - it's good to see the Irish consortium of 3 (?) who own the hotel (and have recently bought the Fishers in the town) are happy to spend money on it. as has been said the rooms are under a permanemt cycle of decoration ,and from experience I know vary greatly - it's luck of draw almost what room you get unless you specifically ask (and pay for) a turret for example. This time we stayed in 1 of the 8 rooms in the newly refurbished manor house, which is accessible from the hotel via outside steps or you can drive on 2 private roads. Our room was lovely - immediate reaction was Wow at the size of the room, the tasteful furniture and the new bathroom. After settling tho I did begin to think it a little 'sterile' - there's none of the art in the main hotel, nor any what my husband calls 'clutter' (vases, ornaments etc). I did comment on this - will be interesting to see if it's picked up on. The hotel do listen to comments - a couple of years back we struggled with hot water - this was apparently traced to a sticking ballcock, which is now attached to an alarm in reception which if it goes off someone goes and hits it - seems fair to me!

I said at the start management was the key - Dougal the GM has been there since Day 1 I think and is often seen all over the place, just 'being present'. The restaurant manager runs a tight ship and has been there as long as I've been going, the former conference organiser is now spa manager and the current conference organiser is so good holding a party there is easy!!

Food is a matter of taste - sometimes I've been less than impressed other times ecstatic - I remember some truly delightful lamb 2 years ago!! Breakfast is always good I think and was one area I always had good feedback on when I ran the event. It's buffet, continually replenished even up to closing time, has a good variety and choice - yes the orange juice may not be very chilled but I can live with that - I'm more concerned with th efact any of the waiting staff will stop by as they pass and clear your used crockery and take orders for more tea or butter, rather than have allocated tables, than in the temperature of the juice - but that's just me!!

I love the Arran aromatics toiletries and Duncans shortbread, and the fact I don't just have 2 tea bags and 2 sachets of coffee, and the towels are big enuf for me too!!

They do have a lot of weddings - thats how they make their money!! - but it's poured back into the hotel with ongoing improvements and I've yet to find a hotel where a wedding party doesn't cause some 'inconvenience' to other guests.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank broomsticklady2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
59 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2012

Everything was very good about our stay, rooms, food, staff, exept for the fact they put us in room 115 which was situated above the function room, which at the time was holding a wedding party, so loud music till 12 midnight not good as was expecting a quiet romantic night with my lovely wife. So complained and give them there due they did offer another room. And a discount. Next time they need to inform guests about private functions and remembering to move guests from room 115 if not part of the private function.

  • Stayed December 2012
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2 Thank Pmungall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed November 19, 2012

Stayed here a few years ago, it was great; full of old world charm, you easily could imagine what this place was like at the turn of the century. This time, much the same. A friendly reception on arrival, with a nice complementary liquor, a couple of fires (one real the other gas) in the main lobby, it was nice just to sit to soak in the ambiance .... oh this was a Sunday, so nice and quiet. Well went up to the room, how many lifts do you know that are carpeted? Our room was small, especially when we looked at the plan on the wall for surrounding ones, but it's clean, with nice views, warm and only in need of a little TLC, but that's the charm here. The room refreshments were very well stocked, linen fresh and my girlfriend loved the bed, so comfortable she said.

We were here only for one night so chose to eat in. A couple of drinks in the Stagshead bar first, again very old world with a log fire, but unfortunately didn't give out too much heat and after dinner it had virtually gone out. Back to dinner though, we had the 3 course option, starters excellent as were the mains, served with appropriate speed and rest in between courses. Desserts were just as nice, I'm not a big dessert person so easily pleased. There was a pleasant interlude for all the dinner guests, early on at least, as the owner was in town and took time to circulate and have a nice anecdotal chat to all as he went round tables.

The sleep was excellent, warm rooms, no undue noise .... many floor boards creak though; like an old house should! In the morning breakfast ..... great! All self service save for the coffee & tea, a large selection of cooked food, nicely presented and looked after/stocked. Orange juice that was not chilled to an inch of loosing real taste, and a selection of cereals (I couldn't manage those, not after the fry up .... yum)

Finally was time to go, check out was quick and painless ... and the staff continued to be pitching the pleasantness appropriately, some places are just to 'thank you have a nice day'!

So would I go back again, yes no doubt, despite the charmingly dated interior; which for me is a draw. Its has always been quiet and very roomy here this when coupled with the setting and beautiful exterior for me makes it a must. Thanks :-)

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ChilledJim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2012

Having just returned from Atholl Palace with a friend for a spa weekend to celebrate her 30th we have been left very disappointed.
Rooms are lovely and clean but could use a bit updating as could the rest of the hotel. The heat in the hotel is ridiculous I understand it was cold outside but the heat at times could be unbearable. We also had a visit from a bird but apparently this is normal when reading other reviews.
Firstly dinner on Friday night was edable, it is a restricted menu and if you want to have a steak for example you have to pay a supplement. The price of soft drinks is absolutely ridiculous £8.40 for 4 250ml (smaller than a can) is a disgrace considering you can buy them in the local shop for 39p a bottle. We walked into Pitlochry and ate in McKay's pub on Saturday and the food was lovely. A warm and welcoming pub with a coal fire and reasonable prices we would highly recommend this place.

The spa was lovely we had booked a spa break so had a massage and facial included in our trip this was lovely and relaxing and we really enjoyed this as well as the swimming, sauna and steam room. Beware of the jacuzzi the water is boiling!!!! We had booked to have a manicure and a pedicure, which was just a mess. My friend had to repolish her nails again when we returned to the room as the beautician was shaking so much.
On leaving the hotel on Sunday I questioned £150 which had been added to our bill we had expected to pay extra for the manicure and pedicure but not this much. when I questioned it the receptionist said that the spa duplicated our treatments and would remove them.
On returning home I recieved an irate telephone call from the Spa Manager claiming that I had refused to pay for treatments when really it was the receptionist who had made the mistake not me. I agreed that we had not payed for the extra treatments but due to the mess of the manicure I was not willing to pay for one of them nor was I willing to pay £40 for a pedicure that I could have done a better job of myself in the house. She didn't even apologise.
All in all we were pretty disappointed with the whole experience, we will return to Pitlochry as it is a lovely village but would not stay at this hotel again.

This is the first trip advisor post I have ever done as I do not normally complain but felt other travellers should know what they are paying for.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Louise C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
leasowe
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed November 14, 2012

My husband and I got married here last week and only have very positive things to say about the hotel and its staff. Our whole experience was wonderful, and our guests were all extremely pleased. We had 70 people staying at the hotel (some in rooms and some in the lodges) and they all had a great experience at the Atholl Palace. We stayed in the turret suite which was out of this world - panoramic views of Pitlochry and the countryside, as well as a lovely lounge area which was separate to the bedroom. Our experience of the food was excellent - breakfast especially amazing! Some of our guests ate in the restaurant the evening before the wedding and were very impressed with the food. I had a bar snack which was very good value for money and was delicious. All the staff were friendly and helpful and went out of their way to accommodate us. We hope to come back for our Anniversary - very fond memories! Thanks to all!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank emma p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh. Scotland
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2012 via mobile

Beautiful place, beautiful building though parts of the interior are very dated. Arriving was exciting - driving up to this lovely historical hotel. However reception was unhelpful - we had four rooms booked, two were not ready at 12.30, we used two but had to phone back to get updates on the others, although er had asked for a call.
However dinner was the cruncher - the meat served was tough, the vegetables minimal and overcooked. The vegetarian option was a frozen nut roast which was served dry and tasted of mould - been in the freezer a while....
Breakfast was fried, dried, and inedible. The tea tasted of an urn that is regularly bleached(!?!) and coffee had crept in somehow.
At lunchtime we checked out the menu, found that a sandwich order was over £7 and decided to go elsewhere.....
The serving staff were pleasant, the lovely big fire in the lounge was nice. Views and walks gorgeous.
Overall we were simply astonished that management could allow the kitchen to let the rest down to the extent it did. And reception could have been more welcoming - it's not that hard!

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Musicaltravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2012

We went here on a *last minute deal* still cost £100 (B&B) so not exactly cheap.
Got told at reception we had a "garden room" this actually means basement. views of back on wedding venue and car park, lovely.
Room was freezing, i fiddled about with radiator and couldnt get it to work so i called reception. I was told heating was off because "its had been a nice day!" It was October, not middle of summer. She grudgingly said she would turn heater on, and fair play it came on pretty much right away. Room was totally ordinary, nothing special whatsoever. To be honest i prefer Premier Inn rooms to blandness we got. Bathroom was dull and outdated. And something you might find any old place.
We decided to eat in hotel rather than go into town. Bit of mistake really. Went to bar for pre dinner drinks, luckily we got in just before guests attending a wedding in hotel invaded and the ONE barman on was struggling to cope. The queue was miles long, if i'd been a wedding guest i'd not have been too happy,
Off we went to dinner. Maitre D was very attentive and cheerful, waitresses less so and we had to ask for water and for the wine which arrived after our starters.
Getting to the food. It was mediocre at best. We had haggis to start, it tasted cheap (i'm in catering, i know good haggis) and the Smoked Haddock wrapped in Ham sounded lovely but was a huge let down. Minced Haddock? very odd texture, tasted ok but it was almost like it had been mixed with other cheap fish then minced to bulk it out. Smoked Haddock should be lovely big succulent Flakes. This was none of the above.
We passed on desert and went into the lobby for our tea/coffee, Think its nice touch to serve it there as for older guests i guess its a relaxing enviroement and gets the diners out restaurant so they can reset it.
Talking of older guests, this place was full of them. I reckon if you want to take your elderly parents away for weekend then this is the place for them, it was a bit like a nursing home sitting in that lobby, nice though it was. To be fair to the hotel thats not their fault.

We decided to finsih our tea/Coffee and head into town to find a bit of life, and thank goodness we did, it saved a waste of £100 quite frankly.

Breakfast was again mediocore, juices not chilled,actual buffet are was a right mess. No bread for toast, we had to ask them to fill it up and the place needed someone to go tidy it up in general. Quality just wasnt there.

Funnily enough my partner had stayed her about yrs ago for a works conference and wasnt inpressed then, it would seem nothing has changed since. I'd always wanted to stay there as the grounds are stunning as is the actual buidling. The views from reataurant were also magnificent., Shame it's all show and subtance. I booked there looking for the granduer we are used to with 4/5 star hotels we normally stay in. Sadly disapointed.

we wont be back,

Room Tip: dont take a garden room! its actually in the basement,
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank santababy100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Atholl Palace Hotel

Property: Atholl Palace Hotel
Address: Perth Road, Pitlochry PH16 5LY, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Perth and Kinross > Pitlochry
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Pitlochry
#6 Luxury Hotel in Pitlochry
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Atholl Palace Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 107
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Scottish Highlands, wild and rugged, have a timeless romantic quality. At their very heart, where the River Tummel flows to the Tay, sits the historic small town of Pitlochry. The Atholl Palace Hotel, the epitome of Scottish Baronial splendour, stands overlooking wooded parkland grounds and the town to the surrounding hills. Originally opened as the Athole Hydropathic in Victorian times, the hotel retains many features of the traditional large country house, with bedroom facilities and standards which often exceed expectations and complement spacious, relaxing public areas.With 107 bedrooms, self-catering lodges, apartments and 10 function suites we can cater for your needs whether it is leisure or business purposes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Atholl Palace Pitlochry
Hotel Atholl Palace
Atholl Palace Hotel Pitlochry, Scotland

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