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Barony Castle Hotel
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All reviewsleisure facilitiespool and saunabar menulovely groundsgames roomheated loungerssingle beditison dealan overnight stayfood was lovelyrelief maprestaurant staffa bit tiredblue dug restaurantpublic areasrelaxing stayboth nights
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Reviewed April 7, 2013

Stayed here twice in the past month. The first was as we were attending a wedding at the hotel, the 2nd was a complimentary stay as the first stay was so bad (read on).

I'll start with an overall balanced opinion (following both stays). This hotel is a basic 3* that is in need of a major refurbishment programme. For me it would only ever be ok for a cheap overnight stay if you are in the area - but in reality if there are/were better options I'd rather stay somewhere else - I'd even go as far to say the standards in a Travelodge are better and more preferable to what is on offer here.

The hotel looks and sounds (i.e. being a castle) a lot better than it actually is. There are not many pictures of the rooms online (which should ring alarm bells). The bedroom pictures online (which look really nice and modern) are all of the best suite they have and that the bride and groom would stay in. These pictures in no way at all resemble what you get in the standard or 'upgraded' rooms. The hotel used to be a De Vere branded hotel, but is now operating as a Mercure 3* hotel. My belief would be that the management were not willing to invest the money required to refurbish the hotel and maintain the De Vere standards - hence it now operates under a budget brand. No doubt the slightly remote location means occupancy rates are not high and there is a big reliance on weddings.

Now to our two stays...

Stay 1
I'm going to keep this brief - as I could go to town and write an essay on how appalling our stay was, but I think summary bullet points should get the idea across: -

- Worst hotel stay I have had in years (and I travel a lot for business and pleasure – so I have plenty to compare against).
- Freezing cold corridors leading to bedrooms (heating either off or turned down low)
- Room very small and dated – still had De Vere branding despite this now being a Mercure.
- Every switch in room completely off (i.e. tv, lamps, heaters). Had to go round switching them all on before could use anything.
- Radiator disgusting and full of dust indicating lack of cleanliness (see pics)
- Broken window blind that could not be closed and was also water damaged (see pic). Even after asking for blind to be repaired it did not fully cover the window and let light in.
- Shower screen seal broken (see pic) – severely flooded bathroom floor when had showers
- Room was FREEZING. All radiators were turned off, as was towel rail. Took a long time to get heat into room and even then it was still cold. Partner had to lie under covers in bed to heat up.
- Bathroom was particularly cold and did not heat up at all during our stay – unpleasant showering experience when come out to a freezing room and ice cold floor.
- TV did not work properly. No remote for tv. Had to manually go to tv and change channels which skipped and cut-out due to buttons being damaged from over-use.
- Complimentary biscuit with tea/coffee facilities - picked up and realised bottom of packet was already open and that half a biscuit was missing. Nice to see the cleaners check these things.

Room Service
- No menu in room – had to ask for one to be brought
- Asked for Irn-Bru – told 20mins later there was none in the hotel (this being a hotel in Scotland).
- Order taker asked if wanted sauce and vinegar with meal (said yes) – didn’t bring.
- Asked for large fresh orange lemonade (order taker said would bring pint), and pepsi (order taker said would bring a bottle) – what turned up was a Small fresh orange and glass of pepsi. Drinks also took over 5mins to arrive after the food came.
- Then told NO vinegar in building (bit useless when ordering fish and chips)
- Then realised they hadn’t even given us salt
- Yet again had to wait
- In total had to wait nearly 15-20mins after food arrived to start eating (waiting on condiments and parts of order that should have come first time if they got things right) – meal was stone cold and not very nice – it was already luke warm when it first arrived never mind time it took them to supply everything else.
- Also charged for pint of fresh orange lemonade on checking out despite sending us a small one

Checkout
- Didn’t at all ask how our stay was (my guess if they knew how bad the room was)
- Charged for room at £38 (despite having booked through Ebookers and paying £45 already). Did not query this at time as thought I may have just booked online and not paid.


As above, the hotel did not ask how my stay was upon checkout (when I would have told them about the problems). Upon returning home and checking my bank statement I realised I had already paid for the room in advance and they shouldn’t have charged me on checking out. This was the final straw and led to me phoning the hotel manager for a refund of the £38 extra charge and at which time I then told him about our stay. The outcome of this was a refund on the room service (given the problems) and returning the £38 extra payment they took from me (Still paid £45 room only via Ebookers). I was also asked to return in future to see how my stay ‘should have been’. This was not something I was keen to do, but given I was passing the area during the Easter break I decided to add an extra night onto our trip and stay here on the way home....

Stay 2
- Stayed in a Mercure ‘Privilege’ room which is the upgraded rooms.
- Afraid to report not much is upgraded in these rooms.
- Very small room with dated furnishings showing obvious signs of wear. Carpet was dirty and in need of a good hoover.
- Hotel and rooms have creaky floorboards and thin walls, could hear the movements of the rooms above and to the side of ours.
- Only ‘privilege’ I could see was a Nespresso machine (we don’t drink coffee) and two bottle of water in the fridge.
- On the whole this room was ok (much much better than that from our previous stay) and more acceptable for a 3* hotel.
- Breakfast in the morning was very good.
- Dinner in the Bar at night was very poor – so much so I only ate half of my food. The Bar menu now serves the same menu as the restaurant (which we were told was full when we checked in and could only accommodate us for a late night slot). The restaurant looked almost empty for most of the time we were at the Bar having food (very strange to be told it was full when all I could see was empty tables – didn’t bother us that much as we were happy to eat in the Bar).

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank st3v3n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamie M, Manager at Barony Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2013

Dear st3v3n,

I am really sorry to hear that your stay was not up to expectations. I would like to discuss this with you in person. If you can spare the time, would you please contact me on jmackie@baronycastle.com or by telephone on 01721 730 395.

Kind regards

Jamie Mackie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

another brilliant stay staff excellent operational manager excellent nothing any bother spa was perfect rooms perfect well done to all and we will be back the food was amazing and service second to none

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank marthagibson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamie M, Manager at Barony Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2013

Dear marthagibson,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I am delighted that you enjoyed your visit. I look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Best regards
Jamie Mackie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013 via mobile

Just returned from an overnight stay with my husband. I really enjoyed our stay. It's about 5 minutes from Peebles town centre. We also visited nearby glentress for some mountain biking which was great. It also has a Go ape ( outdoor aerial assault course)which i plan on returning to try. The hotel and grounds are lovely to look at. All staff where very friendly and helpful . I thoroughly enjoyed the swimming pool and sauna. Rooms where comfortable, possibly requiring a little updating especially the bathrooms. For the price we paid I thought it was good value and hope to return here in the near future to repeat our adventure x

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank luckyLeeGlasgow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamie M, Manager at Barony Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2013

Dear luckyLeeGlasgow,

Thanks for your review. I am glad you had a good stay with us. See you on your next trip hopefully!

Kind regards

Jamie Mackie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Extremely disappointing. Looked great in the pics and reviews were pretty good but its tired, tatty , not particularly friendly, and overpriced. Should've known better than to go with a big chain and wish I'd gone elsewhere.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank Pearlsnap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamie M, Manager at Barony Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2013

Dear Pearlsnap,

I am really sorry to hear that your stay was not up to expectations. I would like to discuss this with you in person. Please could you contact me on 01721 730 395 or by email on jmackie@baronycastle.com

Best regards

Jamie Mackie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

Have just spent the night here again and still love the hotel and its surroundings. Staff are all lovely and very helpful, food good, lovely room looking out onto gardens, took my grandchild for the first time and she had a ball - loved the swimming pool. We have been visiting this hotel for a number of years now and although there has been a change of ownership since last time we were there it still met our expectations. We will be back again, hopefully when the sun is shining as scenery is beautiful however lovely wee place to visit anytime of year. Thanks to management and staff who make the hotel a pleasant place to visit. Oh forgot to say glad the alpaca are still in the grounds!

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the gardens, unless there's a wedding on when It can be quite noisy, rooms to front of hotel look onto to mountains which are also lovely.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank Laineyloulou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamie M, Manager at Barony Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 20, 2013

Dear Laineyloulou,

Thank you very much for your kind review. It is much appreciated and I can assure you that my team will be delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay. I look forward to welcoming you back again very soon.

Kind regards

Jamie Mackie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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