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“Excellent food, atmosphere and hospitality”
Review of Darroch Learg

Darroch Learg
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Darroch Learg
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Ballater
Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent food, atmosphere and hospitality”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

The Owner is a very hospitable, charming hostess. Enjoyed dinner in the lovely town of Ballater after seeing the Queen in a tribute to her Jubilee.

We had a wee dram in the cozy, fireplaced sitting room with our friends and ordered our dinner while enjoying delicious complimentory canapes.

We were called into a lovely dining room to our table and enjoyed first class dining and service.

It was so wonderful my friends returned the next morning for breakfast.

Would recommend it to all my friends on their visits to Ballater.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HectorinaM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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65 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Any
English first
London
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2012

We spent the last two nights of our honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands at the Darroch Learg and we had a very enjoyable stay.
The hotel is situated in the middle of Ballater, on a hill side in very impressive surroundings.
We stayed in a master bedroom (Birkhall) which was exquisitely decorated and well furnished. The large bay window gave lovely views from the rooms across the Highlands which are lovely early in the morning and just as the sun sets.
Downstairs you will find two comfortable and luxurious sitting rooms with lovely fires, which the owners keep well stocked with firewood. The dining room has a very impressive dining table which seats 10-12 and other smaller tables out in the lovely conservatory.
The menu was very simple with lots of choice and the food was delicious, served beautifully with all accompaniments complementing each course well. The hotel has a very extensive wine list and an impressive bar of spirits, with a wide range of whiskeys of course!
We were made to feel very welcome at the Darroch Learg and were given great sightseeing tips! The dinner, bed and breakfast rate is extremely reasonable and we would recommend the Darroch Learg to anyone travelling to or through the area!

Room Tip: Master bedrooms are very roomy and very comfortable. Birkhall has a canopied bed and is a stunning s...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lukin128
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trondheim, Norway
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2012

Very cozy family hotel (has been owned by the same family for 50 years). Warm and welcoming atmosphere, always with a smile. We came to Scotland to relax, and this place was perfect. The weather was terrible, as it was raining cats and dogs, but you don't go to Scotland to get a tan. We had long, good walks in the beautiful landscape around Ballater.
Excellent service. Very nice room with a comfortable 4-poster bed. Not the high fashion, minimalistic style of hotel room that you get in a Raddison or Hilton hotel, but a room with character and charm, just the way we like it.
Good food (especially the steaks, extremely tender beef from the "royal" butcher in Ballater), and a good winelist. Agree with GilesMoffatt that some musak/classical music in the dining room (and even in the lunges) would be perfect on quiet nights.
Warmly recommended!!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GPTrondheim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrogate
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 4, 2012

We were welcomed very warmly for sunday lunch and had fantastic food cooked by clearly a very talented chef. The beef was honestly the best we have ever had, the goats cheese souffle was exemplary. The service was prompt and very friendly and we will definitely return next time we are holidaying nearby.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Birthdaygirl009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DarrochLearg, Owner at Darroch Learg, responded to this review, September 10, 2012
Many thanks for your kind review. We are delighted you enjoyed lunch so much and I shall be sure to pass on your compliments to the chef. We look forward to welcoming you back.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2012

Been here a couple of times, and on each occasion the food was spectacular. Especially considering Ballater is slightly off the beaten track.

The seven course taster menu is a must. The wines are deliberately (and very generously) underpriced.

The only negative can be the atmosphere. On a quiet night it can be a bit formal, with a scattering of couples whispering to each other to avoid being heard. Not their fault - it's a problem that afflicts a lot of the better rural restaurants in Scotland. Take your own atmosphere with you - invite 4 other reasonably loud friends. Note to owners: a bit of musak on quiet nights would make all the difference. There's no shame in forcing people to speak up a bit. Otherwise one of the best in Scotland.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GilesMoffatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford
Level Contributor
89 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed July 1, 2012

I would say it is Good, but you are given the choice of Average or Very Good. The rooms are all fading but very clean. The bed is comfortable and has good sheets. The views from the rooms are good and the bathroom all works with just ok towels. The dinner is good and breakfast is ok. Fiona is charming. The negatives are an amateur approach eg. I came for breakfast on second day and sat at a table by the window. I was asked (charmingly) to move to join a table of people only one of whom I had met the day before or sit in a dark corner of the room. I elected to sit among at the table amidst he half eaten breakfast. They seemed none too chuffed I joined them while they were having good friend chit chat. No one sat at the table I had originally sat at while I was having breakfast and I did not enjoy breakfast I was unaware my room rate was sub standard in some way. I feel £110 for one person per night in low season is high enough to be allowed a normal table to breakfast at. If you want to read Hello magazine, you are in Hello heaven but to use the 'smoking room' for wifi is impossible. The phone signal is diabolical. So one sits in the special room but the wifi never worked, for me, anyway. Only one bottle of white wine from a South American country on the winelist; when ordered, there is none so the one above is suggested! One canape is brought. I would prefer a bowl of olives than a solitary canape, seems rather grudging. The 'gourmet' coffee is a misnoma. The waitering is not great. I do not know what the comparables are in the area.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tradingplaces
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2012

This family run hotel was a wonderful place to stay March 2011. Our room was beautiful with a balcony facing out over the valley below. Everything was immaculate. we had just come from a rather unsatisfactory hotel elsewhere in the cairngorms and were incredibly impressed with nigel and fiona's welcome and the whole ambience of this place.
The location on the edge of ballater is great for exploring into the cairngorms walking and sightseeing which we did a lot of. Its also close to balmoral which is worth a visit.
The food was wonderful with a varied menu which we tried all of. The breakfasts were also very good.
The only downside for us being a young active couple was that we were not able to arrange fishing at short notice and the other clientele were generally significantly older than us although all very friendly. If you want to fish on the river dee you really need to arrange this well in advance before you even book hotel.
We very much enjoyed our stay and once we can get the fishing sorted we will definitely be back with family/friends again!
Its also rather a romantic place so would be good for a couple's treat away.
Thank you nigel and fiona for a lovely stay.

Room Tip: Ask for a front facing room for wonderful views and picturesques sunsets!
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Felicity G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Darroch Learg

Property: Darroch Learg
Address: 56 Braemar Road, Ballater AB35 5UX, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Aberdeenshire > Ballater
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Ballater
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Darroch Learg 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
CLOSED FOR MAJOR RENOVATION UNTIL 2016 A Highland Retreat based on the edge of Ballater in the heart of Royal Deeside. Numerous activities from walking to rock climbing can be organised along with exclusive visits to nearby Balmoral Castle. In the evening guests may enjoy dinner prepared by the 2005 winner of Scotland's Hotel Chef of the Year. This is complimented by the best wine list in Scotland.(as named by The UK Top 100 Restaurant Wine Lists). ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Darroch Learg Hotel Ballater
Darroch Learg Ballater, Scotland

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