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“More shanty hut than cabin”
Review of Altamount Chalets

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Altamount Chalets
Reviewed September 5, 2012

I could tell by my partner’s face that I should be worried. She entered the “cabin” first and came back out immediately to say that I should not expect too much...

Firstly I should say this review is of the Altamount Cabins, now advertised as “lovely” rather than “luxury” – so they must have had many complaints about the way they advertise their accommodation on KGB deals and Groupon. Be warned though – the same level of service can be expected in the Hotel as the same people service it, and the “cottages” are in fact modern builds, though they look very pleasant from the outside.

The problems with cabin number 13 (unlucky for anyone who gets this chalet), were so bad you couldn’t make it up. As we entered the cabin the damp, musty smell reminded my partner of something – it turned out to be a ramshackle old shed her dad put together years ago made of old bits of wood and discarded doors. The closest experience I have of accommodation like this is in the bayous of Louisiana. Out in the swamps the poorest of the poor live in “gunshot” wooden cabins on stilts (you can see the swamp through the slats below your feet) and covered in corrugated iron. Here you could see through to the next room, the gaps between the warped wooden timbers had been filled in crudely with plastic wood. It was late so I thought we had to give it a chance – maybe I was over-reacting when I had been promised a “luxury” cabin. We had been in a beautiful log cabin just a year ago near Warkworth and I loved it.

Then a series of mishaps occurred over the next 24 hours which made for a fine Victorian farce. Firstly my toddler daughter explored the room, opening the doors of the dilapidated kitchen. She opened a cupboard door which immediately fell off, hit her in the face and just missed her feet. No damage done, but I was annoyed. On closer examination it appeared that the door had been fixed to the hinge with an improvised cardboard plug. A handyman came straight away and took the door away. The owner came to examine the space where the door used to be and was very pleasant.

Although we had asked for a bed for our daughter there was only a double bed in the tiny bedroom. So we called service and a tatty old zed-bed was delivered and dumped in the hall. It looked exactly like the things we used in the 60s. It was dirty and stuffing was oozing out of it. Yes reader, I know it is hard to believe it could be so bad, so I have provided a picture of it for your delectation.

Can I just mention the shower was one of those rubber fittings on the bath taps. Do you remember them? At least the suite wasn't avocado.

Finally we got our little one to bed and settled down in front of the only object in the cabin newer than 30 years old – the brand new 19” TV – (maybe it was this that made the cabin luxurious). As we sat down on the vinyl sofa we slid towards each other ending up in the centre. When I took a closer look at the sofa it was collapsed in the middle. Luckily there were a few paperbacks in the cabin we could use to prop the sofa up.

The double bed was cheap and nasty like the rest of the cabin, and I woke up several times that night with springs sticking into my side. Not a good night’s sleep when combined with the loud, fast traffic from the road outside. My city dwelling is much quieter at night.

You can imagine my surprise when things only got worse. Reader – it rained. We got out early in the morning to walk into Blairgowrie – along the busy road the cabins sit on. Did I mention that location is not “secluded” at all? We dined in a really nice little restaurant called Cargill’s, but that was probably the only thing I can commend about this experience apart from the Peacocks which delighted my little girl.

When we got back that evening, the cabin seemed worse than I remembered it, and when I went to get the ancient zed-bed ready for the night is was very wet. It was standing under a leak in the roof. From the staining in the wood of the ceiling, the leak had been there for some time. Eventually we were offered dry accommodation in the stables, but that was done with little grace, and I was even accused by their handyman of lying about the leak. So I have photos of that too for you to consider.

We left the next day. The handyman had eventually put a tarpaulin over the roof of the cabin, and we were supposed to go back to stay in that wet room. When I asked for my money back, I was referred to KGB deals who referred me back to the Hotel, who ignored me. I want my £119 back! However – they have their wish – I am sick of chasing them for the money.

This is the list of complaints I made in email to the Hotel. Miraculously they replied that all issues had been addressed within the week. I suspect that only a bulldozer (it wouldn’t have to be a big bulldozer as the place was pretty rickety) would sort out the problem:

1. One of the kitchen doors came off and hit my child in the face, just missing her foot. We were pleased with the speed and efficiency with which you addressed the problem, but the kitchen was shoddy and worn out.
2. There were no kitchen knives and few utensils.
3. The pots provided were dirty, bashed, needed replacing, and in one case the inner lining was rusted.
4. The old sofa had collapsed in the middle, and needed replaced. We managed to prop it up with paperback books.
5. The door lock was inadequate, and poorly installed.
6. The microwave oven was rusty inside
7. The zed-bed was unfit for use, torn with stuffing sticking out, and so old it was very uncomfortable and not fit for use.
8. The double bed was also very uncomfortable with springs sticking out and making a good night's sleep impossible.
9. The fridge was also well passed its best and the door on the freezer compartment was missing.
10. Overall the chalet was very damp and therefore unfit for use.

Strangely I feel a bit embarrassed by the whole experience. Scotland is my home and we encourage people to come here to visit. This cabin reminded me of holidaying in Scotland in the 70s. The levels of accommodation and service were so poor in those dark days that I only holidayed in Scotland in my tent for two decades. Better to go somewhere clean and civilised with great food, like Italy. It was cheaper too!

In recent years I have embraced the staycation – staying in some fabulous hotels and self catering accommodation, enjoying our beautiful countryside and natural resources. It is a shame on Visit Scotland and Visit Perthshire that places like this are allowed to operate. Alex Polizzi would weep.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank JBoyLeith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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81 - 86 of 86 reviews

Reviewed September 1, 2012

My garden shed is better than these "luxuary" chalets.

You get the impression from the photos that this is a type of Centre Parcs accommodation. They are based just off the main road, and are in a depressing dark woodland. They really need knocking down and other accommodation needs re building, such as the lovely new build houses the establishment has to offer.

If you are ok going back to "basics" and roughing it then you may like these chalets. Ours had sign of mould, smelt damp (not sure if this made my husband wheezy) had a very basic kitchen, a mix match of furniture, one heater in the place and a bathroom from a static caravan. The heater was plugged into the mains above the actual heater so when it was on it started to melt the wire!!!! The whole place has dark wood paneling like a sauna.

Shame as the place has potential and maybe the owners can invest money into this part of the place as they have done with the hotel and new build houses. Richard the owner was a nice chap for the record.

Blairgowie is a nice little village, but if you are not into rambling you have to make the most of going further such as St Andrews and other villages as looking around the few shops will only satisfy you for a couple of hours.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Missbumkin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2012

Worst experience we've ever had staying anywhere -- upon arrival at the Altamount House Hotel Reception (which handle check-ins for both the Hotel and the Chalets), the inept receptionist spent over 10 minutes flipping through bookings, completely unable to find our booking. Even after showing my email confirmation with booking reference number, she had no clue how to find our booking, and after 10 minutes she had to call down the owner to find the booking.

The receptionist gave us our keys, and pointed us down a muddy pitch black stairwell to the chalets, at the bottom of which one of us slipped and completely muddied himself in the pitch darkness.

We finally found the poorly labelled cabin in the dark (using our cellphones as flashlights), entered, and immediately smelled urine and pet smells. It was after 10pm at this point and reception had likely gone to bed, so we decided to put up with it and report the smell in the morning. Over the course of the evening, my asthma (which I've not had since I was a kid) flared up and I could barely get to sleep. Also the hot water from the shower kept cutting out so I couldn't even properly steam up the bathroom to help with my asthma.

After we woke and showered, I went to reception and explained the urine smell and my subsequent asthma attack. Reception just looked at me blankly without even apologising. I didn't even ask for a refund for the previous horrible night's sleep, but I did ask for a refund for that evening and the following evening which I had pre-booked. She coldly said "we don't give refunds". I explained we had already booked another place to stay because Altamount was completely unsanitary, and we needed a refund based on those grounds, and she just repeated herself, adding that she could see about shampooing the carpet IF the place really did smell.

At this stage, I said if they refused to refund me for future bookings or compensate me for staying in an unsanitary chalet, I would have no alternative but to share my experience with the world on Trip Advisor. It was only at this point that the cold receptionist asked me to wait in the lounge while she summoned the owner.

Five minutes later the owner arrived irate at my insinuation that I would write a bad review and she actually said that I had "threatened them with a bad review". No empathy for my terrible experience had been given at this point, and it wasn't until I highlighted the rudeness of both the receptionist and the owner that an apology was forthcoming. I explained again to the owner we had booked another place to stay after I had hardly slept the night before in our unsanitary cabin, and it was ONLY AFTER I had explained we had booked elsewhere that the owner offered the unworkable solution of transferring us to another room.

This proposed solution was very sneaky because the owner then used the rest of the conversation to act like she was being reasonable, even though she was fully aware I was unable to accept her offer because I could not risk another asthma attack and also due to a previous non-refundable booking.

No refund was ever granted (329 pounds Altamount has effectively robbed me of) for either the two nights we didn't even stay there, OR for the night spent in an unclean chalet.

As the owner and I wrapped up our difficult chat, the conversation turned very strange. She mentioned that she would "tell Robert about this" as though I had any idea who she was talking about. I said "Who is Robert?" to which she replied "My husband, the other co-owner". She then pulled out my address card, looked at my home address and said, "I see you've come a long way" as if to somehow threaten me by showing she knows where I live.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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12  Thank scotlandtraveler2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2012 via mobile

We have just returned from a 3 night groupon stay at Altamount Chalets. We got the key and found our chalet number 5, when I opened the door my heart sank. The smell of foist hits you first, they are so shabby and they are supposed to be luxury chalets. We had our 2 grandchildren 5 and 15 months old and what a disappointment. The carpet was filthy with burn marks in it. The balcony was unsafe, not child friendly at all we could not let the toddler out as there was no railings, just open steps. The kitchen was so basic, not luxury at all there was no dishwasher no washing machine and no hoover and only 1 shelf in the oven. I had to have round the fridge cleaned before we unpacked as it was filthy. We had to go out & buy some air freshener to make the smell bearable. The bathroom was awful, i had a shower and put my glasses on the shelf and the heater above was so hot it melted my lenses. It cost me £50 to get them fixed. As I was leaving I asked to speak to the owner she was so rude. She even accused me of dropping my own glasses rather than the heater melting them! When I said how dirty it was she said someone came and cleaned it and that 99% of customers think they are great. I wouldn't recommend at all, especially not with small children. We've had to throw the childrens socks out as I couldnt get them clean, they were filthy from walking on the carpet. We were so disappointed as we had travelled from Northumberland & were so looking forward to a short break in 'luxury' chalets with our grandchildren. Not quite what we got! Come on people complain and get them sorted out.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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9  Thank Cazedgar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2012

We stayed in a 2 bedroom log cabin which was clean but very shabby and dated. It would not take a lot of money to do it up.. the kitchen was out if the dark ages!! Our main disappointment with the cabins was the location, right next to an extremely busy and noisy road. Hardly the 10 acres of secluded woodland as described by Groupon. Altamount maybe has about 7 acres, but every inch has been developed into awful new build "lodges" and there is nowhere nice to walk dogs (in fact they have a cheek charging £5 extra per night to bring a dog!). We brought bikes but there was nowhere to cycle, unless you're happy with your young children cycling on a main road.
In summary, I am gutted that I wasted 2 days of my annual leave at this place, I would rather have been at home!!

  • Stayed: August 2012
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7  Thank Peppypot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012 via mobile

We stayed at Altamount log cabins/chalets for 3 nights in July on a groupon deal. 

The Altamount Hotel and chalets are located in Blairgowrie - just a few minutes walk from the centre of town where you will find various shops, bars and restaurants.  

Check in was quick and simple at the hotel reception. We were allocated chalet 18, which we later found out was the old office. Unfortunately it backs on to the road and we found it to be quite noisy, which wasn't ideal as we had our 13 week old baby with us. I went back up to reception to see if it would be possible to move. The two members of staff I spoke to went out of their way to help, which was very much appreciated - especially as the lady at the desk was looking after reception, answering the phones and also covering the bar!  They checked availability and gave us the keys to a vacant cabin to have a look at. We moved to chalet 10 which is set higher up the hill and away from the road - perfect! 

As we were unpacking, another member of staff who lives in one of the chalets on site, popped in to make sure everything was ok and we were happy with our new chalet - very friendly and helpful! 

Chalet 10 is a good size to sleep 4 with one twin bedroom and another with bunks. The living room area is large and bright with patio doors looking out onto the veranda. There is a large comfortable leather sofa and chair, a tv and large dining table & chairs. The kitchen area is slightly dated, but fully functional and clean with everything you need including kettle, toaster, microwave, cooker, fridge, dishes and cutlery. 

The chalets are in a lovely setting with several peacocks roaming around the grounds. They are obviously very used to people and being fed by guests. Apparently there are also red squirrels but we weren't lucky enough to see any. 

We would happily stay here again!

  • Stayed: July 2012
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7  Thank AmandaABZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Altamount Chalets

Address: Altamount Chalets Coupar Angus Road | Rosemount, Blairgowrie PH10 6JN, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Perth and Kinross > Blairgowrie
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Blairgowrie
Hotel Class:3 star — Altamount Chalets 3*
Number of rooms: 3
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Altamount Chalets Blairgowrie, Scotland

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