After a poor experience at this hotel about 7 years ago (when it was also a Hilton) my wife and I agreed to try it with her parents after its change to the Doubletree brand. We had hoped that things would have changed but unfortunately not.
The 2 main failings this time were with the "spa" and the restaurant. The latter was the main failing on our last stay as well.
My wife had booked hour-long spa treatments for the Saturday afternoon for both her mother and herself. When they got to the leisure centre reception there had been an error made at the spa reception's side and her mother actually only received a half hour treatment while my mother had her hour's treatment - no apology though. In addition, the treatment rooms are seemingly fairly spartan and not what would typically be found when paying for relaxing spa treatments at a proper spa - just otherwise unused rooms off a corridor on the way to the swimming pool changing rooms. I noticed make-shift amateurish signs stuck on the 2 or 3 doors saying "Treatment room". Fairly poor standard, and the treatment itself seems to have been unimpressive for both mother and daughter.
The main failing is around the restaurant. On our last stay the service was poor and the food was not up to scratch - served cold, late etc. Not much has changed, despite Nick Nairn's name now adorning the menu. We were left standing at the front of the queue for tables for about 10 minutes without staff taking us to a table, and when they did there was apology for the wait.
My wife had ordered a bottle of champagne as a surprise for her parents (wedding anniversary) so that it would be at our table when we arrived. No champagne was at the table when we got there, and 10 minutes later she had to ask for it, blowing the surprise. Given she had ordered a £66 bottle of Veuve Cliquot customer satisfaction wasn't off to a great start. When they did bring the bottle after being asked they actually brought a much cheaper Piper Heidsick - which naturally got sent back as well.
When we ordered wine the waitress told us that our chosen wine wasn't actually available now. That was fine - no issue with that. Instead we ordered the South African Shiraz to have a big heavy red with the beef main course. When the waitress brought the wine and was pouring it we noticed that she was pouring a South African Shiraz Cabernet Sauv - a very different wine - much more medium-bodied than the full-bodied Shiraz would have been. Regardless, it wasn't our wine. And she hadn't told us. When I pointed out that it wasn't what we had ordered she told us that the one we ordered wasn't on the menu anymore. I was surprised to have to point out to her that she had served us a different wine without telling us about this. Given the wine was going to cost £33 it was totally unacceptable to just palm off another wine on us without telling us.
When we got down to the food I decided to risk going for the £27.50 beef fillet medallions. Nick Nairn had put his name to it so it would surely be up to scratch, yes? No. While there wasn't anything "wrong" with it when it came, there certainly wasn't anything to justify a £27.50 price tag- as high if not higher than most non-Michelin starred restaurants would charge. Any restaurant with the confidence to charge nearly £30 for beef medallions had better serve a top quality dish. Not the Hydro though.
And the other dishes served at our table were commented on as being sub-par - both the over cooked lamb, and the dry pork.
At the prices this place is quoting for its main meals (typically £15-£28), starters (£6-£8), and for wines (starting at about £25 for what is essentially "house wine" and going up well past £30) this place should take a long hard look at itself. We heard other tables around us complaining as well so its clearly a theme.
It all comes down to service and the cooking here, its not on at these prices. The wait on the way in was poor, the beef was down to being over-ambitious (if I was defending them), but the error on the wine was deceptive, pure and simple, and left us pretty annoyed.
To add insult to injury, when I spoke to the restaurant manager on the way out to flag up my concerns she seemed singularly uninterested in making any form of real apology about it. She didn't even seem embarassed by the criticism. Presumably she'd already been hearing it lots so isn't surprised anymore.
Despite a good breakfast the next morning going some way to making sure I could leave on a more positive note, we will not be staying at this hotel again.
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- Also Known As:
- Doubletree By Hilton, Dunblane-Hydro Hotel Dunblane
- Hilton International Dunblane
- Dunblane Hydro
- Hydro Dunblane
- Dunblane Hilton International
- Doubletree By Hilton, Dunblane-Hydro Scotland