My husband and I recently spent a highly anticipated weekend at Dunblane Hydro - a birthday treat for me! Unfortunately we were extremely disappointed with our experience.
On first sight the hotel is beautiful and the reception and public areas are very nice. We arrived at 3.30 pm but our room wasn't ready until after the advertised 4.00 pm check-in. I have never experienced such a late check in at any hotel anywhere in the world! However, because of the lateness you would expect everything to be spot-on. Not so! We were given a room in the Stirling Wing which is a pretty ugly addition to the original building. We didn't realise we wouldn't be in the main building but that was perhaps our fault for not realising there was this addition. After a hike through the main building to the pretty much deserted rear of the property we came to the stairs for the first floor where our room was. These stairs were filthy! The carpet looked not to have been vacuumed in weeks. When we reached the first floor with our cases we realised our room was at the end of the corridor. Well that was an experience - dodging the carts full of dirty laundry, the cleaning carts and room service items which had been left outside doors and not cleared away. Bear in mind this was now nearer 5.00 pm and rooms were still being turned! The room was fine - a bog standard Hilton double but was clean with a comfortable double bed, ample hanging space, an iron/ironing board, hairdryer and acceptable bathroom. There was an exorbitantly overpriced minibar which we avoided!
Our deal included dinner at Nick Nairn's Kailyard restaurant and we found the food there to be excellent. Portions weren't huge and you do pay extra for side dishes. If your booking is dinner bed and breakfast you are allowed £32.50 per person for dinner. We didn't meet anyone that weekend who stayed within this budget but that is up to the individual! Breakfast is also served in the restaurant and was excellent with plenty of choice including fruits, cereal, porridge and full cooked breakfast.
The cocktail bar was very nice with fabulous cocktails! Not cheap of course but the Lemon Bon Bon was worth it and the staff were really friendly and pleasant. The Stewart Lounge looked fine but had a really strange smell - dampness I think so we didn't spend any time in there. It wasn't cold that weekend but a fire in the impressive fireplaces would have been nice.
On our second day we used the facilities at the Leisure Club. It has a small pool, steam room and sauna and was adequate for our needs. The changing rooms could do with an overhaul though - it was hard to find a locker with a key in it for one thing. We returned to our room at 3.30 pm to find it had not been cleaned. A few minutes later the cleaner knocked on the door - we told him we would be out in 15 minutes as we were walking into the town. He said no - 10 minutes please! Well it is another new experience to be ordered out of your room by the cleaner! When we eventually came back the bed had been made but there was still an empty toilet roll on the floor of the bathroom and hadn't been replaced. However, more concerning was the fact that our door hadn't been closed properly! It was quite scary coming back and finding your door on the latch and wondering if there was anyone inside.
As well as our room being left open there were other security concerns. You can park at the rear of the hotel and come through the doors there, right next to the Stirling Wing. There is a large impressive hallway - which is quite far from the main public area and completely empty! People can walk into the hotel at any hour of the day or night and gain access to the Stirling Wing - or any other part of the hotel for that matter - without being challenged. There should be security at this door, particularly in the evening.
Check out is at 12 noon and when doing so I asked for a comments card. I was told they were in the room (they weren't). Reception didn't have any and handed me a compliment slip to note my comments! This wasn't nearly big enough so I had to use hotel notepaper instead. To date I have had no reply to my concerns.
To sum up the Hydro is a very nice hotel but in my opinion should be struggling to maintain their 4 star status with the present level of service. A nice restaurant, pleasant public areas and pretty views do not make up for the grubbiness and lack of security.
Oh and the stair carpet still hadn't been vacuumed when we left and looked even more disgusting!
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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