I have visited the Clachaig on 5 previous occasions, 3 of which were stays including staying over. This is a place I have recommended to many, and in fact have introduced to visitors from USA, Sweden, Kazakhstan, and now Colombia, so its clear I am a fan of the place.
However, my recent stay 11th - 14th January 2012, was very much disappointing, as I will elaborate on shortly.
The positives first - The Glen and Location are amazing but that's nature for you.
Now, onto the negatives, which can be verified by other travellers :
1. The first night, the heating was only on for 1 hour - Given that 2 of the guests were from Colombia, and the temperatures were rather low, no heating is unacceptable for any hotel far less a hotel that prides itself on 'real hospitality'. What was worse, was when I enquired about the lack of heating in the morning, and I was told 'the boiler had broken down'. When I intimated that, I did not believe this to be the case since I work for A Utility Company and I explained the boiler had been on 1 hr at night and 1hr in the morning, and I suggested it was cost cutting, the lady went quiet. She then suggested, they offer us a portable heater for the room for the following night. When I asked why this had not been offered, or even blankets the 1st night, again I was met with blank looks. The truth is, I do like the Clachaig, but a lack of heating in winter is unacceptable in any hotel, far less in Glencoe in the dead of winter. The 2nd night the heater did turn up, but when the main hotel is boiling hot, yet our room in a wing of the hotel was frozen, it really did sound more like cost cutting on heating than any problem with a boiler system. Any plumber will tell you, if a boiler has broken, it cannot heat some rooms, and not the others, it either works or it does not work. So, I do feel we were more than short changed here.
2. Bar openings - On Facebook, it stated the Boots Bar would be open on Thursday 12th. So, after our day out, and return to the Claichaig, when we enquired about the Boots bar, we were told it was not opening because they didn't have enough staff, then when we enquired why it was posted on Facebook, the reason changed to it was'too dusty'. However, before we departed the Main Bar, we witnessed several staff members, leading a group of 6 friends, through to drink in the Boots Bar. The one with not enough staff, and being too dusty, but obviously not so much to deter the 'locals drinknig in it, or being allowed to do so.
3. Hotel wise, one of my friends daughter had a stomach bug picked up at the hotel, for which she vomited twice, once during breakfast and once at night on the bedding, whilst the staff were helpful regarding this, and I would say the girl was very helpful there were negatives.
Picking up a stomach bug / food poisoning after eating a kid's chicken portion spoiled the trip a bit, but you have to ask how well or not cooked the chicken was. That can happen in many places, but on top of all what happened it was really 2nd rate at least.
This occured at 11.30pm, but we were told the hotel did not have another Quilt available, so the Original one would have to stay, but really who would want to sleep on a vomit covered quilt.
Finally, Bar Prices - If you are going to charge a price for a drink, at least keep it the same. We ordered the same drinks, and on 3 occasions got 3 different prices.
My footnote would be, that if I had not enjoyed many previous visits to the Clachaig I would not be returning, I only hope the Management, actually address these issues, as certain members of staff clearly do not view the hotel's reputation as important.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in the heart of Glencoe, Clachaig Inn is a popular hostelry with a rich mountaineering heritage. Accommodation is provided by 23 en suite bedrooms, most of which enjoy the spectacular mountain views. Clachaig has 3 lively bars award winning bars and specializes in cask conditioned ales and malt whiskey. Food is served throughout the day and the menus use a variety of locally sourced ingredients. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Clachaig Hotel Clachaig
- Clachaig Inn Ballachulish, Glencoe