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“Location, location, location”
Review of Royal Golf Hotel

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Royal Golf Hotel
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Dornoch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 2, 2012

Were not for its location, this hotel would not merit a 4/5 rating. The hotel is expensive and needs upgrading. The bed sagged - not really acceptable in a high-end hotel and the bathroom needed sprucing up. Carpeting in the common areas was somewhat worn and should be replaced. Breakfast was good and overall, service was excellent. People were helpful and most accommodating. We loved the views and access to the golf course and phenominal beach. This hotel has great fundamentals and could easily be ranked 5/5 if these elements were addressed.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Anne D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
managerroyalgolf, General Manager at Royal Golf Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded September 10, 2012

Dear Anne D,
Thank you for taking the time to post a review on tripadvisor following your recent stay at The Royal Golf Hotel.
I take on board your constructive comments. I have to admit I am slightly baffled by your observation about the sagging bed as the mattresses were all renewed just over two years ago and should still be in excellent condition. We will of course check all the beds in order to discover if there is a problem with one of them. During last winter we re-furbished 16 of our 22 bathrooms to a lovely stylish and contemporary standard so I can only deduce that you stayed in one of the rooms where the bathroom was an existing one.We felt these bathrooms were still in excellent condition, however we will now review this based on your comments. If you get an opportunity to e-mail me on the hotel address just to let me know which room you stayed in that would be really appreciated. As you may know we close during the winter from mid November until Mid March so will be carrying out maintenance during this period which includes the points you mention.
I am pleased you found the service to be excellent and you thought the team were helpful.
Thank you again for your feedback and I hope you get the chance to visit us again in the not too distant future.
Kind Regards,
Robert Ratcliffe
General Manager.

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181 - 187 of 234 reviews

Reviewed August 23, 2012

This is a great hotel for a golfing stay, with friendly and helpful staff. The rooms are spacious and well appointed, although our upper level room didn't have many windows and no view at all. The restaurant was fantastic, in terms of both the high quality of the food, good service, great ambience and wonderful outlook over the golf course.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank popjm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
managerroyalgolf, General Manager at Royal Golf Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded September 10, 2012

Deat popjm,
Thank you for posting your review on tripadvisor following your recent stay at The Royal Golf Hotel. Naturally I am delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us, especially the food and ambiance, and I hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you back to Dornoch in the future.
Kind Regards,
Robert Ratcliffe
General Manager

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Reviewed August 23, 2012

My wife and I recently decided at the last minute to alter our travel plans to include Dornoch as a place to visit. So glad we did as this turned out to be the hidden gem! The staff at this hotel were great...the hotel was just as good as the staff. We awoke our first morning to the sound of a tee shot from the first tee as our room overlooked the first tee! Pure delight! The town was gorgeous....only regret was we did not have more time there! No question we will return and will look forward to staying here again...loved it!...hotel and golf highlight! I have been fortunate to golf in a fair number of places around the world and this hotel/golf combination is right at the top!

Room Tip: Ask for the Donald Ross suite!....overlooks the 1st tee! Wow!!! The gorse was in full bloom in mid m...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank rodjcalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
managerroyalgolf, General Manager at Royal Golf Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded August 24, 2012

Dear rodjcalgary,
Thank you so much for posting your review on tripadvisor following your recent stay at The Royal Golf Hotel.
Naturally I am delighted you enjoyed your stay with us. It is a magnificent review to say this golf course/hotel combination is one of the best !
I am so pleased that you changed your travel plans at the last minute. I do hope you will visit us again before long and remember to allow more time to spend here!!
Kind Regards,
Robert Ratcliffe
General Manager

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Reviewed July 22, 2012

I am not a golfer and I was staying here becuase I had business commitments in Dornoch. I think however that if I were a golfer I would have thought all my dreams had come true. The Hotel is next to the Royal Dornoch Golf Course and from the restaurant you look out over two holes and I think the first tee (remeber I am not a golfer!). From the first welcome until you leave the service is attentive and friendly. The room I had was comfortable and well appointed with a lovely view out over the Dornch firth. I had a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed. My meal in the restaurant was simply divine - if they have the cullen skink risotto on the menu choose it, you will not be disappointed. I was on business this time, but I will certainly use this for leisure next time my wife and I are in the area.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled on business
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5  Thank Stephen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
managerroyalgolf, General Manager at Royal Golf Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded July 24, 2012

Dear Stephen,
Thank you very much for your glowing remarks posted on tripadvisor following your recent stay at The Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch.
It is interesting that you mentioned in particular the Cullen Skink Risotto, which happens to be chefs signature starter dish and it is amazing the number of people who comment about it. I can assure you Stephen, and all future guests, that this starter will remain on the menu as long as I am the Manager here and Sam is in charge of the Kitchen ! It truly is a remarkably tasty dish and loved by all who sample it.
Moving on, naturally I am delighted you enjoyed your stay. You are absolutely right when you say you are looking at the first tee from the Conservatory restaurant. Infact we believe it is the shortest distance from a hotel to a first tee anywhere in the world !
I hope you will visit again as a leisure (or business) guest in the near future.
Kind Regards,
Robert Ratcliffe
General Manager

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Reviewed July 8, 2012

Dornoch is now my favorite golf course to play in the world. This hotel has the best possible location, by the first tee! The room was spacious and nicely furnished.although unfotunately we did not overlook the course. The public rooms are very open, pleasant, and seeped in golf tradition and history. Some of the staff, particularly in the restaurant were poorly trained though pleasant and enthisiastic (had no instruction as to how to pour wine etc). However overall the location and ambience are winners.

Room Tip: Try to overlook the golf course
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Edward e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 12, 2012

Dear Edward e,
Thank you very much for posting your review and comments on tripadvisor recently following your stay at The Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch.
I am delighted that you enjoyed the hotels superb location overlooking the first tee of the world renowned Royal Dornoch Golf Club in addition to your bedroom facilities and its furnishings.
I regret that not all our bedrooms overlook the golf course - it would be fantastic however if they all did ! I am interested in your observation regarding the staff performance. All I can say is that in over two years since we re-opened the doors of the hotel following a period of closure, we haven't had a comment in this vain, and I can only attribute this to the fact that we have recently recruited a couple of new members of staff one of whom sadly did not make the grade and left our employ recently. In addition, the previous tripadvisor review echos your comments regarding this point, which substantiates your own observations. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to thank you for mentioning this important point. It just goes to show that there is always room for improvement which we humbly acknowledge.
In conclusion it is good to know that overall your enjoyed the hotels ambience and location.
I hope to welcome you back at some time in the near future.
Kind Regards,
Robert Ratcliffe
General Manager

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Reviewed July 2, 2012

The young staff at this hotel try very hard to provide a good service. They are being let down by an obvious lack of training that means they appear under pressure and things get forgotten. Nothing major, just inefficient. Three trips to bring meal, cutlery and then napkin. No systems in place.

It is not cheap and could raise its game just a bit.

Rooms good and clean. Breakfast excellent: full Scottish is all that it should be.

Restaurant is just adequate. Needs to up its game also when charging £14 for fish and chips! Not bad, just patchy. Frozen chips really can be avoided.

And finally, I really believe the manager needs to find a job he enjoys. He really does come over as very unhappy.

Room Tip: Go for above reception and front door. Avoids the very noisy seagulls a bit.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank bluediamondtravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
managerroyalgolf, General Manager at Royal Golf Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded July 24, 2012

Dear bluediamondtravel,
Thank you for taking the time to write your review on tripadvisor recently following your stay here.
Naturally I am delighted you thought the bedrooms were good and clean and that our Full Scottish Breakfast was to your liking.
Your remarks regarding some of the teams performance obviously concerns me and as I mentioned in a previous review I can only attribute this to the fact we recently employed a few new team members one of whom did not 'cut the mustard' and unfortunately we parted company. Training is very important and we certainly acknowledge this fact and that is why it is disappointing to read your comments in light of the fact that in over two years since we re-opened in April 2010 I have not received any similar observations. Obvioiusly on this occasion it would seem we fell short of our normally high standard for which I apologise but also thank you for mentioning this in your posting.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to respond to your personal comment regarding me seeming to be unhappy in my job. Firstly I would argue this is not a job to me it is a way of life. If indeed it was myself you observed I can only say that if I was deeply unhappy, trust me, I would have given up this vocation many years ago. If you read back through all my responses to the 44 tripadvisor reviews we have received since April 2010 I think you will agree that my replies have been positive, caring and with an optimistic approach. These are definately not the replies of someone who dislikes his work. However I will naturally take your comments on board and endevour to continue to provide, through my team, a first class service and experience to our guests.
Once again many thanks and I look forward to seeing you at the hotel in the future.
Kind Regards,
Robert Ratcliffe
General Manager

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Reviewed June 25, 2012

Just returned from a 2 night stay on a golf trip.
Haven't stayed there since before it was renovated, honestly I think it was better before. Dornoch is my favorite golf course in the world & I have always looked forward to my stays there. Since we had booked our stay in 9/11 we would have thought our room would have been better. Room # 212, although overlooking the golf course, was small, cramped & had the WORST shower ever. A hand held nozzle mounted on a pole, no overhead fixture & impossible to adjust the temperature.

The biggest disappointment however was the complete lack of customer service by the manager Robert, although the staff in general was very pleasant. Their deadline for dinner seating is 9pm. We decided to play 36 holes one day to take advantage of great weather & since we finished late I asked the manager if he could accomodate us with a 9:30 seating for our foursome, which he reluctantly agreed to. We rushed our showers & arrived at the dining room at 9:20 only to be told by the same manager that the kitchen was closed & they could only offer us fish & chips. After telling the manager this level of service was unacceptable, his only response was "sorry". The restaurant was only partly full & our party would have easily spent L200-300. We headed into Dornoch for dinner only to find that all restaurants close at 9pm (mind you it stays light until 11:30pm).
After walking around Dornoch for an hour we wound up with our only option, takeout Chinese food. I will continue to return to Dornoch for golf, but I will never stay at the Royal Golf Hotel again.

Room Tip: Make sure you request a room with a full modern shower & check room sizes.
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank rbesho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 29, 2012

Dear Mr Besho,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review and comments on tripadvisor following your stay here on 19th & 20th June in room 212.
Firstly I should like to say that I regret you felt it necessary to post your comments on tripadvisor and that you were unable to speak to me personally either at the time or subsequently upon returning to the hotel later that evening. However I read your comments with interest and although I don't necessarily agree with them I respect your opinion which does tend to differ from other members of your party and the vast majority of our guests. Room 212 is a lovely bright and airy Classic Double room with great views overlooking the golf course and Dornoch Firth beyond and having ample space.
Admittedly it does not have a newly re-furbished bathroom as did your friends room which has a large walk-in shower (no bath). Your bathroom, as you are aware, has a shower over the bath which to be honest works perfectly fine, having good water pressure and with very good temperature control, and having just personally checked this shower, I am pleased to report that the shower works perfectly. However had you encountered difficulties in operating this shower (and made us aware) we could have sorted any potential problem during your stay.
Regarding your comments about dinner, the first point I would make is that we do not have a deadline for seating diners. On many occasions we are serving until 10pm and beyond. However on quieter evenings we serve dinners up until such time as either there are no more hotel guests (or indeed non resident guests) to dine or alternatively we get to a point during the evening whereby the concensus is that it highly unlikely there are any further guests to arrive. In this instance it was at that time (approxiamately 9.15pm) when we took the decision to close the kitchen. Admittedly you were offered a limited food selection which appeared to be perfectly acceptable to your friends whom I was liasing with. However you decided to quickly leave the hotel without giving me an opportunity to resolve the issue.
I do sincerely regret and again apologise that this unfortunate incident arose. As you can see from previous reviews a huge majority of our guests are delighted with their stay. I firmly believe that to say the hotel was 'better before the re-furburbishment' is simply not a true reflection of the Royal Golf Hotel as it is today. Prior to re-opening the hotel in April 2010, after a 3 year closure, we spent £250k on the hotel to bring it back up to a high operating standard. During last winter we took the opportunity to re-furbish 16 bathrooms to a very high contemporary standard meaning that all 22 bath/shower rooms are now of a 4 star standard.
Once again Mr Besho, I hope you will re-consider staying with us again in the future. I can be contacted any time at the hotel or on my mobile number: 07784677792 and would welcome an opportunity to demonstrate to you that we do put our guests first and this unfortunate misunderstanding is not our normal operating standard.
Kind Regards
Robert Ratcliffe
General Manager

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Additional Information about Royal Golf Hotel

Address: The First Tee Grange Road, Dornoch IV25 3LG, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Caithness and Sutherland > Dornoch
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Dornoch
Price Range: $128 - $181 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Golf Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Royal Golf Hotel, is perfectly situated overlooking the first tee of Royal Dornoch Championship Golf Course, the 6th best golf course in the world as judged by Golf Digest. All 22 bedrooms are en-suite and furnished to a high standard, most having superb views across the golf course and the Dornoch Firth beyond. Free WiFi internet access. The Conservatory Restaurant serves locally sourced,fresh seasonal food in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Golf Hotel Dornoch, Scotland

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