"Castle" implies up certain images and initially this hotel was a huge disappointment. We were in Room 23, a dog-tolerant room, and boy did it make me feel like a second rate citizen. Room was horrible: last furnished in the 80s with furniture from the pine discount warehouse; the shower curtain was grubby as was the grouting, in the windowless little bathroom; the view of the garden was actually a patch of scrub round from the carpark; our backdoor entrance choked us with smoke from the boiler room (now eco-biomass-fired) every time we stepped out; the walls were scuffed. A huge, bitter disappointment and I was quite angry at first. Perhaps the other rooms in the castle are better? But the decor in the upstairs sitting room (mustard brown velvet sofas from your Nan's post war bungalow), dining room (old red tableclothes from Berni Inn 20 years ago) and bar (mismatched chairs from DFS) suggest otherwise.
The lovely staff and amazing food turned it all around. We had a drink in the bar and the barman really knew his stuff talking about the gins (loved The Botanist, great suggestion) and beers. And the food was simply brilliant. Loved the canapes (nice, upmarket touch). I had a beautiful linguine clam starter, perfectly presented in a snug bowl/plate, with a light sauce and amazingly al dente pasta; followed by an incredible piece of tender beef on top an intensely flavoursome gravy with veg; and good solid sticky toffee pudding. Good quality ingredients, cooked perfectly. Well done chef, you saved this hotel's bacon for me. Reasonable wine list. Followed up with a decent breakfast just to show the cooking wasn't a one-off. Again, all staff very welcoming, relaxed but still professional.
For the hotel, it's a 1-star, for the food it's a 5-star!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Castle is located in the historic town of Dornoch across from the stunning 13th century Cathedral, boasting stunning views of the town. The central position of the hotel makes it ideal for exploring Dornoch, home to the world famous Royal Dornoch Golf Course, which overlooks the breath taking golden sand beach. Dornoch is also well situated for those looking to explore more of what the Highlands have to offer. The historic Castle is built on the site of the original Bishop’s Palace of St Gilbert, who founded the Cathedral in the early 13th century. The building eventually sold on and in 1947 became a hotel after some extensive work, which maintain much of the character of the Castle as a stately, historic and comfortable home. The Castle boasts a total of 22 en-suite bedrooms situated both within the original castle and the modern garden extension. There is a variety of room types available including; standard, superior, deluxe and our award winning Old Courtroom. Due to the castle’s layout each bedroom has its own special ambiance, great care has been taking in creating a distinctive character in each bedroom. The Castle's restaurant has retained an AA rosette standard, through the exceptional work from the chefs. The malt whisky selection is second to none and can be enjoyed in the cosy stone-lined whisky bar with the roaring fire to protect you from the Scottish winds, in the summer the walled garden is the perfect setting to relax during the long summer nights. Coming Summer 2016: The Dornoch Distillery will be opening soon on the grounds of the Dornoch Castle Hotel producing 'Old Style' Whisky and Hand Crafted Organic Gin from scratch. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dornoch Castle Hotel Scotland