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“A vision in action”
Review of Glenapp Castle

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Glenapp Castle
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ballantrae
Certificate of Excellence
England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“A vision in action”
Reviewed May 9, 2009

Having decided upon a Scottish castle as a surprise to celebrate my wife’s ‘special’ birthday, I researched many and Glenapp topped the list. So I arrived with high expectations – which were met in every single way. The whole experience was wonderful, for all the reasons listed by other reviewers, and my wife loved it.
The owners obviously had a vision of what they wanted to create when they bought the run down castle - in the fabric of the building and the whole experience. This is lived by every member of staff, even in their absence. It’s plush but not at all stuffy.
We had the joy of being the only people staying on our 1st night (a Monday in March) and the staff got it just right. It also meant we were able to have a tour of all the bedrooms – they vary a lot in size, style, views, etc so choose wisely and I would recommend going for the best you can afford. Also make sure you explore the grounds and the walk beside the stream that runs alongside - beautiful.
The one small fault was the cream tea (scones poor), so if you have afternoon tea go for the homemade biscuits instead.
Relax and enjoy.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
1 Thank St39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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273 reviews from our community

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English first
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1,076 reviews
199 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 527 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2009

OK south Ayrshire may not be on your route , just do it .
Enter the security gates , enjoy the drive ,be greeted at the door .
(Dont miss the hotel web site , excellent in many ways , but read the restoration story , six years slog to first guest night !!)
Our room , Ballantrae ,( and I think the other 16 ) is fabulous in style . Great drapes.
Bathroom fine. OK no separate shower , old CRT TV , bedroom chairs need new springs , and it is below stairs (ground floor ) but lets move on to all the great stuff.
The huge garden is to explore , the sea view to Ailsa Craig rock is fab.
Public rooms are few and will develop with future makeovers but are still full of interest and comfort . The bedrooms are the stars here .
"New " young chef Adam Stokes may well regain a Michelin star , ? in 2010 ? with his splendid six course dinners . These are not large portions . Breakfast was extra fine in quality but few surprises . Pity about the jam and marmalade.
Afternoon tea as described before is not a high point , but the sandwiches were good.
Interesting wine list well served , with suggested wine on the menu often well chosen.
Lets get back to basics , great building and grounds , great people (led by owner Fay Cowan) , great experience .
As a matter of fact I have stayed at several Scottish "castles" this is way the best and not the most expensive by some margin.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank f2s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
1 review
Reviewed March 23, 2009

We are newcomers to writing reports for trip advisor however we have always used the site previously for hotel accommodation, especially when we have visited countries abroad. Before coming to the Glenapp Castle, the reports we read sounded out of this world and so our expectations were high. My wife and I both agree that this truly is heaven on earth, and we strongly recommend everyone to be pampered this much.
The setting is amazing, with a monstrosity of a building set in very well maintained grounds. A lovely long drive through large trees as you arrive.
The managers (I only caught their names as Jody and John) seemed to always be there, waiting on and making sure our expectations are always met. It was if they showed the same care and attention for the food they were serving, the wine they were pouring and the staff they supervised to the service they offered us as guests – 5 star the whole way. I was the most impressed by the fact that left handed guest’s cutlery and glasses were changed for them – attention to detail taken to the extreme!
The food was delightfully light but very rich – the chefs (Adam Stokes being the head chef) must work hard. In my experience it is very difficult to find such balance with succulent, intricate, individual tastes and locally sourced fresh produce.
All the staff were very friendly and extremely helpful. Nothing was too much bother.
The owners (Faith and Graeme) appeared briefly everyday to make sure that everything was running smoothly, but you could see that the two managers had this running like a slick well oiled machine.
On a whole this was an out of this world experience. The hotel, food, service - everything is very well balanced with subtle gestures being turned into heavenly reality! Well done!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank mollycolly23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 22, 2008

What an incredible place! The food, the staff, the setting, ahhhhh.

getting to the castle had a wee problem as our satnav took us to the estates wrong gate - note to self, buy a more upmarket satnav!

Met by great staff, welcoming us in, helping us with baggage and settling the tention between my husband and I - Whew!

Diningroom was amazing - great color scheme with comfy chairs.

Food from somewhere else. Adam the chef deserves 20 Michelean stars. (going to give them to him?)

Diningroom manager/manager, (sorry but title seem oblivious at this establishment) Jodie, was well organised, very knowledgable about the food, its preparation, and matched the courses with individual wines by the glass. Very attentive to our last need - perfectionist!

Not sure if they have cleaners - maybe little elves. Never once saw a cleaner but the place was always immaculate!

Breakfast was, good quality bacon, round fresh eggs, freshly prepared home made jam and the mornings papers!

20/10 for everything except the blunt main course knives - sorry guys you get 19/10. tut tut tut!

  • Liked — Decor
  • Disliked — I could have got lost in it!
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank wineabouttown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge
Level Contributor
20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 5, 2008

The latest of several stays we have had at Glenapp that started with my 40th birthday party 3 years ago.

This hotel is now the standard by which we judge top class accomodation, food and service. What we particularly enjoy is the way Glenapp feels like an escape from our busy everday lives. Their magic trick (which we have yet to work out how they do it) is the incredibly efficeint yet invisible housekeeping service. Bedrooms are miraculously remade, gardens are kept immaculate and yet you never see anyone doing it!

We have now stayed in several (and on my birthday weekend had the opportunity to see the majority) of the 17 rooms. They are all beautifully decorated. Each one has its own individual character and atmosphere. The beds are enormous and very comfortable and we love the big baths.

Dinner is always a highlight of any visit. This time we really enjoyed the canapes, beef and seafood dishes all of which were beautifully presented.

All of the staff are very helpful and friendly and for us this just adds to the impression that we are staying with friends at a Scottish Country House rather than a hotel.

Cant wait to go back again and we wouldnt hesitate recommending Glenapp, from a romantic weekend to a birthday celebration or wedding.

  • Liked — Spacious comfortable and immaculatley clean, fabulous food and friendly service
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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Helpful?
Thank CJFJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anglesey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed November 29, 2008

We had our wedding at Glenapp Castle in November 2008. From the first moment we arrived at the castle on the day before we were made to feel like royalty, from being met at the car to having two other members of staff help us with our car full of bags and boxes up to our room.

We had booked the hotel exclusively for our big day so on the night before had a few other guests there which made no difference whatsoever. We elected to take lunch there on the day before our wedding and had a fantastic few sandwiches in front of a crackling log fire. Whilst we relaxed there the rest of the staff took their time to introduce themselves to us and each of them were exceptionally polite yet friendly and full of character.

Of all of the staff, Jody instantly endeared himself to us and in his own way made us feel even more welcome. During the rest of that afternoon other members of our family arrived and we knew they'd be just as well cared for as we were. Once we were all settled we went downstairs for dinner and were absolutely blown away. The Chef Adam Stokes is nothing short of a magician and served what can only be described as one of the best meals we've ever eaten with some unusual ingredients. Nevertheless, we all cleared our plates at every course and sat in eager anticipation of what was to come next, we were never once disappointed. Again the staff were simply exceptional throughout and as each course was presented, Jody took the time to introduce what was sat on each plate before we utterly demolished it.

It was some three hours after the start of our trip along the light fantastic of truly awesome cuisine that we collapsed in front of the same crackling log fire feeling truly satisified with ourselves whilst nursing a cup of coffee and a few chocolates.

It was difficult to rationalise that this had infact, been only the day before our wedding and as such our expectations we set so very high for the following day.


It was at this point that I, the groom, took my leave and stayed elsewhere for the evening (just to keep tradition alive).

On my arrival back at Glenapp on the morning of our wedding, I was met once again at my car by a gentleman called 'John', at this point John made it clear that he was happy to assist me in any way possible during that morning, a massive stress reliever. In the manner of the previous day, nothing was too much trouble. As the rest of our guests arrived, each received the same treatment as we had done so the day before, each commenting later on how truly fantastic their rooms were. Again, during the course of getting everyone settled and fed before the ceremony there was not so much as a hitch and before we knew it we were married in the beautiful drawing room. The photographer was spoilt for choice when assembling his pictures and the end results are incredible with the wonderful architecture and faultless decor.

Our room was, as you might expect, incredible and if you're going to Glenapp then the Earl of Inchcape is perhaps one of the best hotel rooms in the world and a good night's sleep is almost guaranteed.

Our meals were simply exceptional, the accomodation first class and the welcome out of this world.

You know, it isn't cheap on the face of it, but for what you get it's an utter bargain, we'll most certainly be back. If you're looking for the perfect wedding, or perhaps a seriously romantic weekend away then you'll not go wrong with Glenapp. The welcome provided by Fay and Graham and their exceptional staff is simply out of this world.

  • Liked — Sumptous Luxury at every turn.
  • Disliked — Having to leave.
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank AndyLinney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york, new york
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2008

The Queen has Balmoral, but if she didn't I have no doubt she would find her way to this jawdropping castle hotel. My blood pressure went down immediately as I made my way up the mile-long, winding, tree-lined driveway to the castle, which boasts a secluded location and fabulous sea views. At the entrance I was personally greeted by the owners.
It's a perfect place to chill out, and explore the rocky, underappreciated southwest coast of Scotland. The welcome was warm, the service exceptional and the food in the stunning red dining room is absolutely luscious. Every chair and sofa in the place is plush and comfortable; you can choose to wander around the grounds, line up an activity, or curl up on a sofa near the open fire and read, work on your computer or whatever. There isn't a spa on site but they have a relationship with a seafront day spa a few miles down the road; the hotel staff can make arrangements for any treatment on offer.
The bedrooms are all a good size with nice personal touches.
The owners and staff will knock themselves out to make sure you have an enjoyable stay. This was my fifth trip to Glenapp, and I am already looking forward to my 2009 visit.
Are you listening, Your Majesty?

  • Liked — setting, service and food
  • Disliked — can't think of a thing
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank skibogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Glenapp Castle

Property: Glenapp Castle
Address: Ballantrae KA26 0NZ, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Ayrshire > South Ayrshire > Ballantrae
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ballantrae
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Glenapp Castle 5*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautiful Scots Baronial castle set in 36 acres of stunning gardens and woodland overlooking the Ayrshire coastline and out to Ailsa Craig, the Isle of Arran and Mull of Kintyre. The castle is Scotland's highest rated Country House Hotel with 5 AA Red Stars and 4 AA Rosettes, 5 VisitScotland Gold Stars, EatScotland Gold Award and a Michelin Star. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Glenapp Castle Ballantrae, Scotland
Glenapp Castle Hotel Ballantrae

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