Stayed at the Invercauld Arms for a 4-night short break. The hotel itself is an impressive building and a former coaching inn. It is owned by the WA Shearings group and as such is used as a base for their coach tours. The company sells 'self-drive' breaks on their website to people who want make their own way there and are happy to do their own thing. If you come by car, the hotel has lots of parking - there is an area at the front of the hotel and a large parking area at the rear and side. There is also a free public parking area across the road directly opposite the hotel.
As you enter through the main doors there is a lounge area with the reception desk beyond. As the hotel caters for a large number of more mature people, the front entrance had a ramp for easy access for people with limited mobility and there are a number of ground floor rooms. I have to say that if you do have any mobility problems make sure you let them know. I was allocated a room on the top floor which was up several flights of stairs. Not a problem for me, but might have been for some people if they struggle with stairs as there was no lift to that floor. Check in was very warm and friendly.
The room I was allocated was on the top floor. The room was clean and well presented and had a comfortable double bed with bedside tables and wall mounted lamps either side. Other facilities in the room included a television, hairdyer, large desk and chair, clock radio/alarm, phone and kettle with a good stock of tea, coffee and biscuits and plenty of storage space. The only thing I would comment on was the lack of spare electrical sockets. There was only one spare socket which was located in the corner of the room by the door. The bathroom was completely tiled and had a good stock of shower gel/shampoo sachets and soaps. There was a bath with a shower over the bath which always had piping hot water.
Had a restful nights sleep each night, there is very little traffic in the village at night and so there is little to disturb you. Most of the guests seem to be more mature people on coach trips you don't get disturbed in the early hours by the raucous types that you can sometimes get in hotels.
The short break deal was on a half board basis with meals being served in the hotel's elegant dining room. You are allocated a table which you dine at each night. The nice thing is that you do get to know the people sat around you and it makes it a much more enjoyable experience. The maître d' was very welcoming and ushered you to your table on the first night and ensured everything was to your satisfaction. The waiting staff were also top rate, very pleasant and polite. They really seemed to keep their eye on the ball despite the larger number of guests. Meals were served promptly with very little waiting between courses. Evening meals consisted of three courses. A choice of starters were available followed by a choice of around 4 main dishes. For dessert there was a larger choice and included some traditional favourites such as apple crumble and custard to the more exotic! As others have mentioned, portion sizes were not huge as they are catering to a predominantly senior market. Having said that, I did not go out of the restaurant still feeling hungry as I have done many occasions in other restaurants and the portion sizes at the Invercauld were certainly more than adequate.
Breakfast was also served in the dining room and consisted of a buffet table with cereals, fruit juices and fresh fruits. For the main breakfast course there was a full fried breakfast and a range of other options. Waiting staff would also bring a rack of toast and either a pot of tea or coffee. As with the dinner, the waiting staff were extremely attentive and there was no waiting for service.
All in all, I have to say the restaurant service was absolutely excellent and all the staff were a real credit to the hotel.
The hotel has a small bar - ' the Slainte bar' - with a small range of beer and wines, plus a few different brands of whisky. There is entertainment provided most nights which seemed to consist of a singer in a room adjacent to the bar. This seems to be aimed at the coach trips as it was pitched at the more mature age group! They all seemed to really enjoy it anyway. Not really my thing though.
The hotel is located within a very short walk of the village centre and there are many easy (or strenous!) marked walks on the hills around the hotel or around the banks of the the river Dee.
If someone were to ask me if I would recommend the Invercauld Arms it would be a definite yes. It is incredible value for money and had to be one of the most friendliest places I have ever stayed at. The staff are all absolutely top notch from the cleaning staff who would always greet you with a 'good morning, to the restaurant staff and the cheery receptionists. If you are looking for a relaxing break in beatiful surroundings in a hotel with lots of history then the Invercauld Arms is definately for you. I certainly hope to be back there again in the future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The impressive baronial style of The Invercauld Arms is set against the stunning backdrop of the Grampian Mountains. The Castle view Restaurant with its impressive windows and wood paneling adds to the character of the hotel and makes for an informal dining experience with us. The Rebel Lounge comes alive most evenings with our talented entertainers offering a relaxed style of entertainment for you to enjoy. In the winter months there is a traditional coal and log fire burning in the front lounge providing a warm welcome for weary travelers. The intimate atmosphere of our Slante Bar provides a very cosy and relaxed setting for unwinding at the end of the day. The Invercauld Arms is ideal for those looking to partake in outdoor activities, explore the Highlands or just relax and enjoy the unrivaled world famous Scottish hospitality. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Invercauld Arms Hotel Braemar, Scotland