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“Good location for ferry terminal”

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North West Castle Hotel
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Stranraer
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
448 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 389 helpful votes
“Good location for ferry terminal”
Reviewed February 18, 2007

We had a one night stay at the hotel in February and did enjoy our stay there. It is right opposite the ferry terminal - as we were catching the morning sailing to Belfast it was ideal for us.

The hotel had lots of parking and looked very smart from the outside. Inside we were also impressed - it has a faded grandeur - like an old country house with a lot of character.

We stayed in room 82 on the second floor. The lift was out of order so we had to drag our bags up some very steep stairs which was a bit of a struggle.

The room itself was very pleasant - large, bright and airy. There were 2 single beds and a small campbed for our 3 year old son. The television was quite old - no satellite channels, but the room was clean, comfortable and cozy. The bathroom was bright, white and modern and there were tea and coffee making facilities with delicious biscuits supplied.

The hotel has got a pool - we had a swim and were a bit disappointed. The pool area and changing rooms are a bit dark, very old fashioned and the temperature of the water was rather cool. The changing rooms are also very cramped. There were not enough towels in the pool area - we actually had to share - and when we tried to call reception to tell them, the phone in the pool area did not work. The laundry basket in the ladies changing rooms was also full of damp dirty towels.

We had pre-dinner drinks in the bar area - very nicely decorated like a cabin in a ship, and dinner in the restaurant. The restaurant is very nice - linen tablecloths, silver cutlery and a piano but no pianist while we were there. Food was good - a set menu but 3 or 4 choices for each course. They also had a children's 3 course menu with a number of choices for each course. Service was good and we enjoyed the meal. Tea/coffee and melt in your mouth fudge was served in the lounge area where they also had a plentiful supply of board games for all ages.

The hotel also has its own curling rink. There is a really lovely little bar with a viewing area - during our stay we were able to watch a curling match - very interesting and good fun.

Our one night, dinner bed and breakfast cost £84.50 per person. The cost for our 3 year old was £5.00 - this included the food which was, I thought, very reasonable. It is not a cheap hotel, but the room was very nice, beds were comfy and the food and service was good. The only bad thing is the swimming area. We would however definitely stay here again, and would recommend it to anyone.

  • Liked — Faded grandeur, comfortable rooms, location, curling rink and viewing area
  • Disliked — Swimming pool and changing rooms, lift did not work
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4 Thank Joy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Lanark, Scotland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2007

My wife and I satyed here on the 20th January, and had some mixed feelings about the hotel.

I booked a front facing room, for an extra £10 each for the night, but the sea view was blocked by the police station!

The hotel itself is kind of old fashioned, as expected, but the room was well equiped, and a good size.

The bed was very comfortable (the single bed was as hard as rocks!) and the room was nice and warm!

We used the swimming pool, but found it a bit dissapointing. It was lukewarm, and quite dirty. The linen basket in the gents changing room had mould in the bottom of it!! Not very nice!!

When we booked, we had high expectations for diner, but my vegetatian wife was sorely dissapointed.

The options were limited to one per course, and the food was barely edible. However, for non veggies, there was more choice and the food was of a very high standard.

After dinner, we retired to the bar for liquers. A double Drambuie was very reasonable, ad £4.20.

Breakfast proved to be a fine for me, but the vegetarian options were once again frankly non existant, fruit salad or eggs. I was also dissapointed to find marks on the cutlery.

On the whole, I would say the hotel was ok for me, but not for my wife.

The place could drasticly do with a freshening up, as some parts are very dated, dirty and past their best. The kettle in the room was filthy, and so was the changing rooms in the pool.

If it were'nt for the fantastic friendly staff, I would have given the North West Castle a much lower rating.

Stayed January 2007
4 Thank Alisdair Gray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
125 reviews
102 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 913 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2006

My wife and I stayed here in October 2006 for one night, due to our ferry from Stranraer to Belfast being cancelled. Our rate was £49pp bed and breakfast, and whilst the total price of £98 was a bit steep, we were largely satisfied given the very short notice of our arrival.

The room was large and spacious, and was clean and tidy. There was a comfortable bed, two armchairs, TV and plenty of wardrobe space. The bathroom was brand new and was spotless, with a rain shower over the bath.

The hotel is attractive from the outside. Inside, it is very old fashioned, but that seems to be part of its appeal. As per the rooms, it is all very clean and tidy, and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. This may very well be in part to all of the staff that we saw and spoke to being local.

Breakfast was lovely, with a tasty buffet of cold food, followed by your selection of hot cooked breakfast ordered from the menu. Cooked meals were delivered in less than 10 minutes and were delicious.

On the one evening we stayed we chose to have a few drinks and sandwiches in Stranraer Curling Club, which is part of the hotel. This was a very nice way to spend a few hours, watching both children and adults playing. As an example of price, and small 125ml glass of wine was £2.25, and pint of lager was £2.70, a round of sandwiches was £2.10 and a large basket of chips was £1.50.

Stranraer has very little to offer the tourist, and the only reason we are ever there is to take the ferry to or from Belfast, which is located exactly opposite the hotel entrance. However, we did make the short 10 minute drive out to Portpatrick where we would recommend the food in The Crown, which advertises itself as having been awarded the title of ‘Best Seafood Pub in Scotland 2006’.

  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13 Thank luckystrike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wrexham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed June 17, 2006

My golfing party stayed for 3 nights on a full board basis. all i can say about the food is...............Wonderful!!!
the hotelcould do with updating, apart from this, no complaints. the staff and service were great. plus a wonderful base for the marvellous local golf courses

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2 Thank afruitbat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochdale, England
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed June 4, 2005

I have stayed at the North West Castle hotel three times this year always for business purposes. Whilst browsing TripAdvisor for other hotel recommendations I looked up this hotel out of curiosity and was surprised to find the negative comments offered by several other guests. As my own observations are very different and I can't believe that I've just got lucky on three separate occasions I thought I'd redress the balance. That's not to disparage other peoples' views but to add my own unbiased comments (I'm not paying for this accommodation, my company is).

The hotel is ideally situated and couldn't be more convenient for the ferry over the water. On all of my stays my room has been of good size and quality with comfortable (if somewhat dated) furnishings. Each has been different in layout but all providing a comfortable base from which to relax and work. A colleague who visited the hotel with me in April was also impressed and later this month I have booked several of my company's senior managers into the hotel when they are visiting the area.

I have always been impressed by the friendliness and professionalism of the hotel's staff from reception, porter, bar staff, cleaners and restaurant personnel. I haven't had dinner in the hotel but the breakfasts are of a very high quality and in a room that is impressive. Little things such as proper butter in proper dishes and real jam and marmalade not those pre-packed or in screw tops all go to make this an enjoyable dining experience. It's true the hotel is showing its age somewhat but it has a real sense of character and a unique atmosphere which is so often lacking from 'one size fits all' type hotels.

I won't hesitate to continue using this hotel in the future.

  • Stayed May 2005, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7 Thank Jobber01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2005

Just returned from a very enjoyable stay at this hotel. I booked a standard room for one night at short notice for my husband's 66th birthday and a nostalgic trip to the south west of Scotland. We are 'young' senior citizens, still working full time and like our comforts, good food and value for money. Had I read the previous reviews first I wouldn't have booked it which would have been a shame.
Our room was large and well appointed. Everything we needed was provided and in good working order. We had dinner and breakfast, inclusive, and the food was superb. I am vegetarian and had a five course meal with no mushroom stroganoff or pasta in sight!! All of the staff were efficient, pleasant, respectful and attentive without being intrusive (which I hate). Apparently there were 90 dining last night but the staff were cool and unstressed and the atmosphere very relaxing with a pianist playing in the background.
OK there are a few signs of wear here and there but I mean a few and obviously caused by guests being careless, I may add, not bad housekeeping. It has a grand country house atmosphere, leather chairs, paintings and chandeliers.
Stranraer as a town is not the best Scotland has to offer. We have both travelled abroad and, living all our lives in Scotland, have also travelled extensively around Scotland and know our Scottish towns. However, the hotel is ideal if you are touring that part of Scotland or if you are catching the ferry to or returning from Ireland.
I haven't written a review before but felt I had to defend the hotel and its staff. I can't make a single criticism of our stay.

9 Thank Blueanne17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darvel, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2004

My husband had booked this hotel as a 'special' surprise treat for our anniversary at the end of August. He specifically requested that we have a suite, thinking that would make the break a little more special. Unfortunately, it has the pleasure of being the worst hotel that we have ever stayed in and we certainly won't be back.

I don't have enough room on here to list everything that was wrong but lets just say that the exterior (very impressive) and the interior don't match! The smell of dampness that hits you as soon as you step through the front door should serve as an indication as to the quality, imediately it put me in mind of 'faulty towers' and I expected Basil Faulty at any minute. There were numerous awards on the wall for customer service, ie: Best Hotel 1991 etc, needless to say it has been quite a few years since they have won one of those!

There was one 'older' lady working in the restaraunt who really was fantastic, but she was working with medeocre food, medeocre collegues in a hotel that really was a shambles. One other member of staff (male) was serving food with exremely greasy hair and as it was quite long and he didn't have it tied back, it kept falling in front of his face. He then moved it back with his hands and carried on serving the food, watching him made my stomach turn.

As you have gathered, we wouldn't recommend it, and had I not been disabled and arrived late at night, we certainly would not have stayed on. I did address this with the hotel in their 'comments' form but they haven't even had the curteousy to respond.

12 Thank jennymadmum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about North West Castle Hotel

Property: North West Castle Hotel
Address: Portrodie, Stranraer DG9 8EH, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Dumfries and Galloway > Stranraer
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Stranraer
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — North West Castle Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Traditional town centre hotel ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
North West Castle Hotel Stranraer, Scotland

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