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“Dated but decent budget accommodation”
Review of Highlander Hotel

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Highlander Hotel
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Newtonmore
Biggar, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
770 reviews
159 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 816 helpful votes
“Dated but decent budget accommodation”
Reviewed February 27, 2011

The main hotel building houses the reception, dining room, residents lounge and a lounge bar. The accommodation blocks are separate from this and therefore it’s necessary to brave the open air for a short walk to go for meals and drinks.

There is a large car park on site.

The “musty” smell which greeted us at the reception was not an encouraging start however our group were checked in efficiently enough. As has been mentioned by other reviewers there is a general dated feel to the internal fixtures and fittings. For example the large, bright, residents lounge had a motley collection of settees and chairs which resembled a furniture showroom from the 1970’s - with no two suites the same.

Our bedroom was spacious and had twin beds pushed together to form a double. The bed was soft, had nice clean bedding and we managed to sleep ok - possibly assisted by a few drinks. There was an open storage area with plenty of hanging space and a chest of drawers and dressing table which were functional. The room had a small television (not a great picture), a hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities with biscuits. The room and the hotel in general was well heated.

The ensuite had a boxed in shower which was small enough to make arm movements difficult and attract the shower curtain to attach itself to you - not a good experience. Water pressure was poor and hot water was available - at times. The hot water from the washbasin in contrast was always near boiling point.

Although we were in a group of 26 or so the dining room was set for tables of 4 to 6 people so we were a bit more spread out than preferred. Breakfast consisted of the usual cereals (the porridge would have been warmer if it had been kept in a heated container) and a choice of a full cooked meal (egg, bacon, sausage, potato scone, haggis) or waffles with assorted toppings. We had the cooked meal both mornings and found it was good. The evening meal had three options per course on the menu and again was good - the fish I had was a Vietnamese species I’d never heard of before but it was nicely cooked and probably farmed closer to home! As mentioned by others there was a choice of dessert from the “sweet trolley” followed by tea & coffee.

The staff in the hotel were all pleasant in our experience - albeit they seemed bit pressurised at times.

The bar was basic and not particularly cheap. We ventured out on one of the evenings and found several others in the village which were more pleasant. The hotel is at one end of town and the high street is about a mile long so be prepared to walk.

All in all the hotel is functional, clean, the staff pleasant, the food good for the price - i.e. decent value - I'd recommend as a budget option but not somewhere to go for your honeymoon.

It’s not that far to get to the Cairngorms for skiing and there are walks in the area around the village - we followed a wild cat trail and branched off up to Loch Gynack and over to Kingussie, returning along the cycle path to Newtonmore. Overall it was a pleasant walk of approximately 7 or 8 miles and worth doing. Boots are required as there are some boggy areas and at one point we had to ford a stream.

  • Stayed February 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rantin rover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Southend on Sea
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2011

Stayed here as part of a Ski package with Ski Norwest. The hotel is very dated, but very clean. The staff are friendly and work hard to cater for everyone. The food is meat and two veg and you even get a sweet trolley. I found the bed very uncomfortable, but I am used to a good mattress at home. It is well placed to visit the delights of the area. Regarding Ski Norwest, who we booked our Ski lessons and equipment with. We found them very dis-organised on the day to collect our ski hire and when we went to the ski resort, they did not give us clear instructions on how the lessons were meant to pan out, but to be fair the weather conditions were not good and their was a lot of confusion everywhere. After the first day, we had fabulous tuition and understood where we had to be. In all a great place to ski, but the weather can be very changeable.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ladyeireEssex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertfordshire
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2011

This was my first trip on a Ski Holiday in Scotland and after a little research opted to go via Ski Norwest. The latter could be the subject of a whole review on its own, suffice to say Norwest's organisation is somewhat...shall we say, patchy.

Anyway, this hotel is significantly underrated, to the extent its service and homely qualities are almost a secret. it is in Newtonmore, a few minutes from Kingussie and 20 mins from Aviemore with more developed shopping parades, etc. having said that, Newtonmore in my view is more quaint and has a petrol station (expensive but no more so than Aviemore) and an all important cashpoint machine.

When you arrive at the hotel it is, some might feel, like stepping back into 1977. The striking cushioned panelling around the reception desk is the first thing to catch your eye. Then you'll see the busy carpet and then the trinkets and other sales materials in the glass cabinets. There are telephone kiosk rooms, still with the British Telecom stickers on the windows, which is quite fascinating and generated a number of questions from my 12 year old. You will receive an old fashioned key straight out of your mum's pre-glazing back door, which is on a giant clear key ring with your room number. You'll make your way to your room easily, in our case up a few steps (book ground only if you don't want to climb stairs with all your gear - disadvantage is, someone told me, you can hear a lot of noise from above). You go in through the teak door and are presented with a nice room where Basil and Cybil would not have looked out of place. The decoration has been I think updated recently but the wall lights and built in wall radio (featuring AM and FM) were a little...nostalgic. The on-suite boasts a touching avocado with beige-patterned tiles with a nice panelled wood floor. The MIRA shower is adequate along with its ring pull curtain, though do not expect sizzling power - I think the water is gravity fed. Despite the age, the room was extremely clean, and the bedding, carpets, surfaces and bathroom were all curiously immaculate. It is almost as if 1977 was today. I must also mention that the cleaners did a great job of tidying and cleaning every day, and we're not the tidiest of people.

All this might sound a little strange in places, but in fact in a kind of charming way everything chimes remarkably well together with one of the most important aspect of all - the service. The staff are quite excellent and particularly impressive is the service in the restaurant. A legion of staff (70% Scots, 30% eastern European I was told by one of the scots) are continuously skirting all corners of the ample sized area, a feat more impressive given the sheer numbers staying at the hotel - the manager told me there were 175 staying, almost full capacity. I did not see one single staff member idle during my five night stay - in fact one eastern european lad was serving dinner one night, breakfast the next morning, and was on the slopes later allocating my lift pass. Everyone has a table allocated for all meals and there is a truly homely atmosphere. . The food was made on site and was I must say of a very high standard. Even the old sweet trolley seemed entirely appropriate. The staff are friendly and generally smiling. The bar has a fair selection and is not especially overpriced, certainly not as much as you would expect in a small village; the atmosphere compensates in any event.

The car park is only just big enough when fully booked, hence it is best to return slightly earlier if possible from the slopes. I found a ritual to complete to get the best out of the system at peak times, i.e. parking spaces and most skiing:


(i) leave for skiing early - straight after breakfast which starts at ten minutes to seven.

(ii) get away by 7.10am

(iii) You'll get to the slopes, which are 22 road miles away, (nice drive and not as bad as it sounds), by 7.50am, hence getting a good parking place in the main upper car park. This minimises the steep walk up the hill to the base station from the far end of the upper car park and better still averts the dreaded shuttle bus from the lower overflow carpark half a mile down the mountain - sounds good in theory but massive queues of people and boarding/alighting a coach with equipment and in ski boots is surprisingly tiring.

(vi) you can ski before ski school starts at 10am if you're confident on green runs on the lower slopes, or if not wait in your car or get a hot chocolate in the restaurent. It is much better than arriving on time but having to get the shuttle bus.

(vii) after skiing leave immediately (you've had plenty of skiing so this is justified) and return to the Highlander

(viii) you'll find plently of spaces.

So back to the hotel, in summary a great place to choose. A distinct family run atmosphere with a warm welcome, which seemed to rub off on everyone. Does it need upgrading to make it a 3/4 star with a gym, pool and sauna, and all the other superficial enhancements that make so many hotels the beneficaries of that status? Please no, leave it, its value for money, its charm and its quaintness just as it is.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Snipercheeta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2011

This is not a five star hotel, but what it is,is excellent value for money,terrific home cooked food & very friendly staff. I have stayed in some 4 star hotels that do not come close to the highlander.Do not hesitate to book this place it is great,we shall definately return.A s for skinorwest they were just a perfect extension to the hotel.My brother had to stay at a hotel 200 yds away because the highlander was fully booked.First night he at at his hotel,it was fine but he said he wanted to eat with us.We asked if he could pay to have his evening meal at our hotel & this was no problem.When skinorwest found out that he had eaten three meals at the highlander, they said no problem we shall just charge you for b&b at your hotel & your meals will be included at the highlander-so no bill to pay.Thanks very much to Barbera,Graham & Jackie for all your help.

Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank wrenden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lytham St. Annes
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2011

Well there were four of us staying there, two twin rooms. . .
Both rooms were clean and made up on arrival.
We had booked for half board and the food did not disappoint!
Cereal and or cooked breakfast then 3 course meal each night.
The staff were all very friendly, and good at what they do.
The rooms were easy to keep warm, with quite a powerfull heater.

Only two possible comments. . .

1) Could maybe do with some sort of clothes stand to let skiing clothes dry off?

2) We were happy staying here and amusing ourselves, but if your looking for nightlife around this hotel, there isn't any!

Apart from that an very satisfied group!!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank yazmidani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2011

Firstly I would like to start with booking through ski norwest. Both myself and one of the others had both rang up to get prices pp for 3nights stay and 2 days ski. We both came back with differing prices. One at £217 and £187, quite a difference. When I spoke to sed person again she said that whoever told us the lower price was dead wrong. Upon later speculation it was found that it was infact herself that had given us the chaper price and so was honoured. Alas this wouldnt be the end of the booking problems. The lady kept asking for boot sizes weights and heights when we did not require that specific equipment being as we all had our own equipment. Low and behold when we arrived that ski depot we were still asked for measurements! When all booking was confirmed the lady told us we would need to drive to the Ski Norwest equipment depot before going to the hotel. Dont bother driving you can walk, its at the end of the hotel car park! With the way the email had explained we were expecting to drive miles!

Now I come to the Highlander hotel. Not a bad little place staff were great, food was good, but arrived suspiciously fast, but did the trick. The place could desperately do with a revamp. It has a 1960's decor and fittings. I wouldnt recommend this hotel to couples. There were 3 couples in our group and none got a double bed, but two singles at either side that we had to push together! Not ideal. the hotel in itself is ok for a weekend but any longer and i'd want a little more luxury.

This surroundings arent too bad, a little sleepy in Newtonmore but it was expected . co-op was just down the road and there was a petrol garage on the way in which was'nt too far above the price average. If your self-driving avoid the petrol stations you encounter at the side of the road every so often. Try and soldier on to the nearest village, which arent so few and far between. I was desperate for fuel because I couldnt be bothered to pull off the main road and drive for 10 minutes into the nearest village it ended up costing me £1.45 a litre!! Needless to say I didn't fill up!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tommyhawkes36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2010

I was intrigued to read the comments relating to the Highlander Hotel Manageress.
I have stayed at this hotel, now, on at least 6 occasions over the recent years, and have always found the staff and in particular Cynthia the Manageress to be of the highest standard in politeness, courtesy, helpfulness, towards their guests. I was staying at the hotel when the alledged incident was purported to have taken place, and although missing the incident arrived in the dining rooms moments later, to find Cynthia apoligising to the other guests over the gentlemans behaviour. As the other guests all confirmed it was not her fault, Im inclined to believe them. As any guest knows you are shown which table is allocated to you for meals, we have never had to wait 10/15 mins for our order to be taken, cereals are laid out for your choice, self service style and then your cooked breakfast order is taken. Speaking to the couple whos table the irate gentleman had occupied they thought he was going to have a seizure when it was explained he was at the wrong table. I believe he kicked off again at Recpt.
No sorry this is not the Hotel that I know where it is alledged these incidents took place and would not continue to use this hotel if they did, or saw guests being treated in this way. One only has to review other comments to see how fantastic the staff are.
I believe the gentlman stated he would write a comment in Tripadvisor, I see he has done this, so I felt strongly enough to reply. I will return to the Highlander and would highly recommend it to other potential guests.
In closing, the gentleman missed a wonderful cooked breakfast

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DenScot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Highlander Hotel

Property: Highlander Hotel
Address: Kingussie Road, Newtonmore PH20 1AY, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Aviemore and the Cairngorms > Newtonmore
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Newtonmore
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Highlander Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 85
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
For true Highland hospitality come to the Highlander, a hotel renowned for its good food and warm welcome. The hotel is an ideal base for touring the North of Scotland with mountain ranges, forests, lochs and river valleys waiting to be explored. Wind down in our inviting restaurant serving an array of dishes made from locally sourced produce. Perhaps a wee dram from the bar would suit; choose a whisky from one of the many local distilleries for which this area is famous for throughout the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Highlander Hotel Newtonmore, Scotland

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