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“A lovely dinner.”
Review of Dowans Hotel

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Dowans Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Aberlour
Certificate of Excellence
Craigellachie, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A lovely dinner.”
Reviewed August 17, 2014

My husband and I have just returned this evening (17/8/14) from having our dinner in Bistro 57. We both had a fantastic time, the staff were very friendly and helpful as they have always been on the other occasions we have dined at the Dowans. The food too was great and of and excellent standard. I would certainly recommend a dinner out at Bistro 57!

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank F S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MurrayFamilyDowans, Owner at Dowans Hotel, responded to this review, January 8, 2015
We apologise for taking so long to respond to this review-we thought we had already! Thank you so much for your kind words, it is always so lovely to see you both when you come and in and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2015!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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237 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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london
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2014

Stayed here with a couple of friends as we toured some of the region's many whisky distilleries. The hotel was great. A family-run place, it's recently been modernised and while not all of the work is complete, you can see what a difference it's making. The rooms are lovely - spacious and modern but with plenty of character. A good selection of food available from two menus - one a bit more formal, the other not so (equally good, just more simple). Good breakfasts, too - lots of local produce on the menus, so if you like your fish, you'll enjoy this. The bar had a vast selection of whiskeys, as well as some draught ales and the like. The family and team that run the place were really welcoming and friendly, and they're as much a part of the reason why the hotel is the first place I'd be looking to book if I head up to Speyside again. Really made to feel really welcome. Heartily recommended.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank milt75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MurrayFamilyDowans, Owner at Dowans Hotel, responded to this review, August 13, 2014
Thank you for your review. We are truly delighted that you enjoyed yourselves and really appreciate the kind words. We hope that you make it back here one day but in the meantime we wish you well on your new adventure.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2014 via mobile

As part of the wedding party who stayed here last weekend, I left the Dowans Hotel with a few mixed feelings. On arrival to the hotel, my family made our way to Reception passing electricians, workmen and water hoses cleaning the patio area. It was clear the hotel was still being renovated which in itself is not a problem, I have no doubt the hotel will be lovely when it is finally completed. When shown to my room, I was shown a huge space, very traditionally styled and I was happy enough with the accommodation. The rest of my family came in throughout the day and they seemed mostly happy with their rooms until my sister, the bride, arrived later that evening. Both herself and her two bridesmaids were given one of the small, newly renovated rooms on the top floor. This room would be great if you were a couple staying at the hotel but for the purpose of a night before the wedding, it wasn't much use. The hotel offered to let my sister use the vacant room next door for her hairdresser and to provide a little more space. My sister had decided that since this was the third or fourth thing to go wrong that day, she simply wanted to go home with her new husband after the wedding as she lives locally. On informing the owner of this, she wasn't informed there would ever be a cancellation fee that was 'graciously waived' by the hotel.
I decided to confirm my nightly room rate after finding out that another family member's room was more expensive than they had previously thought. I was curtly told by the owner that my rate was £130 but that I had been given an upgrade and I was made to feel like I should have been grateful for this. I should mention that at no point was I shown any other room other than the room I was in and at no point did I ask for an upgrade during my stay.
The food on the Friday night was very nice. The pork belly was cooked perfectly!
The main problem with this hotel is this; This is a small, family run hotel. They obviously take any criticism very personally and unfortunately they can't stop their anger from any customer dissatisfaction from showing. I understand this however from one or two small problems that my family encountered, we were made to feel unwelcome and this made everyone want to leave.
It was kind of the hotel to allow the rest of the family keep their rooms for a little while extra, everyone apart from the bride had vacated their rooms by midday and moved their belongings into my room as I was the only other guest from the party staying an additional night. This would have been recognised by my family if the feeling of disinterest from the staff wasn't as noticeable. It was clear they didn't really want us there anymore.
After staying at The Crieff Hydro the weekend before, I found my experience at the Dowans both overpriced for the facilities available and fairly unfriendly after any problems occurred. If you stay at the hotel and have no issues then it would be a lovely little place. It appears only when any issues occur does the paying customer be made to feel unwelcome.
I have no doubt the management will have a strong reply to this, as they have every other negative review, however I feel this has been an entirely honest opinion, giving good points and bad.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Natasha1049
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MurrayFamilyDowans, Owner at Dowans Hotel, responded to this review, July 18, 2014
We thought long and hard before responding to this review as, in essence, we are responding to the same issues that we have already responded on and ultimately we may just have to accept that we cannot ameliorate your opinion of us. Yes, we are a family business and yes we are all extremely passionate about it and the service that we provide to our guests within it so, of course, personal criticism, especially when we believe it to be unjust, will be robustly addressed. On the other hand, when we have not performed to the best of our abilities (and we do fully acknowledge that this has happened) then we have taken the criticism on board and tried to learn from it.

Now, to respond to the issues that you have raised:

> The room that the bride (your sister) was given was actually the room that she specifically chose for the pre-wedding night when she visited the hotel a few weeks before. The fact that it was not servicing her needs on the actual night is surely not something that we should be held to be responsible for? However, we did try and help the situation to the best of our abilities on the night. We explained that we did not have any larger rooms available but did offer for one of the bridesmaids to move to another room at no additional cost to yourselves. What else could we have done?

> There are comments about the room rates. All room rates were agreed with the bride prior to the rooms being booked by her. These agreed rates were the ones applied, nothing less and nothing more, so why are they being mentioned within this review? Indeed, we were astounded when half a dozen members of the party approached the reception desk together late in the evening questioning the appropriateness of all the room prices. Prices which were our normal prices and which had been advised to and agreed previously by the bride. However, we do apologise sincerely if you felt that your question on your room price was curtly responded to.

> As regards your own room. When the room was booked for you we were told that it was just you and your toddler who would be staying in it so when 4 of you tuned up along with a baby's buggy and the need for a roll-away bed to be put in the room the receptionist immediately recognised that the Standard Double room assigned for you would not be appropriate so, as a courtesy, she upgraded you to a Superior King room. We had no wish to make you feel obliged for the upgrade so made no mention of it at all until the late evening challenges on room prices were being raised.

> Again, we stress that the bride was not told of any room cancellation charge because we had decided that it would not be applied because we were sensitive to the stress levels that she said she was feeling about the wedding. Stress levels that she made clear was about the wedding itself and nothing to do with the hotel which, given that the next morning's delayed departure issues had not arisen at the time of the room cancellation, is entirely plausible.

> And once more we would point out that our apparent "attitude" to your party was actually nothing more than concern for the imminent arrival of our next guests and not disinterest in your party.

So, in summary and as you note, we did not apply a room upgrade charge, we did not apply a room cancellation charge, we offered an additional room for no cost, we accepted that various rooms would have a late check-out (again without cost), we provided excellent quality food, we provided "acceptable to great" rooms and yet we have been found wanting by your party in hospitality, in not being sufficiently interested in taking a photo of the bridal party and accused of being disinterested all because we were a bit concerned about understanding when one of the rooms would be vacated which ultimately was at 1.50 p.m., almost 3 hours after the agreed check-out time and half an hour before our next guests arrived.

We would ask you to reflect, as a wedding party (regardless of the fact that the wedding was not being held here but elsewhere in the area) if your wedding had been at 6 p.m. that evening, should we just have accepted that we would not have had our rooms back for the next guests until 5.50pm? Most especially when no request about a late check out had been discussed with us at any point?
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberlour
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2014 via mobile

I begin by saying we had made reservations months ago and the owners were aware we were a wedding party and being part of the bridal party I am very disappointed. This hotel has been redecorated to a very high standard, but there is no point if the owners have no concept of hospitality! To be painting doorways and halls and banisters, just two hours before a bride is due too walk down the stairs is outrageous. The biggest let down for me, was when I tried to take a photo of the four of us, and the lady at her desk opposite us - didn't even comment on how we looked or offered to take the photo for us. This hotel is advertising as a wedding venue - the bride and groom were meant to stay here on the night of their wedding but didn't really says a lot for this hotel. I will end this review by saying that we ended up having a beautiful day but a huge talking point for most guests was this hotel!!

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
15 Thank PoppyLee89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MurrayFamilyDowans, Owner at Dowans Hotel, responded to this review, July 16, 2014
As all other guests, you are entirely entitled to your opinion. However, your 'opinion' that we need a lesson in hospitality is not only rude but also entirely unfounded; demonstrated by our previous reviewers who would tend to disagree.
It should firstly be clarified that the wedding was not being held here hence our advertising as a wedding venue is not actually relevant to this situation. We are also a bit confused as to why it is important to state that you had booked months in advance as a wedding party; we in no way dispute that fact, either at the time of your stay or now. We treat all of our guests with the same level of respect and therefore your plans for the day in no way affected our treatment of any member of your party. However, what did lead for us to be a bit bewildered was your treatment of us and our facilities considering your plans. In our discussions leading up to your stay, it was stated plainly that check out time is 11 a.m. However, as the bride had a room booked for the evening following the wedding, it was agreed that the bridal party would use this room in order to get ready. This is what was understood on both sides as to what would occur. However, the room was cancelled on the evening that you arrived with the only explanation given that it was due to 'stress'. In an understanding of what goes in to planning a wedding, we automatically disregarded the cancellation fee that should have been applied to said cancellation, an act that surely would be considered as 'good hospitality' by most people. From that point on, our bewilderment continued as no member of your party felt it was necessary to inform us of what would now be occurring in place of the original plans. However, as each new beauty therapist walked through the front door in the morning and the minutes then hours passed, it became obvious to us that a total disregard for manners was to be the order of the day; this despite the fact that we asked several members of your party to give us at least an estimation of what time you would be vacating your rooms in order to allow our two housemaids (who both had other jobs to go to) to clean them in preparation for our new guests who would be arriving in the afternoon. So when you arrived down in our reception area at 1.50pm, still having passed no information on to us regarding your plans, it was honestly the last thought on our mind as to how you looked as our only focus at that point was to try and recover from a situation, not of our making, in order to try and avoid the catastrophe of our other guests arriving without their rooms being ready. This was as a result not only of your un-notified late departure but also due to the mess that was left in the room. As it was, our next guests arrived at 2.20pm to be told that exact fact. However, we have learnt a lesson or two in hospitality which evidently you have not in manners because we immediately offered them a drink on us for their inconvenience.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grantown On spey Scotland
Level 6 Contributor
181 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2014 via mobile

What a find. Four of us had lunch today. Food was excellent as was service. Will certainly be back for dinner. Nice to see a family business doing well. They have done a beautiful job of the make over so far. Cannot wait to book and try dinner with friends in one of the booths.

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank pwd1690
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MurrayFamilyDowans, Owner at Dowans Hotel, responded to this review, January 8, 2015
Thank you for your kind words. It would be lovely to see you again...you can try our new Sunday brunch which is becoming quite popular in the area!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darwin, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2014 via mobile

We arrived in the afternoon and were welcomed very warmly by everyone. Even though they are renovating they still managed to make us feel special. We had one of the renovated rooms and wow is the word that comes to mind. It was very comfortable with nice touches like warmed floor in bathroom and nice toiletries. Did not have dinner but breakfast would have to be one of the best we have had on our travels. Love to see it after the renos have been completed. Thank you for a lovely stay.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank lina09112016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MurrayFamilyDowans, Owner at Dowans Hotel, responded to this review, July 13, 2014
Thank you for your kind words and we very much look forward to welcoming you back here again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2014

The location of Dowan's is perfect for checking out Speyside and surrounding areas. There is literally a distillery just a few meters down the road.
The owner's are in the midst of upgrading and updating the rooms and decor, but we never felt as though we were in the way. Once the transformation is complete this will be "the place" to stay! Breakfast was included and you could have hot or cold. There is a quaint bar off the main hall where Michael has an extensive whisky selection, but if you'd rather have a mixed cocktail or beer that is available as well. Bistro 57 has a nicely varied menu with several weekly specials. Too bad for them the heirloom tomatoes ran out to soon as I never did get to try them the three nights we dined! WE will definitely stay here again should we find ourselves back in Aberlour.

Room Tip: We stayed in Room #2 which overlooked the front gardens and the main road. This hadn't been upda...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Patti H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MurrayFamilyDowans, Owner at Dowans Hotel, responded to this review, January 8, 2015
Thank you for such lovely words. We hope that you will swing by this way again when you are on more of your travels!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dowans Hotel

Property: Dowans Hotel
Address: Dowans Road, Aberlour AB38 9LS, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Moray > Aberlour
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Aberlour
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Dowans Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set high above the picturesque Spey Valley, overlooking the village of Aberlour and the River Spey below, The Dowans Hotel offers a rare opportunity for guests to relax and enjoy the elegance of a fine Highland hotel. Built over 100 years ago, now converted to a first class hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dowans Hotel Aberlour, Scotland

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