The Kenmore Club (Perthshire)
Kenmore Club We booked week at this resort on LochTay around nine months ago as we had enjoyed our last week in Scotland in September/October last year. The resort consists of self catering cottages on the loch within a walled compound. I am not sure if the walls are genuinely old but they look like old castle walls ... and within the walled area no cars are allowed to park. You can drive in to unload the car and then after that you park outside the walled area. This makes the residential complex very child friendly and much nicer to look out over. Our cottage was towards the back and we looked over the inner courtyard and could see the loch between the front cottages and of course had a great view of the hills in the background beyond the loch.
OUR COTTAGE FOR TWO
Well it actually slept six if you had two on the sofa bed in the lounge but there were only the two of us staying. The cottages are designed so that the sleeping accommodation is downstairs and the living areas upstairs so you can enjoy the view from the picture window and the balcony off the lounge.
So you have your own front door and hall way. In the hall way is a cupboard for storage which is where we put our bags. There is an inner glass paned door from the entrance hall and from here you can see the two bedrooms and the staircase up to the living areas. Straight in front beside the staircase is a cupboard with hot water tank, vacuum cleaner iron and board and a folding clothes airer.
Bedroom one has a huge kingsize, very comfortable bed, a flat screen TV on the wall, a large wardrobe with some shelves, two bedside tables and a table with another few drawers. The hairdryer hangs on a stand near this table with two mirrors, one above the table and the other a full length one on the wall next to it.
The room is pretty big but we did find it quite dark during the day. This didn't really matter as we didn't use it during the day really. The lights gave enough light to read at night. The walls were a dull neutral khaki sort of colour and the window quite small.
The ensuite had a bath and shower over this, a toilet and basin and was big enough to feel comfortable but not huge. The water was nice and hot and we enjoyed a few nice long soaks in the extra long bath.
This was also quite dark and a similar layout except it had two single beds and the ensuite had a walk in shower. The colour of the décor was similar and the ensuite had the same colour floor tiles and wall tiles. It was all very clean, modern and very nicely done.
This was huge and open area with a lounge dining room with a kitchen off to one side. In the lounge were two very comfortable mustard coloured sofas with red tartan wool covered cushions on each. One was a sofa bed but I didn't investigate and pull it out as we had no need. The bedding was in the second bedroom wardrobe which I did find one day Also in the lounge was a low coffee table with booklets on the local activities and tourist places of interest plus a resort guide. In the corner was a large Sony flat screen TV and dvd player. There was also an iplayer dock stereo.
The dining area had a large wooden table and six high back chairs. In the corner was the desk with phone and internet box, sadly they charged a rip off price of about five quid a day for access so I didn't bother.
To the right of the dining room was yet another bathroom with a large walk in shower, basin and toilet in case you had anyone using the sofa bed in the lounge. In every bathroom there was a mall toiletry pack that you get in every Diamond resort place with a lovely almond scented body lotion, a fruity smelling bath gel and a decent enough shampoo as well as a rather boring soap and a shower cap. The little zip see through plastic case is handy though for tooth brush and tooth paste I find or a little make up bag.
The kitchen was lovely, all modern and well equipped with a grill combi microwave, full oven glass topped hob, dishwasher, washer/dryer, toaster and kettle and a hand held blender and plenty of cupboards. All the china was white, glasses plenty and varied, quality cutlery and plenty of serving dishes, cooking utensils and stainless steel pan. The units were a light coloured wood while the work tops were a black marbled effect laminate. We cooked quite a lot in order to save a bit of money as we had taken a lot of food we had in the house that would have gone to waste.
In the kitchen they left us salt and pepper sachets, tea coffee, sugar, dishwashing liquid and new cloths and sponge for washing up. We also had a few dishwasher tablets and two laundry washing tablets
The floor was carpeted throughout the main lounge dining area, stairs and bedrooms while the kitchen and bathrooms were hard ceramic tiles in a mottled brown colour.
Usually when you are in these self catering resort the unit is left for you to deal with, make the beds and use the same towels etc but we were surprised to have our bed made, clean towels and the bin emptied on the Tuesday and Thursday which was nice but not necessary as I had made the bed and we had enough towels for six people in the unit and the bin was far from full.
ROOM WITH A VIEW?
Our cottage looked over the courtyard and then beyond to the hill and we could just about see the Loch. The cottages at the front had the best view.
N THE RESORT
Obviously you could walk around the resort and the Loch's shores and you could also take a small boat out I believe but we didn't want to so I am not sure how that works. We did see the private jetty for boat access and you could fish from there too but I suspect that required a license.
The bar on site offered drinks at good prices and a quiz was held in the bar on Monday night which we won and got a nice bottle of wine so well worth going. The bar man and other waiting on staff were all very pleasant and friendly. The 'Waterfront' restaurant just next to the bar served a variety of decent sounding dishes and was open from 11 am till 11pm daily ad it was usually quite busy in the evening. There was a sitting area outside with tables and chairs and a couple of BBQs too but I didn't see anyone using them or even sitting at those tables and the weather was not bad while we were there. The restaurant offered food that looked okay at reasonable prices but nothing really excited us so we self catered and ate at a pub in the village of Kenmore reputed to be the oldest Inn in Scotland.
The reception area was just outside the leisure centre where we found the heated indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and solarium. Apart from this leisure centre you could play tennis on one of two courts. Boules or petanque, giant chess, basketball, ping pong or have a go on the putting green and for children there was a nice safe and interesting looking playground.
There were plenty of local walks of varying distance in the local area a well a a number of interesting things in Kenmore and not too far away in Aberfeldy or Pitlochry but you did need a car for those. Anything in Kenmore was within pretty easy walking distance of the resort. The resort had a number of suggested walk on paper as well as self guided drives locally. They also had brochures and a book full of places to visit in the unit. Anything further you could just ask at Reception and they would help.
At reception there was a daily printed paper quiz with the answer on the previous day's quiz on the back. There was also a small book exchange which I always like to check out for any interesting books to read while I am staying or leave my old ones in exchange for one of Nearby there is Loch Tay boating centre, the Crannog centre, Landmark forest theme park, Castle Menzie, Blair Castle, The Highland safari centre, Croft Morag, Killiecrankie visitor centre ( worth it just to say the name!) and so many walks and some guided ones from the resort if you felt less confident of finding your way. There were also at least three distilleries and a winery as well as a hand made luxury chocolate shop.
The resort was beautiful, the setting would be hard to beat and there was plenty to see and do in the close vicinity as well for both families and adults too. We were both very impressed with the place and thought we would certainly return here some time in the future and maybe bring some of the family too.
Thanks for reading. This review may appear in whole or part on other review sites under my dame user name.
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Hotel Park Inn (York)
I have recently returned from a really enjoyable short break to York. The city was beautiful and it being my first time there I really enjoyed seeing everything that it had to offer. When booking the trip I knew I wanted a central hotel because not knowing the place I didn't want to end up too far from the centre and ending up walking ... for miles. What I didn't factor in was the fact that York is extremely expensive so when I saw that I could book a room at the Park Inn by Radisson for a bargain price I jumped on it and booked it straight away without even looking to see where it was located. Luckily for me the location was excellent.
~~~~~~~~~~ Park Inn by Radisson ~~~~~~~~~~
The Park Inn is the budget arm of the Radisson hotel brand. Where Radisson is more luxurious the Park Inn brand aims to give more budget conscious travellers centrally located hotels with only some of the bells and whistles of the Radisson hotels. Basically it is there version of an Ibis. I have only stayed in the York one but my experience was good and I was impressed with the rooms and the hotel so I would definitely consider staying in one of their other hotels somewhere else.
~~~~~~~~~~ Loction in York ~~~~~~~~~~
When I looked at the map before arriving in York and saw where the hotel was I was pretty pleased as it looked to be close to everything and when I actually arrived in York I was even more pleased as I personally thought the location was absolutely perfect. It was central but just out of the direct city centre so it was a little bit quieter than those surrounded by all the attractions and bars.
It is located right by the river and only a 5 minute walk to the train station. Within a couple of minutes of the hotel are plenty of bars and restaurants and the main attractions such as the Minster and the historic centre are only a 10 minute walk away. Overall I was really pleased with the location as it meant that everything I wanted to see was within a 10 to 15 minute walk and getting back to the hotel in the evenings never took much time.
~~~~~~~~~~ The hotel ~~~~~~~~~~
I do have to say the building that the hotel is housed in isn't the most inspiring building especially considering it is surrounded by loads of beautiful and historic buildings but it is what is on the inside that counts and the hotel is well equipped.
The hotel is fairly large and has 200 guest rooms as well as a restaurant, bar, conference facilities and an underground garage located next to the hotel. There is no gym onsite but guests can use the gym next door free of charge.
~~~~~~~~~~ The room ~~~~~~~~~~
I had booked a twin room and when we showed up at reception a good two hours before check in time we expected to be told that our room wasn't ready but we were hoping to leave our bags so we could have a look round. The really friendly receptionist told us that he had a few twin rooms ready so could give us one straight away which I thought was nice as sometimes in budget hotels they can be really strict about the check in times.
One thing to know when checking in is that if you present them with a debit card the money for the room is held for up to 10 days but when you check out and pay they will take the money separately so in theory you are paying for the room twice at least for 10 days until they release your original money. They don't do this with credit card payments however. I chose to just pay for the room straight away on my credit card so that I could just hand my keys over when checking out and if I ordered room service or drinks at the bar I would just pay them straight away with cash instead of opening a tab.
We were given our key and told that our room was on the first floor which worried me slightly as this is also where the hotel bar and restaurant is located and I worried that we were going to be kept awake all night by people at the bar. However when we went upstairs and to our room we were located down a long corridor far away from the bar area. Before getting to the rooms we passed several conference rooms and lots of delegates milling about the hallways but this didn't bother me as I knew they would be gone by the evening. The hotel is quite big on the inside and it does meander quite a bit. Our room was in a separate corridor so I was pretty confident that it would be quiet as there would be no reason for people who weren't staying in those particular rooms to actually come down that way.
When we got to the room I was pleasantly surprised as it was much better appointed than I had thought it was going to be. It wasn't a huge room but it was large enough to be able to walk round the beds and it had everything that we needed. There was two beds which were really comfortable as well as two pillows each which again were thick and soft. There was also a desk area with a chair, a flatscreen TV, a red leather seat, a safe, tea and coffee making facilities and even an iron and ironing board. I liked the fact that there was air conditioning as it was a hot few days we were there so it was nice to be able to come back in from the heat and cool the room down quickly.
The only thing which showed it was budget to me were the throws on the bed which had the blue with multi coloured stripes emblem of the hotel on them and to me they just scream budget which is a shame as the room itself is actually really nice and well appointed.
The bathroom was the same high standard as the room and it looked as though it was newly refurbished as everything was immaculate and there wasn't even a hint of any mould on the grouting or the sealant. There was a bath with a built in shower above it and all the fittings were to a good standard. There were plenty of towels which weren't threadbare and also a couple of soaps and shower gels.
The one thing I didn't like was that our room overlooked an internal courtyard so was very exposed if anyone was sitting in it. Also the breakfast room was just across the courtyard so anyone sitting there would be able to see into the room. I just made sure that the curtains were closed all the time when we were in the room and as the lighting was really good this wasn't a big issue for us.
~~~~~~~~~~ Breakfast, bar and room service ~~~~~~~~~~
Breakfast was included in our room rate and was the usual hot buffet breakfast that most hotels serve these days. Nothing was particularly amazing but there was a really good choice of food to choose from. There was bacon, sausages, fried and scrambled eggs, fried potatos, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and black pudding for the hot selection. There was also a sign saying that they would cook to order things like omelettes if you wanted something different. There was also things like croissants, toast, cold meats and cheeses and fruit and yoghurt as well as cereals and fruit juices. As I said there was plenty of choice and most people should be able to find something.
The only thing which slightly annoyed me when going for breakfast was that we weren't on the list for breakfast and the woman who was seating guests said that we were supposed to pay on arrival. It wasn't a big deal as I told her that was a mistake and she took my word for it and seated us so I didn't have to kick up a fuss. I did go to reception to make sure that my credit card wasn't going to be billed for it and the receptionist ensured me that it was a mistake and that I wouldn't be charged for it.
The bar was located on the first floor and was actually quite nice and had large windows overlooking the river. We only had one drink there but enjoyed the ambience of it. When returning at night we did on one occasion notice that a wedding party was in the bar which I wouldn't have liked as I would have felt that I was intruding on their day even though the bar is open to everyone.
We didn't actually order anything from room service but I did have a look at the menu. There wasn't an extensive range of items to choose from but you could get things like burgers and club sandwiches 24 hours a day and the prices though expensive were about the same as most hotels for room service and cost in the region of about £10 each.
~~~~~~~~~~ Price ~~~~~~~~~~
I got a special offer on the room which meant that I paid £157 for two night including breakfast for two people which for York was an amazing deal. Other budget hotels that I was looking at were quoting at least £100 more for the two nights and some hotels were charging even more. Even when not on a special offer this seems more reasonable than a lot of hotels in York which were charging ridiculous prices for a couple of nights stay.
~~~~~~~~~~ Recommendation ~~~~~~~~~~
I would personally definitely stay here again which is as good a recommendation as you can get. I thought the hotel and the room were much nicer than I was expecting given the price that I paid. The location was excellent and I like the area that the hotel was located in. If returning to York I will definitely be putting this hotel on my list and if the price is reasonable then I would be happy to stay here again.
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Marriott (Bristol City)
I was very lucky to win an award at work which gave me 3 nights stay at locations around the world or anywhere in the UK. As I have 2 small children, I opted for a 'staycation' and went for Bristol. I was given the 4* Marriott Hotel in the City Centre and was delighted. It was easy to find and, although it isn't a 'pretty' building, it ... has a great central location of being near a big shopping centre. It was also opposite a park and next to car park. A busy main road ran right next to the hotel though which was still quite busy during the evening and night.
*~*~*~*~*~*~* Check-in *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Immediately on arrival at 5pm, we went through the automatic rotating door at the front of the hotel and were in the elegant foyer. We were approached instantly and asked if we needed a hand with our bags. My children had a Trunki each and then we only had one other suitcase so we declined but it was lovely to be offered. He made conversation with my children whilst we waited to see someone at reception. He was very polite and courteous and made a real effort with my children ~ they had had a long journey and I think they loved the attention and talking about the hotel whilst they had to wait. He is a real asset to the hotel and a great first impression.
We had to wait about 8 minutes to see someone who then turned out to be a trainee. She spoke English but it was quite forced in a sense so some things were difficult to understand. Initially, she said we had only paid for one nights dinner which I politely said wasn't the case. She then did some more tapping on her computer and carried on with issuing key cards. (I was then none the wiser as to if she had made a mistake or what had happened.) I also had to ask about the car park as I had parked in the multi-storey next to the hotel. She kept saying to hold on to the ticket and they would validate it to make the cost cheaper. Again, I'm someone that needs a proper explanation of the order to do things as I didn't know if that meant they needed the ticket before I paid or after. Very confusing and we just left that for the time being as could sense she didn't really know for sure.
(Just for the record ~ you can parked in Broadmeads for over 24 hours and then the amount is just added onto the ticket until you check out. The check-out clerk will then take the ticket, pay off the amount from your credit card with the discounted rate and give you the ticket back. You then check that the ticket is showing NIL to pay at one of the pay stations, then you have 15 minutes to exit the car park.)
She also asked if we wanted to pre-authorise my credit card incase we needed anything extra during our stay like, I assume, room service. We decided to do this and it was only later on checking my credit card authorisations that she had actually done the authorisation twice for £100 each time. Not impressed with that at all but both transactions have now disappeared on my card so it doesn't take too long for it to be returned if not used at all.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* The room *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
We had a room on the 5th floor with 2 double beds and also one of the few rooms that had a balcony. It was situated overlooking the park but of course, the busy main road was between.
Everything looked smart and as you would expect with a hotel such as the Marriott. My children loved looking around and finding what was in their room. Inside the wardrobe, (with large,mirrored sliding doors) you'll find a trouser press, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. There are also some hangers and the usual bags for laundry if you needed to use that service. There is also a small safe in there too. Next to that is a little alcove with tea and coffee making facilities. A choice of a couple of teas, coffees, variety of sugars and some milk were found near the small, yet adequate, kettle. Also, some little flapjack or shortbread biscuits would be left here too. This was replenished daily.
The bathroom was very small with a shower over the bath. It was clean though and hand large mirrors over the sink. There were also the usual complimentary toiletries of shampoo, soaps, bubble bath, shower cap and body lotion. The only issue with the bathroom was the water system as it was quite loud when flushing the toilet for example and then the noise would continue for a few minutes afterwards. We could hear the next room so they obviously could hear ours too.
There is air conditioning in the room but it is quite noisy and seems out-dated.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Cleanliness *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
My daughter was very impressed that when she got into her bed to 'test' it, there was a note from the maid to say if we needed anything else doing, to let her know. My daughter then left her notes to say it was all 'fabulous'. A surprise encounter in the corridor one day left my children amazed as the lady that had been looking after our room recognised my children and said thank you for the notes ~ she even remembered their names. They were overjoyed with that!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Breakfast *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
We only managed to get to have breakfast once during our stay. It ends at 10am and with a 3 year old, I didn't want to upset many guests just in case he messed around.
It is a buffet style breakfast offering. There was on offer a full range of goodies! A variety of different cereals were available in huge bowls with then choices of various milk to have on it. There were then a selection of fruit juices to help yourself to as well as tea and coffee initially served at your table.
I helped myself to a selection of fresh fruit, (various melons, kiwi and oranges) and yoghurt and loved it.
There is hot counter where you can have herby sausages, crispy bacon, scrambled and fried eggs as well as friend tomatoes and mushrooms. There is also someone on hand to make you omelettes if you want as well.
Very impressed with breakfast and you could easily 'fill up' on it and not need a lunch.
Dinner in the restaurant starts at 6pm so we were always the first ones there. (Again,the fear of upsetting other diners) On the first night, both my children attached themselves to the waiters and I loved that with every night that we went they would recognise them and talk to them as diners in their own right. For it being a predominantly adult hotel, their service towards children was exceptional. For example, the first night we asked if we they would remove the wine glasses and water glasses from the table, (small hands and glass are not a good combination), which they did. The next night they removed them immediately without asking. It really is the small things that show that they care for their guests circumstances.
Portion sizes were huge ~ even the children's menu I would have struggled with I feel. It is very heavily flavoured with herbs and spices I personally felt although obviously when it comes to food it always down to your own preference. There is salt and pepper on the table if you need it too. Presentation is always sublime although the wait is often around the half an hour mark to account for this. Food was always hot and nothing ever needed to be sent back for any reason. I'm not used to 'fine dining' so struggled with finding things on the menu that I would like ~ I stuck with the Marriott burger and fish and chips. The children's menu was vast though and they loved it. BEWARE ~ garlic bread is extremely garlic-y. At least you'll be safe from vampires for the rest of your stay.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Other things *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
The hotel does have a swimming pool and other leisure facilities but we never visited this so can't comment on how good/bad it may be. The one thing I can say though is that people getting to this have to walk along a corridor next to the restaurant so when we were eating at 6pm people were still going backwards and forwards in their gym gear and conversations and noise from them made eating less comfortable. Also, nearly everyone walking past would look through the glass wall ~ I now know what it is like to be a goldfish!
There is no FREE wi-fi in your rooms but I found out that you could pay extra to have it if you wished. I wasn't informed of this at check-in though. There is free wi-fi access on the Terrace level although I never used it. I found this to be quite a disappointment in a 4* hotel as I would have thought that Internet access was kind of a 'given' in this era.
*~*~*~*~*~*~* Check-out *~*~*~*~*~*~*
Again, we had a trainee to check us out but she was polite and knew exactly what to do. She helped with the car parking issue I had earlier in the week and asked if we had had a good stay. All very efficient and took less than 5 minutes.
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Address: 228 Willowbrae Road / Hotel National / Edinburgh / Scotland EH8 7NG / Tel: 0871 527 8370
Address: A449 Southbound / Hotel National / Shorthill Nurseries / Hartlebury / Kidderminster / Worcestershire / DY13 9SH / Tel: 0871 984 6079
Hotel National / A 2 or 3 room B&B in the carriage house of a stately home
Address: Granary Wharf, 2 Wharf Approach Leeds, LS1 4BR / Hotel National / Tel: +44 (0)113 241 1000 / Stars: 4
Address: Summerhill Harvester & Innkeeper's Lodge Dudley Kingswinford / Hotel National / Swindon Road / Kingswinford / West Midlands DY6 9XA / Tel: 0845 11 26 069
Address: 923 Sauchiehall Street / Hotel National / Glasgow / G3 7TQ / Scotland / Tel: 0141 330 1555
Address: 87 Liverpool Road / Hotel National / Birkdale / Southport / Tel: 01704 551 193
Address: Marlborough Street 23 / Hotel National / LS1 4PB / Leeds / Tel: +44 113 2204100
Address: Porterstown Road / Hotel National / Castleknock / Dublin 15 / Tel: +353 01 640 6300
Address: King Edward's Parade / Hotel National / Eastbourne / East Sussex / BN21 4EE / Tel: (01323) 725 174
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