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Ardoe House Hotel (Aberdeen)

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South Deeside Road, Blairs, Aberdeen AB12 5YP. Tel: 01224 867355
Fax: 01224 861283. 4 Star AA****.

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      27.02.2001 03:18
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      The Ardoe House Hotel . Depending on where you get your information from, the Ardoe House Hotel is set in either 17 or 30 acres of Parkland, and the design inspired by no less than Balmoral Castle itself. In a euphemistic attack of blurb it is described as having spectacular views over the river Dee. Sure, it’s pretty, but having stayed here I think they’re overstating their case to try and cover up the numerous shortfalls. At first sight this attractive Victorian building looks like a small castle, albeit with a lot of annexes bolted on to comprise the bulk of the accommodation, which weighs in at about 114 bedrooms and 12 conference rooms, as far as I know. I arrived here in the dark and my first impression was how poorly lit the entrance was. This was reinforced somewhat, as I managed to smash my heavy Samsonite suitcase into my right ankle while attempting to enter the building. Not an auspicious beginning. This followed a 25-minute taxi journey from Aberdeen airport to the Hotel. Not too conveniently situated for anyone making a flying visit then, would be my first criticism – though I don’t suppose the present owners can be brought to task for this one. My second criticism is that although there were three staff manning the reception, they had to share one computer. The telephone enquiries seemed to take precedence over the numerous tired guests that were arriving, so an annoying wait at reception ensued. On the subject of telephones, when I finally got to my bedroom the telephone didn’t work. The bedroom itself was very nice. A tastefully decorated twin room with a trouser press, a decent TV with several satellite channels, and a big bath and shower. Not worth the £95 a night my company was being charged (Reduced from £120 as we were using the conference facilities), but still very nice. The lack of a minibar is worth a grumble, but that’s about it. The morning n
      ewspaper was included in the price, which always cheers me up as I can’t claim that on expenses ;-) After meeting my colleagues in the bar we had a buffet style meal in one of the conference rooms. Adequate, is a fair way of describing the food. It made me think of the fare I’d expect in a mid-market all-inclusive holiday in the Dominican Republic, rather than a 4 star business conference centre that boasted a restaurant with an AA double rosette. They then laid on a Casino night, which didn’t excite me in the least, so I gave all my money away and did some socialising. Breakfast the next morning was a real showstopper. We waited for 15 minutes before any of the staff had the courtesy to speak to us, and that was only after making great efforts to attract attention. A further 15 minutes after that our meagre “Full” breakfasts arrived. This was when I had to demand a cup of tea, as it was obviously not going to be offered to us willingly. During this wait another guest asked politely when his breakfast might be coming. The waitress gave him hell for being so impatient when it was obvious they were rushed off their feet. At that point I started to realise this Hotel was understaffed and poorly managed. Breakfast, by the way, cost £10.50. Our stay continued in this fashion. After 9 hours of meetings we headed for the main bar in anticipation of a relaxing drink. Except it took 15 minutes for the receptionist to find someone to come and serve us, and this person was Mr Surly if ever there was one. The evening meal itself turned out to be strictly average again, while a trainee waiter who managed to spill everything going over himself provided the cabaret. Surely they have college courses for things like this nowadays, I felt really sorry for him. So what did the hotel have that was good? Complimentary offerings included Sauna, Steam room, Jacuzzi, Pool and Trimnasium – whatever that may be? Also
      available are a Solarium and Beauty Salon if you like that sort of thing. The grounds are indeed very pretty and make for a nice stroll. The two public bars were very olde worlde looking, with the obligatory Stags Heads and open fires making for a reasonable atmosphere. Unfortunately they shared the cigarette machine from hell, as it took me nearly 15 minutes to entice a packet of Regal from it. If you still fancy staying here the address is: - South Deeside Road, Blairs, Aberdeen AB12 5YP Tel: 01224 860600 Fax: 01224 861283 Central Reservations: 0345 585 593 Email: enquiries@macdonald-hotels.co.uk I couldn’t honestly recommend this hotel, because it’s just too overpriced when you consider all of the small niggles. Having said that a friend got married here a few years ago and thought it was excellent. As a parting comment, I have to help organise a conference in Aberdeen later this year. I can you where it won’t be…

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