For Christmas my boyfriend and I received an "Unusual Escapes" gift box which was a night's bed and breakfast in one of 50 hotels and guesthouses across the UK - although I have to say on reflection that this hotel didn't seem to be particularly unusual. I decided that we should go and visit the moose which I've adopted for years up in the Highland Wildlife Reserve way up in Scotland! I found a place which looked nice near Inverness, but unfortunately when contacting them found that they no longer accepted the gift boxes. By this point though I had my heart set on going to visit the moose, so I found a place very near the zoo which I booked and paid for myself (review to follow), and used this gift box for a night in Paisley on the way up to break up the journey and make a proper weekend of it.
I booked on the phone back in February which was a simple process. I explained about the gift box which was fine, but they took my card details (in case we didn't turn up I imagine). You can book online, but I didn't do that due to using the gift box.
Looking at prices, one night's bed and breakfast for 2 in a double room costs around £75, which is pretty reasonable (and you might well be able to get a room for less if you shop around), more expensive than some, but cheaper than a lot!
---Arrival and check in---
We arrived at around 5:30pm having driving up from Cumbria. Although I had read some comments saying that it was difficult to find, our Sat Nav had no problems getting us there, although I think the fact that it was daylight helped. The Ashtree House Hotel is up a little bit of a hill, and there is a decent sized car park for guests (this was one of the selling points for me). It's a big old house, and looks fairly attractive from the outside, with lots of trees (including the Ash!)
Check in (which is from 2pm until midnight) was simple, and the lady in charge was very friendly. We were given a set of keys (one for the front door, and one for the bedroom door), and shown around the communal areas.
The room (we were in a standard double en suite - there are other options such as a family room, and a premier room) was fairly small but nice enough, and was on the first floor. There are 14 rooms in total spread over three floors. The bed was comfortable, which is important! There was also a leather sofa which we used to put stuff on. There was a wardrobe with some storage space (which we didn't use), and also housed the hairdryer (which I did use). There were tea/coffee making facilities which we didn't use, but it's always good to have the option there. There was free Wifi, which is always good too, and a small flat screen TV.
The en suite was compact but clean and looked nice, and there was complimentary shampoo, moisturiser and soap which I always appreciate since you don't get that everywhere these days. The shower was a bit strange with two shower heads, but after a bit of fiddling I got it to work perfectly. For those who prefer baths, there was a communal bathroom with a bath in it.
There was a view out of the window of the hotel's garden. Upon spotting a cat my boyfriend went out into the garden to say hello!
Although on the whole pleased with our room, there were a few minor issues which I should point out in a comprehensive review...Minor niggles:
* A rip in the leather sofa on the arm, made it look a bit tatty
* Where the toilet roll holder was positioned in the toilet was very awkward to get to
* Cobweb on the light fitting on the ceiling
* Walls fairly thin so could hear noise from other guests - luckily this didn't seem to be a problem, but could be if noisy guests are in!
* No information in room about things like breakfast/dinner times
* No decaf coffee with the tea/coffee making facilities
* TV could be a bit bigger
* Towels in bathroom not very big - I'm not the hugest person, but a towel wouldn't fit round me!
Having wandered around the local area we weren't struck by a great choice of places to eat, and having already glanced at the hotel menu we were happy to go back to eat there. According to the website you have to book on Saturdays and Sundays to eat there but we were there on a Friday night.With the gift box we were entitled to a welcome drink which was a nice touch (my boyfriend did want a pint of Stella but their pump wasn't working, so he went for a bottle of Magners instead), and we had these in the lounge area while we waited for 7pm (when dinner was served from). There is also a whiskey bar for those who are interested!
We both chose the homemade Aberdeen Angus Steak burgers (the menu wasn't extensive but it all sounded nice). These came with homemade chips, salad and lovely coleslaw. At £12.95 each we could perhaps have done with a few more chips and maybe some onion rings too, but otherwise it was good. For dessert I went for the homemade cheesecake (which was served with ice cream and was divine) which cost £4.95 (although I think there was £1 off as combined with the main course), but my boyfriend decided he'd go to the shops later to find an additional snack! Looking at the website, dinner can be ordered at the same time as booking the hotel, and I think it works out that you get a free drink with dinner if you do it this way.
We went down to breakfast at around 8am as wanted a fairly early start (we were the only ones down there). There was cereal, orange juice, croissants, fruit salad, yoghurts and bananas to help ourselves from, which we did. The waitress brought us coffees and took our orders. Unsurprisingly we went for the full Scottish Breakfast (although I was ever so slightly disappointed by the lack of Haggis!)
Breakfast consisted of sausage, bacon, black pudding, grilled tomato, mushrooms, baked beans, and eggs (I had scrambled, my boyfriend had fried). We were also brought toast. Breakfast was cooked perfectly and was lovely. The black pudding (which I'm never too sure of) was quite crumbly, but had a great flavour. The portions were a good size, but we polished them off!
We left as soon as we could after breakfast as had a busy day ahead. This just involved handing back the keys as we had nothing to pay for. Check out time is 11am, but later times can be arranged.
We did have a wander around the local area. The hotel is very near a couple of churches, and a local museum which might be of interest, and a pretty decent shopping centre. Paisley Gilmour Railway station is a 5 minute walk away, and from here you can get a train into Glasgow which takes 10 minutes. One attraction of this hotel is that it is convenient for Glasgow airport, and on the hotel's website you can find out about park and fly deals.
There was a family there with small children, so I imagine it is fairly family friendly, but I can't really comment on that. In terms of disabilities, the stairs might be an issue for people. Apparently (according to the website), the hotel are working on this.
This is a decent enough place to stay, although there were a fair few minor niggles, most of which could easily be sorted out. As some people mentioned when I posted this review on Ciao with photos, the decor won't be everyone's cup of tea (lots of reds), but I didn't mind it. The lady in charge was very friendly, and took an interest in our visit to Scotland (and my obsession with moose) which was nice.
I would give the Ashtree House Hotel a balanced 7 out of 10 bearing in mind value for money and other things. Since I have to award stars out of 5, and since we had such a lovely weekend all in all, I will be generous and give it 4 stars out of 5!
The address of the hotel is 9 Orr Square, Paisley, Renfrewshire, PA1 2DL, Scotland
Phone : +44 (0)141 8486411