“ Address: Eddleston by Peebles / Scottish Borders / EH45 8QW Scotland „
Barony Castle, Peebles
I was recently going to visit Edinburgh with Little Miss and since we wanted to visit theBorder area, we opted to stay outside the centre of the city.
With the satnav set, we found the hotel easily and it took about half an hour from the centre of Edinburgh. It is located just outside Eddlestone which is a small village with plenty of shops for travellers needing provisions. There are A roads but the hotel is situated off a small winding road and surrounded by fields and beautiful scenery.
There is a long driveway up to the hotel flanked by fields with horses at the fences so already Little Miss was liking the place. When we reached the top of the incline, we saw the hotel and were immediately impressed. In the front of the hotel is a car park which apparently has space for 100 cars. Because of the layout it seemed much smaller than this. The hotel itself is a large and impressive whitish castle with pointed roof areas and lots of windows. Its all very romantic looking and because of the surrounding area very pretty and peaceful.
Inside the hotel, this peaceful and calming feeling continues with the entrance area being tastefully decorated with a small reception desk and plenty of comfy sofas dotted around. It's a very attractive mix of modern comforts with an olde worlde feel but with none of the darkness or oppressiveness which can happen with this type of style. One of the reasons I think for this is the fact that in all of the communal areas there are tall wide windows so always plenty of light filtering into the rooms.
Inside the hotel there is also a swimming and spa, the former being open from 7am until 10pm. We didn't try it out but it was certainly very clean and modern looking.
Free wifi is also available in all areas in the hotel, and I did try this out, and it worked very quickly and easily.
There are 78 bedrooms in total. Our bedroom was situated up a flight of wide winding stairs and along a short corridor- we took the stairs although a lift is available. Inside the room we actually had two double beds because we had previously booked a family room. Even with these two beds there was plenty of room to move around. There was also a wardrobe with hanging space, a desk and table and some drawers as well as television with sky channels (which we couldn't get to work!) and tea and coffee making facilities. All of the bedding was clean and the mattresses and pillows comfortable, so a good night sleep was had by all.
The bathroom had the usual amenities, all white and clean, with a small mountain of towels which can apparently be replenished at any time even if guests use them for a visit to the pool. The toiletries were plentiful and good quality.
There is a restaurant but we chose to eat in the bar area as we didn't want a full and very large meal. Here in the bar there were plenty of small tables and chairs and sofas and tables set over two leverls, one level being close to the bar area and the lower level being close to the exit doors which in turn led to some large manicured gardens at the back of the hotel. There are 25 acres of gardens so this was probably only a small part of what we could have walked around. We ordered a soup which came served with crusty bread and also some sandwiches. The two meals were clearly freshly prepared and tasty and plentiful, just right for how hungry we were, and with drinks included it all came to about £15. There is an ample selection of food available in the bar area,mostly lighter meals and snacks and the staff are friendly and helpful.
* Inside the hotel there is also a swimming and spa, the former being open from 7am until 10pm. We didn't try it out but it was certainly very clean and modern looking.
* Free wifi is also available in all areas in the hotel, and I did try this out, and it worked very quickly and easily.
* There are 7 meeting rooms & 7 syndicate rooms with main rooms having a maximum capacity of 200
* There is a mini-gym, spa bath and sauna, 5-a-side football pitch, croquet, rope course, and fishing available.
* Refreshment stations are situated in communal areas where guests can help themselves to lattes, coffee, tea, and water.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here, even though it snowed so heavily overnight that we were unable to visit The Borders. The roads around the hotel can be a bit scary if the weather is bad but the location is beautiful, so well worth it.
The staff are friendly and professional, the whole place clean and well decorated.
For anyone in the area I would certainly recommend a visit here.
Thanks for reading
Living in Scotland can be quite an attraction for our English relatives and last weekend my boyfriends parents came up to stay and we decided to do a bit of touring. In light of the current employment, or lack of, situation my boyfriends mum and dad obviously felt we were in need of a bit of TLC and insisted I take some time off work and come with them. My boyfriends mum is also a bit of a bargain hunter and managed to bag us a stay in Barony Castle on Saturday night with dinner, bed and breakfast for the princely sum of £0. Amazing I know! With this in mind you would expect me to be lulled into writing a glowing review, surely that is the reason behind such ludicrous offers but in true Dooyoo style I have been 100% honest because not everything in life comes for free....
**Just fly due south on your broomstick**
Barony Castle is owned by the De Vere Hotel group and is located in a tiny village in the Scottish Borders called Eddleston, south of Edinburgh and on a main route the A703 (by main I mean a small country lane that sees a reasonable amount of traffic) which makes actually getting to Eddleston reasonably manageable and is a good distance away from Edinburgh to make it a good stop over or country retreat.
However on arriving in Eddleston you become somewhat disorientated, the village is small and in seconds you've passed through it so where exactly are the signposts of this large hotel? Well I will put you out f your misery because they are nowhere to be found! Hidden by Scottish Magic Mist me 'thinks the village either does not want you to know this place is there or the De Vere wishes to remain anonymous. Thankfully I already knew about this and so duly instructed a left turn at the Horseshoe pub (coming south from Edinburgh).
The driveway is impressive winding through beautiful paddocks that house geese, horses and alpaca's! I cant honestly say I have seen an alpaca before this visit and will just comment that they are the oddest looking animal! Almost like a cross bread between a llama and a poodle.
Autumn was a perfect time to visit, the hotel boasts 25 acres of land to roam around in and take country walks not to mention stunning scenery and a picturesque location. As you get out of your car with your back to the castle itself the view was amazing, golds, reds and yellows in the foreground with rolling hills in the background and the setting sun just placing an unreal eeriness on the whole place.
The silence was equally staggering, you are very much isolated here, an odd feeling in itself when I am used to city hustle and bustle but I know people love tranquillity. Sometimes being contained in a cosy country retreat is idyllic and I hoped Barony's Castles facilities would live up to the job of making this a perfect getaway.
"Prepare to meet thy maker"
Ahh I hear the Dooyoo reader cry now we're getting to the reason for these ghostly references she keeps making! This delightfully uninviting slogan is written above the door to the reception. Yes really. "
A large dose of trepidation to go with your overnight stay sir?" Its hardly what you expect at hotel, already slightly unnerved by the clearly historical building this slogan sent me over the edge. "This is the type of place they film horror movies and you laugh at the characters for ever having stayed there in the first place," I whispered as my overnight bag on wheels disturbed the rabbits.
The Castle is breathtaking to look at (aside from the slogan) and I can well imagine this being a great setting for a wedding as the photographs would be fabulous. The Castle itself was built in 1536 and was a mansion house (anything of that age is bound to be haunted?!) and I must confess it has been tastefully restored on the outside.
Taking a deep breath and entering the reception we also found that this area was modern and tastefully decorated. The receptionist was very helpful and warm and made our reservations for dinner. I had almost forgotten that I was preparing for my death!
**The haunted toilet**
Our bedrooms were on the first floor and already we could see a change in the standard of decoration, the hotel is also used as the Scottish Ambulance College, quiet at the weekends but our rooms were beside the college teaching rooms. As you expect in all Scottish hotels a tartan carpet is a standard feature.
Our rooms were next door to one another and as we entered the first thing that hit us was the cold! The window had been left wide open, its October, nearly dark outside and the windows are open? Maybe im fussy but the radiator was also off which meant we had to spend five minutes shivering while it warmed up.
The double room was of a good size and decently decorated with a tv and tea, coffee, hairdryer and ironing board facilities. The bathroom was a good size with all the complimentary bits and bobs you expect but there was mould growing round the bath, a feature I find a lot of hotels struggle with. I know its common but it always makes me think its not clean! Then I used the toilet, I did nothing unusual but on flushing the sound that emerged was unthinkable!! (Room 102 in case anyones interested!) It actually roared and caused the walls to shake and then persisted in its roaring for three minutes!! (God knows what my boyfriends parents thought was happening!). I ran out and shut the door but it continued. At first I though maybe it hadn't been used for a while but no this continued throughout our stay causing me to nearly have a heart attack at 4am when I forgot and flushed and jumped out of my skin with the resulting noise.
There is nothing like waking your fellow guests!
The rooms on the whole were well done as I do appreciate that this is an old building so the hotel is working under different restraints, to relax after my toilet fright we decided to go and have a swim.
**Cold enough to chill you to your bones**
Heated changing room floors were a nice touch and the pool, gym and sauna area all looked very nice. It was around 6pm on a Saturday evening so you would have thought all systems would be go for this popular time of day, but of course it can never be that easy.
Stepping into the pool it was cold, I attempted to get warm by swimming around but that failed. I climbed into the hot tub, I had to climb out to turn the hot tub on however the hot tub wasn't hot! Using the same water from the swimming pool it was essentially just a bubbling hypothermia tub, I shivered for a few minutes then gave up and tried the sauna. This too wasn't hot but was warmer than the pool, a sign outside indicated it's on a timer but after ten minutes and some several equally chilly companions we decided to investigate.
In order to turn the sauna on you have to leave the sauna and pool area and walk to the gym (complete in shivering swimwear) then locate the phone which is under a blue light and call reception asking them to turn it on. Ok I can put up with that but reception has a camera covering the pool and the sauna so surely can see all of us stood outside then racing around looking for the magical blue light? Or maybe that whole set up is for the receptionist's entertainment.
**The mystery shrouding dinner service**
Being lucky enough to have dinner included in our stay we happily trotted down at 8.30 to the hotel's Bothy restaurant. Very tastefully decorated and bustling but not busy. The menu prices are very reasonable and a three course dinner from an extensive menu was £22 per head. The menu featured some interesting dishes like roasted fig and parma ham along with some decent Scottish fayre to keep the tourists happy. The food was good but not excellent not helped by the incredibly slow service. We waited 40 minutes for starters to arrive and I had to ask for bread as all the other tables had it provided except ours. It wasn't a disaster for us as we were having a leisurely time of it but by the time we finished it was 11.30! Who knows the reason for the delay, it was never explained and when your on a freebie you don't want to make a fuss.
**The angelic aspects**
It may sound very negative but I had a fabulous time and left very relaxed apart from getting nervous over the last few toilet flushes. The highlights were:
- Jaw dropping scenery
- Whiskey to have on your porridge at breakfast (full cooked and on till 11am)
- Historical location, great photo opportunities
- That it cost us no more than a bottle of wine
**The Devilish details**
- Improve the slow service (it hadn't got any better by the next morning)
- Keep the rooms warmish in winter
- Decorate the rest of the hotel to the high standard of the reception and you could have people flocking
Offers on at the moment
In case I haven't put you off and I hope I haven't as it wasn't all bad.....
Amazing offer on at the moment 2 nights b&b for £99 which includes dinner in the restaurant on one night, tickets to Brintannia or the bus tour, lunch and wine at Malmaison on one day and free whiskey on arrival.
So I am giving it three stars but if your prepared to settle for stunning scenery, good food but with a wait and an ok bedroom I can highly recommend this.
We have been fortunate enough to stay in this wonderful hotel several times now and thought we would like to review it so that anyone who is considering a visit to the borders, or who is maybe planning a journey to Scotland from the south could benefit from what we have discovered.
We first stayed there in April about three years ago when our daughter was working on a hill farm nearby delivering lambs and it was the first time she had done this in her vet training, so we thought we would visit her and tour around the area.
We found the hotel by looking on the website dedicated to De Vere's which you can find at:
From the dropdown menu on the right hand side of the page you can select The Barony Castle.
So what can I tell you about the hotel that is more than you might read on their website? Well firstly the hotel is nestled in some of the most beautiful quiet countryside in the borders, and yet it is only 35 minutes drive to Edinburgh, so if you would like to visit the city it makes a good base.
One of the things about this area we have found is that there is a great lack of moderately or cheaply priced hotels. There are some very expensive places including The Barony but the difference with The Barony is that they often have special offers which are well worth taking up.
When you arrive at the hotel you will drive along an impressive driveway past a field which on our last visit had alpacas quietly grazing. Then you will see the impressive castle looming before you. On arrival at reception you will be greeted with a lovely whisky or sherry and given your room keys.
If you are disabled whatever you do let them know because some of the hotel is not accessible by lift. It is actually a rabbit warren and there are no porters waiting to move luggage or anything for you. It is after all a castle so it is like a maze inside!
In the last few months the hotel lobby and dining areas have been tastefully decorated in a more modern style than previously and the whole atmosphere is minimalistic and modern. The dining area is a bit too dark for my taste but it would not be the opinion of everyone.
The rooms in the castle are nice but traditional and old fashioned and are going to be refurbished soon. The beds are cosy and the rooms we had were blessed with good views. All ensuite and with free internet access and sky television and of course a lovely tea tray.
So a few things you might not know when you book. The hotel has mainly two functions apart from tourists. One is it is a superb conference centre and is the home of the Scottish Ambulance Service. What this means is that you are very likely to see ambulance workers in uniform walking around the hotel between course meetings. Other courses are run here and last time we were there there was a group of alternative medicine practioners. The other use is that it holds weddings and these are at the weekends when the hotel can be full of guests and we have experienced this and it can be noisy. So I would check before you book if this is planned as we were sitting among wedding guests in the lounge, and if you can imagine groups of friends and relatives who maybe haven't got together for sometime it can get very noisy in the main areas.
The grounds of the hotel are beautiful and you can walk all around them. There is even a rope course. You can also borrow bikes free of charge.
The one thing is they are very dog friendly and we were allowed to take our little Shih Tzu into the lounge where free tea and coffee is provided. She was a bit worried by some stairs near our room which were open plan and she wanted to do a turn around everytime we had to negotiate them!
We stayed bed and breakfast and the breakfast was very good- they even had whisky to go with the porridge! Evening meals are available but I can't comment on them as being vegetarian we usually skip these.
Most days we have been there have been spent driving around the wonderful countryside. In spring the lanes are fringed with daffodils and the lambs are everywhere, it is one of the most beautiful places to be on a day in early April.
We would go to visit our daughter, help with the new born lambs, and then go back to the warmth of this hotel in the evening.
The area is at its best in the spring when new life is emerging everywhere. The hotel is a good base from which to explore and you can stay from £39 for two for bed and breakfast if you can get an offer. With the high prices of hotels in Edinburgh this can be good value.
In conclusion I would say just be careful when you book unless you mind being submerged with wedding guests and be prepared for the weekday ambulance staff. At least if you are taken ill with too much whisky on your porridge you'll be in good hands!
This review is also published on Ciao under my user name there Violet1278.
Offering a magnificent overview of the countryside woodlands, gardens, waterfalls and ponds in the Peebleshire countryside.