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Drover's Inn (Inverarnan, Scotland)

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8 Reviews

The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan, by Ardlui is a travel institution. Located on the north west shore of Loch Lomond it was built in 1705 and the year 2005 saw the Drovers Inn celebrate its 300th year of offering hospitality on Scotlands Loch Lomond.

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    8 Reviews
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      09.07.2013 13:03

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      Avoid like the plague

      Our experience of stating at The Drovers Inn was terrible. It actually started a few days prior to arriving and should have started alarm bells ringing, we received a phone call saying that they had cocked up their alcohol license and would not be able to serve us alcoholic drinks (if only that had been the case) but when we arrived with a bottle of wine we found there was no such issue. We got some garbled explanation that didn't make sense. Not a big issue, but things just snow balled from here.

      The room was grubby, dimly with all the lights on and had a door that connected to the adjoining room which meant we could hear everything going on next door and I'm sure they could hear every footstep and slight cough in our room

      The restaurant is cramped and again, not the cleanest of places and the food is at best average. The lady on the table next to us had to send her lamb shank back as it was so tough and over cooked it was inedible. A lamb shank! Something that just stews for hours making it melt in the mouth. The response to this? The waitress relayed the message from the chef that he had never had one sent back before - like there was some thing wrong with the lady! Two things struck me about that - chefs can be highly strung and find it hard to take criticism on the chin, which I have no problem with, but the waitress should be a buffer between the chef and the customer; she shouldn't just pass on his rants. And secondly, they were hardly operating a fine dining place there, there was no reason to get shirty with the guest because the food they were slopping up wasn't up to scratch.

      Things then got really bad. We were kept awake until 3 in the morning by drunk guests that were running amok around the lodge area like they were on an 18-30s holiday. There was no phones in the room so I had to use my own phone to get in touch with front desk to ask them to deal with the issue. The duty manager apparently had a word with them at around 1:15am and then went home leaving no night porter. The disturbances continued until around 3 am.

      This kind of thing happens I guess, no hotel vets it's guests in advance, but the nonchalance my complaints were met with in the morning at check out almost disgusted me more."we are only a small business" is not an excuse for the discomfort of paying guests. And to be told by the person on the desk that she wasn't there so she simply couldn't offer and opinion is ridiculous. Like the lady at dinner I was made to feel like I wasn't taking the quality of the hotel, the service and the apparent lack of interest in the guest as long as they get their money in the right manner.

      You may have read this review and be thinking this is a silly rant by a whinger, but I'll just qualify it by saying that this is the only time I've ever stayed anywhere I felt was bad enough to post a negative review. I would usually put a couple of issues at a hotel down to a bit of bad luck and the hotel will be rectifying them after I leave. Not here though.

      Terrible hotel, awful people and staff that could not care less.

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      31.12.2010 18:32
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      Old favourite is now riding on the back of its reputation

      I had heard quite a lot about the Drover's Inn, which is situated just a short drive beyond the northern tip of Loch Lomond. We had informed the venue of our specific time of arrival well in advance and at the stated time myself and my partner entered within and made our way to the reception desk. My immediate impression was they had gone over the top with their Halloween decorations - fake webs and plastic spiders adorned the walls - someone had obviously been shopping at Poundland. As if that wasn't bad enough, the general clutter of the reception area was overpowering. There was a stuffed bear and lots of other stuffed critters. The room was very dark so I couldn't get a good look at the display. I did see one interesting item - an old Scots military jacket of an unusual type - which should be in a museum.

      When the receptionist attended she did not look pleased to see us. We explained we were here to check-in and the look on her face coupled with her reply and the way she said it, was translated by myself as "Are You Serious!" She evidently felt we were too early, although we had explained we would be arriving at this time (12 noon).

      Once ensconced in our room, we had a good laugh at the décor and had a cup of tea and a biscuit. An original painting of a highland coo was on the wall and the bed was a sturdy four poster. The heating worked as did all the lights, kettle etc. There were clean towels and there was toilet roll etc. It was basic and boring. There was nothing wrong with it. Because it was off season we were in the main building with a view of the main road. Across the road are a series of lodges, which looked fairly modern. I was delighted to be in the old, allegedly haunted part of the Drover's Inn.

      Our bar meal in the evening was fine - you order at the bar and they bring it to you table. It was a cosy room with a few alcoves to snuggle up within. There were accents from all over the world. I didn't come across any regulars in the bar on that night. But if I lived nearby I would love it as my local pub. The rain was falling and the wind was howling, but I felt nice and snug within.

      Back in my room at night, I stayed awake in order to meet the ghosts, but none appeared. I heard a group of people leave the bar and head to a car. I ran to the window and stuck my head between the curtain. As the room was directly above the main signage, my seemingly floating face was illuminated by a strange glow. As the car drove past, an occupant in the rear passenger seat got quite a shock. I went back to bed and went to sleep, but was awoken at around 4 am by a maniac in a car, doing about 100 mph. I had to get up for the loo and couldn't get back to sleep. Thanks, mate.

      The breakfast room was dark and the breakfast was average. I had a full English, but Morrison's supermarket does a better one. The guests at the next table stated how rude it had been for someone in the room next to theirs to flush the toilet at around 4 am. If I had known the flush fascists were in town, I wouldn't have bothered.

      So that was the Drover's Inn. I have stayed in worse places. In summing up, the bar was cosy with good food. The rooms were plain. The breakfast was average. The first appearance ruined by the indignation from the receptionist. Probably won't go back.

      In order to do anything locally you must be prepared to walk or have access to a car. This is after all the countryside. There is a train station nearby ay Ardlui, allowing access to Glasgow city centre.

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      10.12.2010 17:59
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      A very unusual stagecoach inn near Loch Lomond

      I discovered the Drovers Inn quite by chance although if you believe the sign in front of it, it is supposed to be "world famous". We were staying at the Beinglas Farm Campsite at Inverarnan near Loch Lomond and the Drovers Inn was just about a 10 minute walk away.

      Everywhere that you go around these parts there seems to be an association with the legendary outlaw Rob Roy and this is one of many such places on the trail. It is of course quite plausible that Rob Roy did seek refuge here. He was from near these parts after all and the building was built in the early 18th century so it would have existed during his lifetime albeit it would have been quite modern then.

      During the early eighteenth century this was an inn offering hospitality to the Highland Drovers (hence its name) that drove their cattle down valley towards the markets south of Loch Lomond. It later became a stagecoach inn. It claims to have changed little over the past three centuries but I had my doubts. But even before we had stepped inside I was already impressed. The setting is breathtaking with the dramatic Ben Glass Falls as its backdrop and the smell of burning peat gave it some authenticity. Outside the main entrance an old wooden handcart stood upright to attract the attention of the passing motorist that might be hurtling along the main A82 road in the hope of tempting them into the car park. It was obvious that this place was very old just from the outside with its uneven stones and small off square windows a dead give-away but it was also apparent that it had been altered too. One of the upper windows was now bricked up and a false window had been painted onto the stonework that looked very odd and it was possible to see the different types and shades of stones used on the various extensions and refurbishments. None of this is a criticism by the way. Show me any building of this age that hasn't been changed but its just that line on the advertising blurb that mentions that it's virtually unchanged that sticks in my mend.

      Stepping into the building everything is quite dark. The ceilings are very low and looked like they still had their original wooden beams and the smell of the burning peat was much stronger inside but not overpowering. Immediately in front of the doorway there is a small reception and behind that stairs that lead to the accommodation upstairs. I didn't stay here so I can't comment on the rooms but there are several rooms upstairs most of which have their resident ghosts. On the wall of the staircase hung a large oil painting that looked like it would benefit from a good clean.

      Immediately to the left of the reception was the main bar which was very busy. To the right there was another room and another one further back but we wouldn't explore these until later. The oddest thing is that right inside the doorway there is a huge stuffed bear. I don't mean a child's teddy bear I'm talking about the real thing a Grizzly Bear or more likely a Brown Bear. Nearby there are a couple of glass cases with stuffed birds in them and sitting on top of one of them was a life like wolf.

      We were hungry and we had planned to eat. The bar was very full but we dropped lucky and managed to get a table by the window, which was the last table free. I went to the bar and purchased a couple of pints of lager and then we chose our meal. We both chose the steak and ale pie, which was ordered and paid for at the bar. At nearly £14 each it wasn't particularly cheap but when it came it was delicious and turned out to be well worth the money.

      After our meal was finished we decided to give up our table for a family that had been waiting patiently for one to come free. We bought another drink and decided to have a look around. At the rear of the pub we found the toilets and next to them a large room called the Lairds Bothy. All along the corridor there were more exhibits, mainly of more stuffed birds and animals making the place look more like a museum than a pub. There was no bar in the Lairds Bothy but plenty of tables and it was clearly used as an overflow area. This room had a couple of stag's heads mounted on the wall and a large old Grand Piano stood in the corner. The wallpaper looked like it was centuries old and there was a real sense of stepping back in time. Next door there was a similar room called the Poachers Den, which had its own small bar but a private party was occupying that so we didn't get the chance to go in there. At the rear of the building there was an exit to an outdoor terrace which has wonderful views of the Ben Glass Falls.

      We enjoyed this place so much that we came back again the following night and I'd certainly visit again if I'm in the area. It is situated right on the route of the West Highland way and is therefore a popular stop off point for those doing that long distance walk.

      The Drovers Inn
      Inverarnan

      North Loch Lomond
      Inverarnan
      G83 7DX

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        20.10.2009 17:59

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        Needs the late Girvan sisters back to restore it to its former charm

        As a boy I used to stay regularly at Inverarnan House Hotel, as it was then called, with my parents. The hotel had a spectacular view of a beautiful waterfall on the mountainside to the east.

        It was a charming old building, owned by the Girvan sisters, who lived on a farm up the road a bit towards Crianlarich. The place was clean and well-managed, the food was simple and well-prepared, and the service was excellent. There was a lounge where guests could sit around a fire and socialise. When I went back decades later with my daughter and by now very elderly mother, the place, now called The Drovers' Inn, had sadly deteriorated. The beautiful stone exterior had been disfigured by some kind of stucco or other coating. The original dining room had been converted into something else, the lounge had been converted into a reasonably attractive dining-room, but everything else had a dilapidated, neglected air about it, with a musty smell, dust everywhere, worn carpets, and tacky artifacts, including a stuffed bear with patches of fur missing, and ugly dusty old paintings in the entrance hallway, to such an extent that we all felt as if our skin was itching merely through having been in the place. It took forever for someone to show up and greet us. Although we had reservations, made before we discovered what had happened to the place, they had lost them, so we just left and never went back. My mother wrote to the Tourist Bureau and complained about it. I never learned the outcome of this complaint. I shudder to think what the Girvan sisters would think if they could see what had happened to their lovely old hotel.

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        01.01.2009 19:24
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        No charm at the Drovers

        Not as good as I remembered. First went to the Drovers Inn back in 1999 and remember it to be a throughly warm, typically Scottish welcome. Re-visited the pub/hotel in December 2008 and was slightly disappointed.

        First off, avoid parking around the back of the pub because much if it looks like a bomb has hit it. Its shabby and dirty with some guy living in a mobile home in situ.

        Inside, there was nobody around. OK, so it added to the "haunted" feel of the place but it was literally deserted which I found odd for peak time during lunch hour.

        A pleasant Canadian chap in a kilt (there's something you dont see everyday) eventually found us looking lost and got us some drinks. The bar was rustic, dusty and old, with large swords and kabers all opver the place, though this seemed keeping with the olde Scottish style of the place. Many a critic would argue the place needed a revamp though I'm not certain this wouldnt take the appeal of the pub clean away. Shakin Stevens was playing his Xmas song in the background (not actually him himself, I mean a CD recording) which seemed unappropiately unfitting.

        All in all, it was a disapointing visit, not the warm welcome I remember from years ago.

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          20.12.2008 17:04
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          Broadsword are one of the groups who play there and they are excellent.

          I have read on this review site that the Drovers Inn failed to live up to a high and even moderate standard. To my experience i find such responses absolutely outrageous. Last night (19/12/08) i spent what can only be described as an amazing night of hospitality and excellent entertainment at the Drovers Inn. The accomodation was absolutely immaculate, the en suite was perfect, the food was out of this world, the staff were friendly beyond my wildest imagination, the live music was simply superb, and the setting is exactly what i'm after when in Scotland. I would wholeheartedly recommend this Inn to anyone interested in a fabulous nights stay in a lovely part of the country. What i recieved for the price puts larger corporate hotels etc to shame.

          If only i could give this establishment 100 out of 10 then i most certainly would. I will most certainly be back.

          An amazing experience. Simply must try.

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            27.05.2008 21:53
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            Built in 1705 and never cleaned since

            Stayed there for two nights as there was no other accommodation in the area available, mores the pity. Can only describe the rooms as filthy, the food poor, breakfast cold. All in all this hotel does nothing to enhance Scotland to visitors from overseas. Guess they rely on passing trade knowing that another poor victim is only a short drive away. When I booked I took the photo's on the Drovers Website as being correct, lets hope that anyone reading this will take the chance, if possible to visit prior to booking overnight accommodation, I can asure you once you see the rooms for real you will not wish to stay, can only be described as a place not fit to house cattle. This not a rant from a sad old git, I work hard for my mony and feel that when I book an hotel room I have the right to expect some decent level of service and cleanliness.

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              28.06.2006 10:47
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              Traditional doesn't mean dirty!

              Introduction
              On the way up north to the Western Isles, we’d reached the Loch Lomond area at about 10pm in the evening and decided we had better stop off for the night. Our guide book recommended the Drover’s Inn, conveniently located on the A82, so we stopped off and managed to get a room for the night.

              Checking in
              This was very straightforward, although I would recommend booking in advance – we managed to get one of the last rooms, which was located across the road, confusingly in a place called The Stagger Inn, which seemed to be part of the same hotel. There wasn’t anyone at the reception desk when we arrived, but then it is a small hotel and we had arrived after eight o’clock at night.

              Location
              The hotel is right on the A82, which is situated within the Loch Lomond National Park, right next to Loch Ardlui. As this is the main road through the National Park, the hotel is very easy to find. Address and contact details are:

              The Drovers Inn
              Inverarnan
              North Loch Lomond
              G83 7DX
              Tel: 01301 704 234
              Website: www.thedroversinn.co.uk

              The history and bar
              The hotel was originally an old inn used by the cattle drovers driving their cattle across Loch Lomond to markets and is three hundred years old. Described as idiosyncratic in the guidebook, they weren’t kidding. Walking into the entrance area is like walking into the past; it is full of stuffed animals in various states of repair and there are a lot of cattle horns hanging on the wall. To the left hand side is the main bar area, which looks as if it has hardly changed in the last three hundred years. It certainly doesn’t look like it has been decorated in all that time. There was a roaring fire which made the place seem very friendly. I really liked the bar. It was traditional and the staff were friendly (although Australian rather than Scottish!). The main problem was the fact that not only had the bar not been decorated in what looked like three hundred years, it also hadn’t been cleaned for almost as long. There were cobwebs everywhere and layers of dust on everything – I would not have been willing to have eaten there, although there were a selection of bar meals advertised. Luckily we’d already eaten earlier in the evening.

              There are two other rooms that can be accessed from the bar; the Poacher’s Den, a small, cosy room with bar and the Laird’s Bothy, which doubles both as extra space for the pub and as a dining room.

              The rooms
              There was unfortunately no room in the hotel itself, although in retrospect I’m not sure that was at all a bad thing. Most of the rooms are advertised as having four poster beds, but judging by the state of the brickwork and windows from the outside, they probably weren’t very warm. We were located just across the road in a Chinese courtyard style block. The room was very comfortable, with a four poster bed, deep pile tartan carpet and all the usual amenities – ensuite bathroom, tea and coffee facilities, hairdryer. Just a couple of issues here – compared with across the road, it was a little soulless, obviously much newer than the Drovers Inn. Also the shower was so small that it was impossible to turn around without banging elbows and toes. I’m relatively slim, so I dread to think how heavier people would manage.

              The food
              We didn’t have an evening meal, so I can’t comment about that, although there seemed to be a good variety of pub meals in the bar. We paid for bed and breakfast; breakfast was served in a dining room next to our accommodation in a newly built room, which also doubled as a restaurant in the evenings. Breakfast was the typical full Scottish – black pudding, eggs, beans, sausage and bacon and was tasty. The coffee, however, came almost at freezing point and the (again Australian) waiter didn’t seem too concerned about changing it. We also asked for toast and didn’t get any. To top it all, the room was freezing – we could see our breath as we talked. Definitely not ideal.

              The price
              A double room and breakfast cost £65 for the pair of us. I imagine prices will fluctuate according to the season. I would also suggest booking online – a fellow visitor only paid £50.

              Conclusion
              It is worth stopping off for a pint or two in the bar, which, despite the dirt, was really charming and welcoming, especially after a long drive or walk. Location-wise, it is also excellent – most travellers are hikers and stroll off after breakfast with huge backpacks on their back. For us, on the way to the Isle of Skye, it made a convenient break in our journey. Even the accommodation is not too bad for the price. The experience at breakfast did leave a nasty taste in my mouth though. I’m not particularly fussy, but I don’t like cold coffee and bad attitudes and I don’t think I would go out of my way to stay there again. Recommended, for the bar, but try staying somewhere else.

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