“ Kildrummy / By Alford / Aberdeenshire / Scotland / AB33 8RA / Tel: +44 (0)19755 71288 / Fax: +44 (0)19755 71345. „
Kildrummy Castle Hotel is a small privately owned hotel in Kildrummy, near Alford in Aberdeenshire. The hotel overlooks the ruins of the 13th century Kildrummy Castle. We were lucky enough to be invited to go with my parents-in-law, we were travelling north anyway to visit my husband's grandmother who stays near Aberdeen. They offered to pay for us to stay the night to celebrate my mother-in-laws birthday so we didn't need much persuading to agree!
The house was originally built and owned by Colonel James Ogston, my husband's grandmother recalls him being known as Soapy Ogston when she was younger as he made his money from a soap factory in Aberdeen. He made a lot of money and owned several big houses at least two of which are now hotels. He purchased the Kildrummy estate but as the existing house was not to his taste he built a new home which was finished in 1900. The house was lived in until 1954 and then in 1956 it opened as a hotel.
The hotel has 16 rooms, unlike many hotels it has not been extended so all these rooms are in the original house. The décor is traditional Scottish hunting lodge complete with original oak wood panelling, chandeliers, wall tapestries and old paintings (with a few stag skulls thrown in for good measure!). There is a beautiful carved wooden staircase which splits into two and has carved wooden lions at the bottom. There are also real log fires in the drawing room. The dining room and the drawing room are both non-smoking areas.
The hotel rooms are not numbered but each have a name which I think all reflect areas or places nearby. Dogs are allowed in the bedrooms but are not permitted in the public rooms.
Each bedroom has private en-suite facilities, colour television, clock radio, hair dryer, telephone, trouser press and tea and coffee making facilities. The bedrooms all vary in size and some have a better outlook than others but all look out I think onto either the castle or the hotel garden. Some of the rooms have antique furniture.
We were staying in a standard room, it was on the second floor and was up in the eaves of the roof so the ceiling was lower at the sides of the rooms. The room was quite large though and long with the bed situated at one end. There was a large built-in wardrobe with plenty of hanging space, a chest of drawers and a dressing table with the hair-dryer. There was a small table and some comfortable chairs with a small bowl of fruit and some boiled sweets.
The bathroom had a bath and a mixer tap with shower attachment. The towels were lovely soft white fluffy towels and there was also two towelling robes. We had a bath before dinner and when we came back after dinner our bed had been turned down and the towels had been replaced with clean dry ones even although we were just staying the one night.
I was quite pleased with the standard of the room, it was a good size, clean and had good facilities. It overlooked the hotel garden.
My parents-in-law were staying in a master room. Their room wasn't really any bigger than ours although was more of a square shape whereas ours was long and thin. They had a wonderful view out over Kildrummy Castle and had a larger bathroom and a more modern television.
The Drawing Room
The drawing room is a lovely big room, decorated in a Wedgwood kind of style, the ceiling and walls are a duck-egg blue colour with white. The curtains and chairs are rather flowery which gives the room a bit of a twee look about it! There are lots of pictures of birds, especially different varieties of ducks on the walls. It has a lovely open log fire which was on in the evening. There are plenty of sofas and chairs and we chose to have our tea and coffee served in the drawing room after dinner where it was more comfortable to sit, relax and chat.
I didn't really spend much time in this room, just popped my head round the door. It was basically just another public room you could sit in with lots of books and magazines which you could read.
There is a small bar which you are encouraged to go into prior to dinner to peruse the menu. There are comfortable chairs and even a chaise longue with a small bar in the corner of the room. We were served crisps, small mini quiches and little pastry cases with a chicken filling whilst we had our drinks and chose what we were going to eat that evening.
The restaurant prides itself on using fresh local produce and indeed the menu contained the famous Aberdeen Angus Beef, Moray crab and other seafood. The room is all wood panelled, the wallpaper was a peach colour with a border (not to my taste!). The tablecloths and napkins were linen.
Breakfast is served from 8am-9.30am. There is a choice of a full cooked breakfast and you can choose from sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, fish, etc. There is also grapefruit, orange juice, croissants, toast and the usual tea and coffee.
Lunch is served from 12.30pm until 1.45pm, as we did not have lunch in the hotel I can't comment on what the lunch menu was like. You can however order packed lunches the night before which cost from £7 to £9.50, the more expensive ones containing luxuries like smoked salmon.
Dinner is served from 7pm to 9pm. There are two menus, the table d'hote menu and the A La Carte Menu. The latter being quite expensive. We had the table d'hote menu which I think was £35 (so still not particularly cheap but probably not unreasonable for this kind of hotel).
For starters I had the moray crab, which was a whole dressed crab and almost a meal in itself. Then there was a fish course which that evening was haddock. It was a fairly small piece of haddock but very tasty. Then I had the chicken which was served with a whisky, mustard and cream sauce. With this I had some boiled potatoes, green beans, carrots, cauliflower and parsnips. (For the vegetarians, there was a choice of three different vegetarian dishes which I thought was quite good).
By this time I was starting to feel quite full when they wheeled across the dessert trolley. This was my idea of heaven a big trolley with two shelves full of puddings!! There was a choice of around 6 different desserts. I opted for the tiramisu and was not disappointed, it was creamy and so tasty. We went through to the drawing room for tea and coffee and I managed to squeeze a little chocolate truffle sweet in!!
I can whole heartedly recommend the food in this hotel, my only concern is how you would manage to eat this much food several nights in a row if you were staying for a few nights!
The Billiard Room
It took us a few attempts to find the billiard room as although the information said it was opposite the library the door was not labelled. However if you follow the passage way you come to the billiard room. Why it is called a billiard room and not a snooker room I don't know as there were only snooker balls in the room. There is a full size snooker table and its free to use. However the room is quite small with a lowered ceiling. My husband and father-in-law played a game and on a few shots there wasn't enough room between the table and the wall to use the cue properly!
Kildrummy Castle Gardens
The hotel itself has some gardens with garden furniture which in summer would be nice to sit out in. A few minutes walk down the drive is the entrance to Kildrummy Castle Gardens. These are now run by a private trust set up to maintain the original gardens of the house. There is an entrance fee but hotel residents can get free admission. The gardens are open from 10am-5pm every day from 1st April-31st October. We went to visit the gardens and they were beautiful. There is a gothic looking bridge which the driveway crosses over and under this is a large pond. There are lots of little pathways and bridges across the stream. The gardens tend to be fairly natural and not the formal gardens you would find in some stately homes. There is also a forest walk you can take. In the centre of the gardens is a small museum which tells you a little more about Colonel Ogston and is full of paraphernalia from the old house. The gardens are very picturesque and we took lots of photographs.
Prices vary depending on whether it is low, mid or high season. Uptodate prices can be found on the website. However to give you an idea of prices -
Bed and Breakfast rate (per room) is around £80-90 for a single room and £146-156 for a standard double. A master double costs £175-£185.
Dinner Bed and Breakfast (Per Room) is around £89-£116 for a single room, £150-£210 for a standard double and £170-£228 for a master double.
Children's Rates - Children sharing a room with two adults: 0-5 years £10.00, 6-10 years £15.00, 11-15 years £20.00
Special Occasions - The hotel will organise champagne, fresh fruit, flowers and chocolates to be in your room on arrival for a cost of £35 to celebrate a special occasion.
The staff were all very friendly, polite and helpful.
We really enjoyed our stay here. The hotel had a lovely atmosphere and the food was fantastic. There is plenty to do and see in the area. It might not be to everyones taste, if you like your hotels with a gym and swimming pool then you will be disappointed. However if you're looking for a small friendly hotel with traditional Scottish food and a warm atmosphere then this could be for you.
Set in the heart of the Grampian Highlands, overlooking the ruins of the original 13th century castle, Kildrummy Castle Hotel offers a rare opportunity to enjoy the style and elegance of a bygone era combined with all the comforts and service of a modern, first class hotel.