“ Address: Alness / Ross-shire / IV17 0X / Scotland „
My mum and dad share the same birthday and every year we find it difficult to decide what to get them. This year we decided to take them out for a family meal as it's not often the whole family can get together. Now all we had to decide is where we were going that would suit the whole family including children.
Up in Ross-Shire in the Highlands of Scotland there isn't a great deal of choice. We wanted to go somewhere different for a change and we decided on a place called Teaninich Castle.
Because it was a family meal we needed somewhere close to all of us. Luckily, the whole family live close by, about a maximum of 20 miles away. So it makes things easier when we arrange a meal out.
Teaninich Castle is located in Alness, Ross-Shire. Which is about 20 miles North of Inverness. It is very easy to find as it's situated on the outskirts of Alness just 2 minutes drive off the A9 (the main road. Even if you're not from the area I think you would find it easily.
There is a lot of history to this hotel and you can tell there is something special about it just by looking at it. The outside view of the hotel is stunning and even though it is just a mile up from the main road it has a fantastic country setting that you would think you were famous to be pulling up outside this hotel, it just gives you a feeling that you're special.
There is a long gravel drive and looking out there is large grassed areas which would be great for the summer months to allow the kids to play whilst you have a meal. The have chickens that wander round and you often see them at the roadside when driving past the hotel. But again the chickens give this hotel such a country feel.
There are only 7 en suite rooms in the hotel to stay so you know you will have a great night's sleep and the feeling that you are staying with a friend as it's more personal than staying in a large hotel chain. I would say this is probably a hotel best for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend away.
As well as the rooms they also rent out the butlers chambers which are mostly suited for families as it has 2 rooms which sleeps up to four people. So it is almost like a holiday home where all the family are able to stay close together.
You also have the opportunity to rent the hotel out for a week, three days or even two days. This might be a good idea for a wedding where all guests would need to stay at the hotel but unfortunately you will pay a small fortune for this.
Prices for all accommodation -
Bed and breakfast is from £100.00 per night (based on 2 people sharing)
For something a bit special - Bed and breakfast is from £100.00 per night for the four poster rooms again based on two people sharing
For booking the whole castle prices are based on 14 guests and include dinner, bed, breakfast, morning coffee, afternoon tea and a sandwich luncheon.
£10,500.00 per week
£6,500.00 for three days or
£5,000.00 for two days
For me this wouldn't be an option I would choose but it may suit some people looking for a week's holiday full board or even for a wedding as you can also get married here so you wouldn't have to worry about finding your guests somewhere else to stay.
I cannot comment on what it's like to stay here as I've never stayed and in fact I have just moved to the houses a 2 minute walk away so I don't think I will ever experience a stay in the hotel.
I did look into having my wedding reception here as I thought it would be an exceptional location with a fantastic photo opportunity. They state on the website that they have a package to suit everybody's needs and you can talk to the wedding planner at the hotel to discuss options.
We did request a wedding pack which unfortunately they didn't have at that point as they had just changed ownership but I was advised that meals would start at £25 per person. This was a good deal but since going out for a meal I found the room was way too small for what we required.
You can get married at the hotel and in the summer months you have the option to get married in the gardens which looks amazing. The staff are constantly on hand to help you organise this so you can email or phone them with any enquiries you may have.
If you decide you would rather have your ceremony inside you can get married in the Billiard room but there is a charge for this and on the website it states that this will cost you £180.
Unfortunately they can only cater for up to 40 guests in the hotel itself but for larger weddings they offer a marquee on the grounds.
What to do in the area
There's actually not much within Alness to do as it is a small town. But with it only being 20 miles from Inverness - the capital of the Highlands, you are not far from entertainment.
In Alness there are a few pubs and a couple of restaurants so you will always have somewhere you can eat out within walking distance.
The best attraction to the area is the amount of walks available to you where you can experience some good views and lots of peace and quiet. Again this would suit people on a romantic weekend or someone just wishing to have a feel of country-side living.
Finally onto the dining. I will include my experience for the night that we went out here to give you my insight on the hotel.
We had booked a table for 7.00pm for the Friday night which had been booked in advance as we were unsure how busy the hotel would be. The table was booked for 9 people which included one child.
Arriving I felt I might be a bit under-dressed for the occasion as the place was more amazing than I remembered. Walking in and we noticed that my parents had already arrived and they were sitting in the small bar area on the right as you go in the main front door.
We went through and there wasn't a lot of seats so once the whole family had arrived there would be nowhere for other guests to sit. We ordered some drinks from the small bar which didn't have a great selection too choose from but we all managed to order something we liked.
The staff were friendly enough at the bar but we ended up having to go looking for the menus ourselves as they didn't hand these out to us which I was a bit disappointed at.
Unfortunately the disappointment didn't stop there.
Looking through the menu I noticed there wasn't a lot of choice. We all managed to decide and to order our meals we had to go and ask the waitress to come and take our order. Going through each person seemed like a problem as she walked off and put the order in but she had missed out my mum and dad. We didn't realise she had put the order in so after 10 minutes of her not coming back we decided to go and look for her.
Once we found her she came back and took their orders. We were also told that one of the dishes my partner had ordered was not being made that night so he would have to choose something else. This wasn't too much of a problem but with a limited amount of dishes to choose from I thought they should at least have it all available.
Finally after about half an hour we were taken through to our table. It was a really nicely decorated dining area. It was a nice size as it was quite small so was more intimate. There was two parts to the dining room. All other guests were through in the first part of the room but we were taken through a large archway to an empty dining room. This suited us as we didn't feel we had to whisper so much as we wouldn't be disturbing other diners.
About 20 minutes later our starters arrived. We all waited for all the starters to be taken out before we started. We were just waiting for one starter to come out but again the waitress walked off. 10 minutes later and everyone's starters were going cold, we tracked down the waitress again and told her we were still awaiting a starter. Eventually she went and got it and we could finally start our meals.
The food was excellent, everything was fresh and even though the portions were small it left us feeling that we had enough and were looking forward to our main course. Everyone was happy with the starters and I would recommend any of them as they did taste fantastic and it was presented very well on each plate.
Main Courses - These were taken out a long time after we had all finished our starters but this gave us time to chat and rest after our starters. When they were taken out thankfully they hadn't forgotten anyone's meal this time and they did cater for all. In our party there was a child and she had her own child's menu to choose from and we had a vegetarian diner again they catered for him also.
Again this course was presented well and tasted fresh and actually was a fantastic course. Again the meal wasn't large but I felt there was enough for me to be able to finish the plate and not feel guilty for any left overs.
Dessert - Most of us decided we would indulge in a dessert and the waitress took through the dessert board where we all then decided which to choose. It didn't take long for this to be served and didn't take as long to eat our desserts either :)
Prices - I was actually surprised when the bill came through for all our drinks, including a bottle of wine at the table and 3 courses for 9 of us the bill was just short of £150. I thought this was a great price for everything we had and I was slightly impressed that a meal that tasted as good as this was so well priced.
Unfortunately due to us going out for this meal at the start of August I can't remember the dishes I actually had to comment on everything separately.
Overall opinion - The night we went out everyone enjoyed themselves but I think this was more to do with the company as we don't get together that often. The food was excellent and everyone seemed to enjoy their meals.
Unfortunately the staff left a lot to be desired and we actually felt quite let down by their lack of service. With not taking all orders to then forgetting to take meals out was disappointing. But I think the worst thing about the way they treated us that night was the fact we didn't have any table service, if we wanted a drink we had to go and find the waitress in the hotel somewhere.
Speaking to everyone that was out with me that night said yes they had enjoyed themselves but no they wouldn't go back again. Which is a shame as it's within walking distance to my house :)
For more information on the hotel go to - www.teaninichcastle.com