“ Address: Tain / Ross-shire / IV19 1AB / Ross and Cromarty / Scotland „
I was amazed to read this review of Tain Royal Hotel, it contradicts the several experiences I have had.
We first stayed there 4 years ago when I was very ill and was looking to move to the area. We hadn't booked but despite this we were found a pleasant and reasonably priced room by the welcoming and charming owner. He was unfazed by my medical needs and my daughters food allergies, and the food was excellent.
Having moved to the area, we still go to the Hotel for dinner and lunch and have found the food delicious and the service warm and friendly. We like to take our friends there when they visit.
The hotel is very popular so you need to book a table, especially in the high season, but they will always try to fit you in if you don't although you may have to wait a little.
I recommend that people try it for themselves!
With the wedding only a few months away we have kind of got cold feet about our wedding reception venue for a number of reasons. We decided we would get in touch with another hotel in the area. Luckily where we live there is not a high demand for reception venues in November so we don't have to rush into making a decision.
I decided to look into possibly having the reception at The Royal Hotel in Tain. I went to the website to have a look into things - http://www.royalhoteltain.co.uk/
Everything on the website was laid out well and it had a couple of photos of the venue which looked tempting enough. I decided to email them and got a quick response advising they would send me out the wedding pack. I ended up being impatient and driving down that night to pick one up after work.
The Royal Hotel is on the High street in Tain and is really easy to find. There is plenty of parking behind the hotel if you are taking your car. From the outside it doesn't look anything special to be honest. Going in there is a nice atmosphere and even though the decoration of the place isn't to my taste it still looks welcoming.
The wedding pack was great with really good prices. The packages started at £38pp which included the 3 course meal, drink on arrival, 2 glasses of wine at the meal and a drink to toast. There was also no charge for the room so this was a really fantastic price and to top it of you also got the honeymoon suite free of charge the night of the wedding as well. What was the catch?
We decided to go and have a look at the function room where the wedding reception would be. The room was large and decorated a deep red. There was a large dance floor in the centre of the room and a bar at the end. It was perfect for what we needed and could hold up to 120 guests.
The Duty Manager was very helpful and friendly and even showed us a couple of rooms in the hotel including the honeymoon suite. The strange thing was for such a small hotel they had 3 honeymoon suites and we could pick what one we would like to stay in. The rooms were nicely decorated but not fantastic, for free of charge it would be sufficient for what we would require.
After the visit I felt very positive about the venue and all we needed to do now was have a meal to test the food. We left it a couple of weeks and last night we went down for the meal.
When we arrived we went into the bar and ordered a couple of drinks. We were waiting a few minutes and the staff didn't even acknowledge we were there but all the residents that came in were greeted straight away. This was a bit off putting as we were there and paying customers as well.
Eventually we were served our drinks and asked if we were staying for a meal, when we advised wee would be she then asked if we had booked. We hadn't booked as it was last minute and when we told her this there was a huge sigh and her reply was "sit there it's the only table free!"
We sat down but by this point I was ready just to walk out but James my partner said we need to try the meal out anyway.
The menu was handed to us, it was actually really big on a long possibly A3 size of paper which was then laminated. I expected the options to be simple pub food to be honest and I would be glad of this but unfortunately it wasn't. Instead we were given the option of an A La Carte Menu.
After about 20 minutes we had chosen a starter and a main course but I will admit it was difficult to find anything.
For starters -
I chose pan fried king prawns in garlic butter finished with white wine sauce which cost £7.95. I was actually really looking forward to trying it as usually I would stick to soup of the day or prawn cocktail. When it came out I was slightly disappointed, there was only 6 king prawns on the plate, there was plenty of garlic butter but no white wine sauce. Also when the waiter placed this on the table he spilt half the sauce onto the table and didn't even apologise. But the prawns were cooked well and it tasted quite nice.
James had Pan-fried king scallops with a puy lentil served with ginger sauce and topped with roast vine tomatoes which were priced at £8.50. Scallops are normally expensive so we didn't expect him to get many but I had to do a double take when three Scallops came out on the plate and they were half the size I expected. Unfortunately they were over cooked so tasted very rubbery which was very disappointing.
Maybe the main courses would be better.......
For mains -
I chose BBQ chicken served with salad and chips from the specials menu which was nearly the same price as my starter at £8.50. The salad and chicken came out on a plate, the chips in a separate basket. The chicken was char-grilled and tasted very nice. The chips were also really nice and the only problem was the salad looked a bit old and dry but it wasn't a problem.
James also had something from the specials menu. He chose pork tenderloins with apple mash in gravy which was priced at £8.50 also. His meal looked very appetising when it came out and my mouth was watering looking at it. Unfortunately he must have had bad luck last night as the pork was over-cooked and the mash wasn't apple it was just normal mash! I felt sorry for him as he was really looking forward to trying apple mash as it's not something he has heard of before.
After this we decided not to stay for dessert.
To pay buy card we had to go through to reception to make the payment, this was ok as it was right next to the door anyway. On our way out of the hotel we seen the duty manager that had been dealing with all our wedding enquiries and met us a couple of times. We said hi and he didn't even recognise us.
I know normally you wouldn't expect the to recognise you but bearing in mind this is a small village and he's met us on several occasions and was helping us deal with our most important day you think he would at least try and remember us. To be honest I didn't completely mind as I think it has helped us choose not to go here for our wedding, I didn't feel comfortable throughout the whole meal and the staff let me down by making me feel I wasn't welcome as I wasn't a resident and hadn't booked a table.
Overall it was an ok meal but not nearly the bes meal I've had.
The hotel has an established reputation for great accommodation, restaurant and service.