Gleddoch – Hotel, Spa & Golf

So last weekend, for the want of anything better to do, OH and I headed to the west coast. We booked a night in the Gleddoch Golf and Spa Hotel, a dog friendly hotel not far from Greenock.

On parking we could see from outside what had been an old, secluded, country house had now been extended up the hill with a new build. Not that you could see the modern extension in any of the hotel’s online pics, of course.

We wandered into reception, which was full of Chesterfield couches and club chairs. Obviously, I looked just like the kind of customer they would roll out the red carpet for carrying a bulging, well used, Asda bag full of dog food, chews, a water bowl and blanket. Classy. However, the receptionist was warm and friendly as she booked us in. She gave us our key and advised us that although we were more than welcome to go up to the room via the inside of the hotel it was recommended to take the car up to the car park as it was a bit of a trek and there were a lot of stairs.

So OH, the dog and me humphing my Asda bag, all went back out to the car and drove up to the first car park and looked around for an entrance. Nope. We drove up to the next car park. There were no signs but there was an open fire door so I checked it out and right enough found No.5. The room was fantastic. Concealed lighting, huge comfy bed, all the bits and bobs you could ask for (my favourites – free bottled water and biscuits) and a large walk in shower with multiple settings.  2016-07-02 18.28.21Not long after we took the dog out for a walk around the side of the golf course and explored the hotel grounds. The view from the hotel was stunning – right over the Clyde to Dumbarton.

Later we then tried to find the hotel bar, which OH had spotted next to reception. Remember we were now 2 carparks up from there? First off we walked along the first corridor. Nope. Dead end. Next we found the restaurant. Looked around there. Nope no sign of the way to reception. Back tracked. Started again. Another dead end. Back to the restaurant and through it to the pre-dinner sitting area where we were stared at. We persevered and walked through the on-lookers. We found another corridor and walked slowly along it looking for signs. There were none for reception but we did find the pool. We then met a waiter who pointed us in the right direction down stairs, then more stairs and another corridor. We eventually emerged into the reception area. It was only at this point I thought about leaving breadcrumbs…

…too much wine later and high heels in hand it was like a scene from the Crystal Maze as we tried to retrace our steps. Giggling and using stage whispers we found our way along corridors containing wheelbarrows, found numerous dead ends and eventually, and thankfully, found our room again.

It felt like no sooner had our heads hit the pillow than the fire alarm was going off. Oh yeah, suddenly I was wide awake. Good Morning Dumbarrrrrton! To be honest, it was after 9 but that’s not really the point.  I gingerly made my way out to  the car park wearing sunglasses even though it was dreich. The only one delighted with the rapid exit was the dog who darted off to the golf course to help with watering the fairway. It turned out the alarm was down to an electrical fault and the ongoing building work. I was just glad the alarm stopped when I nipped back to the room to take my phone off of charge. 2016-07-03 09.14.16.jpg

Not long later, showered and dressed in clean clothes this time, we left our room and went for breakfast. It was chaotic. I’m hoping it was due to the fire alarm and this was not the norm. Dirty plates were on the cold buffet table – probably dumped when the alarm went off and forgotten. Serving dishes were empty, juice jugs were lacking and there were tables needing re-set with people waiting.  One waiter – actually the one that showed us how to get to reception the night before – was sprinting between tables trying to meet everyone’s needs. White sugar here, more butter there, here a jam, there a  knife, everywhere some toast toast.

One chap who had been helping himself from the hot buffet returned and sat at the wrong table, which was completely cluttered. Surprised that he had no clean cutlery he asked for some without questioning it. His wife joined him and looked around confused as he wolfed down his bacon and sausage. She lifted a cup that was in her way and asked if it was his. With bean juice running down his chin he shook his head. She struggled to find a clear place to put the cup down again. She then asked if he had seen her phone. More head shaking. It was only when the wife spotted her phone on the other table that she realised they were at the wrong table. Oh the hilarity as they got up and moved. The man quipped, “I wondered why I could no longer see the Clyde”  as he returned to his own table not worrying about his faux pas. Other diners laughed along with him. I’d have been mortified and would have had to leave my breakfast as I allowed the ground to swallow me up.

To be fair we enjoyed our stay. I found the scene at breakfast hilarious – even when my toast turned up only toasted on one side. The trek from room to reception was a highlight and the surrounding scenery and room were brilliant. The staff were friendly and helpful and if it weren’t for the fire alarm turning breakfast into a comedy sketch it would have received high marks. Well, apart from the fact that there was no tv in the bar so we couldn’t watch the footy and had to speak to one another.
To recap – bits were so bad it was great ­čÖé 

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Thainstone House Hotel, Inverurie.

OH and I headed north to Inverurie last weekend. We haven’t been out and about much recently so thought it was about time we disappeared for for a bit.

First of all I checked the weather map and looked for the gaps in the rain clouds. From there it was onto the discount hotel websites to find dog friendly hotels and finally I narrowed down the search by looking for luxury at a bargain price and that’s how I found Thainstone House Hotel┬ájust outside of Inverurie.

OH hates hanging around so I knew we’d arrive early. I also knew that check-in wasn’t until 3pm so I had a quick search of the area to look for things of interest. Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle jumped out as something that OH would like (Inverurie has a lovely town centre but OH and shops just isn’t a thing). The stones were only 4 miles further up the road so we headed there first and parked at the small car park just down from them.

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Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle

The special thing about this 4000 year old stone circle is that it has a recumbent stone – a large monolith lying down lengthwise flanked by 2 other stones. It is believed that recumbent stones play a central part in moonlight rituals as they are aligned with the arc of the moon. This gives roughly a hour when the moon is framed by the 3 stones.

If you look at the pic the stone in the foreground is made from red jasper and has some amazing colours in it.

Culture box ticked we thought we’d give the hotel a try and see if we could check in early. We could! ┬á Our room was lovely. Richly┬ádecorated, comfortable and lots of little extras such as chocolates, wine, toiletries, bathrobes and slippers. Not wasting much time we grabbed our swimsuits and headed to the spa.

We’ve been to a few spas in country hotels over the years and the majority of them have been a bit sad. Broken locker doors, manky grout, equipment not available/working etc but the facilities here were clean, well maintained and spot on. Pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms indoors and hot tub and sauna out too. There was also a gym and spa treatments available but I’ve been allergic to gyms ever since I found out they don’t have bars in them.

I decided I wanted to go to the outdoor hot tub first so OH and I separated and went into the changing rooms. I emerged grabbed a robe and slippers and ventured outdoors. I slipped into the tub and relaxed waiting for OH to join me. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to relax. 10 minutes later and there was still no sign of my errant Other Half. A staff member wandered past so I called him over and explained I had lost my man and if he sees him could he tell him where I am. “What does he look like?” Suddenly I was on the spot. I didn’t even think to describe his swim shorts all I could muster was “eh like Phil Mitchel but with a tad more hair.” The guy looked up for just a short while, nodded, smiled and left. It was then I thought I really should have said before he was an alcoholic. Of course 2 minutes later OH appeared.

After we had well and truly ticked the spa box we went back to the room and opened the complimentary wine and ate the chocolates.

I’m not going into great detail about the dinner but it was lovely. There was 3 extra courses between the normal ones. Haggis bonbons to start, a parsnip veloute between starter and main and a lemon sorbet palate cleanser after the main. There were 2 choices for each course so OH started with salmon and then had the beef, followed by pear tart and I went the opposite and had chicken, trout and rhubarb fool. OH and I enjoyed it all and any complaints would just be us trying to find fault. ┬áThe service was efficient (fast) and friendly and the whole meal surprisingly took us 2 hours. The time sped by.

After dinner we found “The Boys Room” which had a full size snooker table, a juke box and a retro games machine. In there, we met another couple also staying for the evening so for the the rest of the evening we played snooker, PacMan, Asteroid Wars and listened to music from 80s whilst making the most of the hotel bar in good company.

I always look forward t0 hotel breakfasts and there was nothing wrong with this one. There was all the usual stuff plus more. I had Cinnamon French toast with bacon and maple syrup and OH had poached eggs (maybe something to do with the previous nights wine and ale intake).

All in all, we had a wonderful stay and I’d heartily recommend Thainstone House Hotel if you’re looking for a short break with some proper Scottish hospitality. (oh and the dog liked it too)