Hilton Dunkeld House

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Hilton Dunkeld House

Date of travel

Jun, 2012

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Neither of us had been to the east coast of Scotland before – we had always gone to the west so we didn't know what to expect. Got to the hotel which is an Edwardian building in huge and fabulous grounds. They greeted us with a free glass of sherry although when we found out the Internet cost (£15 a day!!) as Colin said, we would rather have skipped the Sherry and had free net access. We enjoyed a lovely massage in the adjacent spa and hotel guests had automatic access to the spa facilties. For dinner we had Trio of Smoked Salmon with Belly Pork on a rack of vegetables. Colin had Haggis and Neeps followed by Supreme of Chicken. Then we finished off with Blueberry and Lemon Tarts. The staff were attentive and helpful at all times and couldn't be faulted although the lift to the room sounded so ropey, we decided not to risk it failing and took the stairs! It didn't stick during our stay so less mobile travellers would be fine. We did see one wheel chair user and staff were extremely helpful in getting them to the dinner table with the minimum of discomfort. After dinner we went for a walk along the river and looked at the amazing trees. Many huge trees, Sequoias, Firs and Limes easily 100+ feet tall and all about 200-250years old and even these outdone by a Yooge Oak near the hotel which must have been 4-500 years old. These really are a feature of the grounds and must be seen to be appreciated. Had a ramble around Dunkeld Cathedral which is in a very sad state and undergoing preservation. Here we met a playful young cat who deigned to stop for a fuss, before skipping off into the nave of the cathedral, perhaps to look for mice. Room was not too hot and beds comfy so had a good night. Breakfast was ok but not great as their hot plate wasn’t really hot and the yolk on my fresh fried egg was freshly cold. We decided to head into Dunkeld and have a stroll around. And so we did …. Except everything was shut. Most shops that actually had an opening time, opened around 10:30, and the two antique shops including the one that had books, didn’t open at all on a Thursday. We wondered if it was just us, but after two separate locals in two different shops told us that Dunkeld was “odd and a bit unfriendly”, we decided it wasn’t. (just us). Despite this Colin found a great onyx vase in the crystal shop and I got something for my brother's birthday. Those shops we got into seemed very friendly to me so maybe it's "win some lose some." We did have a nice ramble through the woods and found the standing stone which was only wee (about 4 ft) and then went on St Colm’s Well. This was a proper well with a built and inscribed well head. There we noticed the many large pieces of white quartz lying about. Colin wanted to take a rather striking large lump which was on the well itself but I forbade him. It’s not good practice, stealing from holy wells. We went on through the wood to the Bronze Age hill fort which has quite nice ramparts. Unfortunately we were a bit noisy here and thus scared off all the red deer that had been grazing within the fort. By the time we realised, they had mostly scarpered into the trees. Colin tried to get some shots of them but there wasn’t enough light. We did find some pieces of white quartz though including a couple that could be made into pendants so maybe the Genius of the well relented, as we hadn’t stolen, and decided to send us home with some gifts. The next day they had sorted out the hot plate after we mentioned it and breakfast was nice. Then off we went to explore more of the region. I did write some feedback and of course you never expect anyone to take notice so I was quite surprised (and impressed) when one of the managers wrote a letter to me thanking for my constructive feedback and saying that some of my ideas had been put to the heads of departments. This made you feel that they really did care what their guests experience. So overall a lovely hotel in an amazing setting with friendly staff and jolly nice food. If you're looking for a little break on the East coast, this should be on your list. And don't forget to see those wonderful trees!


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