My husband and I (early 50's) were keen to take our two parents in their 80's to Scotland. This was their first holiday in Scotland and we wanted to make it a special break. I'm rarely disappointed with Macdonald hotels and after more than six hours of driving we arrived at the breathtaking setting of the Cardrona Hotel. Surrounded by stunning countryside and located alongside the River Tweed I couldn't quite believe how picture perfect the location was. I approached reception with the usual apprehension but determination that everything should be perfect. I'd been left in charge of the whole booking process (as usual) and as a Macdonald Club Member I was expecting check-in to be a smooth process. Fortunately our reservation was all in order. My request for one of the rooms to be reasonably close to reception had been noted and the second room was nearby and was a complimentary upgrade due to my membership. I'd been advised of this upgrade via email. It was a very welcome bonus and not one that I was entitled to but it had been 'rewarded' by the staff member who took my email booking.
Rather than book the five night, dinner, bed and breakfast break online I emailed the hotel directly to discuss our requirements. This also enabled me to negotiate the rate and most importantly ensure the hotel were aware that one member of the party would require wheat-free breakfasts and evening meals. This request was acknowledged by email and I was advised that the restaurant had been informed of our dietary requirements. I was also advised to book dinner each evening which I did. I enquired about the cost of one wheat-free packed lunch to take out each morning but at £12.50/day we declined.
The dining experience varied from day to day and it's enjoyment was usually determined by the Restaurant Manager (or Deputy) and the member of the team assigned to our table. I longed for the staff to remember that we had a guest with a particular dietary need however it became necessary for me to mention it at every meal time. Gluten free toast was offered on only one occasion. I actually commended the member of staff that morning! Evening meals were more problematic with a wheat-free starter and sweet being hurriedly prepared at the last minute on most days. Only once had a sweet been prepared especially. Whenever possible I was reminding staff in advance of our meal time however there was a change of Chef during the stay and then we were back to square one! We were advised that the main course each evening was wheat-free. I must stress that my only complaint is that the special diet for one member of our party was forgotten about on most days. The food at Cardrona Hotel was always excellent and delicious even though the menu remained the same over the five nights.
The restaurant was a little dark in some corners but after our first night we were seated next to the large windows overlooking the golf course, it was wonderful. Not only had we had excellent weather all day but we could continue to enjoy it and the views of the golfers, birds and joggers (alongside the river) well into the evening.
Bar drinks and wine from the wine list was very expensive and consequently we only splashed out on two nights. Had it been a bit more reasonable we'd have probably had wine every night. There was a Co-Op nearby which provided us with our pre-dinner drinks and post-dinner drinks!
The hotel had two bars, one being particularly suited to those visiting to play golf. The hotel appeared to be very popular with golfers and attracted a couple of large groups of men who appeared to be staying for weekend breaks. We viewed the spa and pool area but had a busy itinerary and didn't get to use these facilities.
Our booking included one Classic Room and one Executive Room. The Classic Room was very comfortable with spectacular views and the only complaint was the function of the shower. Our parents didn't enjoy one good shower during the stay. The shower spray was erratic and the temperature varied constantly. The Executive Room was spacious with wonderful views of the golf course. Glass doors could be opened into the room and rails provided safety allowing us to bring the Tweed Valley into our room. It was a stunning view and created a real holiday feel. We also had a few problems with the shower but it wasn't worth reporting. I adored this room and felt relaxed as soon as we arrived.
Provision of those home-from-home extras such as an iron and ironing board, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, internet access and complimentary mineral water made the stay especially comfortable and enjoyable.
The hotel felt luxurious and of a high standard. Staff were always helpful and attentive and were constantly trying to resolve our issues at dinner. Situated in a valley and completely surrounded by stunning scenery I would challenge any guest not to feel instantly uplifted on arrival. Peebles is only 3 miles away and provides lots to see and do and Edinburgh is only a 45 minute drive away. The Scottish Borders have an abundance of spectacular scenery, dramatic history, castles, chapels and activities and however long you go for, you'll struggle to fit everything in. Don't even try to, give yourself a good excuse to go back to discover more. We adore this area and the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel provides a perfect base for a holiday. We'd recommend it without hesitation.