Category Archives: Hotel Reviews

Objective, no fluff, keep it real reviews of hotels in Europe with photos and videos to help you decide on where you want to stay during your European travels.

Review of The Steam Packet Inn, Isle of Whithorn

I stayed at The Steam Packet Inn in Isle of Whithorn in Dumfries and Galloway on a Sunday night during the last weekend in May 2018. I paid £30 including breakfast, for sole occupancy of a triple room on the eBookers website. It was clearly stated in the hotel description that the room was located at the back of the hotel, with no harbour view. The harbour view rooms were all already booked. I thought that the consolation for no view would be that I wouldn’t hear any external noise.

Upon arrival in the village of Isle of Whithorn (which is not an island), I checked in at bar in The Steam Packet Inn. It was really hard to unlock the door of room 5.

The room was lovely and cool, as it was in the mid 20 degrees celsius outside. The room was very old fashioned, but spacious. I missed having a desk area at which to work. Both the chest of drawers and the small table on which the TV sat where too high to use as a desk.

The bathroom was large. There were plenty of nice toiletries.

I was very keen to get online, as I’d had no mobile phone or broadband signal all day. However the WiFi signal in my room wasn’t strong enough. I assume that’s because there must’ve have been so many bar and restaurant customers connected to the WiFi, as I heard the notifications ping on my mobile phone around 11pm, the time at which the pub closed.

I was pretty tired after a long day attending a couple of outdoor dance performances at the Dumfries Arts Festival and visiting several studios on the Spring Fling. I was almost asleep when there was a lot of noise at the back of the hotel, which I assume was staff moving beer barrels. After that racket, I had a reasonable night’s sleep. The mattress was a bit soft for my taste. But I rarely sleep really well away from home.

I appreciated the generous supply of tea, coffee, drinking chocolate, small milk pots, bottled water and biscuits in the room.

Breakfast was served in the lower restaurant, which has views over the harbour.

It’s a characterful room, adorned with work of local artists.

I opted for the vegetarian breakfast, which was good.

I thought that at £30 a night including breakfast that The Steam Packet Inn Isle of Whithorn offered good value for a night during a Bank Holiday weekend. The breakfast was good. But it was annoying being disturbed by beer barrel noise and not being able to get online.

Click here to check availability and price at The Steam Packet Inn Isle of Whithorn.

Review of Travelodge Perth Central

I stayed at Travelodge Perth Central on a Sunday night in late March 2018. I booked the room during a Travelodge promotion which offered £10 off selected Friday or Sunday night stays at their hotels. This meant that the original price of £35 for a flexible rate room was reduced to £25

I liked the location of the Travelodge Perth Central, as it was only a five minute walk across the bridge over the River Tay into the Perth city centre. There is a free car park at the back of the hotel, but as it is shared with the adjacent restaurant. I reckon that you couldn’t be certain of finding a space.

I requested a room at the back of hotel. Although you’d get nice views over Perth from a room at the front of the hotel, there’s quite a bit of traffic on that road. I decided that I’d rather go for a good night’s sleep.

However, the downside of my room was that it was a twin room, I would have preferred a large double bed.

I think that was a wise choice to stick with the room at the back of the hotel, as my night at the Travelodge Perth Central was one of my quietest ever hotel stays.

The room was large by Travelodge standards with space for two chairs and a area for hanging clothes.

My second floor room had a slopping wall with a velux window. The bar across the window, to hold the curtains flush to the window, was loose at one side. The room did have a slightly dated feel. I suspect that the wooden headboards and large wooden desk were a legacy from the previous from the days when the hotel was called the Isle of Skye.

That bathroom was also a good size.

I thought that at £25 for the night, that the Travelodge Perth Central was good for value for money. The bed was comfortable, the room spacious and I wasn’t disturbed by either external or internal noise.

Review of Dryburgh Abbey Hotel in the Scottish Borders

We stayed at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel in the Scottish Borders on a Thursday night in mid March. I paid £38 for a double room, including breakfast, on the eBookers website. The original price was £58 but an eBookers loyalty club bonus of £20 was deducted from the price.

Check in time was 3pm. There’s plenty of free parking at the front of the hotel.

We were allocated room 107, on the first floor, which was at the back of the hotel. Each room has a name, ours was called Blue Elver. I assume the hook in the name plate was the best type for catching an eel.

The room was very nicely done. I liked the wallpaper on the wall behind the bed and the soft furnishings. But the room was an on the small side for a double, with hardly any space to move around with two guests in the room.

The hotel WiFi was very fast. I was able to watch a film on iPlayer without any spinning balls. Just as well that the WiFi was good, as my mobile broadband signal was weak.

The bathroom was a good size.

The weather was awful during our stay at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel. Cold, windy and wet. However, I wanted to venture out to have a look at the hotel grounds. There are some good views of Dryburgh Abbey from the path by the stone wall of the hotel grounds.

The hotel is on the banks of the River Tweed.

The public areas in the hotel are beautiful. We had the first lounge to ourselves.

Breakfast is served in the first floor Tweed restaurant.

By going early for breakfast, we were able to sit at a window table.

The breakfast was really good. I particularly enjoyed the Fresh Fruit Salad and the pastries. Most of the breakfast was self service buffet style, but a member of staff served you the cooked breakfast from the chafing dishes.

There was a fire alarm on our morning of departure. We had finished breakfast, but it was annoying having to vacate our room. Fortunately, I had come by car, so I was able to sit in the car. It took around 30 minutes for the Fire Brigade to arrive and give the all clear.

I thought that the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel was excellent value for money at £38 for the night. The hotel is in a lovely location. The room was very clean and attractively furnished with a comfortable bed, the WiFi and breakfast were good and the staff were friendly and efficient. At the price, I can live with a small room.

Click here to check price and availability at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel.

Review of the Station Hotel Perth, Scotland

I stayed at the Station Hotel In Perth on a Thursday night in November. It cost £40 for the night for a double room including breakfast, booked through the ebookers travel website.

The Station Hotel is a grand Victorian building. There is free parking for guests at the rear of the hotel. You need to get a permit from reception when you check in.

The dark wood staircase from the lobby up to the bedrooms had beautiful flower shaped carvings.

There were also lovely stained glass windows by the staircase.

I had a fair degree of difficulty unlocking the door of my room. My first floor room was pretty large for a standard room. I was happy that it was at the side of hotel. Although that meant that the view was over the railway station roof, it was nice and quiet. I reckoned that you might hear some road noise when staying in the superior rooms located nearer the front of the hotel.

The desk had plenty of space, I could have my Chromebook, both mobile phones charging and paperwork laid out and still have space to boil the kettle. It was also great to have a light directly above the desk.

The shower room was a bit tight. I could hardly wash my face in the sink due to the shelf above the sink.

Initially I thought that the firm bed was really comfortable, but I woke up in a sweat, to discover that there was a plastic backed mattress cover on the bed. I appreciate that hotels want to prolong the life of their mattresses, but I can’t sleep on a bed with plastic underneath me.

The restaurant was nicely done, with grey wooden tables and chairs, and fresh flowers on every table.

The buffet breakfast was really good, with a wide selection of fresh fruit.

In summary, I thought that the Station Hotel offered good value for money at £40 a night for two guests, including breakfast. The room was large and quiet. The only real negative was the plastic mattress cover.

Review of the Fisherman’s Tavern in Broughty Ferry

I stayed at the Fisherman’s Tavern in Broughty Ferry, a suburb of Dundee, in Scotland on a Monday night in November 2017. I paid £34 for the night, including breakfast, booked through the Expedia website during their sale.

I’d been keen to stay the night in Broughty Ferry for a few months, but I was waiting for the combination a cheap room and dry, bright weather.

The Firsherman’s Tavern is located in Fort Street, a one minute walk from the seafront. There is free parking in Fort Street and on the seafront, but it is hard to find a space during to park during the day.

Check in time at the Fisherman’s Tavern was 2pm. As I wanted to make the most of the day light, with a long walk along the seafront towards Monfieth, I checked in around 3pm.

The Fisherman’s Tavern stretches across three adjacent buildings.

My twin room was located in the middle part, on the second (top) floor, facing the garden and storeroom at the rear.

There was view of the Tay Estuary over the roofs when I stood right next to one of the windows.

I liked the fact that the desk area was situated at the back corner of the room. next to one of the two windows. The downside was that the desk area was up a step, which I forgot about a couple of times. There were plenty of teabags and coffee sachets. Some hotels, Travelodge and Premier Inn spring to mind, only leave two teabags and two coffee sachets per roon.

The bed was comfortable. The WiFi in the Fisherman’s Tavern was supplied by The Cloud. As I had a good 4G signal and plenty data for tethering on the Three Mobile plan, I used that.

I felt that the room would have been a bit on the small side if there had been two guests staying there.

My main beef with the room was the state of the grouting in the shower cubicle. It really needed to be redone. One of the bedside lights wasn’t working. I did report this on my departure.

Breakfast on a weekday was served between 7am – 9am. I went down around 8.15am. There was a lovely real fire burning in the breakfast area. There was self service fruit juice, cereal  and fresh fruit.

The cooked part of the breakfast was prepared to order. It was very good with tasty bacon.

I wasn’t sure of the check-out time. On my Expedia itinerary it said 11am, but on the back of the door in my room it said 10.15am. I didn’t bother asking for clarification about this, as I intended to leave by around 10am.

In summary, I thought that the Fisherman’s Tavern in Broughty Ferry offered good value for money for £34 for the night. It’s in a good location near the seafront, convenient for a stroll along the waterfront, either towards Broughty Ferry Castle and Monfieith, or towards Dundee. If you came to Broughty Ferry by train, it would only take you a few minutes to walk down from the railway station. The staff were all friendly, the room comfortable and the breakfast was good. The main negative was the poor condition of the shower cubicle in my twin room.

Click here to check price and availability at the Fisherman’s Tavern on the HotelsCombined price comparison website.

Review of the Kyle Hotel in Kyle of Lochalsh

I stayed at the Kyle Hotel in Kyle of Lochalsh in the Scottish Highland in October 2017. It’s hard to find a cheap hotel in Kyle of Lochalsh, as it’s a small town and its proximity to the island of Skye makes it popular.

The cheapest single room which I could find was £50 a night, including breakfast, booked through Superbreak.

The Kyle hotel is located a couple of minutes walk from the railway station.

My single room was a reasonable size. I had a sea view from my bathroom. The room was lovely and warm, which was welcoming, as it was dreich, wet afternoon.

There wasn’t a proper chair in the room, just a stool at the desk. It wasn’t ideal for me working on my computer, The free WiFi was very good. It said on the hotel description that free WiFi was available in the public areas, I think that my room was above the public areas.

The main issue that I had was the very creaky floorboards in the corridor outside my room and in the room above. I was awakened by other guests moving around.

The bathroom was a spacious with a good sized bath. I really enjoyed a soak in the bath after my three hour delay on the journey from Stirling to Kyle of Lochalsh. The bathroom looked as though it had been recently refurbished.

There was a buffet selection of cereals, tinned fruit (they don’t seem to serve fresh fruit in many Scottish hotels), fruit juice, yoghurt and some very tasty croissants. A hot breakfast was cooked to order. I thought that giving me one rasher of bacon and one fried egg was a bit stingy. In keeping with local tradition, the tomato was tinned.

Check out time was 11.00. As my train didn’t depart until just after 12.00. I requested a later check out time of 11.45, which was granted.

I wouldn’t rave about the Kyle Hotel. The room, although it was rather dated, was comfortable and cosy. with good WiFi, You have to expect creaky floorboards in an old building.

Click here to check availability and price at the Kyle Hotel in Kyle of Lochalsh.

Review of Britannia Edinburgh Hotel

I stayed at the Britannia Edinburgh Hotel on a Thursday night in November 2017. It cost £40 for the night on a room only basis, booked on the Amoma website.

I really like the location of the Britannia Edinburgh Hotel on the banks of the Water of Leith. It takes around 20 – 25 minutes to walk to Princes Street from the hotel. It’s a five minute walk to the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art from the hotel.

There’s a car park for guests, which costs £5 for up to 24 hours. You need to enter you car registration number when you buy your parking ticket at the machine. Then take the ticket to be stamped at reception as proof that you are a guest. This must be to discourage commuters and shoppers from parking at the hotel, as £5 for 24 hours is very cheap for parking in the area.

I arrived at the Britannia Edinburgh Hotel around 12.30. Check in time wasn’t until 3pm, but I wanted to park my car at the hotel and walk up to the Odeon Cinema in Lothian Road. The very cheerful and friendly reception allowed me to check in early.

I had requested a room with a view of the Water of Leith which was granted.

The hotel was formerly a Travelodge, so a lot of the room fittings and the shower room were very familiar. There was an addition of a table lamp on the desk, an armchair, an iron and ironing board and a glass bedside table.

Britannia Edinburgh Hotel

I didn’t try to WiFi at the Britannia Edinburgh Hotel as I was out for most of the evening and I had a good signal with my Three mobile broadband. I found the bed to be very comfortable. There was only a small electric panel heater in the room, but I don’t like the bedroom to be too hot, or a I can’t sleep at night.

I enjoyed my stay at the Britannia Edinburgh Hotel. At £40 for the night, It was good value for money for the location. It was great to be able to park for only £5 and my room was quiet and comfortable.

Click here to check availability and price at the Britannia Edinburgh Hotel.

Review of Peebles Hydro Hotel

i stayed at the Peebles Hydro Hotel in the Scottish Borders on a Wednesday night in November 2017. I paid £36 for a single room, including breakfast, on the Amoma hotel booking website.

I arrived at the hotel around 3pm, just as it was starting to rain. I couldn’t find a space to park the car at the front of the hotel, but there were spaces in the small car park a little way down the hill.

There was a beautiful fountain opposite the entrance to the hotel.

The exterior of the Peebles Hydro is pretty impressive

As is the staircase up to the reception desk.

The receptionist who checked me in was very friendly.

I was happy with my single room, as it was a good size.

It was located at the rear of the hotel. The window looked out on some trees.

The room was quite low key with muted colours apart from the curtains. I found the bed to be very comfortable. The WiFi was very good.

The bathroom was also spacious. The bath was large.

The breakfast was much better than in many other Scottish hotels in which I have stayed recently. The fresh fruit salad and fruity yoghurt were tasty.

The restaurant was rather grand with several chandaliers.

As it was dry that morning, I had a walk around the grounds of Peebles Hydro.

There was an archery area, tennis courts and outdoor chess/draughts.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the Peebles Hydro Hotel. At £36 for bed and breakfast, it was good value for money. The location is beautiful. My single room was much larger than the single rooms in most hotels. The breakfast was good quality and all the staff were focused customer service.

Click here to check availability and price at the Peebles Hydro Hotel.

Do You Read Your Hotel Reviews Before Stepping Onto the Plane?

We’ve all heard the scams about cockroach infested hotels, legionnaire’s disease, unclean nylon sheets, paint peeling off the walls, dirty windows….if you’ve watched ‘The Hotel’ in the UK you’ve probably seen some of them. Fawlty Towers is not the done thing these days. There are many ways to book your holiday and choose your hotel online. Probably two of the most well-known if you are in the UK are trivago.co.uk or tripadvisor.co.uk where you can read reviews about your hotels and rate them yourself. One such example is the IBEROSTAR Anthelia hotel in Tenerife, one of the most popular all-year-round holiday destinations for Brits.

There are literally hundreds of reviews online now. The  Iberostar Anthelia hotel, for example has close to 3,000 reviews to date on Tripadvisor. The review rating is out of five stars and is classified on tripadvisor.co.uk as ‘excellent’, ‘very good’, ‘average’, ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’. If you’re wise, you can trust the people. It’ll save on the budget Budapest ‘hotel’ that turns out to be a youth hostel and doesn’t have towels any bigger than a flannel and is full of students. Mind you, if that’s your thing, you must read the reviews…

With the insurance claim culture so high, hotels and other tourist attractions are bending over backwards to get you to write good reviews for them. In a restaurant in Madrid my party gang showed the Lonely Planet review of the restaurant and got it free meal for all of us – it does have its perks. As the waiter ran off to photocopy the review for the rest of the staff, they upped their game and smiled a lot and let us stay late into the night when most people had left.

Tripadvisor and Trivago give an overview of amenities in the hotel, let you know about wifi signal availability (in the rooms or the lobby for instance), whether there’s a pool or spa – it even rates the breakfast and offers information on whether there is air-con.

The hotels are writing back too – this is their chance to put the record straight if they are criticised, or welcome the praise. Online reviews are now a two-way dialogue and reviewers can sometimes be a little too harsh with their criticism. It gives a chance for neutrality to be achieved.

Online reviews are the world we live in, we have reviews for almost everything we buy online now. Amazon.co.uk will give you feedback and offer you ideas about what other people who bought your item bought, you can review literally most things you buy somewhere online. The digital footprint just got onto higher ground and you’d be a fool not to a part of it. If you go on holiday based on a sales rep telling you it’s a great place, you’re not considered ‘with it’. The majority of people take a sneaky peek at what their hotel is like before stepping there. Don’t be a fool – make sure you are not the one with critters in your bed… join the online reviewing revolution! Vivre la revolution!

Review of the County Hotel in North Berwick

I stayed at the County Hotel North Berwick on a Sunday night in mid September 2017.

I’ve visited the Scottish east coast town of North Berwick many times on day trips, but I was tempted to stay for the night when I found a single room for £19 for the night, on a room only basis, on the ebookers hotel website. As I had £3 in my ebookers Bonus+ account, the price of the room was reduced to £16.

The County Hotel is located on the High Street in North Berwick. I checked in a the bar, and was shown to my room by a friendly young man.

I was allocated a twin room, although I had paid for a single room. I was grateful for the extra space, as single rooms are often very pokey.

My room was a the back of the hotel. I was happy with this, as it meant that I didn’t hear any road noise.

I didn’t find the bed to be that comfortable, I could feel some springs sticking into me. The shower room was really small. You couldn’t fully open the door into the shower room, due to the proximity of one of the beds.

If I’d paid the standard price of around £60 for a room at the County Hotel North Berwick. I wouldn’t have judged the room to offer good value for money.

But at £16, I enjoyed my stay. I saw a different side of North Berwick in the late evening and following morning, when there were hardly any other visitors around.

Click here to check availability and price at the County Hotel North Berwick.