“ Address: Gleneagles / Auchterarder / Perthshire / PH3 1PN Scotland „
Conned into giving bank details and had to pay 99 pound admin fee, fell for it because was assured I would be able to stay in the lodges at Duchally, on the date I neeeded (as a teacher need school holidays). Said I wouldn't entertain a silly con that happens all the time when people phone to say you have won a holiday, but was told time again it was safe to pay up as I WOULD get the destination and dates of my choice. The booking team rang 3 days after I had paid, but was told I couldn't have the dates or destination I had asked for. Grateful to have escaped a hard sell presentation with Club la Costa because I find truth an imperative value when dealing with companies who have access to you bank details.
Having been fortunate enough to have stayed at Duchally Country Estate on a number of occasions now, I feel it is time to share my experience with the world.
Where Is It?
Set in the beautiful and tranquil Perthshire countryside, Duchally is a stones throw from Gleneagles, Auchterarder. About an hours drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, and only 15 minutes from Perth, it is conveniently located for many tourist attractions.
What Is It?
Duchally Estate consists of a 4 star hotel and 55 five star self catering lodges with set in 27 acres of green and leafy grounds. I have never stayed in the hotel and this review relates solely to the self catering lodges.
Duchally is part of the Club La Costa group which boasts a worldwide portfolio of hotels and resorts.
Check in time is 4pm, but we have a habit of turning up a wee bit early (so as to use the pool) and this has never been a problem. The lodges have always been ready and we have been able to check in immediately.
The check-in procedure is done at the main reception desk at the hotel by friendly and extremely helpful staff.
It is a simple matter of a credit card swipe and being asked how many key cards you require.
The reception staff also provided us with a map of the Estate, information about the Estate's facilities and on-site entertainment and details of amenities, services, activities, shops etc in the local area.
The lodges sleep either 6 (two bedrooms and a sofa bed) or eight (three bedrooms with a sofa bed). Most of the bedrooms have en suite facilities.
As a family of four, this time, we were in a two bedroom lodge. Downstairs there was a bathroom, a twin bedroom and a double bedroom with an en suite bathroom. The main bathroom had an over-bath shower and the en suite had a separate shower cubicle.
Upstairs consisted of the sizeable kitchen/dining room/lounge with patio doors on to the veranda.
The accommodation is equipped and decorated to a high standard throughout. The beds are extremely comfortable and the bathrooms were exceptionally clean with tasteful limestone tiles. The bedrooms have wall-mounted flat screen TV's and the lounge has a large TV with a DVD player, Freeview and surround sound. (DVD are available to borrow at reception, but I can't comment on the choice as we have always brought our own)
The kitchen boasts an electric oven and hob, a microwave, dishwasher (hurrah!) and a washer/drier. It is well equipped with plenty of utensils, crockery, glasses, cookware, cutlery etc - enough to have a party should you wish! Tea towels, dishwasher tablets, washing powder, washing-up liquid, cloths etc are all provided, so no need to bring your own supplies.
A nice touch; upon arrival you find a "Welcome Pack" waiting for you - on our last visit this included a loaf of rustic bread from a local bakery, milk, orange juice, half a dozen free range eggs, butter, marmalade and jam portions and a bottle of sparkling Pinot Grigio.
There is a swimming pool (approx 15m - I thought I might look a bit suspicious if I got my measuring tape out!!), a small children's pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and gym.
The swimming pool is a perfect family facility. The children's pool is adjacent to the Jacuzzi so you can safely supervise your wee ones while relaxing! The changing rooms are clean and equipped with lockers, hairdryers and showers. Towels are provided.
I can't comment much on the gym as I haven't actually used the facility but I did have a sneaky peek in the door and it seemed decently equipped with all the usual cardio machines, weights etc.
The leisure facilities are open to locals on a private membership basis, nevertheless each time we have visited the pool has been near empty and on some occasions we have had it to ourselves as a family. They are also happy for us to sign in guests who can also use the leisure facilities free of charge. As my sister lives just up the road near Perth, this is very handy for us.
The pool has a wall of windows overlooking the duck pond; a very picturesque view while you're splashing about in the water.
There is a cafeteria serving snacks, pizzas, coffee, cakes etc with complimentary newspapers and comfortable seating situated within the leisure centre.
As one would expect from such a set-up, there is a restaurant and bar in the hotel, just a short stagger from the Lodges.
I have only eaten breakfast in the hotel but it was good quality and the staff were very attentive. I can't comment on value for money as it was a complimentary meal! The staff have also been very helpful and obliging when my husband has nipped across to the restaurant to "borrow" various items including salt and pepper, vinegar and steak knives. As we have two small children, we don't tend to use the bar but there seems to be a good programme of entertainment provided including singers and storytellers. Booking is recommended for the restaurant and they offer "Early Bird" deals.
They do offer a takeaway service for meals from the Restaurant. We have used this once. The food was delicious and of a high quality, but the portions were on the small side and it did seem slightly pricey for what it was.
Duchally prides itself on its Environmental credentials and has a Silver Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme for environmental friendliness. They encourage their guests to recycle and separate their rubbish as much as possible and have recycling facilities on site.
Literally a five minute walk up the country road from the Estate is a farm-shop offering a range of fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs, ice cream and meat. We bought sirloin steaks and they were superb. We bought more to take home with us. They were superb too. I'm actually salivating thinking about them.
Auchterarder has a small supermarket, a really good butcher, various takeaways, pubs, coffee shops etc. If you really want to treat yourself, Gleneagles is even closer....
Staff in the hotel are happy to arrange a variety of activies for you upon request - horseriding, golf, angling and massages to mention a few.
As you would expect this can vary considerably depending on the time of year. The website http://www.duchally.co.uk/ gives more details of the full rates and offers that are available. Expect to pay between £440 for a four night midweek stay in low season for a two bedroom lodge up to £2,250 for a full week in high season in a three bedroom lodge. If you are a member of Club La Costa, you can use your points to stay here and if you manage to make a last minute booking in the low season (as my parents have done), you can get a real bargain.
We went on a promotion on our last visit - we paid just £118 for a two bedroom lodge for four nights. Excellent value for what really is five star accommodation.
Check-in time 4pm, check-out 10am
Daily maid service
Wireless Internet Connection available in the bar and leisure centre
And see www.duchally.co.uk for more information and pictures
(This review has previously been posted (with photographs!) on Ciao by me under the same username carcraig)
A beautiful estate stretching across 27 acres of picturesque landscape.