“ Aviemore Inverness-shire Aviemore PH22 1QN. Tel: 01479 810661 „
* Prices may differ from that shown
We booked a two night Advanced Purchase Dinner, Bed and Breakfast deal to stay from 27th to 29th October because we wanted a short break during the October school holidays and absolutely love the Aviemore area. I was there with my husband and 2 kids who are five and two. We had stayed at the neighbouring MacDonald resort the previous year but thought we would try the Hilton this year and to be honest I wish we hadn't! Some points were good but overall I don't think the trip was worth the money we spent - despite starting off with what seemed like a good deal on the cost of the stay.
Our room was only just big enough. We were offered an upgrade to a suite when we checked in but at £29 per night decided not to. However I wish we had. The room was taken up the 2 beds (which to be fair were very comfy) and the usual hotel furniture so there was no room for 2 adults to walk about never mind 2 kids to play. There was also a patch of damp by the window and the ceiling was covered in fluff.
As we were on D, B and B we were to eat in the main dining room. It was awful. The tables were too small for a family of 4. We were surrounded by elderly couples who were less than pleased listening to my 2. The kids food was buffet style which I think is a bit of a cop out and was the usual nuggets and burgers. The buffet was also surrounded by elderly couples who had to put up with an endless procession of kids going to get food and we were seating miles away! The adult food was awful and the starter and pudding my husband had was honestly some of the worst food I have ever seen served in a restaurant! Mine was only slightly better.
My last main complaint is about the cost of pretty much everything! A large glass of Pinot Grigio was £7.50!!! It was a nice glass of wine but not that nice. The bottle of water in the room (1 litre) was over £3.50 if you opened it. The soft play and mini golf at the Fun House wasn't free if you were a resident which we assumed it would be. The kids juice seemed really pricey. It all added up.
The swimming pool was brilliant. Nice changing rooms and the pool had a brilliant slide which both kids loved. There were floats and balls available for the kids to use and most importantly of all the pool was properly warm! I hate cold pools as does my 2 year old so we were both very happy and ended up staying in for well over an hour.
We decided we couldn't face another night in the restaurant so we went to the Bistro restaurant on the 2nd night. Because of the deal we were on we got £15 towards the cost of the meal and the kids ate free. The food was fabulous! One of the best meals I have had in a long time. Quite a comparison to the night before. The kids had a proper menu and my 5 year old loved his Thai curry!
The breakfast was lovely and a huge choice. I'm not a massive fry up fan but my husband loved it and the kids thought it was great.
Overall, I probably won't be going back there again. On balance the MacDonald resort, in my experience, is better. I have a feeling that we were a bit unlucky as even though it was the school holidays I would guess that more than 50% of the guests were elderly and this did have an impact on the feel of the place. However it doesn't excuse the poor food and the seemingly endless attempt by the hotel to get extra cash out of us.
I apologise in advance for the length of this review but the Hilton at Coylumbridge really has so much to offer I didn't want to leave anything out!!
Having heard a lot of good reports about the Hilton Coylumbridge just outside Aviemore, we have been trying for a few years now to stay there. The Hilton at Coylumbridge is well known for being a very good hotel for families, with lots to offer the kids. When our kids were younger we often tried to stay there but we either couldn't get the dates we were looking for, as it is usually fully booked, or we just couldn't get a price package to suit. This year however we were lucky. We managed to get the dates we were looking for (having learned my lesson I booked 5 months in advance) and we also managed to pay for almost all of our weekend stay with our Tesco Clubcard vouchers!
Situated just a couple of miles outside Aviemore the Hilton Coylumbridge is situated in a 65 acre woodland estate within the Cairngorm National Park. Quite an impressive looking building from the outside the Hilton has ample car parking both in front of and behind the hotel. The hotel offers 175 guests rooms with a range of different guest rooms, family rooms and suites. They also have lodges suitable for up to 8 people within the hotel grounds. There is a conference room, which will cater for up to 800 people. The hotel is smoke free and wireless internet is available.
The entrance foyer is very large with a well laid out and beautifully furnished lounge/sitting area. This is also where you will find the large reception and a Costa Coffee shop. Booking in was very quick and efficient taking only about 10 minutes to complete. We were told where our room was, told a bit about the hotel and what it had to offer and also asked to book a time for our evening meal. One drawback of this hotel is the fact that it does not have any lifts, although ground floor rooms can be requested and there are plenty porters to hand to help with bags if need be. As it was we were only there for the weekend and were fully capable of carrying our own bags up to the first floor where our room was.
In the lounge/sitting area there were very large windows looking onto the 2 swimming pools the hotel offers its guests, which was really pleasant, sitting relaxing with refreshments watching people having fun in the pool.
Just past the lounge/sitting area there is a bar. Children staying in the hotel must be out of this area by 8pm. I thought this was quite a good idea as you were still able to buy drinks and sit with kids in the sitting area but it gave the guests without kids a little bit of peace and quiet without kids running around all over the place, which is exactly what they were doing in the sitting area, but I like that anyway! On past the bar is a gift shop selling local crafts, handmade toiletries and newspapers and sweets as well. There is also a beauty salon if you would like a bit of pampering!
Our room was on the first floor. Door opening was by the usual key card, which seems to be the norm nowadays, and I have to admit this one actually worked every time! We had a family room, which was for 4 people. The room itself was well maintained and tastefully decorated but, for a family room, I did feel was a little on the compact side. It had 2 large, very comfy double beds with only one small bedside table in between the 2 beds, with nothing at the other sides of the beds. I prefer to have a bedside table at both sides of the bed because I read in bed and wear glasses, I like to have somewhere to put my things without having to get out of bed again. Probably me just being a bit picky but I did think this looked a bit odd. There was a dressing table with a large mirror above it and a chair below. On the dressing table was the kettle and a good selection of coffee, tea and biscuits. There was also a hairdryer in one of the drawers and a folder with lots of leaflets giving details of things to do during your stay. There was an easy chair and a coffee table. The coffee table had a bottle of water on it to welcome us, with a note stating that the bottle of water costs £4!!!!! Of course we told the kids not to drink the water and go thirsty! Next to the coffee table there was a chest of drawers with a 32" LCD TV on it. A shelf unit and hanging rail gave plenty storage space for all our clothes, coats and shoes. There was also an ironing board and iron provided in the room, but thankfully I didn't need to use these!
Overall the room was very adequate and comfy, clean and well kept with my only grumble being the fact that I didn't have a bedside table and it was quite a small room with little or no floor space around all the furniture.
The en suite bathroom again was very tastefully decorated with a shower and shower curtain above the bath. There were small bottles of shampoo and body wash and small bars of soap provided. No window in the bathroom, only a noisy fan. Again this room was adequate but very small with nowhere to put our toiletries, there was no shelving and no vanity unit with only a small basin being attached to wall. It met our needs for our weekend stay but definitely could have done with a vanity unit or some shelves, just somewhere to put all your toiletries. Plenty towels were provided and if you wanted them changed you just had to leave them in the bath and the daily maid service would replace them.
**What the Hotel has to Offer**
As I mentioned earlier there is a large sitting/lounge area with a Costa Coffee shop, a bar and a gift shop. There are also 2 swimming pools, which are free to use by residents. One of the pools is shallower and has a small slide in it for the younger ones and the other pool is slighter deeper with a Jacuzzi and sauna. The pools were great, well kept with nice clean changing rooms and towels provided if need be.
In total there are 5 bars and 2 restaurants - the Grant Room and the Terracotta Bistro. Breakfast and evening meals are served in the Grant Room, but if your evening meals aren't included then you are welcome to eat elsewhere.
Outside and in a separate building is the Fun House, a must for the kids. Here you will find a large play area, a games room and an indoor mini golf course. There is also an American Style Diner here. The only complaint I would have about this facility was the fact that it closed at 6pm. We had been out for the day and Erin wanted to go and have some fun when we got back, but when we arrived it was closed.
If outside fun is more your thing then you can have a go on the dry ski slope or the tennis courts, do some climbing on the climbing wall or try you hand at some trampolining. This again is all provided within the grounds of the hotel. The Fun House and the Outdoor Discovery Adventure Park are all provided at an extra charge.
In the evenings to hotel provides family entertainment, which was excellent. The first night we were there, there was a local band playing and they played a good mix of really catchy music. All the kids were up dancing in the sitting/lounge area having a ball. The second evening we stayed there was a family disco, which was good fun too.
If you prefer to stay in your room in the evening the large LCD tv is wonderful with a fairly good choice of channels and many different movies or programmes to order on demand, although one movie cost £8, which I felt was a bit expensive, particularly when some of the movies on offer were quite old - Monsters Inc being one of them.
**Eating at the Hilton**
The kids get to stay in their parent's room free up until the age of 18, which I feel is a really good deal. Scott and I got our meals included in the price of the room but with the kids staying free we had to pay for their breakfast and for their evening meals. The breakfasts were £6.99 each and the evening meals were £7.99 each. Kyle (16) was very disappointed at the prospect of having to eat from the children's menu - he thought he was going to be starving (but he soon changed his mind)! When we arrived for our first evening meal we were taken to our table. The Grant Room is a very large dining room, bright and cheery and quite busy. We were immediately offered bread rolls and Scott and I were shown our menus, quite a good choice, a starter with 4 or 5 options, 2 of which were vegetarian, a main course with 5 choices again with 2 vegetarian and the dessert with 4 choices. If your meals were not included in your package price then they would have cost £20 each.
The kids were not given menus and I asked our waiter for the children's menu, he just looked at me blankly, muttered something and then walked away. This would be my main grumble in the dining area. The majority of the waiters and waitresses were foreign. Whilst I do not have a problem with foreign workers I do feel that when they are having a lot of one to one public contact then their English should be quite good, our waiter did not speak English well at all and had trouble understanding us and in turn I could not understand him. In the end I actually had to ask another guest who had a child with her about the children's menu. She explained to me that it was a buffet menu for the kids and they could just help themselves - Kyle's face lit up immediately!
There was a good choice for the kids with soup, pasta, macaroni, different sauces, chips, potatoes, vegetables, beans, roast beef, chicken and different desserts. Needless to say neither of my kids left the dining room hungry.
Scott and I both enjoyed our meals too although did feel they were a little on the light side. It was nice to have a 3 course meal included in the price of your stay but I don't think I would have been happy at paying £20 each for the meals we received. Very tasty food with a good choice but could have done with more.
The breakfasts were served until 11.30am at the weekends, which was great, no rushing around and, in fact, we actually had time to go for a swim before breakfast. I don't know about the rest of you, but when offered with a buffet style breakfast we always tend to over indulge and swimming after breakfast just doesn't have the same appeal.
When we walked into the Grant Room for breakfast we were greeted by the wonderful smell of fresh toasted waffles. I had never seen this before in a Hilton but the kids loved it. There were 2 waffle machines where you could make your own waffles. There were jugs of batter mix, you just poured some into the waffles maker and set the timer and 3 minutes later you had a lovely, very large fresh toasted waffle to eat. Alongside the waffle makers were a range of sauces, jams, fruits, chocolate sprinkles etc to cover your waffle with. They were wonderful and a real novelty for the kids, although kids under 16 had to be supervised by an adult. Beside the waffle makers there was a chef standing making fresh omelettes. You could choose what you wanted in your omelette, ham, cheese, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. again this was a great change from the usual breakfast. There was also the more traditional style buffet breakfast to choose from as well with plenty cereals, fruits, breads and rolls. There were toasters to make toast and a huge selection of cooked breakfast items from bacon, eggs and beans, fried bread, potato scones and mushrooms. There was a good selection of fresh fruits juices on offer and you could have as much tea and coffee as required. Definitely one of the best breakfasts I have ever had, a great start to day that definitely left us quite satisfied until the evening!
**My Overall Views**
I would definitely recommend the Hilton Coylumbridge to those with families. It is a great place to stay with kids. I would also recommend to those without kids as well so long as you don't mind kids running around wild. It is definitely not a place for a quiet break. I would however recommend looking out for bargains or special offers if you plan to stay here, or even paying with Tesco vouchers like we did. Our room rate was £167 per night this included breakfast and meals for Scott and I and on top of that we had £30 a day for the kid's meals. If the kids want to go to the Fun House or try out some of the outdoor activities then a stay here could potentially prove to be very expensive. I have heard that they do offer a lot of quite reasonable deals though and on our last night we actually received a letter under the door offering us another night or 2 at the rate of £99 per night for room and meals or £79 per night for B & B, which just proves how expensive the rate we were paying really was!
They definitely do cater really well for families. Their rooms were lovely and well kept and very clean but could have been bigger and the meals too were lovely. The breakfast I would go back for in a minute!
I also liked the fact that they provided evening entertainment suitable for the whole family, it gave the hotel a bit of atmosphere and with everything else the hotel offered if meant that you really didn't have to leave the hotel at all if you didn't want to or if the weather was particularly bad. There is so much on offer within the hotel and grounds that you could spend your whole stay there, never having to leave, although this could prove to be very expensive.
Thanks for reading.
Also posted elsewhere under the same name.