“ West Kilbride Ayrshire KA23 9ND. Tel: +44(0)1294 822217. „
The Seamill Hydro hotel is located near the village of West Kilbride, on the Ayrshire coast between Largs and Ardrossan. Its closest metropolitan centre is Glasgow and hence it is better known by Scots going on holiday rather than invading Sassenach's.
So how do you get to Seamill Hydro, well for me it was a drive up the M74, then I struck out across the windy A71 towards Kilmarnock and continued in the A71 towards Irvine, once on the coastal A78 road you head for Largs, bypass Saltcoats and Ardrossan and pitch up in West Kilbride. To help you out the local council now have a village sign stating 'West Kilbride incorporating Seamill Hydro'. The hotel is on the coastal side of the road and the hotel has views across the sea to Arran. My route may not be the quickest, but after seven hours on a motorway it is nice to get off onto slower roads. Bizarrely a quicker route is to head up to Glasgow, get on the M8 head west, then turn south on the M77 to Kilmarnock turn on to the A71 to Irvine and pick up the coastal A78 road to Largs. On the map you think that the zigzag north/south route is crazy, but it helps you get to the west coast a little more quickly.
The hotel is a two story building that has a classic West Scottish stone finish, however a quick look with my engineer eye and I can see that it has been extended and added to over the years. This gives the hotel at strange feel to it. In some places it is modern and fresh, but in others dated or tired and even somewhere in the middle.
The entrance and reception area is on the south side of the hotel and has an airy feel to it. From here it got confusing as there are stairs to the right of the reception, yet the lift is to the left and behind it. First we couldn't find the lift and had to save face and go up the stairs. Eventually when we did find the lift we discovered that it could also be reached by walking out the entrance, back into the restaurant entrance on our left, past the restaurant and there it was. Confused? We certainly were.
The Aura restaurant we used for our breakfast was on the ground floor between the car park and the reception. It was very modern and new and probably the best part of the hotel. Seating was good and the high chairs available were clean and new. The items available at breakfast included, cereals, fruits, juices, yoghurts, bread, and cooked items all as part of a serve buffet. Cooked foods on offer included, eggs (scrambled and poached), bacon, square sausage, tomatoes, beans, potato scones and black pudding. The coffee and teas were served by the waiting staff and breakfast was very efficient. As for the evening meals in the restaurant I cannot comment as we didn't have any meals at that time.
The bedroom was quite small for our needs. The cot which was free had replaced a table in our room. The table instead of being taken away was left outside our room as if we had dragged it out ourselves and that didn't please me. The double bed mattress was a little on the soft side and the wardrobe concertina doors had a habit of sticking when shut, so we left them open. The TV on a drawer unit was okay, but the reception was not great. The tea making facilities were on a drawer unit near the door and just a little bit too low for our liking and with reach of our crawling one year old. The bathroom was relatively clean, but the décor was fading and after a shower the damp air took a long time to clear, despite the presence of a fan. In short our room was not the greatest so we spent a lot of the time in the hotel at the spa or in the lounge bar.
The spa was new and modern, with a large pool, steam room and sauna. There was also a separate gym and beauty parlour. The changing facilities were good and the showers were okay. We liked the spa and this was a place where we were able to take BC2 for a swim and relax. The Pladda lounge looked out across the sea to the island of Arran and on a good day you could see it clearly. The lounge itself has two levels, with a lower level that was clear of tables were we could let BC2 burn off some energy without having to pick her up all the time. The only down side to the bar area for us was that of the three high chairs available only one was suitable for a one year old. Even then it was a bit dirty, the other chairs were for older children and made out of wood, they didn't have a food tray and one had a broken lap strap.
Our room for bed and breakfast in 2008 was £44 per person per night. Which for the three nights we stayed cost us £264 and we didn't even get a sea view with that. Just as well that they gave us the cot for free.
In short the Seamill Hydro Hotel was only good for one thing and that was getting us a room as close to our family as possible. As for everything else we felt that the hotel was not great value. The room would have been adequate for a couple, but for us it was too small. The layout of the hotel takes some getting use to, the latest additions to this sprawling hotel namely the restaurant and spa are modern and clean, but the rest of the hotel needs a bit of an overhaul to match up with these newer parts. I cannot recommend this hotel to anyone unless you want to pay for the privilege of staying in a hotel that has seen better days. It is not a terrible hotel, but it not the best either.
This review may be found on other review sites under the same username and is also written by me.
Don't you just love surprises? I do. So I was delighted when, upon reaching the tender age of ** (darn PC, keeps inserting asterisks instead of numbers, sorry!) at the start of the year, my hubby surprised me with an overnight stay at Seamill Hydro as a birthday treat. Seamill is located in the village of West Kilbride in Ayrshire. In case you don't know where West Kilbride is, it is situated midway between the famous holiday retreats of Ardrossan and Largs (what do you mean "err, where"??) on the west coast of Scotland. If you are of a Non-Scottish persuasion just grab a map and find Ayr, work your way up the coast, passing through Troon and Irvine - you can't miss it! Anyway tour over - now that you have been enlightened to the whereabouts of Seamill we can get on with the opinion. Well, firstly I would like to mention that the hotel has a website at http://www.seamillhydro.co.uk/ where you can get a (visual) idea of what it looks like. This was our second stay at Seamill, we first went for a weekend about three years ago. I suppose the fact that we went back speaks for itself really, although I didn't get any say in it this time :) But had I had a choice it would definitely have been very high up my list. To me that is always the most important thing someone can say about a hotel - that they would definitely go back. The best way to tell you about the hotel is to take you through our visit chronologically (not *every* detail though!!!). So to start I will have to hand you over to hubby since it was he who booked it. OK, really I just asked him about it, you think I'd let him near MY keyboard!! ## Reservation ## Reserving a room at the hotel was simply a matter of a quick 'phone call. Bearing in mind that we visited on a Thursday in mid-January, the hotel was relatively empty, so no problems with availability. The hotel can get quite busy at weekends and especially during the sum
mer months, so it would be advisable to book well in advance. The receptionist explained all the various prices and supplements as a matter of course, so hubby decided on bed, breakfast and evening dinner in a room with a sea view. The prices quoted were £30 b&b pp, £35 bb&d and £5 supplement per person per night for a sea view. Upon deciding to book he gave his credit card number, but this was only as a guarantee, the card wasn't actually charged. Like all hotels, the price varies and there are often special offers on, so I can only advise you check with the hotel (perhaps on the website) for the most recent prices. ## Arrival ## On arrival the reception staff were excellent. I really hate it when you are left hanging around for ages trying to get checked in, but this was efficiency epitomised. The whole process took only two minutes. We were given a pre-printed card that held all our details (name, room number etc.), and all we had to do was fill in our car registration number. We were given the room key, told about times of meals, asked if we would like a wake-up call and/or newspaper, then directed to our room with an "enjoy your stay" and a smile :) ## The Room ## The room was, in a word, superb! The first thing I noticed was how spacious it was. It was a square shape with a big bay widow in one corner. The room had all the usual things you may expect like an en-suite bathroom (big), satellite telly, tea/coffee facilities, telephone, hairdryer and trouser press (does anyone actually use them??). The bed itself was SO comfy, no lumps or dips in the mattress, and sheets tucked in very tight 'hospital style'. When we arrived it was dark, so we had to wait until morning to see the sea-view, our only let down since it was a bit foggy the next day and we couldn't see across to the isle of Arran. I did see that the last time I stayed though, and it is a wonderful view - well worth paying the extra fiver for :)
## Dinner ## Dinner had been quoted as four-course when the reservation was made, so we expected the usual set menu, hotel restaurant thing. When we reached the dining room the waiter informed us that we had a choice of eating in there, with the formal settings and table linen etc., or eating in the newly refurbished bistro. We had a look at both menus and decided just to go for the bistro (we were well hungry by that time and the bistro looked the quicker option!). We were given the bistro menu and told we could choose any starter, main course and dessert. The menu was great, with a really wide choice. This is the point where the veggies can turn away!! As an example I will tell you what I had. Starter - Norwegian prawn platter (prawns, salad and separate sauce). Main Course - Rack of Lamb with a big side dish of veggies and the biggest portion of chips I've ever seen! And for dessert, a big slice of choccy cake (naughty girl!!). The meal was finished off with tea/coffee and I certainly couldn't fault any of it. ## Leisure Facilities ## Unfortunately on this occasion we didn't have time to make full use of the leisure facilities (unless the bar is classed as such!!). I did have a good look around though and I was very impressed. Speaking to another couple in the bar confirmed that the leisure facilities were top-class. The swimming pool is quite large for a hotel pool, you can actually get a decent swim in it! They also have a gym, sauna and steam room, Jacuzzi, and some outdoor stuff like crazy golf and a kids adventure play area. these are all at no additional cost, although a small charge is made for sunbeds and beauty treatments. Overall the leisure facilities are above average for this type of hotel. ## Breakfast ## Breakfast was in the main restaurant and I can honestly say it was the best breakfast I have ever had in a hotel. You can choose from loads of different cereals, fruit juices and fresh fruit. Or if you
are feeling naughty you can have the full cooked breakfast, making up your own choice from a rather tasty selection. Breakfast was really faultless and well tasty, just the job to get rid of the hangover. ## Check-out ## Checking-out was every bit as efficient as checking-in. The bill was spot-on (the room rate plus a 'few' drinks), and the staff were again courteous and pleasant. Overall I really really enjoyed my stay, and I would certainly go back yet again. As I said, the only real downer was the fact that the view over the Isle of Arran was obstructed by fog, but that is hardly the hotels fault! The service, meals and room were definitely first class, and I would have no hesitation in recommending this hotel to anyone. If you ever find yourself looking for a good hotel in Ayrshire this is certainly the place to go. One word of warning though - if you drive into West Kilbride across country from Dalry, especially in the dark, watch the bends in the road!! But hey, that's a separate story ;)