Highlander Hotel

7  / 10
Average rating (10 reviews)
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8 / 10
Great DBB Deal

"I got the dinner, bed and breakfast deal in the Highlands Hotel on the complex.

Easy check-in and managed to get in before 2pm, not 4pm as stated on website.

The room was fine, very comfy big double bed (NOT 2 singles pushed together which was a bonus), nothing special but comfortable.

The dinner in the restaurant in the Highland Hotel was fabulous and great value when included in DBB rates. Unlike previous reviewers, I found the service great - attentive but not overboard. The food was really beautiful and a really nice atmosphere. Staff in the bar were very charming.

Leisure facilties looked good and nice to have spa on site too with fairly reasonable rates.

I would recommend the resort if staying and eating at the Highlands Hotel.

  • Holiday details: Jun 2007

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8 / 10
Good hotel, could be a great hotel

"We stayed at the MacDonald Highland in May for two nights on a DBB deal. It was mid-week so the resort was fairly quiet. We read the reviews here before booking, but have had good experiences of MacDonald Hotels in the past and the standard is usually very good (North of the border anyway, the one in Kendal was rubbish).

The hotel is in a very pleasant location within the resort, the public areas are nice, the rooms are very nice, surprised that some people found them small. The leisure facilities are excellent, with a big pool, wave machine, steam rooms etc. The staff, mostly Eastern European, were all friendly and helpful. As we were on DBB we ate in the "fine dining" restaurant both nights and the food was excellent, as good as I have had in many top restaurants .......

BUT ....

The service in the restuarant was as bad as I have ever experienced, it would be quite at home in "Fawlty Towers". Don't get me wrong, the staff were polite, friendly and attentive, but they were completely disorganised. The first night we couldn't get a table for 8pm as a large party was in, so we booked for 8:30pm. Although the restaurant was nearly empty I don't think we got starters until 9:10pm, main course 9:40pm and dessert 10:10pm, which is a bit late in my opinion. The second night was the shocker - 8:30pm table again due to a large party in the restaurant, nearly empty again when we got there. The waitress eventually took our wine order at 8:50pm then returned 30 seconds later for our food order. Our starters arrived about 9:15pm but the wine hadn't appeared, and we had to ask again three times before it materialised. Cardinal sin in Gordon Ramsay's book, I tend to agree. Can't say when the mains and desserts arrived as I took my watch off and put it in my pocket so I could try to relax and enjoy the meal ! The food was excellent, the menu very creative, the service spoiled the whole experience.

Anyway, enough moaning, if you get a good DBB deal on this hotel and don't mind waiting to eat, highly recommended.

  • Holiday details: May 2007

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10 / 10
Great Hotel, But People Have Made Errors In Their Reviews..Read on...

"This hotel upon arrival is what you'd expect to see from a highlands resort hotel, wonderful scenery, great facilities, the warmth of the people and great dining. The standard rooms at the highlands resort are fairly decent, but if you can upgrade to an executive room (usually just an extra £20) then you'll have an excellent room. The executive rooms are larger and have better beds with egyptian cotton bedding, larger more luxurious bathrooms and a minibar. The hotel has it own swimming pool with wave machine, spa pool, sauna and steam room. On site at the main block you'll have evening entertainment of a high standard and there's a game room with a pool table and much more located in the academy hotel. The shopping centre within the hotel is top class but extremely overpriced, perhaps worth a look though. The dining experience is top class at the highlands hotel, with top class chefs and fine dining, but of course all at a price (average £30 a head without drinks). Now the whole complex comprises of four hotels, highlands hotel being one of them. People happen to be on this website reviewing some of the other hotels in this complex which aren't as good. So the 3 out of five rating given for this hotel is non-valid. The other complexes of the academy hotel, four seasons and the aviemore inn have their own section on this website. Overall i give this highlands hotel 8/10."

  • Holiday details: Feb 2007

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6 / 10
Not worthy

"For a four star hotel the room was very ordinary although very clean. We had booked dinner, bed and breakfast but despite this we had to book a table for dinner every night, the food was nothing special and we had the same menu on all three nights we were there. There was also a limit of £27.50 and anything over that you had to pay for at the end of your stay, which we found strange as we have never come across anything like this before. Apart from this the staff in the restaurant were very nice and helpful.

We also thought that one reception for four hotels was wrong, and on leaving they got the bill wrong so all in all not worthy of a four star rating in our opinion.

  • Holiday details: Sep 2006

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6 / 10

"We (a family of two adults, one teenager and two children) booked connecting rooms at the Academy Hotel for three nights in July. Upon arrival we were told that we had been upgraded to the MacDonald Highland Hotel but that no connecting rooms were available. Initially we were given rooms which appeared to be close however it turned out that the plan at reception is not very accurate.....the rooms had two fire doors between them and were not even on the same floor !

Upon complaining we were allocated rooms which were on the same floor. I thought the building and the rooms looked more like a Travelodge that those of a quality hotel.

There is only one reception area for all of the hotels which I found incredible. After checking in you then have to drive to your allocated hotel. There were two staff on duty at reception and they were friendly and helpful.

We ate at two different restaurants (highly recommend the Italian "Giovannis Restaurant" for families) in the evenings and the food was good and reasonably priced. For breakfasts, there was a reasonable variety, however the cooked food was greasy.

The leisure centre is good, however don't be taken in by adverts that there are flumes in the swimming area. There is in fact one flume only and it wasn't operating when we were there. A big disappointment to the kids.

Overall, we thought the accommodation was mediocre and overpriced and the single reception area for three (or is it four ?) hotels is ridiculous.

We have previously stayed at the Hilton Coylumbridge and think that the MacDonald Highland Hotel is probably better, though not by much.

  • Holiday details: Jul 2006

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8 / 10
Brilliant new hotel, excellent breakfast

"I stayed at this hotel for 3 nights at the end of June 2005 and I loved it. The only negative thing in the whole stay was that the room was small to average. The building itself is new and large so if you are looking for a traditional old-style hotel this isn't it.

Apart from that the hotel itself is new, in very good condition, the rooms are clean. I stayed in a standard room (paid a reduced rate of £78 per night B&B) and in addition to the usual stuff, it had a DVD/CD player and access to internet through the TV. There was plenty of storage space, and the bed was very comfortable and king size.

The hotel itself was also great- it had a large leisure complex with big swimming pool, flume, small pool for children, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and gym. The highland hotel is part of a large aviemore resort containing 3/4 other hotels, and guests are able to use any of the hotels facilities- for example you can eat dinner in any of the 4/5 restaurants. I myself didn't have dinner at the resort but opted to go to aviemore village itself (the hotel is situated just a few mins walk from the pretty village) which had many restaurants to chose from.

The breakfast at the highland hotel is fantastic though. Definitely the best buffet breakfast I've had, the selection of continental and cooked food is very large and the service excellent.

Checking in and out of the hotel was also a pleasant experience and the staff very friendly, I can't wait to go back.

  • Holiday details: Aug 2005

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10 / 10
Breakfast looking at snow covered mountains

"I have just spent two days at the Highlands Hotel, part of the Aviemore Highlands Resort. What an excellent hotel! The service was fantastic. January 2005, I was on business covering clients in the north east of Scotland so Aviemore seamed a good base to work from. Trying to book a room was a nightmare with MacDonald’s hotel central reservations saying the resort was fully booked, but when I enquired with resort direct, not a problem and when I arrived only to find that the hotel was practically empty. Go for the Executive rooms unless cost is a factor. These rooms have far more space and extra facilities. There are plenty of leisure actives on site within a new leisure centre with a fantastic pool, sauna, massage, gym and much more. The food at dinner in the Aspects Restaurant is out of this world. Don’t miss it for the world. Have breakfast looking at snow covered mountains with dawn beaming down like a golden haze of jewels. Those two days a storm hit Scotland but I never feared as calmness was the charm of my surroundings in an excellent hotel. This is a modern hotel with a touch of Scotland's charm. A stay I will never forget. I am looking forward to going back."

  • Holiday details: Jan 2005

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8 / 10
We'll return for more

"The Highlands Hotel is part of the Aviemore Highlands Resort. This is a group of 3 Macdonald hotels plus self-catering units, with a leisure complex. The Highlands is newly refurbished and makes for an excellent weekend break - there's enough to do locally in the Cairngorms National Park to last a week.


Staff were efficient, courteous and welcoming.

Bedroom was spacious and comfortable, with a restful cream and maroon decor and luxurious white bedlinen. And a bottle of wine if you book online.

Bathroom toiletries were sumptuous and high quality, a pleasure to use.

Leisure complex was excellent - big pool with a view of the hills, sauna, best hotel steam room yet, jacuzzi, water flume, wave machine, gym.

Dinner - good service and good (though short) menu, though you'll have to pay supplements on half the choice if you're on a DBB rate. A few options repeated on the two nights. And if you want water, ask for a jug of it as you'll pay a swingeing price for a bottle otherwise.

Breakfast - massive choice (including haggis, and marmalade for diabetics) and best hotel coffee ever!

Locally - walks in Caledonian pine woods, cycle tracks, the funicular for the views, watersports, landrover rides, and the local highland estate runs a high quality food shop.


Our room had a recurring problem with its hot water (or lack of it) due to an air lock. It was always speedily and courteously sorted when we phoned to complain, and our bill was appropriately adjusted. I wouldn't expect this problem to recur once the refurbishment elsewhere is finished in a few weeks, and our short corridor seemed to be the only one with the problem.

There is some evidence of building work ongoing - there's a site compound is nearby, for example. However, there was no work at the weekend and it didn't spoil our stay in any way.

You go to a central reservations desk at another hotel nearby to book in and check out, not to the Highlands Hotel. A bit inconvenient, but it's only twice.

  • Holiday details: Nov 2004

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2 / 10
Bad customer service

"I have decided to cancel my reservation at this hotel, mainly because the staff are totallly dis-interested in offering any customer service or support.

Having read the previous comments of a guests stay at this hotel, I was very concerned as to what to expect. As this was going to be an expensive trip for me and my family I wanted to get it right.

I had sent 2 e-mails, one asking about general information. This was totally ignored. My other, was expressing my concerns of the comments written by the previous guest. I wanted assurances that the hotel was up to standard, and that it would be an enjoyable experience. Again, this was ignored.

For a hotel that has only just recently opened, I would expect better service. If this is how they react, before I have even arrived, I doubt if the service would get any better once there. The reservation was therefore cancelled.

  • Holiday details: Aug 2004

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4 / 10
Avoid at all costs

"This hotel complex needs to be reviewed on a number of issues. The older hotel ('Academy') looks boring from the outside (a square breeze block eyesore) and is dreadful on the inside. the food is dire, the rooms are tired and you depart feeling cheated. The general conversation with other guests is that the place should not be allowed to stay in business. The newer hotel ('Highland') is lovely by comparison. The exterior is much better, the food is excellent and the facilities are very good. Both hotels have staff who are positive and professional, though somewhat badly co-ordinated. The only problem is that when we visited (July 04) it hadn't been completely built. The visitor is currently surrounded by building work and the lovely views are ruined by the sound of diggers and lorries for extensive car parks and a conference centre. It isn't helped by the sight of large quantities of even more breeze block. You currently have a choice: go now and suffer the hassles of an unfinished hotel but few guests or wait a year and visit a large busy car park. Alternatively try a different hotel which has a building in keeping with the lovely surroundings, offers food beyond chicken nuggets and doesn't give the feeling of being in the middle of a huge car park. I can't give the rating a 1-star as this would not do justice to the hard working staff. However, you are unlikely to leave this hotel feeling satisfied."

  • Holiday details: Jul 2004

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Highlander Hotel is also called:

  • hotel macdonald highlands
  • macdonald highlands aviemore
  • macdonald highlands hotel

Address: Aviemore Highlands, Aviemore PH22 1PN, United Kingdom