I don’t have the warmest feelings toward Aberdeen, having experienced one of the lowest points of my life there, but I decided to give it another go when I was invited to stay at Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House last weekend.
Despite living in Aberdeen for two years I was unaware of Ardoe House’s existence, which as it turns out was a massive loss for me. Nestled away in the trees you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you’re only ten minutes from the city centre, which makes it the ideal escape from the usual hustle and bustle. I couldn’t quite believe it when it turned out to be less than five minutes from the flat I lived in last year!
The hotel itself looks incredible, which I suppose is to be expected from a 19th century country house! It certainly makes the most of the granite that the surrounding area is famed for, but in a way that sparkles more than Union Street. Surrounded by 30 acres of greenery it’s an absolutely gorgeous location, however we were blessed with that beautiful Scottish rain that left us marooned indoors for our stay.
Luckily, I was more than happy to curl up in the massive marshmallow bed for a nap or three! Our room was a really brilliant size, with plenty of space to spread aaaaaall of my stuff out – I like to over pack – without feeling cramped. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the bathroom, but despite being larger than all of my house’s bathrooms combined it really could have done with a bath tub. I do love a bubble bath! There was a solution though…
Yup. The spa.
Having experienced my first “proper” spa day back in June for my anniversary I’d been eager to get myself back on the table for another massage ever since. The spa facilities at Ardoe seem small, but they provide such a great range it’s really difficult to choose. Both Paddy & I decided to have a massage and it was clear that the spa therapists know their stuff. If I was still living in Aberdeen I’d be up for weekly treatments! My therapist was really chatty, which I hadn’t expected, but it was actually really relaxing to just have a mindless chatter with someone whilst tucked under lots of cosy towels. Plus it meant I managed to stay awake for a change…
We spent most of our day by the pool however had to share with an infant swimming class that was a tad noisy – it’s probably worth checking the class timetable before heading in! I stuck to the jacuzzi for most of the day so ended up a tad pruned when it was time to go.
One of the most important things for me when visiting somewhere new is the food. This isn’t all that unexpected for me, I love food, and I loved the majority of the food at Ardoe House.
The only food related issue we had was our lunch, which took forever to arrive and was a little underwhelming. Due to a kitchen mix up we ended up with five portions of chips between the two of us, and as delicious as the sweet potato fries were it was a bit too much! There did seem to be some communication issues between the kitchen and the staff as we had a similar issue at dinner when asking for something to be removed due to dietary requirements, but the staff were all quick to rectify any issues which saved it for me.
Dinner totally blew me away. The menu is relatively simple, offering a mix of Scottish classics and making the most of local produce, but it is made well which is exactly what you want. The “Fet Like” salad I had for my starter has been lingering at the forefront of my mind since first bite and I’m determined to find a local supplier of the cheese. For my main I had steak which was cooked to perfection and the portion was ideal as it left me full, but still with room for a sticky toffee pudding afterwards.
The breakfast selection was fairly typical, however I was beyond excited when I realised I could have it delivered to my room to enjoy in bed. A lazy girl’s dream! Paddy was also delighted to discover he could have haggis with his, so we were a happy pair.
Although the service did sometimes feel slow, we weren’t exactly rushing about so it didn’t really matter all that much. The staff were all brilliantly polite and made sure we had whatever we needed which you would expect from a hotel of this calibre. It does seem that the hotel runs a slightly “reduced service” Sunday/Monday, which would appear to be their quieter days, so this may have been to blame, but it won’t stop me returning to Ardoe House or recommending it to anyone who’s after a little break in Scotland.
I just can’t believe that Ardoe House is so close to the city I thought I knew relatively well. I could probably see it from my favourite study spot at the top of my old library! It’s a little sanctuary hidden away in the trees and one I’d love to visit again. I’m thinking a spa day, afternoon tea and reliving the amazing night’s sleep I had in the massive bed.
But I suppose any bed seems a whole lot bigger when you don’t have to share it with a cat…