Paying to be warm???
We stayed at the MacDonald Spey Valley Resort as we managed to get a good deal, or so we thought. We booked through booking.com and were quoted a price of £156 for two midweek nights. The pictures looked good, reviews weren’t great but good enough as we thought this was a good deal, so we booked.
I have been coming to Aviemore my whole entire life and know it like the back of my hand but had never stayed here. I have stayed in all of the MacDonald properties in Aviemore and Carrbridge and tend to avoid them as I think the company offer very very little value for money, especially the Highland Resort. What you pay for is not what you get with MacDonald. I did wonder why we were getting an entire lodge for two nights for less than the price of a hotel room at the highland resort.
On checking in, we encountered a wee surprise, apparently, electricity is not included in the price of the accommodation? What?? So that good price was just for the privilege of staying with Macdonald, it didn’t include, staying warm, having a wash or cooking? Basic requirements. No?
So I searched through all of my booking information and also went as far as almost booking another stay to see if anywhere in the process it tells you this prior to booking. No, it does not! What a surprise!
When we questioned the girl at the front desk who checked us in she could give us no estimation of the cost (which we get people to use different amounts of electricity etc, but no rough idea of how much they charge), and proceeded to tell us that she has to let us know because sometimes people get angry at the end of their stay when they find out they have a bill! You think???
We are graduates, and the purpose of the trip was one of us was being interviewed for a healthcare position in the area. We aren’t made of money, and we were concerned about this. So we rationed our heating, spending time in the lodge, freezing. We didn’t cook either and after looking at the menu of the resort we chose to go into Aviemore town as the restaurant doesn’t compare both in choice and price (its expensive) to what’s on offer in the town (go to La Taverna).
So our first impression of the lodge was fine, the living/dining/kitchen area is a great size and of fairly decent keep. The bedrooms were fine but the bathrooms are in serious need of an update. Don’t get me wrong the whole place could do with an update, the conservatory furniture is dusty/dirty, the fireplace and surround of the wardrobes are dirty and in need of TLC, the olive bathroom suite with the occasional bit of mould, no plug sockets in the living room, the dirty tv remote, finger/hand/child face prints on the windows and doors. Was just a little grubby and a big bit run down?
In the end, we were hardly there and due to our conservation of the heating, our bill was less than £12 so we were ok with that.
However having paid that, on top of what we thought was £156 as quoted by booking.com, when I checked £159.60 was taken from my account. Now I’m not going to argue over £3.60 but this is a little bit sneaky.
Anyway, so this place is in a beautiful area and a place that people will pay to come to, and MacDonald will capitalise on that. Once these lodges are refurbished it will be priced in accordance with MacDonald’s other properties and people like myself who is a dedicated Aviemore visitor and who loves the area with all my heart, will not be able to afford to stay here again.
It’s a pity that Macdonald are such a high presence in Aviemore, unless they drastically look at their pricing or quality of what they offer (potato scones at the highland resort are the best thing I’ve come across offered by MacDonald, they are spot on) I’m afraid I will absolutely never pay to stay at any of their resorts again and the rating of 2 that I have given is for the area and the log burner which doesn’t heat the lodge but it is pretty :)