My wife and I booked for a short (two night) break there together with another couple. We had booked a twin bedded room, but decided to upgrade to a room with a balcony. Upon arrival, we found that the balcony had a majestic view of the car park, and the twin was in fact a double bed. This was no good for me, but reception sent a minor functionary (MF) to fold down a hitherto unseen sofa bed. I have only ever used a bed of that quality in the Army, but I did received hard-lying allowance for doing so. Even though I insisted that was no good, the MF persisted in making it; by then I was on the verge of homicidal apoplexy. Eventually we were moved to another room which we were later to realise was in the punishment wing.
After a brief restorative nap, we went for the set dinner booked for 7-30. We had realised that there were some foreign visitors. They appeared to be mainly from the Netherlands and had arrived in both buses and cars. It did not take long to realise that some sort of war was in progress between the Neds and the staff. The Neds (as we affectionately called them) had the temerity to mix and match the set menu with the à la carte menu. This seemed to cause friction and confusion as people complained about their bills. The staff meanwhile fought back with a surly ill grace, at times bordering on the aggressive. We also realised that some people had been waiting for service for a long time, with incidents of partial meals being served; some eating their puddings whilst other were supping the Scotch Broth. Realising the staff responded well when trapped like cornered rats, as a quartet we bellowed loudly for service, which seemed to do the trick. Upon leaving the restaurant we were quizzed on our eating habits, to which we all firmly stated we had only eaten from the set menu. A box was ticked on a clipboard. Did I say: the meal was surprisingly palatable?
The next morning a 0600 hours we realised why we were in the punishment wing. Delivery lorries reversed very close to the window (beep, beep ad infinitum). The cooked breakfast, taken earlier than envisaged, was particularly good. We then departed for a drive to return in the afternoon. The fire extinguishers which had been propping open the fire doors and the custom made wedges were still in place. I replaced the fire extinguishers on their hangers and threw the wedges into the bushes outside. The numerous bags of bedding for or from the laundry piled near the fire exit, I left where they were (see the photos). I am after all not a chamber maid.
That evening we again dined in the restaurant. Most of the Neds seemed to have either moved on or decided to eat somewhere else. A large party of Japanese were present, but they seemed to be segregated for social and culinary experiences somewhere else; the Tenko room perhaps? In contrast to the previous evening, the dinning room was a haven of calm. The staff were pleasant, attentive and even cheerful, whilst the food was also very good for a set menu. It was an almost schizoid experience in contrasting behaviours.
The following day, after the early morning reversing call, we had another good breakfast. Would I recommend the hotel to anyone; certainly, but I don’t know of anyone I dislike that much. Would I go back; indisputably; it was the most fun I have had in ages. Finally, to be fair, most of the staff were young and may have received minimal training, but what on earth the management were up to; I have no idea.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Winnock Hotel dates back to the late 1700’s and throughout history has always offered lodging to weary travelers passing through by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs areas.Formerly a coaching inn, The Winnock hotel has been lovingly restored and tastefully extended to its present day form. Offering 73 bedrooms, cosy lounges; many with open log fires, a characterful restaurant, function room and public lounge bar, the hotel has many things in common with its historic counterpart with one striking similarity - friendly, welcoming service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Winnock Hotel Drymen, Scotland, UK