Nestled in beautiful countryside in Lanarkshire in the Scottish Lowlands, the Tinto Hotel, near Biggar, is a lovely place for an overnight stay or a short countryside break. Its advantages include its proximity to the bustling cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh (under an hour to each) and its setting in peaceful countryside.
My daughter (who is two), my Mum and I paid Tinto House a visit and, despite the atrocious weather (pouring, monotonous rain for both days), we were not disappointed. Our stay included dinner, bed and breakfast and we were firstly impressed by the fact that dinner could be served at a time to suit my daughter, i.e. from 5pm – plenty of time to get her fed and watered before the pre-bedtime naughtiness of the terrible twos kicked in!! We chose to dine at 6 and the children’s menu was extensive, varied and very reasonably priced (particularly for the portion sizes) – I suspect that there would be something on there for even the pickiest of toddlers. Our only slight criticism was that there was only one member of staff on duty, covering both reception and the dining area so it was a while before our order was taken, meaning the food rage (‘hanger’) began to set in (I am not divulging whether this was my hanger or my daughter’s!!). However, both the adult’s food and the children’s food was appetising when it arrived. If we hadn’t had my little girl with us, we could have spent a lot longer taking advantage of the dining experience as the room had such a cosy ambience, making you feel like you wanted to settle down for the night (the bar being placed right next to the dining room probably helped this!).
Our room was on the first floor, up a grand central staircase with a magnificent stained glass window on the landing half way up. Despite being aesthetically pleasing, this was an issue for me as there was no lift (that I could find!) so I had to carry the bags up the stairs on my own, without any offer of assistance. Being pregnant, I didn’t hugely appreciate this! I can also see it would be a problem for people with even younger children too as pushchairs and prams would either have to be dismantled and carried up the stairs or taken up with the baby or toddler in situ.
The room, however, was spacious and light with a huge bed for us and a travel cot for my daughter, complete with a cute and cosy-looking duvet and pillow. She slept soundly in it all night (even through an episode of Poldark on the television!) so no complaints there. Our bed was so roomy, I needed a walkie-talkie to speak to my Mum. But, boy, was it comfortable! The bathroom was also of a good size with nice toiletries and the all-important clean fluffy towels. Great for keeping to bedtime routine, the en-suite had both a bath and an overhead shower (not the greatest water pressure ever but, hey, we were in the middle of some idyllic countryside and you can’t have everything, right?!) so you could take your pick as to the chosen method of cleaning your child!!
Opening the curtains the next morning showed that the rain still hadn’t abated so we decided to linger over breakfast. Tea, coffee and toast were quickly served in my favourite room, the dining room, and we were encouraged to help ourselves to juices, cereals, yoghurts etc while we waited for our cooked breakfast. The food was delicious and there was plenty of selection for my little girl.
Checkout wasn’t until 11am (very civilised) so we decided to see what the hotel had to offer and went off to explore the grounds at the back of the hotel. Had the weather been more favourable, we could have spent a long time relaxing outside, sipping a cup of coffee, while Tabitha had a run around in the spacious garden. C’est la vie!
In terms of entertainment for children, although the garden itself is fun to explore with its little ‘fairy’ bridges over streams (obviously meaning that children can’t be left alone to rampage (particularly younger children)), the hotel could easily put a mini play area in a corner of the grounds without it becoming too aesthetically displeasing. Just a slide and a swing, for example. As a parent, I feel that they are missing a trick here.
All in all, we had a pleasant and enjoyable stay at the Tinto Hotel. Would I go back with children? Yes, I would, despite my nemesis, the staircase! The grounds were in a picturesque setting, the décor was lovely and in character for the hotel, the staff were pleasant and friendly (although on both days there seemed to be only one front of house member of staff who had to deal with reception and dining), the food was good, the bed was comfortable ………. If I was holidaying further north in Scotland, I would certainly use this as a stop-over hotel to break up the journey and if I wanted to explore the surrounding area further, it would be a great base.
NB: Fiona received an overnight dinner, bed and breakfast stay at the Tinto Hotel for the purposes of her review for Minitravellers but all her views are her own.