Friday, January 04, 2008

Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Cardrona

Since I, the Buddha Belly, got hitched some five years ago I have always attempted to celebrate that historic day by whisking my dearly beloved wife off to a romantic venue for our wedding anniversary. This year was no exception and we made a reservation at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Cardrona. Our reservation was based on our excellent experience of a recent stay at the McDonald Marine Hotel in North Berwick and as busy parents we were looking forward to spending our short break at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel.

What follows is the sorry tale of our nighmare stay and one that unfortunately soured our anniversery celebration. Please read on.

On arrival at the Hotel, we asked to have our evening meal at 9.30pm and we arrived promptly at the restaurant to be told that there had been a mix up and that we should take a seat in the lounge area for a couple of minutes. We did as requested and after 25 minutes we were given menus to look over. A further 25 minutes passed and no staff approached us to take a drinks order and/or to take a meal order and I had to place a drinks order at the bar myself. After a further 10 minutes, we were shown to our table which appeared to have been hastily set. This was 60 minutes after we should have been seated at our table.

When we sat down I lent slightly on the table and it seemed to be unstable to the extent that my wife had to rescue the glasses from falling from the it. As we were seated directly behind the restaurant reception the staff must have been aware that the table was faulty. I drew the staffs attention to the table and they apologised, but did nothing to alleviate the situation. We placed our meal order 15 minutes after being seated and I am sure that you will agree that having just placed your meal order 1 hour 15 minutes after you are supposed to seated for what should have been a celebratory meal is just not good enough. The evening could not have got of to a worse start; unfortunately it did not get any better.

We both chose the mushroom risotto for our starters and my wife chose the duck for her mains and I chose the turbot for my mains. The mushroom risotto arrived some 25 minutes later, we are now talking 11.10pm and we are just getting our starters. The mushroom risotto was simply disgusting. I am still trying to understand why there was a pile of lettuce leaves sprinkled on the top. Maybe, it was to hide the impending disappointment of the risotto. Once we had moved these to the side we were able to see the gooey mush that had been served up to us. I took my first mouthful and it tasted rancid. Where had the overpowering taste of garlic come from as it drowned the dish? Another forkful revealed that the mushrooms were undercooked and just horrible. We never bothered trying to eat any more and we moved the plates to the side. The waitress who cleared the plates never asked us what was wrong with the starter.

We waited and waited and waited for a further 40 minutes (12 midnight an no main course yet!) until we could wait no longer and I summoned a waitress to inquire where the main course was and she looked puzzled and embarrassed and hastily set off in the direction of the kitchen. After a further 15 minutes, our main courses arrived. My wife’s duck was a bit fatty, but in her words “it is edible”. However I wish I could say the same for the turbot. It was dry and partial burnt and it was clear that it had been left under a hot lamp for a considerable period of time. I took 2 forkfuls’ and decided to give it a miss.

Once my wife had eaten what she could of the duck I asked, whom I presumed was the Head Waitress, to attend our table and I communicated our disappointment at the meal that we have been served and she agreed that it was “not very good”. She also intimated that our order had somehow been left in the kitchen and that this was why we had not been served earlier. She could not explain why it had taken us over an hour to be seated and she also apologised for the table being dangerously unstable. After discussion with a senior colleague, who appeared totally non-plussed by our experience, she returned to offer us a complimentary drink for our inconvenience. We declined the offer.

Needless to say, the dining experience had a negative effect on our stay at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel and rather than using the spa facilities in the morning we left at our earliest convenience. What should have been a celebration of our anniversary turned out to be a nightmare. I shall not be returning to any Macdonald Hotels in a hurry.

Food-1/10
Drink-5/10
Service-3/10
Environment-7/10

Contact details:
Macdonald Cardrona Hotel
Cardrona
Peebles
EH45 6LZ
Tel: 0870 194 2114
Fax:. 01896 831166

1 comment:

Snowy said...

Interesting to know.