Stay at the Dalhousie Castle Hotel

How Good Is This Romantic Scottish Castle Hotel near Edinburgh?

Why Stay at the Dalhousie Castle Hotel,
4-star Romantic Castle Hotel in Bonnyrigg near Edinburgh

  • Luxury hotel accommodation in a real Scottish Castle near Edinburgh.
  • Ideal setting and facilities (including spa) for romantic breaks and weddings.
  • Two restaurants on-site including the 2 AA rosette Dungeon.
  • Location: Quiet rural location on the banks of the river Esk, in Bonnyrigg, only 7 miles outside Edinburgh.
  • Rates: Average room price per night: £76-£205 ($119-$322) but special deals can save you up to 50%.

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Are you considering a stay at Dalhousie Castle in Bonnyrigg, near Edinburgh? This traditional Scottish castle was named Castle Hotel of the Year at the Scottish Hotel of the Year Awards 2009. The award-winning Dalhousie offers a unique and historical hotel experience as well as fine dining in its AA 2 Rosette restaurant, the Dungeon. But is Dalhousie Castle a better choice than other luxury hotels in Edinburgh itself. And is it good value for money?

I've read hundreds of reviews from guests who have stayed at the Dalhousie Castle over the years and the following is a clear and unbiased summary of what these guests really thought of their stay at this hotel.

What's special about the Dalhousie Castle Hotel?

  • Built in the thirteenth century, this majestic castle hotel has had Oliver Cromwell, Edward I and Queen Victoria as guests.
  • Dalhousie Castle is full of original features, antique furniture and rich tapestries. It retains many reminders of its history, such as the remains of the original drawbridge.
  • Excellent leisure facilities, with the Aqueous Spa to relax in and many opportunities for walks around the extensive and very peaceful grounds. Dalhousie Hotel has its own falconry, with owls, eagles and falcons, as well as an archery centre.
  • The atmospheric Dungeon restaurant offers award-winning food in an atmospheric, thirteen-century vaulted room, decorated with suits of armour and medieval weaponry.
  • Location: Located on the banks of the River Esk, in the village of Bonnyrigg, just 30 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, this historic castle offers guests romantic and secluded accommodation in beautiful rural surroundings.

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What do guests really think?

The reviews on Dalhousie Castle as a luxury accommodation were mixed. While many guests loved the historic setting and traditional atmosphere, there were several who thought that the hotel was overpriced and in need of refurbishment.

  • There were many reviewers who loved the luxurious, magical and romantic experience of staying at a real Scottish castle and recommended it wholeheartedly.
  • Many guests felt, however, that while the hotel is full of potential, more investment is needed to bring it up to an acceptable standard for a luxury hotel.
  • Much of the criticism was from those guests who had stayed in the lodge rooms located a 5-minute walk away from the castle itself.
  • There were many reviews from people who had married at Dalhousie Castle or had been a wedding guest, and the feedback was extremely positive, describing it as a magical setting for a wedding.
  • Many reviewers felt that the Aqueous Spa was overpriced and disappointing, with some describing it as nothing more than a giant whirlpool bath.
  • Several guests felt that some aspects of the stay were far too expensive, from the food and drink, to the spa facilities and the Falconry.

The Dalhousie Castle Hotel near Edinburgh

Scottish Tourist Board Rated 4 Star Castle Hotel

Postcode: EH19 3JB
Official Dalhousie Castle Website

How far is the Dalhousie Castle Hotel from the bus and train stations?
8.8 miles (14 km) approx

The Dalhousie Castle is located in Bonnyrigg, about 7 miles outside Edinburgh.

Visit Scotland star rating: 4 star Castle Hotel
Hotel Reviews: Dalhousie Castle reviews

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My Recommendation

Dalhousie Hotel has both the advantages and disadvantages that you would expect to find in an old Scottish castle providing accommodation.

It may not be a modern, contemporary hotel in the centre of Edinburgh but if you are looking for the traditional, yet unique experience of staying in a Scottish castle hotel and are prepared to overlook some of the problems that come with an old building, then Dalhousie can be a very good choice of luxury accommodation near Edinburgh.

However, Dalhousie Castle is not very well suited to those with less mobility, due to it being a very old building. It may also be worth paying for a castle room rather than a lodge room for a more authentic experience, but I would recommend that you check the Internet for special deals at Dalhousie Castle as some people felt that the rates are very expensive.

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In Depth Review of the Dalhousie Castle Hotel near Edinburgh

Luxury Scottish castle hotel with spa. Quiet, romantic setting in Bonnyrigg near Edinburgh.
Average room price per night: £76-£205 ($119-$322)

What is the Dalhousie Castle Hotel like?

Part of the prestigious von Essen group of hotels, Dalhousie Castle is a thirteenth-century castle converted into a 4-star luxury hotel with two restaurants and a spa. Part of Dalhousie's charm lies in its beautiful, romantic setting in parkland on the River Esk, as well as the sense of history that comes with staying in a real Scottish castle.

Four Star Dalhousie Castle Hotel near Edinburgh

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Building and room design

  • There are 29 individually decorated hotel rooms within the castle itself, many named after famous Scots such as Robert the Bruce, decorated in traditional tartan and tweed. Some rooms have four-poster beds.
  • Whilst most reviewers loved the old world charm and character of the guest rooms, some felt that they were scruffy and in urgent need of refurbishment. Others said that the furniture was actually cheap and shabby rather than being antique.
  • There are also 7 lodge rooms a 5-minute walk away from the castle, some with private conservatory. A golf-buggy can take guests to Dalhousie Castle, although this was not a good enough solution for some as it is not always available and the walk is slippery and poorly lit.
  • Many reviewers complained that the lodge rooms are badly maintained and extremely overpriced, even though they are less expensive than the main castle rooms. There were several reports of stained walls and bedclothes, threadbare carpets and mould on the bathroom tiles. There were very few lodge guests who wrote good reviews on staying in these rooms.
  • Due to the age and setting of Dalhousie Castle, the hotel is not very accessible to elderly or disabled guests, as there are no lifts.
  • There were several complaints that the rooms (both castle and lodge) were poorly cleaned, with reports of cobwebs on the walls and rubbish left by previous guests.

Staff and level of service

  • Most reviewers said that the staff were helpful and extremely knowledgeable, and several were mentioned by name as being warm, friendly and willing to go the extra mile.
  • Some however reported that certain members of staff were indifferent or seemed disorganised.
  • Many reviewers were critical of the housekeeping and maintenance staff, and quoted many examples of lack of attention to detail.
  • There were a few reports that the service at breakfast was extremely slow.

Food and drink

  • The Dungeon restaurant located in the old castle kitchens, has two AA rosettes, and received many excellent reviews from guests for its Scottish, locally-sourced food.
  • Many loved the historic atmosphere and the decor of the restaurant, with suits of armour and medieval weaponry, lit by candles and small spot lights.
  • Even though many found the restaurant to be expensive, most thought that the overall dining experience as well as the quality of the food made it worth the money.
  • The Orangerie located in a conservatory is the less formal restaurant. Many guests felt that this was over-priced and did not represent good value for money. Some also described the lack of atmosphere, with local radio playing non-stop.
  • The majority of the reviews suggested that Dalhousie Castle hotel serves an excellent well-cooked breakfast although a few criticised the quality of the orange juice.
  • The traditional Library bar, with a real open fire, provides an atmospheric setting for pre-dinner drinks.
  • Although room service is available in the main castle, it is not available for lodge guests, which was a problem for some reviewers.

Location and parking

  • Dalhousie Castle is located on the banks of the River Esk in Midlothian, just 7 miles from Edinburgh and 14 miles from Edinburgh Airport. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside, and guests can enjoy walks around and beyond the 11 acres of land.
  • There is a good-size free car park at the castle.
  • It is approximately a 30-minute drive from Edinburgh. There are buses that leave for Edinburgh a mile from the castle. For those with cars, there is a park and ride service a 5-minute drive from the hotel.

Nice touches

  • The extensive leisure facilities offered such as the Falconry and Archery centre and the spa.
  • The themed bedrooms named after historical figures such as the Cromwell room and the King Alexander room.
  • The quirky features of the old castle, such as the hidden bar in the Library.

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