It must be about ten years since I last stayed at Meldrum House. I chose the hotel for my leaving dinner in a previous life because I loved it so much. I was a little bit apprehensive to go back as the building has since undergone a 4.5 million revamp, doubling the number of bedrooms and adding a brand new ballroom and bedroom wing. Hopefully, our visit would be as special as I remembered.
The beautiful grounds wow you as you arrive at Meldrum House. Set in over 240 acres, the lands surrounding the 13th Cenury baronial mansion house are stunning. The famous parkland golf course occupies much of the land. Set amongst ancient woodland, its water features draw your eye towards the magnificent 800-year-old turreted building. This was Raymond’s first visit, and he was impressed. We couldn’t wait to explore inside and see all the changes.
There’s nothing like a real fire to provide a warm welcome on an October day. The entrance hall has been given a makeover and seamlessly creates a contemporary feel while retaining many antiques and historical paintings from the original Meldrum family. Our room for the night was in the converted stables across the carpark. The Manor House offers individually styled luxury baronial rooms while the new wing and converted stables provide more contemporary Scottish themed accommodation close by. There’s something to suit everyone’s taste.
Room 409 – Our bedroom
The converted stables provide an additional thirteen beautiful rooms. Our home was on the first floor in a block of four double bedrooms. The rooms are a generous size and come equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay. A hospitality tray with real coffee and a cafetiere, welcome truffles and a selection of the latest magazines all help you feel right at home. The decor and design are modern Scottish with subtle country hues. It’s a relaxing room with comfortable bedding and luxurious fabrics.
If you want the best views, then book a room in the new wing or the main house as they provide the best vistas. Though lacking a view of the countryside, our room was beautiful and we spent most of our time enjoying the facilities in the main house.
We fell in love with the modern bathroom. The bath is huge, the rain dance shower powerful, the towels fluffy and the toiletries special. What more could you want? This is such a relaxing, well thought out space and you could easily spend hours just soaking in that wonderful bathtub!
The Dining Room
The 2 AA Rosette dining room is used for both dinner and breakfast and is a stylish, relaxed space to enjoy Aberdeenshire’s larder. Executive Head Chef, Paul Grant and his Head Chef, Walter along with their teams are passionate about providing the very best food with the lowest food miles. Much of the meat used on the menu comes from Presly & Co family butchers in Old Meldrum. They have been providing pork, beef, lamb and poultry for the last 100 years and are a big part of local village life in Old Meldrum.
During our visit, we took some time out to visit neighbouring Glen Garioch distillery where we enjoyed their Legends of the Garioch Whisky Tour. The tour is excellent and concludes with a very special themed lunch back at Meldrum House. You can read about our visit to Glen Garioch on our blog, but we haven’t shared any photographs of our meal as it’s very quirky, very delicious and we don’t want to spoil the surprises!
The hotel offers seasonal menus from breakfast to dinner that showcases the best of the North-East. You can enjoy breakfast, light bites, afternoon tea, dinner and Sunday lunch.
The Cave Bar
The Cave Bar is my favourite area in Meldrum House. At almost 800 years old it’s the oldest part of the building, and you can feel history oozing from its thick stone walls. The lighting creates a very atmospheric and unique place to enjoy a dram. The tricky part is choosing which whisky to try first as the bar has over 120 malts including the most extensive collection of Glen Garioch whiskies anywhere in the world. The Cave Bar also plays host to The Meldrum Whisky Club.
The Whisky Club
In a side cave behind a locked metal grill door, you will find the Whisky Club. Around 30 lockers fill one wall with the owner’s name on each one. Individuals and businesses can become members of the club, and they will have a whisky safe to store their prized bottles and a private space to come and enjoy them. They can access the cave at any time with their guests to enjoy a dram. We were invited behind the locked door by Fiona, the manager at Glen Garioch Distillery, to enjoy a dram from some of their finest bottlings. It was a truly unique and memorable experience.
Weddings at Meldrum House
We also had a tour of the new Ball Room accessed via a staircase from the main building. The new facilities have transformed events at Meldrum House and when we visited they were hosting their fourth wedding of the week. It’s such an excellent venue for weddings in Aberdeenshire with top-class facilities, fantastic food and such picturesque surroundings for photographs. The floor to ceiling glass window at the end of the room provides the most amazing views over the estate.
Neither of us plays golf but if you do then Meldrum House has some the of the finest facilities for you to enjoy. Their 18 hole Parkland golf course looks stunning with plenty of wildlife to spot along the way.
After a good nights sleep, it was time for breakfast. The Arbikie Boody Mary caught our attention but as we were driving it was OJ for us! There’s a good selection of fresh fruits, cereals and bakery products on the buffet table to get us started.
Raymond then chose a cooked breakfast but without the Huntly Haggis and Stornoway Black Pudding. They are the best bits but not his cup of tea! His breakfast was well cooked and delicious. The Davidson’s pork sausages were excellent.
Lots of residents were having porridge, and it looked delicious. Meldrum porridge is served with any combination of Graham’s double cream, honey, chopped nuts, seasonal fruit compote or a dram of Glen Garioch Founders Reserve. I know which one I would choose.
I was still quite full from dinner so loved the fact that Meldrum House offers a choice of hot-filled Aberdeen softies as part of their breakfast menu. Their standard serving is two rolls, but I just went for a simple bacon butty which was delicious. Hopefully, we will visit in the future as I’m sure their black pudding and egg doublers are excellent too!
Time to head home
We were sad to be leaving. Meldrum house was great before, but now it’s incredible. It’s so easy to see why they have won Boutique Hotel of the Year – UK. The building has everything you need for a fantastic stay, but it’s the friendly staff that make it unique. It was great to meet Jordan Charles, the new General Manager. It’s safe to say the hotel is in good hands and we can’t wait to see how Jordan adds his own stamp to this incredibly successful venture.
So, what are you waiting for? The fire’s lit, the beds are made, and the table set. It’s the perfect time of year for a short break in Aberdeenshire.
How to book a stay at Meldrum House:
Meldrum House Hotel
Tel: 01651 872294
Our trip was supported by private sector development body Opportunity North East (ONE) who deliver the North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council to celebrate growth, innovation and success within one of the region’s key industry sectors. The awards form part of a wider programme of activities that support growth in the food, drink and agriculture sector that are delivered by ONE and its partners. Look out for the launch of the 2019 Awards by following the awards on Twitter: @NESAwards #NESAwards