Reviews of Hilton Craigendarroch
We stayed here in spring 2005 and Id agree with all the comments. This is one of the top resorts in the UK. The units, facilities and scenery are fantastic. However, I would say that a car is essential. I wouldnt let the remoteness put you off as the resort is good but just be aware of the location and type of holiday you are looking for. My preference is for the other Hilton timeshare at Dunkeld.
We had a two bedroom unit, #53 at this resort. It truly is deserving of its Gold Crown/ 5* rating, with a few minor blips to spoil its perfection. This unit is extremely spacious with livingroom, dining room, kitchen, washer/dryer. smaller bedroom, bathroom and sauna on the entrance level and the master bedroom with ensuite bathroom down a level. All of the furnishings are of a high quality with, unfortunately, the usual scratches and dents that come with years of use. The kitchen appliances are up to date with nothing missing if you were inclined to cook a full meal for a crowd. The cathedral ceilings really enhance the spaciousness and the skylights in the kitchen area make it very bright. Large patio doors open to a balcony with table and chairs, perfect for morning coffee or afternoon cocktails. (Both are essential to my day!) This unit seemed, from the outside, very representaive of the the hundred or so units spread around the grounds. My main complaint was with the housekeeping. Our unit was less than well cleaned and I notified management of this before we departed. To their credit, they sent me a letter of apology which arrived a few days ago.
The grounds are vast and well landscaped, with obvious pride taken by the groundskeeper. Our unit overlooked a pond that was stocked with goldfish and was frequented by a pair of mallard ducks. The terrain is hilly with perhaps a ten minute walk from the furthest reaches to the reception and country club.
The country club is the hub and it is the best I've seen from at least 30 timeshare experiences. In it there is a formal restaurant, The Oaks, a brasserie style restaurant and two bars along with fitness centre, pool, snooker room, games room, health and beauty salon, etc. It's very impressive!
The area itself is magnificent. Having a car would enhance your ability to travel afar but since we were without, we walked everywhere. The walk into Ballater is about 15 minutes. Here you will find all types of restaurants, as well as grocery stores, bakeries, butcher shops, tourist information centre and a mix of other shops geared to both tourists and locals. Also, this is the starting point for a collection of well marked and mapped local walks of varying lenghts and degrees of difficulty.
Without a car, Ballater is only reachable by bus and the bus route ends in Braemar, about a half hour up the road. Fortunately this allows you to visit Balmoral Castle and the Royal Lochnagar distillery, both doable on the same day, if you plan it right. The resort itself offers no tours but provides information on golf, tennis, the Deeside Activity Park and riding.
Overall this was a most enjoyable exchange for us who had never visited this part of Scotland.
A beautiful resort. We stayed in a 2 bedroom that had a jacuzzi and sauna in the unit. The furnishings were on exceptional quality. My daughter enjoyed learning to ski on their dry ski slope. We went to many castles in the area and plan to return someday as we didn't get to see everything to do in the area in just one week.