Hotel Review: Macdonald Aviemore Hotel

The Macdonald Aviemore Hotel and surrounding resort are a Scottish institution. I have stayed here two times already, for a pal's birthday ski trip and then with kids. Reviewing it from a family perspective for Scots2Travel was a no-brainer.

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Macdonald Aviemore is an outdoor playground all year round, but at the foot of the Cairngorm mountain it comes into its own over winter. Here’s why…

Facilities for families at Macdonald Aviemore – Image courtesy of Macdonald Aviemore

Check In

The Macdonald brand, with the founder originally from the Isle of Lewis, is good at communication. Guests receive emails and ‘Joining Instructions’ before they stay, so you feel welcome and clued up.  Upon arrival there’s ample free parking, but the toughest thing is finding your hotel as it’s a vast resort. There are two other hotels in the resort (the Morlich Hotel and the Highlands Hotel) as well as Woodland Lodges. Check-in was swift and friendly.

Facilties at Macdonald Aviemore Hotel

Pool

Image courtesy of Macdonald Aviemore – Flume fun

This is where the four star hotel comes into its own, the facilities. The swimming pool is always a hit, with a wave machine and flumes that engage and tire out wee ones and big kids too. Once home, my eldest regaled his teacher with tales of the ‘yellow slide’ and ‘HUGE waves’. This is memory-making stuff folks 🙂

A jacuzzi for adults is a brief and welcome escape from your over-enthusiastic tots. I like the family changing rooms that bring a sense of team spirit to the swim (I hate changing wet children on my own, they’re so slippery).

Activity Centre

The Activity Centre for Kids – Image courtesy of Macdonald Aviemore

Soft Play – Farewell kids, 3 floors to explore!

Next we visited the Activity Centre where I safely lost my children in a contained three-storey soft play area. Adults can eat cake and sip coffee as the kids bounce around. There’s also a play area with a stage, crafts, instruments and an X-Box and i-Pads. This isn’t a kids club, you have to supervise your own children, but these play areas are a huge hit on rainy days, and free for guests.

 

Shopping

The Spey Valley shopping complex at Macdonald Aviemore is genuinely tempting. It stocks an excellent range of local produce and foodie treats. I’m always a sucker for gorgeous crockery and glassware at reasonable prices – Wrendale and LSA are personal faves. Clothing includes the likes of Barbour and Dubarry. Ideal for gifts, mementoes or treats for moi.

The hotels also boasts a 650 seat Sony 4K cinema, gym and a conference centre  on site. Free wifi is a welcome bonus.

Food and Drink

Again, Macdonald Aviemore plays the family friendly card, think relaxed dining rather than fine dining, but, for many families, that’s exactly what they need.

A ‘Kids Eat Free’ offer is available at any of the restaurants on the resort. One child (age 16 or under) can eat free when one adult purchases a main course (drinks not included).

Giovanni’s

The newest addition is the modern Giovanni’s – read a full review here – where friendly Italian dining is on the cards. The smarter Aspects restaurant is still exceptionally family friendly (especially if you’re dining around 5.30pm or 6.00pm). It has a help yourself children’s buffet, and the adults order from set menus or a la carte (think Prawn Cocktail and Chicken Terrine for starters, Haddock Goujons, steak or Scottish Salmon as mains). My tots decimated the pizza: the kid’s buffet does include healthier options such as veg sticks and salad but naturally the youngsters veered towards the chips, sausages and pizza.

Other dining options include the very informal Spey Burger Bar and Scottish Steakhouse. Due to how busy the restaurants can get, one tip is to book in advance to guarantee the restaurant and timing that suits your family.

Breakfast is a help yourself buffet affair. It can get busy but the staff keep the food coming and the tables clean.

Our Room

Our Room

The rooms, decorated in brown plaids and taupe, are practical and  comfortable. This hotel is a hub for outdoor activity so think ski cupboards in every room, rather than robes or complimentary sparkling water.

Location

It really is a case of location, location, location here. Aveimore has so much to offer. We went nuts at Landmark Forest Adventure Centre, a truly wonderful outdoor play area with rope trails for mini Tarzans and even small Monkey Trails. Other highlights included the Red Squirrel Trail through the tree canopy, a Runaway Timber Train, a Wild Water Coaster and a Butterfly House. I thought Landmark might not live up to the hype, but it exceeded expectations.

Landmark Runaway Timber Train

I’m going to write up a comprehensive list of things to do in Aviemore, with more info on Landmark, but I can also highlight the Strathspey Steam Railway, meeting the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, visiting the Highland Wildlife Park (and encountering the baby polar bear, Hamish) and of course skiing on the Cairngorm mountain.

The town of Aviemore has its own railway station (with sleeper trains direct from London), and a plethora of bars, cafés and restaurants.

I just love the place – it’s synonymous with fun in my book.

Our Story

We drove direct from Aberdeen to Aviemore, spending two nights in the Macdonald Aviemore hotel. For offers click here.

 

If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the follow box and You’re In, join the conversation on Facebook, or check out the bonny photos on Instagram. For any queries or opportunities please email scots2travel@hotmail.com. Images and text copyright of Scots2Travel. Check out our Privacy Policy here. Scots2Travel were invited to spend two nights at the Macdonald Aviemore Hotel, including one evening meal and drinks, for review purposes. Our third visit as it’s got so much to offer.

October 21, 2018

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30 Comments

  1. Reply

    Boss Like A Mum

    October 30, 2018

    That looks like a great trip! Love places that offer ‘kids eat free’, and the swimming pool sounds fab!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 30, 2018

      Must confess, I loved the pool too. Secret fan of wave machines! 🙂

  2. Reply

    dear bear and beany

    October 30, 2018

    Oh wow this looks amazing. I would love to visit Scotland with my family, I’ll have to remember this place when we go!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 31, 2018

      It’s spot on for families, so much to do. It’s just fun.

  3. Reply

    ChelseaMamma

    October 31, 2018

    I am desperate to head back to Scotland and this looks like the perfect place to stay……hopefully next year (that wooden coaster looks epic too)

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 31, 2018

      Catch the sleeper train from London and wake up in Aviemore 🙂

  4. Reply

    Kira

    October 31, 2018

    Oh wow! Ok I’m slightly jealous of the pool! We are due to visit Scotland next year , I can’t wait!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 31, 2018

      Fantastic. Scots2Travel is FULL of Scottish family stuff so do take a browse or ask any questions.

  5. Reply

    Kathi

    October 31, 2018

    I’ve always wondered what that hotel is like – I’m really intrigued by their woodland lodges for a birthday treat, but you just made me want to stay at the main hotel too and check out that Jacuzzi!!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 31, 2018

      Guests of the Woodland Lodges can use all the facilities I believe, double check but I’m sure you’d receive free access to the pool and jacuzzi. Tempted by the wave machine??? 🙂

  6. Reply

    forkwardthinkingfoodinista

    October 31, 2018

    This looks super lovely. I like a rural location, but a great hotel that has a lot to offer on site at the same time xx

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      October 31, 2018

      It’s great to have some exploring time in the area, knowing you can hang out at the hotel with loads to entertain the kids.

  7. Reply

    fashionandstylepolice

    October 31, 2018

    What a lovely hotel. The pool sounds and looks very nice.

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 1, 2018

      The pool was definitely the highlight for the kids – the wave machine drove them potty.

  8. Reply

    Cath - Passports and Adventures

    October 31, 2018

    That sounds like a brilliant place for a family getaway with loads of family-friendly facilities. The pool and activity centre would be a big hit with my son!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 1, 2018

      We lost the boys in the 3 storey soft play for quite some time 🙂

  9. Reply

    ndsouza2006

    October 31, 2018

    MacDonald hotels are brilliant and you can get lovely deals from them. That view looks amazing. Great that they have a kiddie stuff too

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 1, 2018

      Each has its own personality too. Macdonald Aviemore couldn’t be more different from say Norwood Hall Hotel. And then there’s the overseas hotels, we stayed at Macdonald Dona Lola and loved that too.

  10. Reply

    Jenni

    November 1, 2018

    Wow this looks immense, it’s so child friendly! Really need to visit here with my son

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 1, 2018

      It’s usually a big hit with wee ones.

  11. Reply

    Tracey Kifford

    November 1, 2018

    That pool looks fab – as does that gift shop (I’d spend £££s in there!) I might have to visit!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 1, 2018

      I nearly did, but the kids needed my attention. I still want to get my hands the Wrendale hare mug and Duckling cafetiere 🙂

  12. Reply

    Kirstin | the tinberry travels (@tinberrytravels)

    November 1, 2018

    I was here recently for a big work conference but never realised how much stuff was here! Would certainly like to check out that pool.

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 1, 2018

      You was robbed! I noticed that it had a conference centre, but so much more besides.

  13. Reply

    Home and Horizon (@LaurettaCWright)

    November 2, 2018

    Macdonald Aviemore looks like a perfect place to stay when you’re travelling with your family. I love their facilities. It’s like a one stop shop.

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 2, 2018

      Exactly, you barely have to leave there’s so much to do. But equally, there’s so much to entertain a family if you do head off exploring.

  14. Reply

    Zena's Suitcase

    November 3, 2018

    This hotel ticks so many family friendly boxes doesn’t it. I’m really impressed with the pool and the activity centre. A stay here would work so well for our family

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 5, 2018

      I like places that feel like a real escape from everyday life. Aviemore has that real holiday feel, yet it’s right in the heart of Scotland.

  15. Reply

    Rona

    November 12, 2018

    I have always wanted to stay here! Thanks for the travel inspo – looks like you had a great time!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 13, 2018

      A lot of fun can be had, or you can just rest up, eat, drink and relax.

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