Mal Reid. Date of travel: Sep 2005
Portsonachan is a tiny 'hamlet' on the shores of Loch Awe in South Argyll. This is one of the most beautiful areas of the Scottish Highlands and it is close to both Oban and Inverary. Great for loch fishing, walking, relaxation and driving along some VERY narrow Highland roads. The Portsonachan Hotel/Country Club, at which I stayed, is ideally situated by the water with wonderful mountain views. It is isolated and accessed by a very narrow highland track, about 6 miles from Dalmally. Many guests at the hotel are 'recruited' by representatives visiting various county shows, garden expos and other events throughout the UK where accommodation and breakfast are offered at a reduced rate (currently £33 per person per night). I found that even this reduced rate did not provide good value for money. The FULL rate at the hotel is outrageous and I would not choose to pay it even for one of the more 'superior' rooms. The hotel is clean and pleasant enough, it just does not provide value for the amount paid. A senior staff member, who acts as a barman, waiter, floor sweeper, bagpiper, singer, general entertainer and odd job man, provides a not unpleasant 'Fawlty Towers' tone to the place with his rather intense and abrasive nature which does not lend itself to true customer relations ... but, because I have a sense of humour, he helped to make the visit more enjoyable for me!! The rest of the staff are young Lithuanians who seem anxious to please and who work hard but who have not mastered the art of allowing their faces to hide their real feelings towards 'troublesome' or 'awkward' guests. For example, a request for a vinegrette salad dressing resulted in a puzzled expression followed by the production of a bottle of ordinary vinegar and a jug of vegetable cooking oil as a 'do it yourself kit'. The food is mediocre but 'OK', though on one occasion at breakfast I found green mould on some slices of toast, which was not good. All in all ... a mediocre place to stay for a high price in an outstanding area. I think there would be better accommodation in the same region. It was interesting, and fun for a week, but .....! Tour Operator: Independent
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