Dowans Hotel

Dowans Road, Aberlour AB38 9LS Scotland
Traveller (276)
Dining (45)
Room & Suite (44)
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About

4.5
#1 of 2 hotels in Aberlour
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Value
Travellers' Choice
Set high above the picturesque Spey Valley, overlooking the village of Aberlour and the River Spey below, The Dowans Hotel offers a rare opportunity for guests to relax and enjoy the elegance of a fine Highland hotel. Built over 100 years ago, now converted to a first class hotel.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Bar / lounge
Skiing
Water park offsite
Books, DVDs, music for children
Baggage storage
Non-smoking hotel
Wifi
Restaurant
Breakfast buffet
Kids' meals
Special diet menus
Wine / champagne
Outdoor furniture
Sun terrace
Express check-in / check-out
Private check-in / check-out
Laundry service
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Room features
Housekeeping
Safe
Bottled water
Flatscreen TV
Room types
Bridal suite
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
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HOTEL CLASS
HOTEL STYLE
Business
Charming
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish, Portuguese
457Reviews3Q+A73Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
eddi10c wrote a review Oct 2020
Edinburgh, United Kingdom431 contributions226 helpful votes
I might have mentioned this already but this hotel is in a fabulous location!
Sensible drive from Scotland’s central belt in the village of Aberlour.
The hotel seems to have been refurbished relatively recently and to a great standard.
The rooms was maybe a little small for an ‘executive’ but it was very comfortable with views down to the Spey, a small seating area and a pod coffee machine.
The bathroom was modern with a large free-standing bath and separate walk-in shower. Good quality toiletries and big fluffy towels. Excellent stuff.
The restaurant served good food at a reasonable price.
Of course we visited during the COVID pandemic. The hotel felt very safe. Ample sanitiser and staff demonstrating excellent behaviours.
The hotel is brilliantly situated of course for distillery visits ... but that isn’t why we went. We went for location and some great, beautiful, walks in a part of the country we didn’t know well. The walk to Dufftown is great...not too much going up and over. Some good walking along the Spey and disused railway lines too. Perfect.
The whisky bar in the hotel deserves special mention. I’ve become a huge fan of Aberlour 16yo as a result.
Negatives? Few and far between. The breakfast room is disappointing...drab/plain/featureless for such a grand building. Beyond that I’m struggling. It only then becomes a question of value.
I liked it.
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Date of stay: August 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Barebum60 wrote a review Sept 2020
London18 contributions14 helpful votes
In this difficult year for everyone , it's still important to have happy times and that is provided in abundance by the Murray family and their team at the ' Dowans Hotel ' .My wife and I enjoyed 3 nights in the beautiful ' Aberlour ' suite which has gorgeous views over the Spey Valley. The luxury bedroom has a roll top bath which is sumptuously deep and the bathroom is also impressive.
Despite a reduced menu , due to Covid - 19 , there are several gastronomic treats , including ' pan seared wild Scottish seabass ' and ' tempura battered or panko breaded monkfish cheeks ' . ' Celebration of Apples ' makes a wonderful dessert. And after dinner , if you're a whisky connoisseur , heaven awaits in the Snug bar, boasting around 600 malts.
Service comes with a smile from the Murray clan and also Anna and Dean. Many thanks.
In summary , if you wish to explore the Whisky Valley and enjoy outstanding Scottish hospitality , ' Dowans Hotel ' is perfect. The only drawback is that it's hard to leave !!
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Date of stay: September 2020
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Room Tip: Aberlour and Macallan suites have the best views.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Doodledaft wrote a review Sept 2020
Dunfermline, United Kingdom88 contributions69 helpful votes
We stayed for one night at the Dowans and we were very happy with our stay. We had a lovely, comfortable room with a beautiful bathroom. We enjoyed drinks outdoors (my husband was very impressed with the choice of whiskies on offer) followed by a lovely meal. The hotel had made provisions for Covid with hand sanitiser available and social distancing measures put in place. We look forward to coming back again.
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Date of stay: August 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Norstir wrote a review Aug 2020
Strathaven, United Kingdom67 contributions56 helpful votes
My wife and I decided to dine here on Saturday evening, on arrival we sat outside for a drink prior to our dinner reservation. The hotel is situated in a prime position overlooking the Spey Valley within well maintained gardens.

We were subsequently escorted to our table in the restaurant, which is divided in two sections and all tables were suitably socially distanced. Unfortunately the restaurant is devoid of any ambiance, it was so quiet it was almost uncomfortable. The interior of the hotel has been recently renovated and the soft furnishings are of a very high standard, although ultra modern and not of a typically Scottish theme.
My wife and I opted for the same starters and mains which were the Aubergine & Seared Broccoli followed by Hake. The starter was tasteless,tepid and included a bread stick garnish which you could have bounced off the floor. Fortunately the main course was superb and almost made up for our initial disappointment.
However, the table service was very poor, my wife had to gesture several times to our waitress to have her glass replenished and the time lapse between our courses was unacceptably long. When we mentioned this point, the waitress tried to excuse the issue by complaining that she was so busy attending to a table of eight guests who had just arrived !!

Overall a fairly underwhelming experience in premises that must have cost a small fortune to refurbish.
It would appear to be all style and no substance. Would not recommend the restaurant.
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Date of stay: August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from The Murrays, Owner at Dowans Hotel
Responded 24 Aug 2020
We are pleased that you recognised the significant investment that has been made in the hotel and that the gardens are well maintained. We are also delighted that you found your main to be superb. Perhaps these positives alone should have indicated, even for yourself, that there is a little bit of substance offered by ourselves, no? We are, however, disappointed that you did not like your starter though, as per the menu, the dish was made with miso which is not necessarily to everyone's taste. We are also rather disappointed that you chose to intentionally misinterpret a conversational comment from one of our managers in order to substantiate your opinion. Equally, it was a lovely evening and many people chose to eat outside whilst, the normal ambience of the restaurants has been impacted by the Government's Covid-19 related requirements where we have reduced our capacity by taking out some tables whilst music is not presently permitted to be played presently in restaurants presently. There is the old adage that you cannot please all of the people all of the time and whilst we strive to always provide excellent service we just have to accept that some guests just will not be satisfied. However, of the over 600 TripAdvisor reviews that we have received we are entirely grateful that over 91% of them have assessed us at the Excellent/Very Good level whilst only 4% have judged us, as you, in the Poor/Terrible level. We will continue to be thankful that the vast majority of our guests leave us being eminently satisfied with the depth of our offer and service. And just to also note, for completeness here, that in the over 400 hundred booking.com reviews of us there is a specific assessment of the staff where the average score from all those reviews of them is at the excellent level of 9.6 out of 10. So, we fully acknowledge that it is entirely your prerogative not to recommend us but equally it is our prerogative to trust that others will understand the concept of outliers and continue to return to enjoy the experience and their time with us.
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jenb2015157 wrote a review Aug 2020
Edinburgh18 contributions5 helpful votes
Our 2 night stay was mixed. The hotel is a lovely old building which has been beautifully upgraded and decorated. The hotel location is also very good with easy access to the village, local attractions and walking routes. It sits above a fairly busy road so traffic noise is noticeable at times. I also found the mattress too firm and the pillows too lumpy for my taste. I also think the Tassimo coffee machine with plastic pods is not sensitive to the current move away from single use plastics. A kettle and decent tea/coffee would be fine!

The hotel currently offers one menu only (not the 2 as stated on the website - the pop up which should state this did not seem to work for me). This can make the choice a little limited. All of our meals were served in the '57' room which seems to have no sound deadening so sound bounced around. I also found the bench seats uncomfortable.

Our biggest disappointment was the food. The lamb hogget special was a highlight, but sadly the only one. Generally we found the food to be quite ordinary, lacking in flavour and well below the standard we would expect from the 'fine modern Scottish dining' advertised. There were some particular low points: overcooked, dry scrambled egg for breakfast; dry, tasteless elements of the fennel starter; roasted veg starter which consisted of 2 slices each of aubergine and courgette and 2 pieces of raw broccoli slightly charred on one side; chocolate parfait which was more the consistency of tiffin and served with glue-like honeycomb. We found the general standard to be very disappointing and certainly not worth the price.

Although I raised comments about the food with management they have put this down to my opinion and do not seem particularly interested in making improvements. I find such complacency very surprising under the current circumstances.
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Date of stay: August 2020
Value
Rooms
Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from The Murrays, Owner at Dowans Hotel
Responded 31 Aug 2020
As you note in this review, you had indeed written to us following your stay to which we offered a full and detailed response on the points that you had raised. We are disappointed that you have chosen to interpret our response as us somehow demonstrating indifference. But being complacent about what is our passion is most certainly something that we would never be. The toughest critics of this business are ourselves. You also appear to be troubled by the possibility that the comments that you have made about the hotel are treated initially by us as being simply your "opinions" rather than having an automatic status of "fact" attached to them. How else should we treat your opinion that our food is "quite ordinary, lacking in flavour and well below standard" when compared to the other recent (post lockdown) Tripadvisor reviews which offer such comments as "marvellous lunch", "the food was delicious", "recommend the afternoon tea" and the "food was excellent". Indeed, you found fault across all of the food served to you which implied that all 6 of our chefs did not meet your standards. These recent positive comments received would better reflect the more normal feedback that we are sent where 95% of the over 1000 reviews that we have received to-date have judged us in the Excellent/Very Good category. We process all feedback received and implement changes to our offer or service as appropriate. I would not intend to restate our full response to you here but you have added some more points in this review which we will clarify: > the road is about 80 metres in front of the hotel, has limited traffic on it during the evening/night given that we are located in the countryside whilst the room that you were in has double glazed windows so we must presume that you had the windows open. > the beds and pillows are new and were selected to offer firm support. > the pods for the Tassimo machine are recyclable and form a part of our sustainability focus where, as just some examples, we have installed PIRS and LED lighting, installed double glazing and increased levels of insulation whilst we source locally as much as possible and use veggie straws in our bar. > in addition to the pop-up on the website explaining that we are only offering our a la carte menu presently, we also sent you a reservation confirmation by e-mail that also advises on our current food offer. > as to limitation of menu, the a la carte offers 6 starters, 7 mains plus a range of pizzas and 5 desserts which is augmented with daily specials which most people would consider to be a reasonable range of options for a 2 day stay in the current environment. As we said in our e-mail response to you, we are sorry that you did not enjoy your stay with us and that is genuinely stated but, like any serious and responsible business, we equally must assess any feedback within an overall context.
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Trencherman1873 wrote a review Jun 2021
Edinburgh, United Kingdom46 contributions51 helpful votes
Lovely bedroom and public areas, friendly and welcoming staff and picturesque views from the front facing rooms. However, there is a problem with the evening food menu. It is described on the website as “fine modern Scottish dining”, with mentions of venison and game, fresh fish and lobster and photographs of smoked salmon, scallops and creme brûlée. However, no sample menus are shown on the website so there is no real clue as to what you are going to get.

The food we experienced was a disappointment and was deficient in presentation, flavour and value for the price charged. For example, the crab stuffed sea bass fillets (they had run out of the advertised lemon sole) were stuffed with what looked and tasted like crab paste, not fresh crab meat. The peppercorn sauce on one night had no peppercorns, not even crushed. The strawberry cheesecake tasted like angel delight and was topped with a quickly melting sorbet, which added to the sickly sweet taste. The venison burger was dry but could so easily have been improved with the addition of a tangy chutney and a salad. The special starter of chilli chicken wings was impossible to eat without tearing them apart with your hands.

This was definitely not a genuine fine, modern Scottish dining experience. This might seem harsh, but we love food, eating out at lots of different establishments over many years, and we sincerely believe that Dowans could and should do a lot better.

We did not make our feelings known to the owners since their extensive replies to criticisms on this site show that they are defensive of their hotel and what it offers. Our view is that the food in the evening is letting it down and needs a significant rethink but no doubt the owners will point to the many good reviews they receive and dismiss our views rather than consider whether we have made some valid points.
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Date of stay: May 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Innes M wrote a review Jun 2021
Stornoway, United Kingdom2 contributions2 helpful votes
I booked this for a couple of nights with my wife in between business trips simply to have a kickback after some busy weeks. On arrival we quickly found that we had stumbled on what looked like a very nice “ castlelike stately home”. What then ensued was simply a seriously enjoyable time. We experienced some great food, one of the best whisky collections I have had the pleasure of attempting to progress through and met a collection of highly professional yet wonderfully friendly staff and management. Oh did I mention that unlike some similar stately home/ hotels Dowans does not have the creaking floorboards, the downbeat tartan carpet, the highly disfunctional windows or irrelevant fake antique furniture ….no none of that nonsense. There has been a serious investment in all aspects of the hotel in public areas and rooms and whilst offering highly modern facilities they are extremely tastefully prepared retaining the heritage of the property. There is a highly experienced interior design feel throughout.
Staff are superbly trained and engage on differing levels at all times ensuring we are looked after completely. There is a genuine humour and fun atmosphere at the surface of a extremely hardworking team here and one we instantly had synergy with. We enjoyed so much that we pushed back a couple of commitments and stayed an extra night which completed our break perfectly with the testimony being that I had to ask the question stated in the review title…… and yes …..we will be back real soon
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Date of stay: June 2021
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Room Tip: Seems to be a room for all tastes
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
JGD1967 wrote a review Sept 2021
Burnley, United Kingdom146 contributions55 helpful votes
I had booked the hotel as part of a road trip to Scotland for three couples. The whole experience was marvellous from start to finish. Everything about our stay was perfect. The rooms are finished to an exceptional standard, the family owners and their staff are friendly, hospitable and knowledgeable. They couldn't do enough for us. The food was superb, (we had dinner both evenings and breakfast both mornings of our stay) and everything was cooked to perfection. All the produce appears to be sourced locally. The whisky bar has to be seen to be believed with around 650 whiskies available! For a high end experience, this is one not to be missed.
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Date of stay: September 2021
Rooms
Service
Sleep Quality
Room Tip: The Balvenie was our room. Luxurious and spacious!
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
washington_wahine wrote a review Oct 2021
Seattle, Washington2,790 contributions612 helpful votes
+1
There were several reasons why we selected the Dowans for a recent family road trip in Scotland. It’s a beautifully renovated boutique hotel, family run, with many pleasant personal touches. Communication was good, and the arranged whisky tasting in the snug was appreciated.

We were able to enjoy dinner and breakfast also, and found the food pretty good with a range of selections for all dietary preferences. Service was a bit slow due to several larger tour groups. These same groups can be quite boisterous, so don’t expect a peaceful atmosphere. A star is taken off for poor sleep quality - we found the rooms facing front (on the landing) to be quite noisy, with exposure to foot traffic, loud conversation (who whistles continually after midnight?) and slamming doors until the wee hours of the night.

We also missed being able to schedule tastings in most of the bigger distilleries- they are booked months in advance by these whisky tour groups, and are otherwise unavailable to the leisure traveler.
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Date of stay: October 2021Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Douglas Collins wrote a review Sept 2020
Edinburgh, United Kingdom84 contributions63 helpful votes
Stayed the last couple of days at this Hotel. From the moment we arrived until we left, you could Not fault the Hotel, Staff or Culinary Food & variety of Drinks available.
The Covid pandemic is affecting everyone, but for the first time in nearly 6months my wife and I felt relaxed and safe in this establishment.
The Family run Hotel offer High quality Finishes and Decor throughout, in keeping with the properties Age and History. The Breakfast & Dinner served throughout our stay was excellent. Our room was Beautifully decorated, Lovely En-Suite, Bed exceptionally large. Externally we sat out in the Terrace which gives absolutely Stunning views.
Highly recommend this Hotel if you’re in the area or touring the Whisky Trail or surrounding areas.
Many Thanks to all the Staff, for a lovely welcome and service throughout.
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Date of stay: September 2020
Rooms
Location
Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Aed66 asked a question Apr 2017
West Chester, Pennsylvania45 contributions16 helpful votes
Do you offer fly fishing?
Answer from MurrayFamilyDowans
5 contributions1 helpful vote
Hi there, I'm afraid that we do not have any rods to offer, however, there are rods through the village tackle shop which are available for hire. Additionally, we have contacts at several beats down the river who may have availability. Please email us if you require further information. Kind regards, Steph
Emma L wrote a tip Apr 2023
3 contributions1 helpful vote
"Stay to sample the extensive - wall of whiskey -collection in style. "
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Emil_y wrote a tip Jan 2023
Aberdeen, United Kingdom13 contributions3 helpful votes
"All rooms are gorgeous."
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Maria D wrote a tip Sept 2022
Lysaker, Norway12 contributions1 helpful vote
"Treat yourself to a suite!"
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Kadebranson wrote a tip May 2022
3 contributions1 helpful vote
"The Balvenie room was great!"
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classic1903 wrote a tip Apr 2022
Ventura County Coast, California168 contributions134 helpful votes
"Our room overlooking the main road to the northwest was perfectly quiet."
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Aberlour area.
PRICE RANGE
S$398 - S$443 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
ALSO KNOWN AS
dowans hotel aberlour
LOCATION
United KingdomScotlandMorayAberlour
NUMBER OF ROOMS
16
Prices are the average nightly price provided by our partners and may not include all taxes and fees. Taxes and fees that are shown are estimates only. Please see our partners for more details.
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DOWANS HOTEL: UPDATED 2024 Reviews, Price Comparison and 315 Photos (Aberlour, Scotland) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Dowans Hotel
Which popular attractions are close to Dowans Hotel?
Nearby attractions include Glenfiddich Distillery (6.4 km), Knockando Woolmill (7.3 km), and The Fiddichside Inn (4.1 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Dowans Hotel?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
What food & drink options are available at Dowans Hotel?
Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Dowans Hotel?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Dowans Hotel?
Conveniently located restaurants include Seven Stills, The Mash Tun, and The Dowans Hotel.
Is Dowans Hotel located near the city centre?
Yes, it is 0.7 km away from the centre of Aberlour.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at Dowans Hotel?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Are there any historical sites close to Dowans Hotel?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Knockando Woolmill (7.3 km), Dufftown Clock Tower (6.6 km), and Dufftown &Mortlach Heritage Trail (6.6 km).