Situated in 5 acres of ground overlooking the surrounding countryside, The Dryfesdale Country House Hotel in Lockerbie is a welcoming place to relax. I recently stayed for the purposes of a review and found my Garden Suite, with its own patio, the ideal hotel solution for those that covet some outdoor space.
The Dryfesdale Country House Hotel is part of the Best Western portfolio although it is privately owned with a distinctive individual personality. The hotel building originally dates back to 1762 when it served as a Church Manse. In 1953 it began a new life as a hotel and in recent years it has undergone major refurbishment by the current owners, the Wright family, although some character features have been retained. The hotel now offers 29 bedrooms, private function rooms and the Kirkhill Bar and Brasserie.
The extensive surrounding grounds and long beech lined drive, provide the feeling that you are firmly in the country as soon as you arrive. In fact you are actually only a few minutes drive from the main A74 road which connects with Carlisle, making this a convenient base for exploring both the south of Scotland and the north of England.
One of the highlights of my stay was the friendliness of the staff. The welcome I received and the customer service was exemplary, making guests feel at home seemed to be a real priority. I could often overhear staff chatting away with other guests, asking about their day with genuine interest. It sounded more like old friends catching up and the guests did seem to appreciate the personal attention.
It is nice to stay in a hotel that not only has relaxing surroundings but also a homely atmosphere and I did feel it was a place I would like to stay at for a little longer next time.
I stayed in one of spacious Garden Suites which sit in their own little extension and come with a small patio space. As it was a warm and dry day, I couldn't wait to slide open the doors and let the room fill with fresh air and the sound of birdsong. I've never stayed in a hotel room where I could bring the outside in like this before and it was a real treat.
Rather than lie back on the bed and watch the massive TV or chill out on the couch, I opted to make myself a coffee and sit outside. I might even have stepped in and out several times just because I could! Having this outdoors extension meant I could stroll around the surrounding gardens and take in the views of the hills in the distance without wandering too far from my room.
I think you can tell how much I loved the outdoor freedom but you're probably wondering about the other facilities in the room, so I'll fill you in...
My room was very spacious and well equipped with all the usual facilities you would expect, and additional handy items like an iron, ironing board and fan which don't seem to come as standard in many hotels these days. The bed was big and comfy, and the little dressing table doubled up perfectly as my work-space.
The bathroom was spotlessly clean with a shower over the bath and a range of toiletries. I would say it was a pretty standard hotel bathroom which was more functional than luxurious.
The hotel also provides a range of extra services including a computer with printer for guest use, travel plug adaptors, a laundry service and bottled water.
I had read good reviews about the food before I arrived so I was expecting a high standard and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, so many things on the menu sounded tempting, I really struggled to make a choice, especially as most dishes were marked gluten free. In the end I opted for -
Starter - Pressed ham hock terrine, beetroot marmalade, white raisin and parsley syrup
Main - Chargrilled pork belly, seared scallop, carrot puree, pomme anna, pickled beetroot, bramley apple dressing
Dessert - Passion fruit and mango mousse, kumquat marmalade, coconut sorbet
The food was well presented, the portions were generous, the service was attentive and overall I really enjoyed my meal. I did struggle a little to finish my main and dessert due to the plentiful size of the dishes but that's not a bad complaint to have!
I also enjoyed watching the amusing antics of the rabbits in the garden from the panoramic restaurant windows. I even spotted a deer in the neighbouring field and as I was eating on my own, the local nature kept me suitably entertained during my dinner.
At breakfast there is a limited continental selection and an additional option of a cooked breakfast to order. I was still feeling full from my large meal the night before (a definite case of eyes bigger than my belly!) so I went for the light option of smoked salmon and scrambled egg which was nice and tasty.
WOULD I RECOMMEND STAYING AT THE DRYFESDALE COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL?
Yes, although I didn't experience the bedrooms within the main house so my opinion is based on my stay in the garden suites. I personally loved having easy access to outdoor space with a little patio area and if I was staying again I would book this type of room. For me, it made the whole stay that bit more relaxing and I would definitely try and stay for a few nights next time as there is loads to do in the local area too.
Check out The Dryfesdale Hotel website for more details and you can book through the Best Western website for the best prices which I found to be currently cheaper than those quoted on the hotel's own website.
Disclaimer - As stated, I was invited to stay at The Dryfesdale Hotel for the purposes of a review and my opinions are based on my own experience. However, I always carry out additional independent research to ensure my own experience matches up with that of other guests. This way I feel I can confidently recommend featured accommodation to my readers.
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