Gowanbank is a beautiful house with large rooms and plenty of original features. It is a shame, therefore, that it has not been properly maintained for some years. On the surface everything is fine - clean and tidy, the heating works well there is plenty of hot water, towels provided for all guests. However it is the little things that let it down, and there are plenty of them.
The kitchen was poorly equipped to cook, prepare and serve meals for a large party of 11 guests. The cooker is small with a very small grill area and the extractor didn’t work. Dirt and grime down the side of the cooker (in the gap between cooker and units) was awful. Missing cutlery and drinking glasses had not been replaced (I notice the cutlery was missing in July from a previous review), and in the spirit of goodwill we purchased some items on the agreement of re-imbursement from the owner (at time of writing this has not been received). Insides of some of the kitchen drawers and cupboards were dirty. There were barely enough pots to prepare a large meal (one large pot for a stew, for example, but not a second one to also cook the potatoes to go with it!). The placemats on the table were dirty and sticky.
Not all of the beds had bedside lamps, and not all of the lamps were working, so we purchased some replacement bulbs. There were not enough seats in either of the large sitting rooms to accommodate all 11 guests at one time. The upstairs shower had no shower head. Our bedroom had wallpaper hanging off the wall underneath the window, the curtain pole was not properly fixed to the wall, and the light coloured carpet had several dirty black marks on it. There were cigarette ends just outside the back door, as none of our part are smokers this was disappointing. A lack of hand soap (only provided in 1 bathroom), toilet rolls (only 1 extra in each toilet) and waste – paper bins (only 1 between all the bedrooms and bathrooms) when we arrived added to the feeling of the ‘bare minimum’ being provided in this house. The whole house looks like it has not been painted or decorated for many years.
Prior to our arrival, the council had not emptied the wheelie bins due to the previous guests misplacing their recycling and general waste, and so there was nowhere for us to put our rubbish. This had not been noticed by the housekeeper or owner during the preparation for our arrival; therefore we had to come up with an alternative storage solution.
On a more serious note, when we arrived we discovered a few nuts under the window in the sitting room, which could have had catastrophic consequences as one of our party has a severe nut allergy. Thankfully, we discovered and cleaned this up without incident.
We have been in dispute with the owner since returning home, over a bed which was broken. That has now been resolved. We were told that we left the house unlocked for a few hours between us departing and the housekeeper arriving, and apologised for this as the leaving instructions are quite clear and it was our mistake.
None of this had a big enough impact to make our holiday unpleasant – as a group of family and friends who have been holidaying at New Year for over 20 years we are resilient and able to ‘roll our sleeves up and get on with it’. However, we have never encountered such an un-cared for house in those 20 years. Such a shame. Just a little bit more TLC (and a few pounds) would bring this house up to a very high standard indeed.
We booked this for the weekend of our daughters wedding , so the whole family could be together. The sitting room and drawing room were beautiful and perfect for pictures of the bride and her bridesmaids getting ready.
The bedrooms were perfectly sized and comfortable.
The downsides were that there were only 2 showers for coping with 11 possible guests and the one in the roll top bath which was on a step was scary to get out of and no bath mats provided to step out onto , to prevent slipping.
The kitchen was a perfect size but unfortunately some of the drawers are falling off of the rails and it needs updating .
Also , there wasn't enough cutlery to serve 11 guests (7 forks) and having stayed in many places before would have expected there to be 11 of everything and there wasn't. A wee bit of a mismatch with the rest of the house.
The garden was lovely , but again there was not enough seating for the capacity of the house.
We had a lovely time and would recommend , but if we had been staying for longer ( and not out all day Saturday at a wedding ) we would have complained at the time.
We planned a BBQ for the Sunday and took our own as they said they didn't have ( there was a small kettle BBQ at the side of the house ) and also plastic forks etc which solved our lack of fork situation
Very central and quiet location in Huntly, close to the railway station and shops. Beautiful countryside and coast nearby.
All in the house was perfect although there could have been more small tables in the lounges for tea and coffee cups, and the downstairs shower's heating better regulated.
We rented Gowanbank for 2 reasons. The house used to belong to my grandparents over 30 years ago and wanted to see what it looked like now and as it was my partner's 60th birthday I thought it would be the perfect place. The house is fantastic,very comfortable,within walking distance of all amenities. Only a couple of complaints. As a family of non smokers it was disappointing to see the amount of cigarette ends just outside the back door and although it was no one's fault we were left without electricity for 2 to 3 hours one morning but the fault was soon rectify