We stayed at the Carnbooth House Hotel on 12/02/2011 as ‘mystery guests’, in that we didn’t tell the venue why we were staying. We wanted to get a true feel for the venue without anybody trying to impress us. We also visited on 09/03/2011 on an arranged basis and were shown around by Paul O’ Donnell, the Events Manager.
The building itself is an old one but has been restored to give it the modern things expected of a hotel these days. Paul explained to me that the total spend to refurbish the hotel was around £5m.
We booked the bridal suite for our stay and it was one of the most impressive rooms I have stayed in, with a four poster bed, seating area, bay windows with curved double glazed sash windows and a fireplace. The bathroom was a good size with both a shower and a roll top bath. I was shown a selection of the other rooms on my visit and all of them are well furnished and decorated.
It is worth noting that the hotel only has eight bedrooms, and while all of these are assigned to the wedding party, if you are planning in a larger wedding (bearing in mind the minimum numbers of 80 on a Friday and 100 on a Saturday), you will need to consider alternative accommodation as well as transport for your guests. Paul confirmed that there is an arrangement with the Holiday Inn East Kilbride, a 2 minute journey, for reduced rates for your wedding party.
We ate in the Glasshouse Brasserie and found the food well priced, well prepared and well presented, although we felt the ingredients themselves were not the highest of quality. The decor is rather unique with a conservatory feel to it, and is a nice light airy room in comparison to the dark wood and carpets found in the rest of the hotel. The hotel will only ever have one wedding on per day, however unless you pay for exclusive use, the restaurant will remain open to the public.
Larger weddings are held in the marquee which is accessible via a rear door and down a very short path under a covered walkway. Catering for up to 230 people on long tables and 170 on round tables, the marquee is a well proportioned room with a dedicated bar and direct access to the kitchens for the waiting staff. It is also used for wedding ceremonies where there are more than 60 attendees.
Back in the main building, the Drawing Room seats 16 and is often set up for those who stayed at the hotel to breakfast together the next day. The Auchenview Suite is used for smaller wedding ceremonies of 60 or less.
The hotel also has a Dining Room which can seat 24 on a single large table or 30 across three tables for the smaller wedding meals.
With prices ranging from £45.00 per head for food and £12.50 for drinks, the hotel is good value for money. Paul explained to me that the hotel is aiming to achieve a 5* rating and everything they do at the moment is with that in mind.
As I visited on a bleak and grey day both times I was there, I didn’t get the opportunity to view the grounds apart from as I was passing through them. I would say that the gardens will probably need a little time to bed in as the hotel refurbishment of 2009 has left parts looking a little new. I also think that you should consider the parking in relation to the size of your wedding as there doesn’t seem to be a huge area, and your guests who do drive may end up parking on the side of the roads on the grounds.
In summary, I think this is a good up and coming venue. If you can get around the fact there are only eight rooms on site, I think a really good day could be had here.