Barcelo Marine Hotel – Troon, UK

I arrived at the hotel around 4:30pm having driven from Edinburgh which took around 90 minutes. I managed to bag the last parking space outside however I should add there is a car park adjacent to the hotel; I was just being lazy really.

This hotel has been in existence for a long time and has changed hands more than once (as demonstrated by the old branding on the wastepaper bin in my room). The property is situated at the edge of the small town of Troon, pretty close to Ayr and Prestwick Airport (PIK).

Check – in was pretty quick, however the staff member was happy to chat and indeed I left with a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe room.

Club Room at The Barcelo Marine Hotel

As I had laptop, iPad, trainers and holdall I opted for the lift to the 1st floor. My room was at the very end of a long corridor and the first thing I noticed about it was that it was cold. Very cold.  Oh and there was a big stain on the bedspread too.

I had a view of the golf course (well some of it anyway) from one window and I could just about make out the

sea from the other. The room was pretty spacious (although I sort of expected it to be so due to the location), had a King bed, desk and a small coffee-like table (with chairs) in the “turret” of the building. The bathroom was fairly standard however it had everything that I needed and it was pretty big too. The toiletries were standard Barcelo branded stuff which I think is a shame – this is an opportunity to bring out the character of the hotel.

Just as I was about to leave the room for the bar, my mobile rang. It was a business call and I had just changed out of my suit; I looked around the room for the standard notepad and pen however to my dismay there was none. No branded notepad, no branded pen.

View of the golf course from my room

To be fair, had my phone not rang (or had I still been in my suit) I probably wouldn’t have noticed this. However I am not sure that’s the point? The phone did ring and I needed to note something down and couldn’t. During my frantic searching I couldn’t even find the standard in residence letter writing search. Has something changed and I haven’t noticed? Have the quality hotels of the world stopped providing guests with notepads, pens and letter writing sets? Surely in this modern world when we don’t need any of them the disconcerting traveller wants them more? Is there not something quaint about taking the time to write and post a letter? Not to mention the excitement on the part of the recipient who receives not just kind words but also a postmark from a far off land (or perhaps even Troon). I feel a little sad about the disappearance of such joys.

Anyway after all this nostalgia I decided I needed a drink.

View of the pool from the hotel bar

The bar was fairly small however it would be described by Mrs Travel Freak as “cosy”. There was a fair selection of drinks; two draught lagers (Carlsberg I think and San Miguel), Guinness and a proper beer (I forget what), along with the normal selection of wines and spirits. I was a little disappointed with the small selection of whiskey – I had tried them all and I am not a massive whiskey drinker. There were also no crisps (this was rectified by my second night I should add), plenty of nuts though.

The unusual element of the bar was that it overlooked the swimming pool and sauna. I could just imagine the Junior Travel Freaks being a little bigger when Mrs TF and I could swim “with them” while staying dry and maybe drinking a nice Red too. The bar also had a wee stack of board games (Scrabble, Chess, Draughts and Connect 4 too I think). This again could be a nice distraction for the junior TFs while Mrs and Mrs TF catch up on dinner / lunch / afternoon lager etc.

At check –in I was handed a questionnaire (3 questions – Why are you here, How often are you here? Did you choose to stay here?) which once completed allowed me a free drink at the bar. As you can imagine, I had duly filled it in prior to my arrival at the bar.

The weather outside was miserable and while I sat sipping my complimentary San Miguel I did feel fairly content – perhaps even cosy.

The room had warmed up by the time I got back and like all good old hotels, a good night’s sleep was almost guaranteed. The windows here opened AND closed. No noisy aircon unit was going to keep me awake.

Breakfast was pretty good, real apple juice which didn’t smell of cat pee, silver service and hot items, tea and toast served to order. One thing that was missing from the full breakfast was beans – maybe I am just that kind of guy?

I will return here with the brood – or better still without them and just treat my wife to a stay here sometime soon.

Check out was non eventful – although I was slightly disappointed to have to pay for my newspaper – although they charged me 20 pence less than they should have. Result. I think.

Barcelo Marine Hotel, 8 Crosbie Road,  Troon,  Ayrshire KA10 6HE.  Website

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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