When I was booking accommodation for our Scottish roadtrip, I did struggle for finding suitable hotels, and even struggled with Air BnB options. Then I found Queen of the Loch which was a Marston’s Inn with pub and decided it ticked all the boxes we needed to stay a couple of nights.
Locationwise it’s a little on the edge of town – inbetween Balloch and Alexandria. It’s far enough from the road that you don’t hear it all night. But near enough to only have a short drive or taxi journey into Balloch for river cruises or food.
Queen of the Loch is a standard pub grub chain pub, and the accommodation is Travelodge to Premier Inn kind of level. It’s clean and functional, and worked well for us having the pub next door for breakfast, and dinner which N decided on. It’s an easy option when you’ve been out and about all day, and there’s some good daily themed offers, and a carvery daily.
The check in at the pub reception was easy, although it wasn’t the fastest. The staff members we spoke to were friendly and helpful giving us the information we needed to know. The key card gets you into the accommodation building as well as your room, and outside pub opening hours, there’s a number to call in case there’s an issue.
I’m not sure I’d stay at a pub or inn with N if the rooms were over the pub, but because these are in different building there’s less of a worry about noise. Kind of, because we did have people being noisy coming back to rooms quite late on.
Our room was fine. The twin beds were very soft and very narrow ones. I almost fell out one side turning over the first night, but they were ok after that.
There were plenty of plugs, lighting was well spread around the room, and the desk chair was really comfy and the right height for the desk.. The downside was there were no biscuits on the tea tray on the first day, but some appeared the second day which was a bit strange. They were just basic level biscuits.
There wasn’t a wardrobe but there are a few hangers and a full length mirror. And there was a hairdryer that worked.
The aircon was really good (plus there were windows that open) although we were on the ground floor so didn’t want to leave those open at night or when out.
The tv had fairly limited channels, but was sufficient for our stay.
The strange thing was the doors making a beeping sound after you’d entered the room, presumably for security locking. It was a bit annoying hearing people’s doing that late at night when they came in. Luckily there are only about 20 rooms so not too many going.
The bathroom was clean and I loved the strong shower with the outward curving shower rail which meant there was no feeling cramped with the shower curtain sticking to you because there was more space. The toilet seat was a moving one which didn’t feel too safe. And there were no tissues in the room, so we had to bring a box in from the car.
N was the only child we saw staying there the first night, although we spotted one other family for breakfast on morning 2, and heard a baby crying overnight. It was mostly men there presumably for work, and older couples. But the staff were all friendly and talked to him not over him which was good.
We had breakfast in the pub both mornings, paying separately to the accommodation booking. There’s a reasonable continental breakfast selection with 3 juices, croissants, toast, 3 cereal choices, good spread options, and basic fruit. I just opted for continental, but N wanted a classic breakfast.
They offer several full breakfast options: classic which was 2 rashers of bacon, 2 sausages, tomato, mushrooms, black pudding, hash brown, beans and choice of egg from poached, scrambled or fried. N said it was fine, but he’d much rather be able to choose from a hot buffet because then he can see which options were cooked how he wanted. He could also have the continental too, so if you want a hot breakfast you’re getting a really good deal.
Despite me wanting to try somewhere in the town we just ate in the pub both evenings for dinner too. We didn’t want to walk far, and there were plenty of good basic pub food options that we both liked.
The first evening I had a classic burger which came with fries, and a burger dipping sauce which was delicious – a bit like Big Mac sauce. I also asked if there was a side salad which caused some confusion. To me the burger should have come with fries and either peas or a side salad, but I ended up with mixed leaves plus some weird couc cous bits in with the dressing. The dressing was a bit strong, but it was a relief to have something veg, as we always find eating out seems to be short on veg or salad options with main meals. My cheese I’d asked for was missing but with the veg added and sauce, it made the burger more interesting.
N choose a sirloin steak with chips, onion rings, mushrooms, tomato and peas. He asked for no mushrooms or tomato, but the peas were also missing with no explanation why. The steak was a bit too pink for medium but he said it was a reasonable steak, and the chips were really good.
The second night I had a very nice lasagne with garlic bread and side salad, with a portion of chips on the side. N chose cod and chips which came with either garden or mushy peas, and tartare sauce. His mushy peas were more like a solid mass of peas which were a bit odd, and he managed to get through most of the meal despite it being an adult portion.
Again a reasonable meal, generally tasty, and the waiting/bar staff were friendly and helpful.
They also do a carvery offer daily which a lot of people seemed to be choosing. It’s nice to see different size options to hopefully mean less food waste, and people able to order the size of meal they want at that time.
Overall, we thought the stay at Queen of the Loch was good value and a decent place to stay, even without the missing little bits we usually like. Because the pub is separate to the accommodation we weren’t disturbed by that either which I’d been a bit worried about when booking.
I think we might look for similar on future breaks if we’re looking for something a bit cheaper than other hotels might be.