Balbirnie House Hotel is a magnificent country house hotel standing in parkland just to the north-east of Glenrothes in Fife. The surrounding 400 acre Balbirnie Park, once the private estate of the Balfour family, now helps separate Glenrothes from Markinch and is home to an 18 hole golf course as well as a craft centre and other attractions. You can read our dining review for Balbirnie House Hotel here.
Balbirnie House was built in 1777 by the architect John Nisbet for the Balfour family, who had made their fortune through agricultural and mining interests in Fife. Between 1815 and 1819 it was substantially enlarged by Richard Crichton. The house became a hotel in 1989 and is now a Grade A listed building. It is therefore no surprise to find that the modern wing which accommodates, amongst other things, the dining and main function accommodation has been built with great sensitivity and complements the older parts of the house perfectly.
The stylish public rooms perfectly suit a grand Georgian mansion, yet also have a surprisingly homely feel. They include in the original building the beautiful long gallery, the superb library bar, complete with a real fire on cold days, and the Drawing Room. In the new wing you find the Orangery (the main restaurant), the Brasserie, and the large and extremely impressive Ballroom, capable of accommodating up to 250 in theatre style or over 200 for a banquet.
The 30 individually designed en-suite guest rooms are comfortable and well appointed, and many offer views over the superb gardens. Each has its own unique style and character, though all feel just right in their country house setting. The rooms can be found on the first and second floors of the main part of the house, and on the ground floor towards the rear of the hotel.
The hotel has a range of different grades of room. These vary in size, aspect, view and design, but all come with the same range of amenities and the same level of equipment. As well as two suites there are then 9 deluxe rooms, 8 twin rooms, 9 double rooms and two singles.
Balbirnie caters extremely well for functions, meetings and events of all types, and is extremely popular for weddings, especially at weekends: this is perhaps no surprise given the romantic setting and character of the hotel. There is a wide range of different sizes and styles of accommodation on offer and if you include the Bistro and Orangery there are ten function rooms in all, some of which can be linked together to allow considerable flexibility.
Disabled access is good. There is dedicated parking, while a ramp gives visitors in wheelchairs access to the main entrance. The ground floor of the hotel, on which you find most of the pubic rooms, is all on one level, and there are disabled facilities. There is lift access to the ballroom and the lower floor of the modern wing of the hotel. Some of the ground floor guest rooms are adapted for disabled users.
From the moment you walk through the grand front entrance, you realise that Balbirnie House Hotel is somewhere rather special. Service is excellent, and provided by a team who seem to take great pride in doing a good job and ensuring each guest has the best possible stay. We arrived with high expectations, and found them easily surpassed. A queston that always arises with a hotel that is popular for weddings is how other guests manage when a function is taking place. At Balbirnie the layout and arrangements are such that you can still enjoy your stay without having to feel part of, or excluded by, someone else's celebration. You can read our dining review for Balbirnie House Hotel here.