The Elphinstone Hotel is well known in and around Biggar â€“ and it should be. It has been a fixture on the High Street for some 400 years.
The Elphâ€™, as it is known, is a family-owned hotel and restaurant, with Janette and Robert Allen and their son Michael at the helm for over 20 years.
The former coaching inn continues to offer a place to rest oneâ€™s head and be replenished with 11 en-suite bedrooms and an impressive menu, offering lunch and dinner.
The room my friend and I were staying in was in fact a family room, with an ample double bed and bunk beds for the young (or young at heart â€“ some agility needed to reach the top bunk). The room was traditionally decorated and spacious with two comfy leather chairs, a coffee table, a good sized wardrobe â€“ containing plenty of freshly laundered towels â€“ and enough drawers for a family to pack away their things for a few nights.
Arran Aromatics bath products were provided and tea and coffee making facilities, plus bottled water. The room had two flat screen televisions, which might be useful if parents have different viewing preferences to their children.
Whilst the shower over the bath had decent water pressure, the hairdryer wasnâ€™t very powerful and would have benefited from a longer cable to allow the user to dry their hair in front of the mirror. That aside, the room had everything we needed.
Room service was prompt and when we asked for ice, a huge tub was delivered.
We had booked dinner for 7.30pm and found a lively dining room with groups and couples. The menu was incredibly wide-ranging with something for everybody and whilst Gordon Ramsay may have encouraged a smaller choice, the kitchen produced two top-notch meals for us. I chose chilli and mango prawns followed by fish pie with chips and vegetables. Both were fresh and delicious. The pastry on top of the fish medley was light and flaky and the fish was flavoursome. My friend ordered deep fried Brie with cranberry jelly followed by a generous portion of scampi and chips.
The staff were attentive and friendly, but not overbearing. In fact, the waitress was very diplomatic when a lump of Brie left my friendâ€™s plate and landed on the floor, offering to replace it (however the 5 seconds on the floor rule hadnâ€™t been breached, so it was fine!).
Our deserts were both ice cream based â€“ the local ice cream manufacturer is just a few doors down the street, Taylors of Biggar. My vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce was good and my friendâ€™s warm chocolate brownies with ice cream was slowly devoured.
The hotel prides itself on showcasing local produce, from the meat from local butchers William Ovens to the locally made Biggar Gin. Their sourcing policy and the quality of food and drink has been recognised with a Visit Scotland Taste of Best accreditation.
The cosy lounge bar with its a real fire and was a pleasant place to enjoy a drink after dinner. For those who enjoy a more lively atmosphere, there is a public bar with pool table, darts, live music most weekends and large screen TVs showing mainly football.
Each of the 11 rooms are individual, with five located in a newer extension and the rest in the original building. However, modern amenities such as free, easy-to-access Wifi, have brought the accommodation into the 21st century.
Dinner for two: Â£44 excluding drinks.
Family room for two: Â£92, plus Â£12 for each additional guest. Doubles/twin rooms Â£82 per room Fri/Sat, single room Â£59 Fri/Sat.
The Elphinstone Hotel, 145 High Street, Biggar, ML12 6DL.
Tel: 01899 220044.