The Ecclefechan Hotel is a truly memorable and enjoyable stay. Once you’ve got over your greeting from Joe – there can be few more attentive, more entertaining and more friendly hotel owners – you get shown to an absolutely superb room. Ours was everything we could have wanted: spacious, clean, well-equipped, super bathroom – and wonderfully well designed, decorated and finished.
At the end of our stay, Joe and his wife, Mary showed us the other rooms they’ve completed, and the rooms they’re still working on. The rooms they’ve finished are well up to the standard of the one we stayed in. When finished – and it won’t be any time soon, we wouldn’t think, as there’s a huge amount to do – it could be a fabulous place. You can only admire Joe and Mary’s determination, imagination, attention to detail and, especially, hard work. Kudos also to Steve, their son, who seems to be ‘the man who can’ when it comes to building work (and bar-tending, and looking after the fire, and serving guests, and…) and who works no less hard.
Joe is the first to admit – and others have noted – that the hotel is a work in progress and, in parts, a building site (i.e. the rooms they’re working on – all of the other areas we saw were just fine). The foyer, bar and breakfast room are ‘old style’ – comfy, inviting and warm. The bar itself is a typical pub bar, with a raucous (but friendly) local clientele. It’s not for everyone, but it was fine for us.
The dinner menu was limited, and eating was in the bar – or, rather, a large room off the main bar which has been extensively refurbished, with the old stone work beautifully revealed. But if what we ate was nothing fancy, it was also excellent – very well cooked and presented – and plenty of it. It’s also very reasonably priced.
Highlight of the stay – other than Joe’s and Mary’s company – were the breakfasts, which were superb. The haggis is especially recommended. Good quality ingredients, very well cooked.
Yes, the hotel is still very shabby and unprepossessing from the front – but you don’t eat and sleep on the outside. The area to the rear won’t win any prizes for its outstanding beauty either. The worst part is the corridor from the bar to the public toilets and the toilets themselves, which have obviously not yet received any attention from Joe and Mary.
The Ecclefechan is all about Joe, Mary and Steve, the quality of the rooms and the excellent, good value food.