We spent one night with Susan and Patrick Stirling-Aird, and were perfectly looked after and treated with great generosity and thoughtfulness. Books that might ( and did) interest us were placed in our room, and luxurious toiletries of every sort were provided in the bathroom. The house appealed in every way, from it's history and unusual layout to views from the windows and pictures on the walls. The dinner was absolutely delicious, and breakfast exactly what we wanted.
I've always preferred a bed and breakfast establishment over impersonal hotels. Also the better value seemed to be staying somewhere unique over bog standard. But with the advent of boutique hotels and pubs getting posher and including breakfast and B&B's getting dated, the better value seems to be staying at hotels where you can almost guarantee for the money spent that you'd be getting first class dining and lodging. As nice as the Stirling-Airds were, the cost didn't justify the experience. We figured from comparing like to like they were about £50 overpriced. When you have a chef in a hotel serving you a three course meal, your choice, for £20pp, it's no comparison when you have no choice and are sharing it with the family for £30pp. We had breakfast included in our stay at a hotel and were able to choose from any kind of hot breakfast as well as the cold cereals and fruit buffet. Here at Old Kippenross the hot breakfast didn't include eggs - just a plate of cooked meat. Also I didn't get a choice of tea, just a very weak Earl Grey - the same we were served for tea when we arrived along with packaged biscuits. Hotels we stay in usually include luxury shampoo etc. We had to take out a new bottle of expensive shampoo that we brought along, since only body wash was provided and ended up leaving it behind (frustratingly enough). The Internet was also spotty. So the wake up call for us is sticking with hotels in the future. It wasn't a bad experience but it just wasn't good value for money spent on one night for two people (£170).…
The Stirling-Airds are interesting people and their home is situated on lovely acreage that overlooks a stream. We opted to eat dinner here on one of our nights and found it delicious, as were both of our breakfasts. Meals are taken at a large dining room table with the family and other guests. Despite a hall doorway that had a bit of a gap and not having a key to our room, we found Kippenross well-situated for our forays into Sterling to visit the castle and also Bannockburn. Quince and Tangle, the family's pet Border Terriers are very sweet dogs!
We were welcomed by our hosts who really made us feel at home in this historical house. Everything was hust right. The rooms were very comfortable with a view on the gardens and great trees. I recommend booking for dinner served by our hosts.