Exchange Reviews

January - December 2012

We highly recommend this home exchange as a wonderful Scottish ...

Thomas from Colorado Springs, United States said

We highly recommend this home exchange as a wonderful Scottish experience. The beautiful pastoral and forest setting with sheep and gardens of this giant estate as seen from the glass conservatory, dining area and kitchen are pleasant reminder that you are in Scotland. Each room is very comfortable and make you feel at home and relaxed--the dens with fireplaces, the Aga-oven warmed kitchen, the 6 bedrooms... The home itself is a wonderful holiday. You can easily make nice walks right from home. There are excellent pubs/restaurants nearby. The fascinating history of the house and family is a very unique and special experience that helped us learn about Scots and Scotland. Their family history in Scotland goes back 1,000 years to the Norman Conquest! Having travelled to Scotland before we learned that this area near Glasgow is one of the best home bases. We made many easy daytrips or half day trips. Glasgow is just a few minutes away by either car or train and Edinburgh is a very easy one-hour trip by train. It also is a very good base, closer than Edinburgh, to make day trips to the Highlands like Loch Lomond, Loch Fyne and many other very scenic and history-rich castles, museums (many are free), parks... We have 4 kids aged 6-11 and have done 6 exchanges and they all said "This was the greatest house ever!" If you are fortunate enough to do an exchange here you will have memories that you will forever treasure.

November -1

What an incredible place to land! The Gardens cottage offered ...

Lee Lee
Lee Lee from Taos said

What an incredible place to land! The Gardens cottage offered a peaceful retreat in the heart of Scotland. We enjoyed spending long evenings in the solarium, overlooking verdant pastures, before retiring to cozy fires in the library. The house was full of extensive family history, we felt fortunate to be able to have a glimpse into it. The estate was delightful to explore, offering an extensive network of solitary trails through lovely forests. The location was ideal to explore the rich history of Scotland as well as the best the vibrant city of Glasgow has to offer. I can see why Glasgow is one of Europe's top rated emergent cities as it has loads to offer, and it is only 20 minutes away. Edinburgh is an easy day trip by train as well. The only thing that surpassed the house itself was Mark's generosity. Every need was considered, and he went out of his way to be a perfect host. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to stay in this lovely home and would highly recommend an exchange to anyone considering one.

April - April 2013

Thank Mark & Melanie for sharing your beautiful home and especially ...

Robin from McQueeney, United States said

Thank Mark & Melanie for sharing your beautiful home and especially for your amazing Scottish Family hospitality!! We arrived at the Houston airport where we first met this amazing couple. They had driven special, all the way in from North London to greet us at the Glasgow Airport. They then proceeded to show us the short winding beautiful drive to the most magical and picture perfect estate. The Maitland Estate and Summer Cottage. The massive lush grounds literally took my breath away. There are endless rolling grass fields lined with wondrous woods and streams and a cross country equestrian runs. I got to experience many days of the strength of the equines as they beautifully cleared each obstacle jump with power and grace. The meticulously maintained large 17th century white cottage villa is adorned beautifully, including a great chef’s kitchen that houses the most wonderful large iron stove and oven you could ever imagine! A Chef’s dream!!! Because of their desire to treat you as family and their generosity to make you feel at home, they had the refrigerator stocked with amazing local foods. They offered us to drink as we needed from their nice selection of wines and of course their award winning scotches. The large, comfy oversized Sun room that looked out forever across the magical valley was my favorite place for tea and a good Historical Scottish book (which their library is full of). The rooms and beds were like staying in a storybook. All of them were clean, comfortable and best of all; relaxing. My husband, I, my sister, and our two best friends, loved this special sunny-bright home so much it was hard sometimes to even leave and go exploring the countryside. We we’re on a 5 month trip around the world including the London Olympics, Italian Alps, Cannes, Barcelona, Amalfi, African Safaris, Deserted Fijian Islands and South Pacific Islands. 12 countries and 21 stops. Since our return, there has never been any question - The Maitland Estate, its Owners and the magical surroundings which gave us so many wondrous times, was our favorite stop of the entire trip! Mr. Maitland had learned through our pre-trip conversations, that my family estate and lands, the “Craigends Castle” Estate, of the Cunninghame Clan, butted up to his property and he had even roamed and played there as a child in the old haunted castle His family ancestors had known my family ancestors. When we first negotiated the exchange, neither of us knew of this connection. We were searching for our Family roots in Scotland, never knowing where they were, or exactly where to look, and magically, our Home Exchange adventure with Mark and Melanie, landed us unknowingly right next door to the subject of our quest! After Mark discovered that this was a special trip for us, he took the time and effort to retrieve from his family’s Vault the incredibly preserved and original, and actual documents that my family signed on land deals way back when – 1500’s-1600’s and 1700’s, and original maps and drawings of the castle and it’s grounds. Incredible!!! It was an act of overwhelming kindness for him to allow us, complete strangers, to freely browse these irreplaceable old treasures. My sister and I got to spend days exploring our family’s now abandoned grounds which lay across the river which legend has it and which we discovered, the oldest Yew Tree in the entire country of Scotland!!. All of this meant the world to us. Mark supplied my Husband and his friend with Fly rods and the boys had a blast fishing the banks of the river on their own. WE even borrowed some of his family ceremonial swords and reenacted a “storming of the old castle’ where we found its ruins on the river bank nearby! I will forever be grateful for the warm hospitality and treasured memories that this family has given us. There is so much to do in the area and Mark helped suggest or arrange a lot of our special times. -Horseback riding, fishing, the hounds, a world class Equestrian facility which we visited and rode at was one of the most perfect and idyllic stables for jumpers which I had ever visited. The local people are super friendly and the local restaurants are fun with great food. And what a Perfect location for Day trips! We explored the nearby Loch Lomond and Loch Fine by ferry and auto (the Maitland’s auto provided for us). It is merely a short 1 hour trip by train to Edinburg for a day of local shopping and exploring plus amazing day trips to gardens and Botanical parks….all of it was incredible and so much fun. We can’t wait until I can make it back to Houston, Scotland, which has captured my dreams’ and my heart, become a special part of my life. We have done 6 exchanges and this was definitely the top one we have experienced! The following spring we met Mark, Melanie, and their 5 children at our Exchange Beach House located in South Padre Island, Texas and enjoyed trying in our small way to repay the adventure and kindness they had given us. What a great Family and what a great vacation. Thank you Mark and Melanie!!

Exchange photos from :
November -1

We had a most agreeable exchange in August 2013 with Mark ...

Dietmar from Überlingen said

We had a most agreeable exchange in August 2013 with Mark Crichton Maitland. His second home is the former Gardener's House, a very cosy and comfortable house with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a really large kitchen with all the nice and practical equipment you'd like to have yourself, a computer with guest account, a tv-room, a living room and, best of all, a conservatory from which you had a marvellous view onto the huge garden with some old trees anda perfectly cut lawn, overlooking furthermore the valley behind with flocks of sheep, dispered in the distance, a jumping horseman now and then and - which we sometimes did - sort of a natural golf range, for which the equipment was at hand. Mark gave us an interesting introduction to the family history and the enormous extended property. He even encouraged us to drink ad lib from his huge stock of some very good chosen wines. He picked us up from the nearby airport, had us use his Range Rover for all the near and far excursions, even way up north to the Hielands. A couple of times we went to Glasgow, which we liked very much, because of some very decent museums. Even two of our adult sons dropped by and liked the wonderful and peaceful atmosphere of Mark's second home.For us as experienced homeexchangers it was one of the rare a 5 star exchanges. Thanks a lot Dietmar and Maria from Überlingen, Lake Constance

August - August 2014

We are absolutely thrilled with our experience. Living in Mark ...

Laura from Milan said

We are absolutely thrilled with our experience. Living in Mark and Melanie beautiful home wasn’t just an exchange but a true privilege. The long history Mark’s family is closely linked to the history of Scotland, knowning the former allowed us to live better the latter. The Glasgow area is interesting and there are many things to see. Mark and Melanie offered their home with extreme availability and generosity. We will not forget this experience which is for us the best among the many exchanges we had so far

What we said about Laura's house:

Laura and Francesco's home cannot be recommended too highly. Strikingly modern, well equipped and comfortable, it is a perfect base to explore northern Italy. Milan has so much to offer and is within easy reach of Verona, Padua, the Italian Lakes and so much more. The house really felt like coming home after a long hot day on the culture trail, and the air conditioned bedrooms make all the difference. Conquer the coffee machine and ,life is bliss...