When we last stayed in the Princess Beatrice Chamber back in March, it was due to be refurbished. The wallpaper was peeling, the curtain tie-backs were broken and the side panel on the bath had been kicked to pieces by an irate guest.
The refurbishment has been undertaken, and a half price plus one night free deal tempted us back far sooner than anticipated.
Firstly, something which hasn't changed. The parking is still a free-for-all. No reserved space for your Historic Room, even though the Historics are all a very long way from the main car park. Sorting this out with signage should be a no-brainer, and yet it seems to be beyond the management.
Otherwise, arrival ran seamlessly well; our table request for the Orchard was in hand, and the champagne was already on ice as ordered. It's a little frustrating that the room keys are electronic, since at other Warner's if your room is ready early, you just use the key and you're in. Here, it's pre-programmed for 13:00. No flexibility at all.
As we could check in at 11:30, though, waiting for the room to be available did give us time to both swim and play a round on the putting green, so it wasn't as if we felt we were left hanging around.
Once ensconced, the refurbishment of "Room 212" proved to be so new that there was still a faint odour of fresh paint. The new carpet is so thick and deep that the self-closing door hinge had a problem with it, but it's luxurious when you're bare foot.
In terms of amenities, we often bemoan the fact that Warner's are constantly seeking to withdraw things from the Historic Room offer (the Nespresso machines, the fruit etc) so it was worth wondering what would be gone next. We soon noticed that what had gone this time was the DVD and CD player; the first time in any Historic Room that this was absent. We're used to bringing some DVDs with us a rainy day insurance, so it was irksome to learn that "DVD players are not required" in Historic Rooms. Maybe not required, but very welcome.
Luckily, we ran across Stacy from maintenance while passing through reception. He not only found us a DVD player in less than five minutes, he also said that if we called ahead before our next stay, he'd make sure there would be one in the Princess Beatrice when we arrived. That is exceptionally good customer service by any standard.
Further into the room, the bathroom has been thoroughly updated. The addition of motion-sensor activated sub-lighting is a welcome novelty (see photo). In the small hours, this more than suffices to illuminate the facilities. Otherwise, also with regard to the photo, it's obvious that a third floor room in the new block has a perfect view of whatever happens in our bathroom so, if you are a bashful type, like my wife, you have to close the blinds every time you're in there. Opaque film applied to the lowest three panes of glass would spare everyone's blushes, but will this be done? Judging by what's not happened with the parking, probably not.
So, to the room itself. The new furnishings are more decorative than functional. There is a pair of three drawer chests (photo) which are next to useless. When you pull the drawers out a few inches, they actually fall out completely. The vanity unit is now half taken up with the catering tray, and that's because the fridge is now sitting on the floor, rather than within a cabinet. As for the item which has replaced the coffee table, the new 'thing' is too soft to be a table and could possibly be an elongated foot stool, its hard to tell.
The new colour scheme is very fresh and contemporary, appearing far more feminine in character than the previous décor. Overall, it's not harsh to say that the Princess Beatrice now feels like an enormous Signature Room; bereft of any Historic Room grandeur. That's a shame, but it's not a deal-breaker.
This is still the only truly child-free Warner's we've visited, and the activities and facilities are second to none. Yes, in middle age, we were probably the youngest guests, but we came for peace, quiet and seclusion, and that's what our stay delivered.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- You'll be swept off your feet by the 18th century charms of this Grade I Georgian Historic Hotel, with its landscaped gardens, elegant drawing rooms, imposing staircases and fantastic views. Midweek and Weekend breaks inclusive of breakfast and 3-course dining, live evening entertainment and extensive leisure activities. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Holme Lacy Hereford