Positives first: the hotel itself is beautiful and set in gorgeous countryside. There are a few different walks you can do around the estate depending on your energy levels. The staff were all very polite and friendly, and the food in the restaurant was consistently good quality and there was a nice variety and choice on the menus.
Cons: The main issue is that there just aren’t enough staff, and there is zero organisation of the staff who are there. We came to expect long waits for everything, from being seated at meals (which we had pre-booked), to giving food and drinks orders, and waiting for them. Every time there was something missing too which became tedious and frustrating. At breakfast I had to ask four times for milk and sugar for my tea, only for the tea to be cold by the time they brought it out. Same with syrup for pancakes, cutlery, a drink refill etc. I totally understand the challenges on staff in these post lockdown times but when you’re paying £30+ for breakfast you expect management to have these things sorted, the hotel doesn’t have a problem continuing to charge guests high prices. We did feed this back after our first breakfast and to be fair they were very apologetic, but the problems continued to happen for the rest of our stay so nothing changed.
I’m 6 months pregnant and this was supposed to be a relaxing trip away for my husband and me before baby arrives. However all the little niggles added up to it not being very relaxing at all. You have to book your hour slot at the pool in advance, but it doesn’t seem people keep to their hour slot as sun beds are in short supply and although we kept to our hour limit it seems others don’t, and staff don’t seem to enforce it. Children were playing in the adult pool, even though there is a separate children’s pool and it’s supposed to be a 4 person max limit anyway.
The cocktail bar doubles up as a casual restaurant so when we came down for pre-dinner drinks in the evening we were seated next to screaming toddlers having their tea. It seems families are given preferential treatment. We noticed several occasions where other guests were given better tables, had their order taken more quickly, given “extras” that we weren’t. I see a reviewer below was given a “free upgrade” - our room was lovely but the view was mainly of a wall.. It’s not nice feeling like an inferior guest.
The spa is lovely but you definitely have to book really far ahead. We called up a week before our stay and despite apparently having 15 treatment rooms and the hotel not being full, every single slot was booked. Only after persistent checking for cancellations once there did I finally manage to get a slot for a pregnancy massage. It was very nice but was supposed to be a 60 minute treatment and only actually lasted 45 mins. It wasn’t cheap so definitely felt a bit robbed.
As mentioned above I can’t fault staff friendliness and the individuals themselves, every single one of them was polite. However for a hotel that bills itself as luxury and the high prices it charges, we expected much much better.