For a special birthday we were given a two-day, fully inclusive, paid for, hotel stay in Warwickshire. Located near Stratford-upon-Avon The Billesley Manor is a beautiful Elizabethan Manor House, with a rabbit-warren of corridors and with extensive grounds, indoor swimming pool and Spa, a fabulously well-looked after topiary area, tennis courts and fish pond with eternally greedy fish in it. And, interestingly, it also has its own extremely old church in the grounds which goes back to Saxon times.
Our reservation was for a deluxe double room and one week previous to our arrival we verified with the general manager, a very nice gentleman by the name of Mark Davies, this was so and overlooking the gardens and an email from him confirmed all this. To our disappointment when shown to our room it was not overlooking the grounds, but the back of other buildings and was only standard. Feeling we could not, as we had not actually organised this booking, complain, we were left in a difficult situation. However, considering payment had been made for an upgrade an email was fired off to Mark, who minutes later appeared at our door full of apologies. Apparently, until this day, he had been away and these confirmed arrangements had been entrusted to a colleague who had failed to follow through. We were appointed a further room, overlooking the grounds at the front, which had not long been upgraded. While a very much superior room it also had its failings; housekeeping had failed to remove used soap from the bathroom from the previous occupants (it may seem petty on our part but the tariffs in this hotel are not basic to put it mildly and this is not acceptable), toilet flush failed to work succesfully on many occasions, cement tile grouting in the bathroom floor tended to chip out, at one point cutting into a foot, the bath grab handle was very loose and could have been dangerous if it had been necessary to use it. Mark did admit this had been reglued many times and would have to be investigated further, but again this is not acceptable.
Unfortunately too many troubling incidents occured during our stay which were blamed on new trainees being introduced into the staff. These are obviously required for the continuity of the staff but all seemed very naive of their duties and considerably outnumbered any senior members and were basically untrained in any form. This was shown particularly in the restaurant with ridiculous waiting times, e.g 20/25 minutes to clear finished meal plates, two hours to complete a three course meal. These were simply small hiccups that seem to beset this hotel at the moment and while Mark does realise the enormity of it, it will take time to recover any problems. It is understood new owners purchased ownership three weeks previously and intend to upgrade it accordingly.
While there is disabled access from a different area the hotel is possibly not ideally equipped and they should need to be informed if requirement is for such purposes.
We would suggest that anyone looking forward to peace and quiet this is not for you – it is basically a corporate and tourist coach venue and is probably not appreciated for its majesty as such. Sorry for sounding so pessimistic but this is how we found it and only hope Mark and the new owners can turn it round satisfactorily. But perhaps you may have better luck than we did!