We had decided to book a dinner, bed and breakfast break to celebrate my husband’s 75th birthday. We chose a De Vere property because we had stayed with them several times before and always enjoyed ourselves.
The break started well in that the weather was sunny, we liked the look of the buildings and we parked near reception. It went downhill from there. On checking in we were told that the dining room was closed that evening but that we could order from the dinner menu to eat in the bar. Although not ideal for a celebration dinner we decided to “grin and bear it”.
We then discovered that there was no pool – I realise that I should have checked but every other De Vere property we have stayed in has had a good pool. We decided to make the best of it and sit outside in the grounds as the weather was so good and have a few beers. Next problem – we could not sit outside as the whole area was reserved/ occupied by a large extended family celebration of some sort. So we went to the deserted bar and managed to order two different beers. Both tasted slightly strange and unpleasant but not really bad enough to hunt up a member of staff to complain so we drank them but did not fancy another and went back to our room to read the paper – not the way we had planned to spend the birthday afternoon.
In the evening we went to the bar to discover all the beer pipes were being cleaned – presumably someone had realised the beers were not good. We did not fancy another beer anyway after our afternoon experience so asked for Campari sodas – no Campari (even our little village shop stocks Campari). I gave up the idea of alcohol but my husband had a glass of wine which was fine. We asked for the dinner menu and were told there was not one! Asked how we could book a dinner break when there was no dinner, the bar staff were as helpful as they could be and went to see what could be done. This, loosely summarised, meant we could have a prawn cocktail, then steak or chicken (off the bar menu, or one of the other bar meals) and a dessert. Hardly a birthday celebration meal! Having no other option we went along with this.
To cover the other parts of our stay – the room was small but adequate with a good sized bathroom. Breakfast was acceptable with good sausages but dried up bacon. All the staff were very friendly and as helpful as they could be but this does not stop what was planned to be a celebration of my husband reaching his ¾ century being a great disappointment.
I waited until I had a response to a letter I sent to the manager before publishing this review. I have now received it and it can be summarised as don’t come on a Sunday, or indeed it is probably better not to come at all. The dining room is not open on a Sunday – why not tell us when we booked dinner for a Sunday? They always clean the beer pipes on a Sunday evening – why not in the morning when people are less likely to want a beer? (Other people in the bar that evening also asked for beer.) I would definitely advise against this hotel unless you come on a corporate event when it might be OK.