The hotel is on the edge of Coventry overlooking farmland and woodland. First impressions were good as we drove up to the hotel along the wooded drive. Ahead was the partially timber framed C19th house which had belonged to William Hillman of the Hillman Motor Company. In front were lawns with statues and a small pond and fountain. The reception areas and bars looked nice, but it all went down hill from there. This really is an example of fur coat and no knickers….
I was on a coach party and there were three other coaches in that night. The hotel seems to cater for the mass market cheap coach travel. The duty manager came onto the coach to give us our room keys and were were told dinner was at 7.30 and breakfast at 8.30. It was rigid timetable and no flexibility. We had to queue outside the dining room and wait until we were let in. It was a bit like being back at school – come to that the dinner was too…
Bedrooms are in the new extension. We were told which floor we were on, but apart from that we were left to find the room ourself. There only seemed to be one lift, which considering the hotel has 200 rooms isn’t much. In the mornings this is also used by cleaning staff.
I had a large room on the second floor which overlooked the flat roofs of the rest of the new block. I was a bit concerned there was no hotel plan on the back of the door marking fire exit routes. The fire sign told me to meet by the fountain in front of the house and to follow fire exit signs.
The welcome tray had plenty of tea and coffee AND a tea pot. Definitely a brownie point there. There were two easy chairs with a small table between them. A small flat screen TV was on another table. There was a large working area, but no chair. The room was clean, but furniture was well used and beginning to have seen better days. It was scuffed, chipped and a bit dated.
The bathroom was dated too. There was a huge whirlpool style bath but no hand rails to help you get in and out. That isn’t a problem for the young but is for those of us who aren’t so young. It did have a rubber bath mat to use in the bath but no towelling mat for the floor, although there was a notice on the wall warning that the floor can be slippery when wet. It was and I used the small hand towel on the floor. The bath towel was a bit skimpy and quality best described as average. There was nowhere to hang towels. The bath panel was loose and the wooden panel below the sink was missing a screw. This was beginning to suggest that maintenance wasn’t all it could be.
This was borne out by a non working bedside lamp and the box containing folders about room service etc also had a small calendar for 2015…. It was now end of May 2016. There was however, a card asking you to report any problems with maintenance.
The two large mirrors on the wardrobe door are directly opposite the toilet. Make sure you shut the bathroom door!
The mattress and pillows were a bit unforgiving but that is nit picking… At least the hotel was quiet overnight and I wasn’t disturbed by other guests.
It is an attractive dining room but not large enough for a hotel of this size, particularly if there is more than one coach party in. Hence the regimented meal times. We duly queued to be allowed in for dinner. This was a self service buffet with a choice of soup or a salad bar. This did run to a whole poached salmon and a selection of mixed leaves, tomato, cucumber and beetroot. What I thought were mushrooms turned out to be sliced sausage in a sort of branston pickle sauce. The salmon was nice but the rest ordinary.
The main meal was a carvery; gammon or a rolled joint of turkey, or else a choice of meat stew, fried fish, sweet and sour chicken and a veg dish. I had the fish which was very hot, so full marks for keeping food hot. I never did decide whether it was a thin layer of batter or breadcrumbs. There was a tiny bowl of tartare sauce put out, which might have served about 3 people – hardly generous. There were French fries or small pieces of roast potato. These looked really crispy, but this was deceptive as in fact they were very tough having been kept warm for too long. Otherwise there was a choice of well cooked carrots or mixed peas and sweet corn. See what I mean about the school meals?
The desert was the best bit and there was a choice of citron tart, cream sponge with almonds, chocolate biscuit base with a layer of cream and then a chocolate icing. The black forest gateau had been finished and wasn’t replaced until later. The tinned fruit salad felt a bit out of place.
We had to help ourselves to water and no-one came to ask if anyone wanted anything else to drink. Dirty plates were cleared quickly and coffee was available afterwards in the bar area. Overall an acceptable meal but nothing special.
We had been told breakfast would be 8.30 which didn’t leave a lot of time as the coach driver wanted to start loading luggage at 9.15. We were all standing outside waiting and waiting. The previous coach party was slow to clear the dining room. It was a bit of a scrum when we were eventually let in. Breakfast was decidedly average. There was a limited choice of cereals and no fresh fruit with a choice of prunes, tinned grapefruit or tinned mandarines.
There was a plentiful choice of a cooked breakfast – bacon ( dry and a bit tough), sausage (cheap and not very nice – perhaps that explains the sausage salad the previous night?), black pudding, hash brown, very crisp fried bread (excellent), fried potato slices, fried or scrambled eggs, baked beans and tinned tomatoes. There were croissants or slices of white or brown bread for toast.
You helped yourself to either orange of apple juice and made you own tea (tea bags) or coffee (instant). There were no herbal tea bags but fortunately I always make sure I have my own supply.
I did have a large breakfast and didn’t need any lunch, but I have had a lot better elsewhere.
So to sum up – I stopped here as part of a cheap coach trip and the experience felt cheap. There did seem to be a few non coach party guests around and they didn’t seem to be subjected to the regimented regime we were. I would have felt very cheated if I had paid full price for a night’s stay here.
There is level access to the reception area and ramped access to the dining room. There isn’t a lot of space between the tables and if it was busy would be very difficult to negotiate with a wheelchair.
I only found one lift for a 200 bed hotel, which says it takes 8 people, but these are small people with no luggage. There is apparently a stair lift, although I didn’t see/find this. The web site makes a point that they do have evacuation chairs and I did notice one on the ground floor. They have accessible rooms. I just hope the bath has hand rails…