The Bull could be so perfect; situated in the delightful country village of Ditchling with two roaring log fires, cosy bars and rooms above. I had visited The Bull before and because the food was good and the atmosphere so lovely, I decided to arrange a birthday getaway for a very tired, overworked boyfriend and 6 of our friends. We envisaged a lovely meal and copious amounts of wine by the fire with the wonderful convenience of being able to make a short journey up to our rooms to bed. However, a few things really disappointed us (we are 30 somethings, with four of us working in the leisure industry from running pubs to marketing for hotels.)
The food standards had slipped slightly since the last visit. Among minor complaints, the steaks were dripping in a really rich sauce that just overpowered the meal awfully. As well, my apple crumble had an uncooked, floury, white topping; clearly it had been put in the microwave as the inside was super hot despite this. Breakfast the next morning included blackened, burnt croissants, and we had to request milk, butter and toast. The cooked breakfast was very uninspiring with extremely dry sausages and black pudding.... we suspect the microwave had been in use again.
The biggest annoyance for us all was that checkout was at 10am! I have stayed in many, hotels of all standards and none of them have had such a ridiculously early check out time. And on a Sunday! There are only four rooms here, and check in is 3pm. We couldn't possibly understand how it would take a cleaner 5 hours to clean and prep four rooms! We asked so nicely for an hour extra, and even offered a late check out fee but they were adamant that 10am was the very latest. We know for a fact that they didn't even have any bookings for those rooms the following day. Considering we had spent money on booking all four rooms and a very expensive meal, this seemed very unaccommodating and petty. In fact we would have spent more money and stayed for a roast lunch had we been able to check out later, but at 10am, we weren't going pack up and then hang around for 3 hours until that time.
To add insult to injury, our room was the only one that had hot water all weekend. Our friends had to endure cold showers, and apparently the staff couldn't fix the problem. Even upon arrival the heating in our room was off (in January!) and the girl who showed us to the room didn't know how to turn it on. We figured it out for ourselves.
This could be such a perfect country inn / pub as it really is beautiful and cosy. I am really loathed to write such a damning review. However, I really think this feedback is deserved and necessary. I do hope they turn things around and focus more on customer service.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC