I can't review the rooms because we never got past the booking fiasco but I can review the booking, breakfast and drinks there.
Summary if you don’t want to read on:
Manager and staff surly and obstructive.
Booking a fiasco, they gain bookings under the guise of The Red Lion but is a front to get more business for the Holiday Inn.
Breakfast, real ale & French waiter excellent.
I e-mailed a reservation via the Red Lion website (info at Red Lion) and booked for 4/5 May 2012. We particularly wanted this accommodation because some of our friends had booked here also.
My husband had to chase for a reservation number and confirmation e-mail (we've been caught out before with "lost bookings") so of we went to check in after a 3 hour drive armed with our paperwork.
We entered the pub and the manager was tutting and rolling his eyes because he had to log out to allow the receptionist to log on. Then the receptionist said "no you're in Holiday Inn" "but we have paperwork and we contacted the Red Lion via the website on "Info Red Lion""
"No you're across the road at Holiday Inn. We get a lot of confusion because the lady who does the bookings does them for both places."
Sure enough we went over to Holiday Inn and I must say the staff there were very accommodating and pleasant. They admitted there were ongoing problems with people expecting to stay at the Red Lion and had brought it up in meetings and will do so again.
They offered us one free breakfast at the Red Lion which, yes was a gesture but we had paid full price expecting to be staying at the Red Lion and eating the breakfast anyway. If we wanted the second breakfast there, we would have to pay £5 each. This also meant we missed eating with our friends on the mornings.
So had drinks in there on the Friday night. They did have a good selection of well kept, local real ales which were very nice but we were chased out on the dot by the Manager.
Saturday morning we wandered over for our breakfast. The breakfast was excellent. Lovely plump sausages, black pudding , egg, bacon, beans, mushrooms lots of toast and selection of jams/spreads, you could tell it was quality food. Fresh orange juice, selection of teas, coffee and a charming French waiter who saw to everybody’s needs with good humour.
Our friends started arriving and funnily enough half of them too had expected to stay at the Red Lion but were shoved into the over-flow of the Holiday Inn.
We booked for this in February on-line through the Red Lion Website but one of our friends rang the Red Lion in April, they said they were fully booked and suggested the Holiday Inn, he said he was persistent and they said they would book him in at the Red Lion. So we reckon he got our room by being persistent.
Late night bar:
The wedding party had a deal with a late night bar. On the Saturday when our friends arrived one of them overheard the Bar Manager saying to the barmaid "I might close at 11pm or I might close at 12pm, I'll decide later tonight" when we went over to the bar at 10:30, he said "no we're closing at 11pm." So he had decided to close it on a whim. Luckily the Holiday Inn were more accommodating and actually had a late bar as advertised.
On the last day we went in to the Red Lion for a cup of tea after our walk. It is the worse and most expensive cup of tea we have ever had. £4.50 for a tiny tea-pot for 2 people (the bar menu stated £2.25 pot of tea for one) which would be cheaper at Betty’s. I think someone had put a scented tea bag in the pot and had not washed it out properly because it tasted of milky flowers. When I took it back the barmaid was surly and pointed to the teabags and said “look I got it from the pot that says English Breakfast Tea” as the individual tea bags were not labelled and just shoved in pots, I suggested a mix up and I asked if I could have a labelled tea that had been displayed at breakfast. “They’re the same bags” (lie) and she reluctantly threw the tea away and swapped for another bag and pot which confirmed my suspicions as the tea was ok this time but of course there was only enough for 1 cup each.
If only the Red Lion had the staff attitude of the Holiday Inn and were honest with their booking system then there could be a significant improvement.
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