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“Beautiful location but let down by inadequate waiting staff”

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Macdonald Leeming House, Ullswater
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Watermillock
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Hornchurch, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
“Beautiful location but let down by inadequate waiting staff”
Reviewed 31 July 2013

I must start of by saying how beautiful the location of the hotel is. From the entrance at the front to the exceptional view of the lake from the back terrace.

We were a party of 11 staying and 13 dining on the first night. However, due to the large party we were often made to feel as though this was an inconvenience to the staff and we were often told there are other 'normal paying guests'.

Check in: Was fairly straight forward and we were allocated our rooms quickly.

Room: I believe all of our party were happy with their rooms. We stayed in the Garden Suite room 41 and we were very happy with the room.

It was split level with bunk beds upstairs and a standard double in the main room. Considering the size of the room, they could have had a bigger bed but the bed was comfortable enough.

The bathroom was spacious with a separate bath and shower. All of our parties complained about the shower feeling more like a dribble rather than a nice pressure shower.

The balcony was large with a table and two chairs. The view was wonderful of the gardens and lake. It was lovely watching the rabbits hopping around the garden.

Drinks/Bar: Sometimes we had to wait a while before we could order drinks and at least once our order wasn't bought to us. The bar seemed to close quite early (11.30-12ish) so it was lights out fairly early.

Breakfast: The first morning our large party had breakfast together in the separate room from the restaurant. This was fine however little things like having to walk into the next room to get water was a little frustrating. They are able to deal with large parties so they should have set the room up with simply things like butter, water and condiments.

Dinner: We had dinner with our large party on the first night and this was very nice. We had to stick to a set menu which was understandable considering the size of the party and we had to pre order. Everyone seemed happy with their dinner.

The portions are small, especially the main. I had the pork which consisted of three small slices of pork (sausage size slices), mash and vegetables. However, I did not feel hungry after three courses.

One of the biggest issues we had was the lack of supplies. Often we would order a bottle of wine, champagne or port and they would run out of stock. We were not ordering large quantities however they ran out of a lot of items.

Service: As mentioned above we were often made to feel as though we were an inconvenience. When our party first arrived we were sat in the back room as it started to rain and we were told we may not be able to sit together as other normal guests also have the right to use the sitting area.

This comment was made a number of times and we all found it very rude. All of our party were normal paying guests and do they honest expect large parties not to want to socialise together?

Although the waiting staff were often very friendly, they did not have adequate training. Simply things like pouring the wine and clearing the tablets was not always completed in the most professional manner.

There was a young blonde waitress who was extremely helpful and professional, sadly I can not remember her name.

However some of the other staff clearly did not have formal hospitability training.

Grounds: The gardens and terrace were wonderful and very well kept. The walk down to the lake was very peaceful and we were even brave enough to take a swim. If you plan to do this, bring some shoes you are happy to swim in as it is very rocky getting into the lake.

Although we all had a very nice time, I am not sure we will return to this hotel. I think we all expected the service to be considerably higher considering the price for the weekend.

Room Tip: The Garden Suite (Room 41) was excellent. Very large and well equiped.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Beckyboo1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (252)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Kendal, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 29 July 2013

I've just spent 3 heavenly days at Leeming with my husband and we didn't want to leave. We've been coming here for over 5 years and it just keeps getting better and better. We loved the recent work on the gardens that have made the views of Ullswater from the hotel even more breathtaking. Eating breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Lake was a delight. Refurbishment inside the hotel is looking fantasic and the feeling of luxury is a real pleasure. The food was simply divine-the sirloin steak and the cheese board being favourites of mine. Throughout our stay the staff were excellent-so helpful and friendly-they made us feel extra special. We arrived at Leeming feeling over tired and stressed but it has worked it's magic once again and now we can't wait for our next visit.

Room Tip: Rooms with a lake view are a delight.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sarah_bH9497NT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darlington, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 29 July 2013

Beautiful hotel with views to die for. Probably the best hotel around Ullswater
Rooms equally good but perhaps need a coat of paint and TLC some time soon.

What a shame they go and ruin it with an evening main course meal that a best could be described as portion control and at worse pathetic invalid food
"Fish of the day" consisted of two tiny tail end triangles of plaice fillet (cooked weight estimated at no more than 50 grammes) on a small mound of risotto rice.
The price of this, I quote from the menu, " complete meal" was £21 so I estimate around 50p in raw materials at retail prices if I am generous.
The hotel agreed to a 50% discount but sorry the damage was done
The next 2 nights we voted with our feet and dined well at the pub down the road.
Come on McDonald you can do better than this

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Michael b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ascot, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2013

What a lovely hotel!! Set in the most peaceful and beautiful surroundings. The staff were very friendly and professional. The rooms very comfortable with everything you could have needed. I thought the menu choice was a bit restricted and whilst the food was very tasty there really wasn't much of it and it was very pricey. We were on half board and it was hard to keep within that budget even without wine. But overall a great stay and I wil definately be back.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Alex4994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ellesmere, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2013 via mobile

Everything was excellent.
Lovely hotel, staff and location.
We will be back. Can't comment on food as we eat out but the breakfast was really good. Some rooms look over towards the lake and some don't but the old house part of the hotel is very nice.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cambridgeshire
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2013

My husband and I have visited Leeming House 7 times now and we are just back from another fabulous time. We were truly spoiled by the wonderful staff and cannot thank them enough.
We couldn't get in for dinner on the Saturday night as the hotel was fully booked which wasn't a problem as the staff after apologizing profusely recommended somewhere else and once we had eaten we came back and sat in the garden with a lovely bottle of wine, even though the staff were extremely busy they still found the time to make sure we were OK.
This is just a short review to say a big thank you to all the wonderful people who work at Leeming, they have made it a home from home for us and we are always sad to leave.
Keep up the excellent work. We will be back again.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CambridgeshireDuckie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2013

We stayed for 2 nights in July, in the middle of the heatwave. We had booked through a MacDonald’s promotion for an executive feature room with a balcony, but the booking had gone through as a room without balcony. (This has happened to us before with an internet booking – take your booking info with you). The matter was quickly resolved by Anna on reception who gave us a choice of two rooms – we picked one in the new wing with a delightful view of garden and lake. The room was a good size, and as it was on a corner there was a flow of air between the window and French doors. Although the room (39) could do with a bit of TLC it was more than adequate and had all the things you would expect.

The gardens of the hotel looked fantastic, and it was lovely to sit on the patio looking across the gardens to the lake.

We dined at the hotel both evenings, as there aren’t any alternative eateries within walking distance. The food is very good, with some of the dishes bordering excellent. I notice some reviews mention tiny portions, which is what one expects with a fine dining menu of this type, but even though the amounts of food were small we struggled to find room for pudding, although we did manage to share some cheese on the first evening. There isn’t a table d’hote menu – starters are priced around the £7-£9 mark, and mains at £15-£25. Service was very good on the first night, the team being led by Arek, but not quite as attentive on the second night when the restaurant was busier. Still acceptable though.

The staff were all extremely friendly and helpful, and it was good to see staff who had been there on our last visit a couple of years ago. They provided good service, but were a little thin on the ground in the bar and patio area. The bell to summon attention in the bar was out of order, so to find someone to serve was very difficult at times.

It was a little disappointing that the corridor area at the bottom of the stairs leading to the first floor in the new wing was filled with laundry for all the 3 days of our stay – I would have expected it to have been stored away on the day of delivery.

Other really annoying features - £3 surcharge to pay by credit card? We’re in the 21st century for goodness sake. £10 pd for wifi? Is that really necessary to cover costs, or just another way to increase profit?

Gripes aside, altogether a lovely hotel in a stunning setting with staff going the extra mile to make guests feel welcome. For a comfortable, relaxing break I would highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Nildesperanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Macdonald Leeming House, Ullswater

Property: Macdonald Leeming House, Ullswater
Address: Ullswater nr Penrith, Watermillock CA11 0JJ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Watermillock
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Watermillock
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Leeming House, Ullswater 4*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Macdonald Leeming House is one of the finest 4-star Lake District hotels offering luxury and comfort in beautiful surroundings. Set in 22 acres of beautiful grand gardens in the countryside of Cumbria, our 200 year old country house hotel offers breathtaking scenery and fine facilities. With direct access to the shores of Ullswater and a private fishing licence, this hotel is a popular choice for family holidays, business and weddings. Macdonald Hotels' Lake District location in Ullswater offers the perfect retreat whether you're on a romantic break away, a business trip or exploring the surrounding countryside. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Macdonald Leeming House, Ullswater Hotel Penrith
Macdonald Leeming Hotel Ullswater
Macdonald Leeming Penrith
Macdonald Leeming House, Ullswater Watermillock, Cumbria - Lake District

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