Arriving at The Boar’s Head, we could see that it certainly is in a beautiful location; walls covered in climbing plants, picturesque buildings surrounding it, and not to mention it being right next to Ripley Castle. Check-in was a little slow, as it seemed no one had explained to the receptionist on duty that we were prize winners (no-one ever actually asked why it was we were staying and dining there for free). We found it slightly amusing that we were stood there in motorbike clothing, helmets under our arms and were asked specifically for our car registration. The receptionist was, however, very pleasant and she showed us around the drawing rooms and up to our room, after booking us in for dinner at the Bistro.
First impressions of the room were that it was very nice; details like the fine selection of teas and coffees left in the room, the toiletries and decorations in the bathroom, and the chocolates on the pillows were all great. But it was hot. Far too hot! We opened both windows and left them open for the length of our stay, and despite the drop in temperature in all the other rooms and outside, it just wouldn’t seem to cool down inside. We learnt the next morning that the room seemed to be above the kitchen, which perhaps contributed to the room’s temperature. No other part of the building we were in seemed anywhere near as hot. Upon reading other reviews after our stay, we saw that several others had complained about the room being too hot, and we couldn’t help but wonder if we’d been ‘upgraded’ to this room because no full-paying visitor would stay in it.
Upon further inspection, we found things that we wouldn’t have expected from a hotel of this star rating. The carpet was up in one corner, handles were missing from drawers. The double bed was two singles pushed together. The toilet seat wasn’t properly fixed on, tiles around the bath were black, and the little line of grubby silicone along the edge of the bath, presumably to stop water from the shower running over the edge, was quite surprising. The ceiling around the impressive chandelier in the Hall was very cracked and damp, and the (presumably old) paintings decorating the Hall were hung in frames that looked as if some vandal had been chipping bits off here and there. There were dead flies in the resturaunt and the same mouldy paintwork everywhere. I could have dropped my dinner on the carpet and it wouldn't have needed cleaning.
Now, what I loved about our stay here was the meal in the Bistro. It was probably some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, and I’m sure my partner would agree. The service was a little slow, and the staff, though not unpleasant, weren’t particularly animated (we did try and have a friendly laugh with them, but it wasn’t well received). But the standard of food really was excellent, and there was a great variety of choice on offer. We were just sort of ‘left’ after our meal, though; we’d had a bottle of wine and were ready to pay, but no-one came over. After about fifteen minutes we went to the bar and waited for someone’s attention. It was like talking to a brick wall when I explained to the barman that everything we spend on the trip is less money going to charity. To which he presented us with our drinks bill. Just before we left, the barman pointed-out the tiny business-card-like ‘MotoGoLoco’ logo in the corner of their noticeboard, as if to say “hey, it’s there.” I paused for a moment as to whether or not to explain that although we won a competition from them , we were not them and had no interest if you display their logo. If he had taken a second to ask anything about us, him and anyone else who worked there, then we could have explained how this was the third year of charity fundraising, how I held world records in visiting the most castles and the most in a single trip and various other interesting things that could have benefited everyone involved. But as we found, not a single *care was given to who we were, if we had a safe trip , what are we doing in this neck of the woods, have we been before, you have a big barrel trailer on the back of your bike with a charity logo on it are you fundraising for something etc etc.
Looking forward to a good night’s sleep, we returned to our room. Now, I sleep fairly well, especially when it’s warm and I’ve had a good meal, so I couldn’t really complain. My partner, however, hardly slept. The village has a very efficient bus service which runs every 15 minutes from about 6am until the early hours. These buses happened to stop and start right outside our window (which we had to have open, remember, because of the heat), and were very, very noisy.
Breakfast in the restaurant was fairly average. The décor was again rather tired and not in the best condition, and I was glad that we’d eaten in the Bistro the previous evening. The service again was a little slow and brusque, but we didn’t wait as long as we had for the evening meal. We had plenty of toast, when I got up and found someone to ask, and the cooked breakfasts, though not particularly large, were tasty enough and nice and hot.
Check-out was a bit slow because (again) no one had communicated to the person on duty, or who had printed the invoices, that we were prize winners, and we were handed a bill for £100. It was resolved without complaint nor questions asked, though, and we were soon on our way. All in all, it wasn’t a bad stay. We mostly enjoyed it. But the disinterested service, tired décor and the cracks and damp throughout the building were uninspiring for a 5* hotel. We wondered if anyone would’ve been interested in resolving our complaints if we had voiced them. A fairly decent stay, yes, but if we’d have paid £100+ for the night, we would’ve expected much better.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A Coaching Inn set within the magnificent Ripley Castle Estate. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Boars Head Ripley
- Hotel Boars Head
- The Boar's Head Ripley, Yorkshire