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“Beautiful hotel, Terrible Service & Poor Meal”

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The Bell at Skenfrith
Ranked #1 of 1 Skenfrith B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 10 May 2012

We came with high hopes having read such glowing reviews and first impression didn't disappoint with a beautiful setting. There were five of us travelling: myself, my boyfriend, my sister and my parents, and we had three rooms between us: all of which were lovely. Our room was a generous size with a comfortable bed and lovely bathroom and a pretty view of the river running past. We had booked dinner for 8:30pm. We arrived at the bar at 8pm and ordered drinks and let them know we were there. The waitress came to take our order at 8:50pm and already they had run out of one of the mains and one of the starters. Mildly irritating given the menu wasn't huge but these things happen. We didn't get seated until 9:15pm with no apology. Our starters then did not arrive until 9:45pm. Again there was no explanation or compensation for the delay. My boyfriend and I had the soup, which was like pureed apple and not very nice unfortunately. The others had the "crab", which had more salmon on the plate than crab but it was deemed okay. The main course did not arrive until 10:20pm -which is just crazy when you have booked a meal for 8:30pm. I would have walked out but there is nowhere else to eat in the vicinity! When they arrived everyone's main course was cold. Two us of had the pork, which other than being cold was quite nice but everyone's appetite had gone by 10:20pm. My sister had the lasagne which was again cold and just okay. My boyfriend had the worst luck with his "rack of lamb" transpiring as one cutlet and a cold kidney. We ate as quickly as we could and left. When we sent our food back to be reheated, the waitress whisked it away with a brief apology. No further explanation was given. The restaurant was full but it wasn't a massive restaurant and you would expect more given the accolades and the price. We decided to write it off as a bad night but at breakfast the next morning, the service again was painfully slow! We found the local inn down the road "The Garway Moon Inn" for a nice simple pub lunch -nothing fancy but it arrived hot and on time!- and ventured into Monmouth for an Indian the following evening as we couldn't bear another evening of the same. It was such a disappointment when we had booked as a special occasion (my Dad's 60th) and I just cannot understand how it could go so wrong. I understand that things do sometimes gone wrong but the way it was dealt with (or not dealt with) just made it so much worse.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Chihuahua15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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361 - 367 of 516 reviews

Reviewed 9 May 2012

We have stayed at the Bell before but this time just called in for lunch. Our greeting left alot to be desired. We had booked so were thrown the menus and told to sit on the settee and they would take our order. We werent offered a drink whilst we were waiting either. We didnt feel very welcomed at this point.
The lunch menu was comphehensive but I ordered the chicken Parpait and was told it was off and replaced by a chicken liver salad.The fish, red snapper was also off the menu so we were left to a vegetarian option, chicken, beef or pork dishes.
I had pea soup as a starter and although it looked lovely it was far too salty for my palate. The bread with it was perfect. My husband had the pidgeon and really enjoyed it.
For our main course, I had a 2 inch piece of belly pork with a small amount of squash puree, potatoes and baby leeks and my husband had the braised beef, which he enjoyed.

Dont do there if you are hungry as the plates looks beautiful but is a little lacking in size.
Apple crumble was lovely but they forgot to bring the creme anglaise and we had to ask for it and no apologies when it arrived. Also plates were cold.
We paid £61 for the meal with a half bottle of Sancerre.
I dont think we would hurry back again but maybe we just caught them on a bad day.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank hellvelyn123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2012

The Bell at Skenfrith is simply lovely. A stone's throw inside the Welsh border and it feels so rural and relaxed that it's hard to believe that the M4 motorway is within an hours drive. The Bell provided peace, comfort, attentive staff, good food and a quickly expressed wish for more...we're already booked to return in August.

The pictures on the website are accurate, and don't begin to do the rooms justice, each room offers slightly different space, layout and bathrooms with good products to use or take home.

The breakfast is substantial, cooked to order and when added to the cereals, fruit compote and juices - hearty enough to keep you going for the day.

Evening meals offer a wide menu, good wine, candlelight and plenty of time to chat and relax.

There are a number of walks surrounding The Bell, and we managed a short one which was fun, reasonably gentle but with spectacular scenery. Every corner offers another photo opportunity and the countryside is simply beautiful.

So five stars for The Bell - any negatives or points to note? Well, it is a former coach inn, so it is right on a B road. so although it's quiet, if you have a front facing room, there will be some road traffic. A previous tripadvisor entry mentioned noisy water pipes, yes, they sound very loud when you first hear them, but for me that was part of the charm, history and idiosyncrasy of the place.

For me, the biggest minus was completely outside the management's control. We visited during school holidays, and there were some badly behaved children tearing around particularly in the early morning overhead in an attic room when you may need to come gently to wakefulness... this was disturbing. Breakfast too was akin to an hour of noisy playschool.

Otherwise, wonderful, marvellous, we'll be back, and thank you.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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Thank blarneybounce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2012

We had sunday lunch, it was nice, not outstanding, but good. The inn is very pleasant, in a good location opposite the river, most of the staff are very welcoming. Not sure we would go out of our way to come back. It's more of a country pub than gastro, although it feels it's trying to offer gastro level food.

Stayed: May 2012
1  Thank MR9011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2012

The Bell is located next to the river and our room overlooked it. The hotel is very oldy worldy with a wonderful log fire in the bar which we took full advantage of.Our room was the "Coach" room and was a large room with lots of drawers and storage space. The bathroom was reached by stepping down one step from the bedroom. All very pleasant and our every need catered for!! We both found the mattress a little hard and the pillows too soft for our liking, but maybe this is just us being a "bit picky". Typically for us on our visit to Wales it rained constantly over the 2 nights we were there. Had the weather been better the view would have been stunning, but unable to enjoy due to driving rain. We did get quite concerned that the river was very high and raging, but all turned out well. The Welsh breakfast was lovely and very filling! We have come to the conclusion that we are not great fans of the fancy food food offered, but don't belittle it in any way. Menu very limited.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank carole w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2012

Having just arrived back from a two night stay in the Heckham Pekham suite at the Bell, I feel I must tell others about our most wonderful experience. From the moment we walked through the door, the friendly seamless check in and the spotlessly clean, rural charm surroundings, we felt at home. Well that was until we where shown into the room, Heckham Peckham, now we had been transported as far away from home as possible into a fairytale land with four poster bed, loft bathroom with free standing bath and luxurious surroundings. We ate in the restaurant on both nights, excellent service, tasty, imaginative, well cooked food. The wine list is extensive with lots to offer and suit all budgets. Breakfast was a pleasure, served between a leisurely nine and ten am. Again an excellent choice, cooked to a very high standard. If your looking for a quality place to stay where customer service and attention to detail is key then stay at The Bell. It's ideally situated for a quiet break but is also great as a base to explore the surrounding area. We spent a day in Cardiff and it wasn't a rush to leave after breakfast and return in plenty of time for dinner. I had a look at a couple of the other rooms and they all looked lovely but Heckham Peckham was truly breathtaking. Free wifi was a bonus, as was a complementary morning paper. My partner and I are working our way through Alex Polizzi's little black book of hotels, the Bell was our sixth stay out of the book, was by far not the most expensive, but IS the BEST.

Room Tip: Any of the rooms with four poster beds, loft bathrooms, adjoining sitting rooms or attic suits.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank gufton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

We got married here and had our first night a married couple here in their Heckham Peckham Suite. The wedding was beautiful, the marquee looked wonderful and the canapes and timing were great. Our food was superb. 3 years later and our friends still talk of it as some of the best wedding food they have ever tasted! We had wonderful fireworks in the adjacent field and our photographs in Skenfrith castle ruins were wonderful despite the slightly undecided weather (a lovely location for pictures). The suite was gorgeous and every detail is considered. A very comfortable and well appointed Inn full of little luxurious touches. Janet was extremely accomodating and helped us greatly in the planning stages. Breakfast was stunning the next morning, with only the finest local produce in eveidence (the are proud enough to publish all their suppliers). The walks in the woods and by the river are beautiful.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank creteboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Bell at Skenfrith

Address: Skenfrith | Monmouthshire, Skenfrith NP7 8UH, Wales
Region: United Kingdom > Wales > Southern Wales > Monmouthshire > Skenfrith
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Skenfrith
Price Range: £121 - £198 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Bell at Skenfrith 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel and Restaurant (Licensed, Offering Real Ales and large wine list with 11 luxury en-suite letting rooms in rural location. Car parking. Vegetarians, Children, Special Diets, Organic Products catered for. Eating outside and in Dining rooms. River and country views ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Bell At Skenfrith Hotel Skenfrith

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