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“PP Just not in my experience”
Review of Royal Castle Hotel

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Royal Castle Hotel
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Dartmouth
Certificate of Excellence
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“PP Just not in my experience”
Reviewed 15 January 2014

Firstly let's just give some validation to my ability and competence to comment on this hotel

16 years of staying as guests for weekends - and main holidays- special treats and theme weekend etc

6 years as a 2nd home owner (not cut the final strings to the 2nd city yet) and eating in the Adam Restaurant /Harbour Bar for snacks and lunches .

All the above is in between travelling widely (see some of my reviews) so i can place this establishment and compare against many.

I do not recognise the hotel or staff in any of the previous negative comments - I would rate this hotel a high 9 out of 10 for service- food- staff and management attitude, I would go as far as to state who ever selects and trains the staff could teach the Hotel industry a thing or two about customer service.

However on the odd occasion over the years when we have called attention to any slight defect what' so ever be it a hotel or service - the issue has been dealt with quickly and in a very positive manner - the mark of a good organisation.


At no time in the previous article has mention been made of complaint being VOICED to the Bar Management \ Reception Staff \ Duty Manager or Mr Way the very approachable owner - This establishment isn't cheap and I would not put up with a service in any way that was not value for my hard earned money - so why would you not raise the alleged issues straight away - if you where so driven to go to print - pick up the telephone and speak to the hotel team.

We all have the right to raise issues - but we also have the right to give valid support to an establishment that has provided continued quality service

A hard to satisfy customer - But fair

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Patridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann I, Front Office Manager at Royal Castle Hotel, responded to this review, 3 February 2014
Your lovely words and compliments were so well received here. How wonderful that we have managed to maintain our level of service over all 16 years of your visits to us! We shall endeavour to do just as well, if not better, in the future. We know we will surely see you again one day, and look forward to welcoming you back. Regards from all the teams.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (294)
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English first
Newton Abbot
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 January 2014

The website now says "essential maintenance" - it didn't when we booked. It actually means the whole frontage of the building is covered in scaffolding, which in turn is covered by opaque plastic sheeting. There are translucent windows in the sheeting so if you have booked a river view room you will be able to peer at the river with the same satisfaction as if you were looking through thick net curtains. Worse still, there are several platforms in the scaffolding, allowing a team of painters to stand immediately outside your bedroom window as they carry out works. So it's dark with no privacy. If you want to see daylight it would be better and cheaper to book a non-river view room.
Unfortunately we didn't know about the scaffolding when we took up the January sale offer. Purely by chance, my husband phoned the hotel to book a dinner table 48 hours before our arrival. He was asked "Did they tell you about the scaffolding?". No they hadn't and it was too late to book anywhere else. We thought it didn't sound too bad but were hugely disappointed when we saw it for ourselves. In fact we got our money back even though it was a non-refundable offer, as we hadn't been told about the work when we booked. Now that the website tells you about it I doubt there will be any more refunds.
I would just add that the Royal Castle receptionist said these works are carried out every year and the purpose-made printed sheeting (looking just like the hotel's normal frontage) does make me think it comes out with the same regularity as the Christmas decorations. Remember to ask when you book.
Luckily it took only minutes for the lovely ladies at the Harbourside Apartments to find us a lovely flat with a fantastic view and a balcony overlooking the river - even better.

Room Tip: If the scaffolding's up, don't choose a "river view" room.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank ABJ_Devon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann I, Front Office Manager at Royal Castle Hotel, responded to this review, 3 February 2014
We are so sorry that we were unable to notify all our residents of the scaffolding and mesh as part of the January works - we truly didn't receive a date until too late. However, we are of course delighted that you still came to Dartmouth and found suitable accommodation. Do hope that you will return to us one day. Regards from all the staff.
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Torquay, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 11 January 2014

Having worked in the hotel trade and a stickler for hygiene I would like to refute pp's review. Using the RC regularly, eating in the bar about once weekly and in the restaurant about monthly I can only state that the levels of food hygiene and cleanliness in this establishment are exemplary. The staff, under the guidance of the management, are punctilious about all hygiene measures and the food prep area and bar are one of the cleanest I have ever witnessed. The staff wash hands regularly and always prior to handling food for service. The food is of excellent quality and the staff are the most friendly and professional I have observed.
There is no need, as pp asserts, to wear gloves for food service - it is a creeping Americanism. If not taught to don gloves surgically there is a greater risk of contamination than from good social hand washing with soap and water.
I have never before reviewed an establishment but felt compelled in this instance in the light of this seemly unfair and incorrect review.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MisterDrPhil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann I, Front Office Manager at Royal Castle Hotel, responded to this review, 3 February 2014
Our thanks for your lovely review, especially the compliments on the good hygiene standards practiced by our bar food staff - it's much appreciated. Clearly you are a reguar customer, and as much, may you continue to be for a long time to come! Best wishes from all of us.
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Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2014 via mobile

From our seats in the Galleon Bar, we were quite clearly able to see the food preparation area and the staff within. Three people were involved in the unbelievable scene that unfolded in front of us, which, despite the potential repercussions, provided macabre entertainment. The actions could have been the stuff of a Food Standards Officer training film, of what not to do in a kitchen. Suffice to say, we didn't order lunch.

I imagine the cold food, such as salads, sandwiches, ploughman's lunches, etc. are prepared here. Hot food seemed to emerge from another kitchen - sight unseen.

Basic hygiene requirements were severely lacking and the safety of food served, questionable. At no time, over a period of about 45 minutes, were staff observed to wash their hands or clean any worksurfaces or utensils. Gloves, hats and aprons were not worn by anybody.

What the staff were observed doing was this:

. Collecting dirty glasses from the bar, fingers in the glasses, before immediately then preparing food with the contaminated hand
. Poking an ear hole with a finger before then taking a baguette with the same hand and preparing it to serve to a customer
. Passing a hand through hair and playing with strands of hair, whilst preparing food
. Using a cordless phone, stored in a trouser pocket when not in use, coughing over the mouthpiece and hand, before preparing food with the coughed-on hand
. Picking food from a customer's plate whilst preparing that plate to be served and eating it
. Taking sliced meat from a fridge container, cutting a slice in two, and throwing a piece back into the container; hands unwashed, knife used for cutting all other foods, not cleaned; worksurface, similar
. Using a cloth to wipe a liquid spill from the bar floor, without washing the cloth before or after, and later using the same cloth to cursorily wipe the coffee-making machine
. Cash till used intermittently whilst preparing food

I would be interested to read a response to my observations and trust that what I witnessed will not be defended; it cannot be defended. I hope the management may be prompted to retrain their staff and undertake a wholesale review of the establishment's food hygiene.

Suffice to say, enjoy a drink at the bar, take-in the undeniable atmosphere of the place but don't be tempted to order any food; not, that is, until things have changed at The Royal Castle.

Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
6 Thank P P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ryan B, Guest Relations Manager at Royal Castle Hotel, responded to this review, 10 January 2014
Dear Sir or Madam,

We appreciate your feedback as we are constantly striving to improve all aspects of our business. Although we feel that some of the points you have raised about food hygiene are valid, we would like to point out that our five out of five rating from the food standards agency is a sign that we take food hygiene very seriously and have been recognized for our efforts. All of our food preparation staff hold a certificate in Basic Food Hygiene. As an extremely busy venue our staff are required to multitask and undertake several roles during a busy service period. Only members of management carry cordless phones of which, as I’m sure you can understand, are an essential method of communication in such a busy environment. The staff preparing and serving food are well aware they should wash their hands before starting their shift and I assure you they wash their hands throughout their shift. Our washing up area is out of sight from the Galleon Bar. We carry out staff training sessions on a weekly basis and we assure you that reiterating our food hygiene policy to our staff will be included.

Wishing you the best of our attention at all times
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Derbyshire
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2014

Bit of a nostalgia trip. Visited for lunch in the main bar with family, now all old enough to come in as non-residents. Food great although some of the portioning of the cheese/ploughman's platters was a bit confusing. Food great, great location, beer kept well. Hotel unchanged but clean and not looking tired. Looking forward to the day we can come back and stay again as we did many years ago.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Baszunia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ryan B, Guest Relations Manager at Royal Castle Hotel, responded to this review, 7 January 2014
Thank you for the return trip to the hotel. We do try our best to keep the hotel looking in 'tip top' shape and will be redesigning a couple of rooms in the hotel in the early part of this year. Our head chef, Ankur Biswas, does his best to source the best ingredients for all of our dishes.
We hope to see you staying with us again very soon

Kind regards
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Guildford, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 31 December 2013

10 of us popped in on the off-chance of being able to grab some lunch on a cold December lunchtime. They couldn't have done any more for us.

Good beer, good food. Would happily recommend to anyone passing.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sibrows
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ryan B, Guest Relations Manager at Royal Castle Hotel, responded to this review, 7 January 2014
Thank you for your feedback. Its good to hear that we could accomodate you on a cold day. Having the log fires burning and a wonderful spit roast on really does give a great atmosphere in the bars.
We hope that you will come visit us again soon.

Kind regards

Ryan Bull
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florida
Level 6 Contributor
136 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2013

You can't beat the location, that's for sure - very central, in the heart of the town, overlooking the town marina which is really pretty, but if you're not looking where you're going, it's a long steep drop just waiting to happen (no guard rails, so watch out after you've had a couple of beers!).

Free wifi of course in the hotel!

The hotel itself is not geared for disabled people (no lift), and it really does depend which room you get as to how much you enjoy your stay. Last year we stayed three nights in a tiny, cramped room, with a bed that collapsed in the middle and was extremely uncomfortable, with sheets that were so poorly fitted that if you just lay on the bed, the undersized bottom sheets pulled away from the edges and every morning I woke up on the bare mattress. This year however, we decided to get a riverview, and asked for a big bed - ("Lookout", room 26) Let me say, it was absolutely sublime - very spacious, beautifully appointed, the bed was huge and firm and absolutely perfect, with crisp, well-fitting linen and a super soft duvet - it was fantastic. We had a wonderful river view, two chairs on an elevated area right by the window where we'd sip our tea/hot chocolate/rum - the decor was perfect, a nautical theme as you'd expect, but just perfect. I absolutely loved it! The other two couples in our party liked their rooms (not riverview), but ours was by far the best.


Now: from the sublime to the ridiculous - the bathroom! Yes, there was a lovely bathtub but on both nights we were there, I ran purely hot water into the bath and only got a slightly-warmer-than-warm-but-far-from-hot bath. I told the front desk - the manager Christine (super lady, very efficient overall) told me that someone would go and check it - but the next night it happened again. When I rang down after my bath the second time to complain, she said she'd put the emersion heater on - and ten minutes later, in time for my husband's shower, the water was piping hot. So we know for next time, but I was hopping mad that for two nights in a row, I had to have a luke-warm bath.
The second thing that drove me mad in the bathroom was the location of the shampoo and conditioner and bath/shower gel. They are attached in an immovable rack attached to the wall under the shower - great for someone who is showering - but if you're in the bathtub having a bath, they are way too high to use! I'm nearly 6 feet tall, and I couldn't even reach!!!! I managed to stretch up and just touch the top of the shampoo bottle, but it was impossible to pump anything out like that.. I had to stand up in the bath, which was slippery so I slipped (didn't fall fortunately) but banged my head on the steeply angled ceiling (there is literally two feet of sufficient height for where you can stand up straight). How on earth could management have approved that design? Move the bottles down please! The rest of the bathroom is also designed under the steep angle of the roof, which can't be helped, but it meant that every time I went in there, I would hit my head at least two or three times. Still, the bedroom was WONDERFUL, so while these things seemed a big deal at the time, in the big picture, they weren't.
Now - for the best part - the breakfasts. For £ 10.50, they are unbeatable. You'll see the photo of the buffet area with freshly squeezed orange juice and other juices, cereals, breads/croissants, jams etc., fresh fruit - just an outstanding collection - and then of course the full English breakfast means you really are getting a 5 star breakfast. I think that the only t hing that topped the breakfasts was the service - the staff are absolutely top notch - our first day there, Dan took care of us for the most part and was excellent (although anyone else we spoke to or who served us was also fabulous) and on day two, Cata (I think the Restaurant Manager) exceeded our expectations by arranging our tables by the window (table for 8). Thank you Cata! He could not have done more for us - not only efficient but warm, welcoming and charming - where could you get better service than that? NOthing was too much trouble. It really is five-star service and a FIVE-STAR breakfast (I enclose photos of the menu). And for £10.50! Once you've had breakfast, you won't need to eat the rest of the day. Nigel, the owner, is usually around and comes to talk to you - giving you ideas of what to do, what the weather will be like etc - a really nice touch.

We ate in the pub downstairs (The Galleon Bar) both nights, great pub - fires blazing - excellent fish and chips! We had one great night, one night poor (carvery ran out of beef, we had to wait 40 minutes for new beef), and the seafood chowder missed two key ingredients (no smoked haddock or salmon) - only cod and mussels in it for £14.95. Nobody came to ask us about our food, so it was eaten just because the member in our party was seated against the wall (table for 7) and it was hard for him to get out, but he thought it very poor. He did tell the manager, but by then it was mostly eaten, so she said if he'd brought it to her attention earlier, she could have changed it. Fair enough, but she didn't offer him a glass of wine on the house or a discount towards his next meal - and when you order something with a list of ingredients and half the ingredients are missing, something should be done. The cracked crab dinner was MASSIVE though - amazing value, and definitely the highlight of the evening - also 14.95 I think!

It's also very dog-friendly there - well behaved dogs in the pub, a water-bowl in the corridor outside for them - it's just heart-warming to see a pub with people, beer and dogs all getting along so nicely.

To summarize - we love the Royal Castle Hotel, great service, superb breakfasts, the best room in town (26) - the best location. Won't stay anywhere else in Dartmouth!

Room Tip: ask for a decent size room - some are so small you can barely walk around the bed. If the sheets do...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank chewedpup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ryan B, Guest Relations Manager at Royal Castle Hotel, responded to this review, 7 January 2014
Thankyou very much for your comments. It is nice to see that you were much happier with the choice of bedroom during this stay. We are glad that you still enjoy our huge array of choice on offer on the breakfast buffet. Although the bathroom is not the standard shape, we believe it adds to the charm of each individual room.
Thanks once again for the fantastic feedback. We look forward to speeing you again in the near future.
Kind regards
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Additional Information about Royal Castle Hotel

Property: Royal Castle Hotel
Address: 11 The Quay, Dartmouth TQ6 9PS, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Dartmouth
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Dartmouth
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Royal Castle Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The award-winning Royal Castle Hotel is in the centre of Dartmouth with its cobbled streets, intriguing shops and famous restaurants and bars. Looking out over the River Dart, this 17th-century building offers bright, airy rooms, free Wi-Fi and a stylish restaurant. There are 25 en suite rooms, all of which are individually decorated. Many of the rooms have river views, four-poster beds, spa baths and 15 of our rooms have air conditioning units as well. Every room has a TV, radio and tea/coffee making facilities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Castle Dartmouth
Hotel Royal Castle
Royal Castle Hotel Dartmouth, Devon

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