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“Needs to do MUCH better!”
Review of The Mermaid Inn

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The Mermaid Inn
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Rye
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 December 2013

My husband and I stayed at The Mermaid Inn over the weekend of 14th/15th September to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

Firstly, I adore the building. It really is like stepping back in time to an age of smugglers, rouges and gentlemen. The thrill of being able to touch a hand to timbers, which have stood in place for almost six hundred years, gives the experience of a stay here the feel of being inside a museum after hours, when all the curators have gone home and we may creep through the public spaces unhindered.

Its ambience is alive with the thrum of history and the resonance of all who have passed through the leaning, narrow passages, supped from tankards at the bar and hatched villainous plans in any one of the shadowy nooks.

That we, as mere tourists should be allowed to stay within such walls is an experience to be cherished and savoured.

However, and from here in on, should my comments be construed as either uncharitable, pernickety or downright pointless is for you to decide. I offer my views only in defence of a building, which, were it permitted, is more than able to breathe on its own merit, without the hindrance of fussy, cheapening detail. It’s much more about “taking away” than adding anything.

Indulge me and let’s pretend The Mermaid Inn is under my charge. Here’s what I would do differently.

1. Remove the countless, ageing celebrity photographs. I’m already there, I’ve booked the room and I don’t need to be “wowed” by the fact that Jan Leeming once graced the hallowed ground in her sensible court shoes and immaculate coiffure. Likewise, the revelation that anyone from David Jason to Pierce Brosnan have been guests is of no importance to me except to detract from the wonderful features hidden behind the myriad of mis-matched photograph frames. Perhaps I’m missing the point and there is an enthralling and immersive game based on a sliding scale of celebrity to be had by browsing the famous (and not so famous) faces? From the blond-haired unplaceable TV presenter, climb the ladder of notoriety right up to Donald Sinden, folks!

2. Rip up and burn the pub-style carpets found throughout the public areas. Okay, okay, I know they go some way towards assisting with the soundproofing but, underneath those garish swirls lie a feast of flagstones and luscious, creaking boards, or, at least, one would hope. Good rugs and runners, studiously applied with considerations to trips and slips, managed by many other similarly appointed establishments, go a long way towards contributing to the authenticity of somewhere like The Mermaid.

3. Remove many of the cheaply-framed mirrors and “artworks” found throughout. Our room had an awful pre-Raphaelite poster in a gold plastic frame, as well as a couple of mirrors, which looked as though they’d been picked up from boot fairs. I understand that the mirrors may have been employed in an effort to bounce some more light into the low-ceiling, very dark room, but, really, they’re not necessary. The building is very low-ceilinged and dark in some areas, that’s the point.

4. Tighten up on service. Now, I’m not saying that the service was “bad”. In fact, in one or two respects, it was very good. It’s just not “tight”. Here’s a couple of examples:

a. The receptionist didn’t get up out of her seat when we arrived to check-in. She told us we were too early for the room (in a pleasant enough manner), but didn’t go to the trouble of coming out from behind the high divider that screens off the back part of the reception area, nor offer to have our bags taken from the car and looked after until the room was ready.

b. The night duty manager stalked unsmilingly around the bar and lounges in quite a purposeful way before loudly ordering the barman to inform the guests still sitting in the bar at 11pm they were required to take their drinks into one of the lounges. I didn’t get the impression that customer service was one of his strong suits.

c. The candle was missing from our dinner table. Everyone else had one. We felt left out. Such a small thing, but it's the little things and attention to tiny details that set a truly great hotel apart from merely a good one.

I really hope I don't come across as a whiny old bag for this review. It's just that I used to love The Mermaid, but, the older I've got, the more I've started to see her flagging.

It wouldn't take much at all to give this fine old lady the presentation she truly deserves.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank pastiche005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 December 2013 via mobile

Loved every minute despite the weather it was so cozy inside and rooms lovely. Room 22 was very nice, nothing bad to say... Daughter stayed in another room and had an "experience" during the night.... Lol

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
1  Thank jules69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2013

Recently stayed in the mermaid in one of their historic rooms with secret passageways in the walls. Unbelievable experience, hotel is so old and full of character. Spent an enjoyable afternoon in the bar with a huge roaring fire. Our room was amazing all mod cons but full of character, the four poster bed was so comfortable. Had a wonderful evening meal and breakfast was also good. We are going back for another stay very soon. Wonderful hotel.

Room Tip: Always try and get historic rooms.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lynda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2013

We've just returned home after enjoying a family Christmas at The Mermaid and had such a wonderful time. We've stayed several times before over the years but never at Christmas. The hotel was festively decorated, the food amazing and the service and staff excellent. It's the perfect cosy setting for a winter's stay, but it's just a shame there was no snow to complete the seasonal picture!

There were carols sung by the local church choir on Christmas Eve in the foyer and a disco and magnificent cold buffet on Christmas night.

A complimentary Mermaid calendar and festive hamper were left in guests' rooms, but it would have been a nice touch if all the contents of the hamper had been local products, given the number of farm shops in Sussex and Kent. For example, the jam and shortbread were from Scotland, fudge from the West Country and chocolates from Belgium, etc.

All in all though, another fantastic stay and we will be back!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Spratwaffler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 December 2013

The bar is the best in the entire country! Beautiful, outstanding food, we enjoyed The Mermaid as one of our favorite destinations in England, and look forward to returning. Ambiance and charm, we were thrilled to have stumbled upon such a treasure and enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank katrina d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2013

Rated for Average as B&B as that is all we did, although charged handsomely at £150 for a very basic room. No bath which was very disappointing but a nice roomy shower. Tried the TV as the rugby was on, no remote and no way of turning on manually, so called down to reception, chap came and had us on our knees rummaging in the bed and under/over the furniture... no remote, so a he offered to bring us a new one. A few minutes later he reappeared, and said that there were no spare remotes but he could bring us a spare TV, so we said OK. TV was placed on dressing table and we were left to ferret around for the aerial and socket. Tried to turn on, no batteries in remote. A further call to reception and some batteries were delivered. To be honest, a lot of money for a basic service, will be back to Jeake's House in future......

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Wendy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2013

Our third stay at The Mermaid all the reasons for going met. Attractive surroundings bar with log fire, good service and an evening meal to remember.
This is an old (mainly Tudor ) building and sound insulation is not to modern standards, normally if all guests are considerate this would not matter but we were in Room 1 which has a timber slat door and is at the head of the stairs. A group of guests decided in the small hours of the morning to come up to bed chatting loudly,enough to wake us so sleep quality on this visit poor.
Suggest asking for a room away from passing traffic. Most people are considerate and realise that in an old building noise can be a problem I hope somebody from the noisy early/late guests reads TA and learns a small lesson. Rant over, other than being woken in the middle of the night we enjoyed The Mermaid once again and will go back.

Room Tip: Ask for the quietest room away from the stairs.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank 2_Romantics
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Mermaid Inn

Address: Mermaid Street, Rye TN31 7EY, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > East Sussex > Rye
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Rye
Price Range: £51 - £204 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Mermaid Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Originally, dating from 1156, the Mermaid was rebuilt in 1420, much as it still stands today, as the principal Inn of Rye. The Mermaid now caters for those who appreciate tradition and charm, coupled with the modern facilities required by today's guest. So, from a picturesque cobbled street; step back in time to experience the unique atmosphere of one of England's oldest and loveliest Inns. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Mermaid Hotel Rye
Mermaid Hotel Rye
Mermaid Inn Rye
Mermaid Rye
The Mermaid Inn Rye, East Sussex

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