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Ellenborough Park
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Reviews (1,469)
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All reviewsoutdoor poolbeaufort dining roomboot roomafternoon teathe fine dining restaurantmain buildingbeautiful hotelclassic roomluxury roomcheltenham race coursesconessteam room and saunaspa facilitiescountry housefive star hotelfour poster bedattention to detail
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Reviewed 6 January 2014

We stayed at Ellenborough Park on our way back from a wonderful three days at the Scarlet in Cornwall and I would be the first to admit that perhaps my view of the hotel is distorted by having been to the Scarlet first. That being said, even if we hasn't been to the Scarlet I think we would have been generally under-whelmed by Ellenborough Park.
I was always taught that first-impressions last and our first contact with the hotel, just prior to our arrival, gave a good indication of the general tenor of the hotel. My wife and I had taken the extravagant step of booking a 90 minute massage for each of us in the Spa on the afternoon when we arrived. Check-in was at 3pm and so I emailed the Spa to ask if they had any availability around 3/3.30pm. They promptly replied saying that they could do 2.30pm. I then emailed Reservations to ask if it would be possible to check in a bit earlier, reasoning that the hotel was unlikely to be full in the middle week of December. I received a boringly unhelpful email reminding me that check-in was 3pm but we could "store our bags" and check in afterwards. I pointed out that after a 90 minute massage the last thing we would feel like doing would be to faff around with check-in and it was only after this that I received a grudging email saying they would do their best to make sure a room was available, which it was in the end. However given that the massages cost almost as much as the room it all felt a bit inflexible and unwelcoming.
The hotel itself is located in an unlovely suburb of Cheltenham and isn't as rural as I had imagined, surrounded as it is by houses and bungalows and just off a fairly noisy road. The main house is undeniably pretty in typical Cotswold Stone but there are also some additional newer building that are less lovely. Check-in was efficient but not exactly warm and I always slightly resent having my credit card swiped for "pre-authorisation" which is just hotel-speak for not trusting their guests to runaway without paying and always make me feel like a criminal. Why not just take a deposit at the time of booking? We were shown to our room by a member of staff who suffered from that tedious affliction of pointing-out the blindingly obvious in an attempt to impress us with the hotel's facilities. "Here's the Bar where you can enjoy a drink" (what else would you do in a bar?) and in our room we were shown the telephone which we were informed could be used to make telephone calls. Our room (Spacious King Double) was very sumptuous and tastefully decorated in Nina Cambell fabrics but the view was of the rest of the hotel and the neighbouring residential area and the road noise was very noticeable.
The Spa is nextdoor to the hotel but there is no interconnecting entrance so you have to go outside to go back inside again which seems badly planned. For what is apparently "England's Leading Spa Hotel" in the World Travel Awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013 the Spa isn't anywhere near as good as many I've visited so maybe the Award is for the hotel itself rather than the Spa?? Anyway, the changing rooms were poky with only one shower, there is only an outdoor swimming pool and again the staff were perfectly polite just not very friendly. The massages were very good but it wasn't a place to linger afterwards and relax.
We had booked dinner and had a drink beforehand and this gave us more of an opportunity to see the style of the hotel which could be best described as "Disney does Cotswolds" or what you could imagine a Ye Olde Englande Four Seasons Hotel would look like. Dinner was in the oak-panelled Dining Room and the food was really very very good, probably the best of our holiday and certainly the best thing about the hotel. Unfortunately however it was marred by the fact that the hotel had a large group in a private dining room next door and they had demanded the fire to be lit. It appears no-one had checked the chimney and so the smoke started to infiltrate the Dining Room to the extent that my wife's eyes started to water, our throats were sore and all we could taste was wood smoke. We pointed this out to the Restaurant Manager and although he was very apologetic I think the very least we could have expected might have been a complimentary drink or similar to make-up for the discomfort but it was not forthcoming.
After a very comfortable nights sleep in the excellent bed, only spoilt by the traffic noise, it was time for breakfast which was in the main Dining Room and thankfully smoke free. The waiter committed, for me, one of the cardinal sins by sitting us right next door to the only other people in the whole room. Why?? So that we could all sit there and listen to each-others conversation or not talk at all? Unbelievable. In the end we asked to move, on the pretext of an uncomfortable chair, but I saw him do the same thing to another unfortunate couple which no-doubt ruined breakfast for both parties. Having said that breakfast was very good, again probably the best of of the week.
Check-out was efficient but we didn't leave feeling that we were in anyway valued or that they cared if they ever saw us again.
In short, the hotel is perfectly fine but expensive for what it is and feel a bit corporate and impersonal. We certainly wouldn't return and there are many many better places out there that charge less and are more welcoming.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank LondonLocations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EllenboroughPk, General Manager at Ellenborough Park, responded to this reviewResponded 16 January 2014

Thank you for your review of your recent stay here. We are of course pleased that you enjoyed your sleep and considered your meals to be the best during your holiday. We are naturally disappointed that some aspects of the hotel were not to your liking. As you will see from other 'trip' reviews our teams are very highly praised so it disappointing that you felt let down. Should you have a change of heart you will be made most welcome.

Kind regards
John Hanna

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Reviewed 5 January 2014

Stayed here over new year with my wife and dog and mother and father in law. The staff were fantastic and very attentive and helpful. The manager was extremely friendly however he did remind me of Peewee. Great food and a lovely place to be. We took our dog for a walk up the hill above the hotel. Despite poor weather the views of Cheltenham were fantastic.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
Thank IainMcT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EllenboroughPk, General Manager at Ellenborough Park, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2014

Thank you for your review of your stay here recently. We are delighted that you all and your dog enjoyed yourselves so completely despite the incessant rain. Next time you come perhaps you might like to walk part of the Cotswolds Way. It is easily accessed from here.

Happy New Year

Kind regards

John Hanna
Ellenborough Park

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Reviewed 4 January 2014

You will not find a better place to stay I promise you.
We would like to thank all the staff for making this a perfect way to celebrate New Year.
You are made to feel very welcome and relaxed.
The luxury rooms are amazing.
The food is second to none.
Great way to have a day at Cheltenham races as the course can be seen from you room, you are taken and collected by the staff.
We will definitely be going back.
Thank you again
Marcus and Tina

Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Sussex52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EllenboroughPk, General Manager at Ellenborough Park, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2014

Thank you very much for your very kind review referring to your recent stay over New Year.
We are delighted that you enjoyed everything so much and that you were able to enjoy the Races which as you have said are very close by.

We look forward to seeing you here again soon.

Happy New Year

Kind regards
John Hanna
Ellenborough Park

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Reviewed 2 January 2014

Arrived on a stormy morning to spend a day at the races, and an overnight stay at Ellenborough Park. From the moment we arrived the service received from all the staff was superb. Valet parking, 4 x 4 shuttle to the racecourse, Jess at reception, and Stefan in the dining room, Bobby in the bar with fantastic cocktails, they were all so customer focused. Dinner in the Beaufort dining room was excellent, and the choices at breakfast were endless. My wife also had a brilliant massage in the Spa, where all the little touches made the experience very special. Other hoteliers should come and stay here, to see what customer service is all about…! Cannot wait to return.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank rosiejordan3788
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EllenboroughPk, General Manager at Ellenborough Park, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2014

Thank you for your very high praise and saying that we are really up there with the best.
Thank you for highlighting individual team members, saying they are all so customer focused.
They will be delighted to see these comments made by you.
We look forward to seeing you here again and hope you have a very Happy New Year.

Kind Regards
John Hanna
Ellenborough Park

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Reviewed 1 January 2014

I brought my husband here as a wedding gift for a Saturday evening stay. We had a stressful week at work and ended up getting down there much later than anticipated on the day as my husband had to work in the Saturday as well. However from the moment we arrived we instantly relaxed and felt a million miles away from all that. The service was impeccable, the hotel and our room were beautiful and the whole experience was the height of luxury. I booked through Mr & Mrs Smith and had a couple of cocktails thrown in which was worth having, and booked dinner in the dining room (not the brasserie). The food was superb and the service again was great. They even sorted us out a couple of jars of one of their chutneys to take away as they were so good. Breakfast was superb too. Although our trip was cut short it was a fabulous stay and we will definitely be back. It is very pricey but was worth it in our view for a special treat. The only gripe is that the bar was a little small but we can forgive that!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank LittleEater01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EllenboroughPk, General Manager at Ellenborough Park, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2014

Thank you for your review referring to your stay here in October. We are delighted that despite the stress in trying to escape that once you arrived you were able to switch off and truly relax.
We are also very pleased that you enjoyed the Beaufort Dining Room experience as well as breakfast and your own jar of home-made chutney.
We look forward to you staying here again and next time hopefully you will escape a bit earlier.
Happy New Year

Kind regards
John Hanna
Ellenborough Park

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