We arrived on a Sunday with great anticipation. I will tell you upfront that when you have a price point of $700 a day, five star amenities and service should follow. The hotel is an architectural beauty. Buildings built over a period of three hundred years flawlessly integrated into a campus style setting. All the rooms are nicely appointed in tradition style.
We were looking forward to their 'fine dining" the night of our arrival, but we told the only thing available was the bar (Brasserie) dining room. The menu is limited but serviceable.
The next morning we were pleasantly greeted by a heated marble floor in the bath. The hotel has a 'boot room' were you can get a jacket or boots for walking the Cotswolds.
Much to our surprise, the hotel does not have a fully staffed concierge desk. When you ask for help, you are turned over to who ever is available. He or she may or may not know what they are doing. One young man was very helpful with maps a full directions. But the next day when asking for directions to a town some twenty miles away, a hand was pointed towards the front gate with the words "turn left and go straight". To me, this is a fatal flaw. A five star hotel should have a fully trained concierge.
By Monday night we were fully geared up for "fine dining", but they were closed that night as well, so we ended up in the bar.
Come Tuesday we were sure our night had arrived. We were informed that they had 'guests' that night for the dining room and if we wanted to eat it would be after nine PM. Eating after nine is too continental for us, so we went to a local pub. When I tried to takes the issue up with the manager he said "that is why we tell our guest to book dining reservations in advance". We received no such warning. The hotel was packed with a large business group and I understand the hotel giving deference to them. Fatal flaw number two. Having sixty-two rooms with only forty-three seating capacity in the dining room is asking for trouble.
The next night we had our 'fine dining' and it was first class. The manger (Mr. Hanna) was kind enough to buy us a round of drinks because of our troubles from the night before.
The hotel gives the impression of being under staffed. Our soap and tissues were never refreshed from the day we arrived. By the last day my wife and I were sharing one small bar of soap between two sinks and a shower. I know we could have called for more soap, but really, these things should be taken care of by the day staff or during turndown. Our impression of the Spa was that is was a two man operation. The day we left the person who delivered coffee to the room was the same person who helped with the bags and checked us out.
We came to this part of the world to walk the Cotswolds. The hotel location is near the City of Cheltenham. It is large and commercial with none of the charm the Cotswords are noted for. The hotel is away from just about everything, so you will need a car to take you where you want to go. Next time I'll stay in a small city such as Broadway were you can walk to local shops and restaurants.
If you can find a time when the hotel is not crowded, I sure you will have a five star experience. But for us, five stars was not meant to be.
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- Also Known As:
- Ellenborough Park Hotel Cheltenham