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“Forget the food”
Review of The Unicorn Hotel

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The Unicorn Hotel
Bedford UK
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Forget the food”
Reviewed 19 January 2009

We pre booked a table for 8 to celebrate a 30th birthday. I guess we should have paused on arriving - the place was almost empty. The staff were pleasant enough but the food was very disappointing. A "plum tomato tart tatin" turned out to be a raw beef tomato stuck on a piece of raw pastry. The main course roasts were edible but the chicken chasseur had been lying around far too long. The puddings were jaded - two of our party ordered a white chocolate bread and butter pudding - you would never have guessed they were the same dish! The lemon tart was stale and had no lemon taste.
To cap it all we had to return twice to the hotel to get out of the car park - no one at reception seemed sure just what the exit code was

  • Liked — Staff were friendly and doing best
  • Disliked — Food was very poor
  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Richard065
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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291 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
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Herts
Level Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed 20 August 2008

We had read mixed reviews of this hotel so didn't know what to expect. However, our experience was one of great enjoyment. We had a very pleasant room, which was a fair size given that the hotel is an old converted building, and the en suite bathroom looked as if it had been recently refitted.

We stayed for two nights and on both evenings we dined in the hotel. Food could either be eaten in the restaurant, which has a very stark, modern appearance, or else in the adjoining bar which is less formal - the menu and prices are the same for both places. The first night we ate in the restaurant and the second in the bar. Both meals were extremely good for both of us. (Had we not enjoyed it on the first night we would have gone elsewhere for the second so eating there on both occasions is a testimony to the quality of the food.) Breakfast was served in the restaurant and a full English breakfast was quickly delivered and was very tasty.

The staff we encountered were all very helpful and friendly. A problem we had one evening when the power tripped out on some of our sockets was addressed by the girl on reception who promptly reset the circuit breakers.

We found only two potential problems with this hotel. The first was that it is located at a busy junction, which is traffic-light controlled. Consequently, some people may find it noisy. Our room was overlooking one of the traffic lights and although we slept with both the window open and the secondary double glazing slid back, we were not disturbed and slept soundly. However, others who are more sensitive to noise might be troubled by the traffic.

The second potential problem is parking. We were lucky each time to grab a space directly outside the hotel but these spaces are limited and most people have to park over the road in an overflow car park. Crossing the busy road with luggage would not be easy.

But these are minor niggles and we thoroughly recommend this hotel to others.

  • Liked — Friendly hotel with old-world character
  • Disliked — Car parking
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank london20000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2008

Earlier last year my partner and I enjoyed a one night stay at The Unicorn booked through late rooms. On the basis of this I decided to book The unicorn for my family christmas to include myself, my sister and my parents who are well into their eighties.

I paid the deposit and we all looked forward to christmas. I accepted that this would not be inexpensive (It was around £2000) but I wanted to treat my family.

Unfortunately my sister contracted near fatal meningitis and could not make the trip from Ireland. I informed The Unicorn of this so that they might re-let her room. The christmas package included all meals and some entertainment.

To cut a long story short, we did not take part in christmas eve afternoon tea or christmas morning breakfast as my parents are light eaters.

Our christmas lunch was served in the public bar as the restaurant appeared to have been pre-booked by non resident local diners. The delay between courses was excessive as the staff chatted to regulars. My christmas meal was inedible.

It was explained that the chef had walked out. The evening meal was an unexciting buffet, not improved by the excessive display of salmon.
A paying friend of ours joined us for boxing day lunch but unfortunately my mother's and my 'salmon' was uncooked. So yet again the meal was a disaster.

The manager joined me at the table and apologised for the on-going farse and promised that we would have the best food and service that evening. He also offered to make a financial consideration to our final bill.

That evening meal consisted of overbearing, inexperienced waiting staff and luke warm food. On leaving the following morning I discovered the bill included coffee served on christmas morning, the deposit for my sister's room (Which I knew had been re-let) and our guest's meal for boxing day. There was no sign of any financial compensation for the worst christmas ever. When I questioned this at reception they said I should contact the manager.

I sent several emails and made telephone calls and eight months later I am still awaiting a reply.

Although some of the staff were lovely and extremely apologetic, I would advise strongly to avoid the Unicorn especially for Christmas and important events.

  • Stayed December 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TracyBrent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
maryland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2008

I did not stay at the hotel, but visited the restaurant to see if the food selection was suitable for my aging parents. Because they have difficulty walking, they stayed in my car in the car park across the road while I reviewed the menu. On finding they did not have suitable food selections, I asked the barman for the code to exit the car park, which has a barrier to prevent cars leaving. He refused to give me the code unless I paid 2.50 pounds parking fee, or bought something from the bar. I politely explained that I had been in the car park for 5 minutes in order to check the restaurant menu, which was not suitable for my parents. He refused to give me the code unless I paid - basically keeping my car hostage! Rather than causing a scene (my parents were waiting) I purchased a beer as that was cheaper than paying 2.50. I got the code and left. Frankly, this was some of the worst customer relations I have ever seen.

Stayed August 2008
Helpful?
Thank grahama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
devon
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed 23 July 2008

One of the best hotels I'v ever stayed in. Such friendly and helpful staff. Will be returning soon for a longer stay.

Dinner was fab and so much choice for breakfast.

  • Liked — staff
  • Disliked — busy road
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank 003333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2008

We stayed at the Unicorn for Saturday night this past weekend. We went there a year and half ago and had a lovely meal and decided to go back in summer.

It was a really mixed weekend and I don't think I would go back.

The good
We booked DBB, the dinner was fantastic and really good value
The garden is lovely, especially in summer
Downstairs bar area is great to hang out in

The bad
The staff (mainly Polish) are very sullen and never smile. We accidently left our mobile phone in the room when we left and returned a couple of hours later. The phone was no-where to be found and had been turned off. My opinion is that the housekeeping staff must have found the phone when they cleaned the room and decided to supplement their wages! The manager was totally unhelpful and quite rude when we asked about the phone - the whole experience just left a really bad taste in our mouths.

Breakfast is very average and the servings are mean - for £160 a night I think 2 eggs for breakfast would be reasonable!

Altogether I think you're taking a risk with this hotel and it's not worth the money!

  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank happytraveller27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
milton keynes
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 June 2008

I booled this hotel for a long weekend break for my husband and I. We were in a "superior room" number 10 and we were very dissapointed as it was not what we expected. As mentioned in a previous review ( wish I had read it before I booked) the room was small, dark and there was a lot of noise and petrol and diesel fumes. If you had the window open it was unbearable as the room was facing right on to the main road and our window was just above the traffic lights so we had to keep the window closed all week-end which was not good as it was a hot sunny weekend when we stayed here. The breakfast was not as good as it could have been and certainly we have had better and paid a lot less for it. The best part of this hotel is the comfortable Lounge area but apart from that we were not very impressed and would not stay here again. The staff were very good and we could not really find fault but all I can say is look around more as there are better hotels for the money.

  • Liked — comfortable lounge area
  • Disliked — traffic noise and fumes
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MiltonKeynesNanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Unicorn Hotel

Property: The Unicorn Hotel
Address: Sheep Street, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1HQ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cotswolds > Stow-on-the-Wold
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Stow-on-the-Wold
#3 Romantic Hotel in Stow-on-the-Wold
#4 Luxury Hotel in Stow-on-the-Wold
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Unicorn Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Unicorn is a beautiful Grade II listed building, in picturesque Stow- on-the-Wold which is famous for its charming honeyed stone buildings, antique shops and fine restaurants. Situated in the heart of the Cotswolds, the Unicorn has recently been fully refurbished with 9 large, Luxury Apart Hotel Suites, each with a kitchen with granite work tops and Bosch appliances, spacious living room and dining area. All bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms. The Unicorn's pub and restaurant are still under going refurbishment but our new apartsuites are ideal for your stay in the Cotswolds. The manager is available to provide cleaning and linen change throughout your stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Unicorn Hotel Stow-On-The-Wold, Cotswolds

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