I have stayed at sopwell house on three occasions now (over a period of about three years) and after all these visits my opinion of the hotel has remained the same. It is a nice hotel with good facilities and helpful staff, however considering the cost, there is some room for improvement. It is fair to say that there is no one particular area where the hotel falls down significantly, rather that small improvements in each 'area' could be made to improve the overall experience.
For my latest visit, I took a short break (a 'minimoon') just after getting married. Whilst it would have been my preference not to mention this, my wife insisted we should mention this, which she did. Upon arrival at the hotel we were met by the friendly staff and given the keys to our room. They commented on our honeymoon and wished us well. When we got to our room, we were really disappointed. The room itself was nice and it was clear it was newly refurbished however, it was very small, next door to a cleaners cupboard and adjacent to a noisy stairwell leading to the foyer. After 10 minutes in the room and experiencing noise from the foyer piano, guests using the stairwell door and staff using the cupboard, we went back to reception to asked to be moved. The staff were helpful but it was to our surprise that on our previous visits we had been upgraded to better rooms without being told. This lead us to a higher expectation (and hence our disappointment) on this latest visit. The receptionist was very helpful and offered us alternative 'superior room' as a complimentary gesture, she also offered to show us an executive room, which would cost extra. On looking at these, it was clear that we had previously stayed in the executive rooms (without being told) and we opted for this at additional (albeit discounted) cost on this occasion. I must say that the staff were helpful and we had some assistance to move out things. My only criticism was that this experience took the shine of our stay a little and of all the times we had been upgraded (for which we are grateful) the hotel could not repeat this on our third stay and as newlyweds. Maybe we expected too much?
Of the rest of our visit, everything was nice. The spa is a great facility and is clean and well kept. The brasserie service and food is also nice. My last and final gripe concerned the food that was served as a starter to my wife. On the first evening she ordered a salad with anchovies and trout. She had no complaints, although we both wondered where the trout was. We agreed it must have been 'in there' somewhere and nothing else was said. On the next evening, I decided to have the same starter. On this occasion the dish was almost completely different, as the trout was evident and so were generous pieces of Parmesan cheese. We obviously did not complain, or comment as the moment had passed (we are not serial complainants!) but it did leave us wondering if they had run out of ingredients the night before and did not have the courtesy to tell us.
Of our stay, these were the main things that took the shine off of our experience. They are not big things and would certainly not put us off going back. However, it would be fair to say that they would not necessarily prevent us from considering somewhere else.
The breakfast waiters (brasserie) are extremely efficient (perhaps too eager to take your plates) but they and other staff are a credit to the hotel. They are polite and helpful and are willing to offer help without being asked.
All in all I would say sopwell gets four out of five. It does not fail significantly in any particular area but a number of minor things add up to reduce the overall experience. The newly refurbished rooms are nice but a standard room can be small.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in 12 acres of tranquil gardens Sopwell House is a 4 star hotel in Hertfordshire and the former Georgian country residence of Lord Mountbatten. Once you enter this 'home away from home' our attentive staff, family friendly service and luxurious spa facilities will provide the perfect setting to your stay or event. Our Country House hotel enables you to escape from it all and is within easy reach of London, St Pancras National & International Train Station and Luton Airport. With 128 stylish bedrooms and suites including 16 soon to be completed Mews Apartments to choose from, exceptional service, delicious food and our opulent spa you'll find it hard to leave. As well as boasting 19 flexible function suites, Sopwell House has recently been awarded winner of the 2015 Conde Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence in the category 'Best for Meetings' recognising their outstanding contribution to the corporate and social world. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sopwell House Country Club Hotel St. Albans
- Sopwell House Country Club And Spa
- Sopwell Hotel Country