Having been to this hotel around 6 years ago and having good memories of a very enjoyable stay, I thought it was the ideal place to return to celebrate my 40th birthday.
We booked in for 3 nights dinner b&b in a Principal Room ("Duval"). As previously experienced, we were unable to reserve a car parking space but were told that we could park in the multi storey car park near by if necessary. However, we were fortunate enough to get a space in the car park, although somewhat disappointed that there were lots of "reserved for Mr X" boards out in the car park. Anyway, that wasn't a problem.
The reception staff were friendly and welcoming and we were soon able to relax and enjoy the views over the park from our spacious and bright room. All good, including the chocolate-coated strawberries awaiting us in our room.
One reason for choosing to return to Hotel du Vin was the option to enjoy a good quality evening meal without having to worry about getting taxis or driving. The menu still offers a reasonable selection of cuisine and the quality remains high. There's an extensive selection of quality wines to choose from with at least one sommelier available to discuss options with. So, everything so far was excellent. However, here's where things started to go wrong: there was a large table of 10 (possibly more) for dinner eating adjacent to us. They were clearly on some kind of office / work party and had by 8pm clearly consumed more alcohol than was necessary. Our evening meal was somewhat dominated by the discussion and raucous behaviour from the "party table". Still, this wasn't so bad.
We retired to our room around 11pm, not late for a Friday night we admit. However, we were awoken around 12.15am by some of the "party" table returning to their rooms having loud drunken conversations on the stairs and continuing in the corridor outside our room. Now, this is the big problem: there is virtually no sound insulation between the room we were staying in and the corridor. We had to double check that the people weren't actually inside our room! After being awoken at 12.15am, we were then kept awake for the next 30-45mins by couples from the party returning in "dribs and drabs" to their rooms. The finale was particularly special; the topic of their conversation was one that was extremely embarrassing for us, and of an extremely explicit adult nature - should children have been listening this would have been a disaster. This ruined our night's sleep and to some degree spoilt the atmosphere for us for the remainder of our stay.
The next morning, we spoke with the reception staff about the previous night's experience, and they were clearly equally embarrassed by the topic of the conversation and told us that a senior member of the management team would get in touch. This is where Hotel du Vin loses another rating star - no effort was made to contact us. We were visible and around in the hotel for most of the Saturday and indeed dined in the restaurant again that evening, and had breakfast the following morning. We thought maybe someone would be in touch, but absolute silence. We cancelled our intended 3rd night's stay, paid our £733 bill for two nights and left. Oh, we were told we could have a "free room upgrade" by the reception staff if we were to come back again.. Whilst the hotel cannot be held accountable for all its guests, it certainly needs to do something about sound proofing between rooms and corridors.
Since returning home, there's been no attempt by anyone at the hotel to contact us - so will still haven't heard from the senior management as promised. They have our contact details as we provided these as part of the checking-in process. To me, this feels like a prime example of poor management and poor customer service. Will we return? - maybe if they can improve the sound-proofing and do something to discourage the unsavoury from using the hotel.
My advice to anyone thinking about staying here, be prepared to take earplugs. There are so many positives about the hotel, but we would be very nervous about what quality of sleep we would get - something you shouldn't have to think about when you're going away for a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells is set in one of the town's architectural landmarks, a Grade II-listed sandstone mansion built as a private residence in 1762. We have retained its authentic detail carefully, adding our unique touch to the 34 bedrooms with antiques and memorabilia. Guests can enjoy a game of boules, dining on the garden terrace with its wonderful views across Calverley Park, or a wander through the hotel's very own vineyard. BEDROOMS: Housed within this impressive building are 34 timelessly styled bedrooms and stunning suites, all featuring luxurious handsprung mattresses, fine Egyptian linen, deep baths and powerful drench showers, plasma TVs, DVDs and air conditioning. BISTRO: Open all week, and under the tutelage of head chef Daniel McGarey, Bistro du Vin is at the heart of our hotel, a classic, French styled, elegant and informal setting for lunch, dinner, to meet, celebrate or simply pass the time. Dine on the finest produce the Kent has to offer from local heroes such as herbs and seasonal vegetables from local nursery chef's herbs, meat from Woodlands Farm and fish from Chapman's of Sevenoaks. These are only a handful of the suppliers included within our homegrown & local philosophy. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Du Vin And Bistro
- Hotel Du Vin & Bistro Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent