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Oak Bank Hotel
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Reviews (755)
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Reviewed 6 January 2014

My wife & I stayed at the Oak Bank Hotel, Grasmere, booked under the name "Starkey", on 21st December 2013. I make this clear because my original review was "pulled" from TripAdvisor due( I believe) to the owners suspecting I had reviewed his hotel by mistake (he had contacted me to say so - is this allowed ?).
Anyway, stay we did, and so I will re submit another review ;
Initial impressions are of a decent standard B & B Guesthouse rather than a 3 Star Hotel (no lift, porterage, manned reception, and with no staff at all apparently living in overnight no-one to even call the emergency services if needed).
Our "Superior" room (No 4) was very clean and decently decorated with a nice bathroom. The small sherry decanter & biscuits a nice touch, but I personally did not like the milk provided in a metal jug / flask, it smelled "off", but probably wasn't - like the food, (more later), the idea was fine, the execution less so.
The evening meal ? - The presentation was excellent but I felt was at the expense of taste, finding the cuisine rather bland and tasteless, and , if I'm honest, if I'd enjoyed a long day fell walking I'd have wanted something more substantial than a "blade of beef" the size of a large Oxo cube with an upturned parsnip as my main course.
The service was excellent, the breakfast first class, but the dinner, to my taste, rather pretentious - if I wanted fine dining I would go to a 5 Star hotel or Michelin Star restaurant - full marks to the owners & chef in trying to raise the standards, but taste must rank equally with presentation, and, in addition, a more substantial alternative must be offered alongside to cater for all guest preferences, in my opinion.
I accept my comments are contrary to many other reviewers, but I speak (and write ) as I find and offer no apologies for doing so.
JKW 11

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank JKW11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OakBankHotel, Owner at Oak Bank Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 13 January 2014

A view also contrary to JKW11’s Daughter and Son-In-Law, see ‘Spadrian’ 5 reviews below (if viewed in date posting order giving all 5’s out of 5 and a view contrary to his first review that gave 4 out of 5 with the title “Homely, Comfortable & Friendly.” The first line was “Stayed for one night and, as the heading suggests, found the hotel homely, friendly and comfortable. The staff were all very pleasant and efficient, with our room being spotlessly clean and well... “ Unfortunately that is all we have from our RSS feed which notifies us of TripAdvisor reviews. The only thing JKW11 commented about the food in his first review is that he found it too fancy for his taste, we are not going to manage to please everyone, we know that, but to show a different view, the Guardian Newspaper’s food critic Jay Rayner loved his food at Oak Bank, with possibly the most complimentary review he has ever written on 08/12/2013.

Having his review pulled by TripAdvisor (not by us - we cannot do that) has really angered JKW11 as he admitted in his message to us through the TripAdvisor messaging service which is evident in the way his new review is written and whilst he says he speaks and writes as he finds and offers no apologies for doing so, some comments need correction.

Oak Bank is an AA three star hotel with a high merit score of 81% and two Rosettes for culinary excellence. There is no requirement to have a lift at three star level unless we had bedrooms on a third floor – we do not have a third floor, plus with Oak Bank being a converted country house without major structural changes we could not accommodate a lift; we do offer assistance with guests luggage; no need to have a permanently manned reception at three star level; the owners Glynis & Simon live on site with their house linked up to the hotel with phones and alarms, in particular the fire alarm. If JKW11 had read even the first page of the guest information folder he would have seen that he could call the owners 24/7 and the emergency services directly with the phone in their bedroom.

So to the food, although his Daughter and Son-in-Law loved it, we cannot understand why he has said his blade of beef was the size of an Oxo cube? That just isn’t true, in fact it is slanderous. Nor was his main course just beef and parsnip, plus this is the main course of a five course meal, six if you include canapés!! He says he finds the food pretentious yet the review above this, viewed in date order, says in its opening line, “One of the strengths of this hotel is that it is not in the least pretentious.” Who is right? From viewing our website it is obvious what our food is like, both from the text and visuals, if that isn’t your thing then you know what to do. If it is we hope to look forward to welcoming you.

JKW11’s manner whilst at the hotel and also in his message to us is completely different to his review. His message finished with ‘thanks anyway for a lovely stay’. We are glad he enjoyed it.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2014

We booked two nights at Oak Bank as a Christmas present to ourselves and stayed between Christmas and New Year as a way of relaxing after the chaos of entertaining Christmas Day and Boxing Day. It was the best decision.

We were in room 17 (ground floor with seating area and it's own door out to the parking area) which was very spacious. The room was sumptuously appointed with plush carpet, sofa, armchair and cushions. There was a jacuzzi bath which was most welcome after a day walking in the nearby hills. The room was slightly over furnished for our tastes but it was large enough to prevent feeling too cluttered.

A full size kettle made a pleasant change and with plenty of supplies of tea and 'proper' coffee we were both very happy. The homemade shortbreads (restocked on day two) were absolutely delicious.

We opted out of the Dinner part of the usual Dinner Bed & Breakfast on our first night so our experience of the food began at breakfast. And what a treat. Everything freshly cooked to order, nothing too much trouble and ample choice for one meat eater and one vegetarian. On our second night we had dinner in the hotel. It was absolutely superb. Neither of us have experienced a meal like this before. Beautifully presented, attention to detail that took your breath away and the intensity of the flavours was fabulous. We started with pre dinner drinks and nibbles in the lounge are where we could select our meal and drinks options before moving to the dining area when the food was ready. The presentation of the food reminded us of something you might see on Masterchef; a bit of foam here and little blobs of sauce there. I had thought that this style of eating would leave me hungry but actually the intensity of the flavours meant that this was not the case. Simply stunning.

The hotel is well positioned within easy walking distance of the centre of Grassmere and with walks galore straight from the door. The parking is limited but we were able to double park and move the next day to a space that was not blocking anyone in (in any event you can leave your keys if necessary). The staff were friendly and chatty despite obviously being very busy.

This was an expensive break for us the the value for money really comes from the standard of the food. The discount for opting out of the dinner does not reflect the incredible value the meal represents and I would recommend taking the dinner, bed & breakfast option every time.

Room Tip: You can view each room on the website and then select the one that suits you best.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Secretscot71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2014

The best way to describe our stay was excellent.Food stellar.Hospitality stellar.Staff stellar. Room was the smallest,which was explained to us even so comfortable.Will return again with out doubt,a jewell

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank steve c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014

This hotel continues to offer very high standards. We enjoyed an excellent 4 days over New Year. Since our last visit the hotel has acquired a new Head Chef and team. The standard of food has been enhanced by this change and everybody is catered for whatever their taste.

This was our 5th year at the Oak Bank Hotel for New Year and we are now looking forward to the 6th. Simon and Glynis continue to carry the hotel forward and their work and that of their staff is much appreciated.

See you again soon.

Room Tip: All rooms are excellent.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PCAnswers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 December 2013

We have just returned from an over night stay at the Oakbank Hotel. This is our 6th stay at this hotel and we are already planning when we can go back.
Simon and Glenys always make us feel welcome , the rooms are nicely decorated and spotlessly clean and the meals in the restaurant are lovely. What more do you want from a weekend away ?
If you're looking for a nice relaxing break you should definately consider the oakbank Hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank jill c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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