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“Truly awful room.”

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Macdonald Swan Hotel
Ranked #10 of 14 Hotels in Grasmere
GreenLeadersBronze level
Woodford Green, Essex
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Truly awful room.”
Reviewed 21 June 2011

My husband and I stayed at The Swan for two nights (June 17 & 18 2011) and this review is based on that stay.

We had stayed at The Swan hotel before, about 4-5 years ago and at that time had a lovely big room, with a gorgeous bathroom. We remembered the restaurant being excellent and the hotel in keeping with its age and location. So when we were due back in the Lake District this year, we decided to stay at The Swan again and booked a "Feature Room" at around £165 per night B&B (there are three levels of room; Classic, Executive and Feature being the top end) as we wanted a similar experience as before and wanted to experience the "stunning four poster bed" as described on the room info.

We arrived at the hotel at around 3pm and waited to check-in, there was no-one else being served but we had to wait until the jolly gentleman had finished laughing and joking with the two female staff. Once he had finished cracking his jokes and one of the ladies had gone, he turned his attention to us. The check-in process was basic with little interaction with us, we were given our key and we went to our room - room 14.

As we were due to meet people at 4pm, we just took our bags to the room. As we went up the stairs and turned into the corridor we were greeted by a hallway filled with bedding, towels, tea-trays and piles of dirty sheets, it seemed as though all the rooms were being cleaned at once but there was only one lady running between all the rooms with open doors. Her uniform tunic was hanging on the door handle of one room, as she rushed about in a red t-shirt with music playing from one of the rooms. When we entered our room we were knocked back by the smell of bleach, it was so strong! We guessed the bathroom had just been cleaned so decided to leave a window open and go straight out. This proved difficult... we appreciate that The Swan is an old building, with original sash windows, but this doesn't mean they have to be in such a state. One window was totally broken, it could open a couple of inches but not stay open and both windows were caked with dirt. It doesn't matter how old windows are you could still wipe them down with a cloth and hot water occasionally...

We didn't return to the hotel until about 9:30pm that night and when we got back were tired, it was at this point I noticed that the bed itself seemed extremely high. (The bed itself wasn't exactly a "stunning four poster bed" but a normal 4'6" bed with a half canopy.) Looking at the bed, I noticed the (ripped and stained) valance around the bottom didn't fit and left the end 8 inches of the bed exposed... which was not a good thing as this showed why the bed was so high.

Basically our "stunning four poster bed" was an old wooden bed frame, with no slats left at all, balanced on top of the edge of the wooden bed frame was a tatty, old THF (Trust House Forte) divan base and then our mattress was balanced on that. The old divan base was so old it was threadbare (and THF have been defunct for over 20 years!). I cannot understand why this bed was in this condition or how this hotel believes that this bed & room constitute the top end "feature room" price tag.

The bathroom was cramped (barely room to sit on the toilet!) and in terrible condition. The wall tiles were old and badly put up, the bath was chipped and scratched, the grout between the floor tiles was filthy and scarily unhygienic. And one small, but annoying thing, when cleaning the bin between guests, please remove the plastic bag containing the rubbish rather than just emptying the bag as (without going in to too much detail) a used & stained plastic bag smells quite bad after a couple of days.

With regard to the rest of our ‘feature room’… well it was featureless! A bland fireplace, a tall lamp with ill-fitting lampshade, a chandelier with two dead light bulbs and a desk so badly stained and scratched it looked awful – even the pen on the desk was stained with some white sticky substance!

Breakfast in the morning was good. A fair selection of cereals, pastries, yoghurt & continental options and a decent cooked menu (including porridge and fish options). The service was fast (too fast in some cases, bringing out the cooked option while we were still eating our cereal – we had to end up lifting our bowls up so the waiter could put the plates down and then had to eat the rest of our cereal with bowls in our hands while the waiter waited for us to finish!)

All in all, taking into account the noise within the hotel at night, the condition of the top-end rooms and the price, we would never stay at The Swan again. For the cost of a Feature Room, we expected something a little special, not something worse than a standard B&B!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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9 Thank Wookeys_Travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (216)
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English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2011

I cannot believe that this hotel is part of the MacDonald chain, the rooms are in terrible condition and certainly not worth the £150 we paid for B&B or the number of stars it has allocated.

The carpets throughout the hotel are threadbare, the bed in our room a falling apart wreck and the bathroom was not only dirty, with a chipped, stained bath... it also looked like it was last decorated in the 70s. The sash windows in our room were broken and filthy and the carpet, desk and bedding all grotty & stained.

It may well be the case that the hotel is going to be upgraded and extension built but in the meantime, close it and bring it up to standard as currently, in its current condition, its is truly unacceptable.

I just cannot beleive that the CEO of MacDonald would find the accomodation here acceptable for the price charged and my letter to him says exactly this. Thank goodness our stay was a short one here!

There are 100s of quality hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs in Grasmere, Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick etc that go the extra mile in terms of quality and service, some small and intimate and some larger all with excellent service, so why this hotel feels it can charge so much for so little is baffling! Seriously people, go elsewhere... maybe where your money will be both appreciated and used to support a local business rather than to a hotel chain that needs to realise that this property needs a total refurbishment.

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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank USAFBrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmswangrasmere, General Manager at Macdonald Swan Hotel, responded to this review, 27 June 2011
Good Afternoon USAFBrian,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review regarding your recent stay at the Swan Hotel, we here at the hotel appreciate all our reviews whether they are positive or constructive, we share them with the whole of the team on a regular basis.

We are disappointed that you did not enjoy your visit, we are not going to disagree that the rooms are a little tired, but we do maintain a high level of cleanliness through out the hotel and try and keep the hotel in good order and the whole of the team work tirelessly to achieve this, as I have mentioned in other reviews I am awaiting final confirmation for the beginning of the refurbishment for the main house in the hotel, corridor carpets are set to be replaced with in the next couple of months.

We like for our guests to voice their option regarding their stay but you only seem to have concentrated on the accommodation and asking people to avoid the hotel when the positives like service and standards and award winning food have not been mentioned, I feel that this is a little harsh, and as people can see in other reviews there are reasons as to why people should not avoid us.

We would like to thank you once again for your review as it is comments such as yours that help us strive towards our goals in quality and customer care.

We do hope that you can return when the works have been completed and you will see a vast improvement in the accommodation, but the same high standards for service, food and customer care will still be there.

Kind Regards
Jason Moore
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lancashire
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2011

Just home from a two night stay at the Swan Grasmere and will definitely be returning. We had booked bed and breakfast with dinner on the first night. Our intention was to eat out on the second evening, however we enjoyed the meal so much on the first night we booked again for the second night. The food was excellent and very good value for money. However I would like to make a suggestion regarding the steak on offer. This did come with a supplement (which is totally acceptable) but I think it would be nice to provide a vegetable without having to pay extra again. All the other main courses came with potatoes and vegetables. We did overhear another couple commenting on this in the restaurant and I think it has also been mentioned on a previous review so perhaps it is worth considering.

The breakfast was superb with the best black pudding we have ever had. The service at both breakfast and dinner was faultless. All the staff we met were very friendly and efficient and made us feel very welcome.

An extra member of staff in the bar at busy times would be advantageous as the person manning the bar on both nights had to serve meals and clear food from tables, leaving the bar unattended with people waiting to be served which could lead to complaints.

Our room was of a good size and overlooked the garden which was lovely. Although the road was close by we were not bothered with any traffic noise, even with the window left open all night. The bed was very comfy and the room was bright and clean. The bathroom was on the small size but perfectly adequate and very clean. The shower was excellent and easy to operate and there was plenty of hot water available for baths. The toilet flush was a little temperamental but once you got the hang of it, it was not a problem.

The hotel is in an ideal spot for exploring Grasmere and the surrounding area with several circular walks commencing from the centre of Grasmere.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mcb7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmswangrasmere, General Manager at Macdonald Swan Hotel, responded to this review, 27 June 2011
Good Afternoon MCB7,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review regarding your recent stay at the Swan Hotel, we here at the hotel appreciate all our reviews and comments whether they are constructive or positive, we share them with the whole of the team on a regular basis.

We are very pleased that you enjoyed your break and your thought that the food and service was good enough to dine twice we have taken your thoughts on board regarding the vegetables & potatoes with certain dishes, the steak dish does come with a potato rosti but we will look at putting extra vegetables with it.

Thank you once again for your review as it is comments such as yours that help us strive towards our goals in quality and customer care.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

Kind Regards,
Jason Moore
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
79 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2011

Congratulations to the Swan for allowing 1 night stays in Grasmere. Not everyone can afford to pay the minimum 2 nights that everywhere else stipulates and this is the sole reason that we stayed. We are regular visitors to Grasmere so know the rules and regulations of every other establishment. I know that the Swan is located just on the outskirts of the village on the main road but its a close enough walk if you really must be right in the centre.

We booked this at the last minute and had a really pleasant stay. We were particulary impressed with the staff - they were all friendly, helpful and most of all cared. They didnt always get it right but it didnt really matter to us because the fact that they tried was good enough for us.

I will say that the bedrooms are tired and tatty but reading the managers response on other reviews its looks like the back rooms are in for a refurb. Our room (16) was perfectly comfortable but there wasnt any bedside lamps and the lamp in the room didnt work. The bathroom door didnt shut properly and the grubby grouting and repaired tiling wasnt very appealing. I would say in their current state I dont really think they are worth the money, however based on location, competition etc etc then I can see why they are priced at the rate that they are. Lets just hope they dont increase after their refurb.
Our room wasnt ready on arrival (4pm) which was a bit of a surprise and we had to wait another 40 minutes until it was ready depsite us sat in soaking wet clothes after a long walk. My husband and I were so chilled, we had a drink in the bar, read the papers and sat quietly although I would imagine this could iritate some.
We had dinner in the restaurant and I really couldnt fault the food or the service. We had a really lovely meal so hats off to the chef. The service from the staff was good although a gentle reminder was needed for the wine that we ordered. Breakfast the following morning was like organised chaos but again all the staff were working as hard as they could and you really couldnt fault them. The restaurant was packed to the rafters and I think everyone arrived at the same time for breakfast but what a good breakfast it was when it arrived. Note to manager - Housekeeping were quite noisy in the morning so there was no chance of a lie in. When we returned to our room after breakfast, the music blaring out from one of the rooms they was clearning was quite offputting and sort of let the side down of what everyone else was trying to achieve in the hotel. They might be out of sight but we certainly knew they were about!
Irrelevant of the very minor hiccups, I love this place - we had a good service, friendly staff, comfortable bed and amazing food. There is no doubt we will be back again and are hoping that we can book in for dinner for my husbands birthday later in the year.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Littlemurf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmswangrasmere, General Manager at Macdonald Swan Hotel, responded to this review, 27 June 2011
Good Afternoon LittleMurf,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review regarding your recent stay at the Swan Hotel, we here at the hotel appreciate all our comments and reviews whether they are constructive or positive.

The staff would like to send their thanks for your kind comments and we have chatted to the housekeeping department regarding the level of the music they have on whilst they are working, I do hope during your next visit you will notice a difference.

Thank you once again for posting your review as it is comments such as yours that help us strive towards our goals in quality and customer care.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

Kind Regards,
Jason Moore
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oswestry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 June 2011

We have been visiting The Swan Hotel on and off for nearly 25 years, primarily for the walking and have used the drying room many times it does rain in the lakes. Over this period the food has always been good but it’s currently excellent, the cooked breakfast is just great. The staff are always efficient, polite, helpful and nothing is too much trouble. The bar is relaxed and practical with good service you are welcomed in with walking boots and your dog. If you are bothered by road noise, like me, make sure you have one of the many rooms at the side or rear of the hotel. We would agree with other reviewers that the bedrooms are looking a bit shabby now and the bathrooms could do with a very good clean, replacing broken tiles and probably a refit, but if you are staying and walking then the most important thing is the bed and they are very comfortable. We understand that the hotel has got permission for a large extension and hopefully they will sort out the existing rooms at that time. We have one complaint, like many Macdonald hotels they have a substantial coach tourist business. This means that a coach of foreign tourists arrive around dinner time and clog up the reception area with bags and the restaurant can get very busy.... But worse.... between 5.30 and 6.30 AM some groups talk loudly in bedrooms, corridors and outside your bedroom window. So sleep quality is not good. We have, however, found out that you can call the night porter to silence them but you're awake by then. We will continue to frequent the Swan as much for the area as the hotel but we will always make the trip using vouchers or a special offer as it is good value then.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank boothbyman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmswangrasmere, General Manager at Macdonald Swan Hotel, responded to this review, 22 June 2011
Good Afternoon Boothbyman,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review regarding your recent stay at the Swan Hotel, we here at the hotel appreciate all our comments and reviews whether they are constructive or positive, we also share them with the whole team on a regular basis.

We are all so glad that you like coming back on a regular basis, and this time in particular that you found the food and staff to be excellant.
Unfortunately as you state in your review during the main season in the lakes there are alot of foreign tourists and as they are travelling around so much they are up early most mornings to get to there destinations early, we do try to ensure that the reception area is clear in particular in the evenings but this is dependant on the weather and as you say it does rain in the lakes, but we do clear the area as quickly as possible.

May I request that next time you stay you can call ahead and we can try and position you away from the coach tour.

We look forward to welcoming you back again in the future and once again thank you for your review as it is comments such as yours that help us strive towards our goals in quality and customer care.

Kind Regards
Jason Moore
General Manager
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Cheshire
Level Contributor
33 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2011

Stayed 3 nights using tesco's vouchers b&b. Room 23 had a big double bed, two comfy chairs & desk small en suite with shower over bath. The view was towards Arthurs Stone ( have had much worse ) Everything was clean with no smells. Breakfast was very good, staff very attentive plenty to eat, we didn't eat lunch for three days ! Good location for a 5 min stroll into local village Grasmere, 10 mins drive to Ambleside, 20 mins to Keswick. Hotel is old and full of character ( beams, sloping floors etc ) We found all the restaurants quite expensive in the village, average £12-15 for a main, 3.00 for a pint. We went to Keswick on the second night which was much better value and likewise went to Ambleside the third night.

  • Stayed June 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MickandGaynor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmswangrasmere, General Manager at Macdonald Swan Hotel, responded to this review, 22 June 2011
Good Afternoon MickandGaynor,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review regarding your recent stay at the Swan Hotel, we here at the Swan appreciate all our reviews and comments whether they are positive or constructive, we also share them with the whole team on a regular basis.

We are all so pleased that you enjoyed your stay and in particular your big bed and breakfast, we are just sorry that you were not able to indulge in an evening meal.

We do hope that we can welcome you back in the future and thank you once again for your review.

Kind Regards
Jason Moore
General Manager
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Great Ayton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
47 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2011

This was our second visit to the Swan, and again we stayed for 2 nights on a Superbreaks 1st night Dinner deal, and had a lovely time - equally as good as our first visit late last year. The Hotel is however looking a little bit shabby 'around the edges' you might say e.g. the furniture in the lounges is a little grubby and tired looking and our room, although clean, had loose and badly fitted trim in the bathroom and a window that had no facility to hold it open, which did detract a little on the quality front. The staff however were at all times very helpful and friendly and are worthy of high praise in this respect. The food at Dinner was very good in my opinion, and we decided to dine again on the second evening, as the quality and service was much better than some other places we have visited in Grasmere. Breakfast was very good with a varied selection of both continental and cooked items available. The bar was good, with a few local beers etc. and a decent selection of wine by the glass, although as usual for a Hotel it is quite expensive. The garden is very nice, even though it is adjacent to the main road, but it really could do with some comfortable chairs etc. to relax in, as it only has wooden picnic style tables and chairs with no cushions. The free car park is directly adjacent to the Hotel, and the free Wi-Fi is a real bonus, as some Hotels charge ridiculous amounts for this - very well done! Overall then, if you get a good deal, then I think it is excellent value for money, but at full price I would probably have been looking for a bit more for my money. I did hear that the hotel is due to be refurbished later in the year, so that could account for some of the minor issues I have mentioned, and if so, then it is quite understandable.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Roadworn57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmswangrasmere, General Manager at Macdonald Swan Hotel, responded to this review, 18 June 2011
Good Afternoon Roadworn57,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review regarding your recent stay at the Swan Hotel, we here appreciate all our reviews whether they are constructive or prohibitive, we also share them with the whole team on a regular basis.

We were all glad to welcome you back and thank you for your kind words regarding the staff and the food. We have taken on board your comments regarding the outside furniture, unfortunately as you will know we can not guarantee the good weather, so we fear that they would get ruined very quickly, but we will look at the alternative. I am pleased to inform you that we are indeed awaiting confirmation on when the refurbishment works will begin in the main part of the hotel.

Once again thank you for your review as it is comments such as yours that help us strive towards our goals in quality and customer care.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind Regards
Jason Moore
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Macdonald Swan Hotel

Property: Macdonald Swan Hotel
Address: The Swan Hotel Keswick Road, Grasmere LA22 9RF, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Grasmere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Grasmere
#9 Romantic Hotel in Grasmere
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Macdonald Swan Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Built in 1650 as a coaching inn, and mentioned in a Wordsworth poem "The Waggoner", Macdonald Swan Hotel, Grasmere is one of the oldest hotels in the Lake District. Nestled in the Cumbrian countryside, with views across the Fells, our cosy and inviting hotel is ideal for walkers and cyclists. With open sunny vistas in summer and blazing log fires in winter, it's the ideal base for exploring the wonders of the Lake District National Park. Afterwards, relax with a delicious meal in our restaurant or enjoy the convivial atmosphere of the Walkers' Bar before retiring to a traditionally - furnished, comfortable room. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Macdonald Swan
Macdonald Swan Grasmere
Macdonald Swan Hotel Grasmere, Lake District

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