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!
- 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