We had our wedding reception here at the end of April.
The hotel itself is beautiful and our guests all commented on how impressive the walnut suite is and how nice the guest rooms are.
The food at the reception was also fantastic and the service at the meal was very good. It’s an amazing setting for a wedding reception and the staircase is a great backdrop for wedding photos.
The bridal suite is also huge and stunning with a large bath, beautiful furnishings and a very comfortable bed.
It does seem that this hotel is somewhat resting on its laurels. When we were viewing wedding venues, other venues went out of their way to attract our business with various offers, food tastings etc. but the St Giles House offered none of this. In fact, my wife and I very nearly went elsewhere because we were unable to sample the food before choosing a wedding menu. None of my friends or family have ever come across a venue that makes you choose the food without trying it (other than to pay for similar dishes in their restaurant). Bizarre! Luckily the food was very good but we were taking a bit of a gamble.
We left the wedding co-ordinator a list of tasks to do on the morning of the wedding, including setting up the tables and putting out name cards etc. Unfortunately, this seemed beyond her as when I visited the venue on the way to the church with my best man and usher we had to spend about 20 minutes putting everything where it should be as she had not put out half the things we left and had put many of the names in the wrong places. The wedding co-ordinator was unavailable on the day of the wedding and was replaced by a young girl who we have only ever seen working reception. That said, she worked very hard and was obviously eager to please and impress but we were surprised that our wedding co-ordinator on the day was a receptionist considering how much money the hotel was getting from us.
We also specifically asked for non-alcoholic drinks for certain guests (and this was made very clear to the wedding planner and also on the sheet of instructions) only to find them being offered alcoholic drinks which was embarrassing for everyone.
My father-in-law stayed for two nights and had an ongoing problem with the lock on his bedroom door. The staff were not interested in this and he had to speak to the manager twice before being offered any kind of apology.
Breakfast the following morning was an utter shambles. When my wife and I arrived, we were left standing for 10 minutes waiting to be seated as the two staff on duty were run off their feet and did not have time to deal with us. We ended up having to go to reception to get the receptionist to seat us. My mother and father did manage to get a seat but were then left for 30 minutes with no-one taking their order. When they did order, the toast came first, my father’s breakfast about five minutes later and my mother’s a further ten minutes later, by which time my father had already finished. The jug or orange juice was empty and despite me asking twice, no-one re-filled it. The whole breakfast service could not have been more different to the very good service at the wedding reception the day before. And there were not even many guests at breakfast so I cannot understand what the problem was. Needless to say, a complaint to the manager fell on deaf ears. On the plus side, the breakfast, when it finally arrived, was delicious.
We were told by the manager that Alice, the wedding co-ordinator, would contact us the following week to discuss our concerns. More than three months later, we are still waiting.
All in all, I still think the St Giles House is a fantastic venue for a wedding reception. The guest rooms and public areas are great, the building itself has the wow factor and the food is top notch. Unfortunately, the hotel is seriously let down by some of the staff (but not all, some are very good and are obviously keeping this place afloat). I think if Norwich had greater competition in this sector then the St Giles House would quickly sink but as it's one of the nicest venues in town, they can get away somewhat with poor customer service. If anyone reading is considering using this venue, I would still recommend it, but be aware that you should approach with caution and you will end up having to organise most of your wedding yourself and manage events on the day. If you want a slick, seamless event then this is not the place to go but if you want a stunning venue and are willing to pay a premium and do a lot of the leg work yourself then the St Giles House can be made to work.
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- Also Known As:
- St Giles Hotel
- St Giles Norwich
- St Giles House Hotel Norwich, Norfolk