I’m a regular visitor to Nottingham, and usually stay at the budget hotels. I fancied a treat this time, but was it worth the extra? Not really.
CHECKING IN: The receptionist was friendly, but did little more than hand me my key. She didn’t volunteer any information about the hotel or the room (as they do in Jury’s). You’ll see why I was a little peeved about this later in this review.
ROOM: Tiny, but the ceiling-height mirrors give a feeling of space. The décor is pleasant (muted tones) and the carpets are soft. It’s very peaceful. At first glance, the bed appears to be a king-size but it’s not. It’s a zip-link (two single beds locked together), with that annoying and uncomfortable ridge/gap down the middle. This is great for the hotel, of course, as it can sell any room as a twin or a double. The bedding is gorgeous, though: big feather duvet and fine Egyptian cotton. It was chilly when I arrived but the radiator wouldn’t come on. The member of staff who (eventually) came to have a look explained that the temperature was computer-controlled centrally and couldn’t be over-ridden in individual rooms. The mini-bar was well stocked and there was a basket of tempting goodies – all overpriced, so avoided. One nice touch was the carton of milk in the fridge (none of those little plastic pots). There’s real coffee (but just one sachet). The cups are small so one teabag is too much – use the cafetiere to make two cups of tea from one teabag.
BATHROOM: Tiny too, but it benefits from an openable window (so rare in hotels) and another ceiling-height mirror. I was surprised to find three sizable holes in one of the bath towels. The bath is big enough for two, but the large tap at one end would make it difficult to use in this way. Why not put the taps at the side? Lovely shower, but the screen is just not big enough to contain the water, and so your bathmat becomes a mopping-up cloth.
FOOD: Exquisite on the whole! I ordered room service on the first evening, and it was delivered promptly. The salad was drowned in balsamic, though, so a lot of it had to be abandoned. Lunch in the bar was a delight (the best vanilla cheesecake we’ve ever had) and the staff there were friendly and helpful. Be aware that a glass of wine is just 125ml, rather than the more usual 175ml.
RESTAURANT: We’d booked a table for the second evening, having seen the set dinner menu on the website (three courses for around £24). We were shown to what was described as a “cosy table” – this was actually set in the darkest corner by the toilet door! We were immediately moved to a lovely bright corner table by the window – but why did we have to ask for that? The environment is pleasant, and blissfully music-free. I asked for the set menu but was told they’d stopped doing that three or four weeks previously (the website hadn’t been updated). After some pushing (notably after I’d said we were staying there), the manager advised us to order from the a la carte menu and he’d see what he could do about the price. The result was two courses for the price of the three-course set menu. The food was wonderful – everything well cooked and beautifully presented: a painting on a plate. My companion and I were deep in conversation when the waiter came over, picked up a glass and topped it up. This is one of my pet hates in restaurants – I want to decide how much and when to drink, and I don’t like conversations being interrupted in this way. The waiter said it was his job – it seems they’re told to keep topping up glasses. An unnecessary intrusion!
GENERAL: The standard of housekeeping was high, but I didn’t like being interrupted (by phone) shortly after noon to find out when they could service the room (the Do Not Disturb sign was on the door).
On the day I left, I discovered an information book tucked away at the back of the tea/coffee shelf (it should have been out on the bed or the desk). In there, I found that bathrobes were available on request (I would’ve appreciated that when I couldn’t get the heating to work, and it’s something that could’ve been mentioned at check-in) and that there was a DVD player in the room! I searched for the player, but couldn’t find it. The receptionist told me that it was incorporated into the TV but it wasn’t. Another member of staff then told me that DVD players were available only in the suites. A room-specific guide would be good! With basic DVD players so cheap these days, they could be standard in all rooms. They were apologetic in their words, but I didn’t feel they really cared that I’d been disappointed – the bill was paid and I was leaving. (We’d felt the same in the restaurant.) This off-hand attitude (and the zip-link bed) makes me hesitate about recommending what could be a top-class hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The location is perfect. A secluded courtyard, just a short stroll from Nottingham station, with a quiet garden giving glorious views over the city and beyond. Hart's light airy rooms are contemporary and comfortable. Top quality beds are equipped with goose down pillows and duvets, and Egyptian cotton bed linen. Since 1997 Hart's Restaurant has claimed the title of Nottingham's most successful up-market eatery, bringing to the city nationally acclaimed cooking at local prices. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Harts Hotel Nottingham