We stayed for 2 nights in the main house and had a superb, large room with period features, wonderful furniture, tasteful decor and a lovely en-suite, all overlooking the manicured rear lawns. The original building is stunning and tastefully restored. The more modern buildings, that were built in the 20th century during the site's periods as a Jesuit college and a commercial conference venue are pretty poor and will leave you asking 'who allowed them to do that ?!' or judging by the other reviews here, 'why are we staying here?!'. Clearly it is a time of transition at the moment as the site is expanding its golf course and upgrading all its leisure facilities, all of which were closed (which is how we managed to get a good deal on the room, including brekkers and dinner!). Most of the old gardens are in a state of sad decay and need a lot of investment .
It was quite the most bizzare place I've ever stayed. We appeared to be two of only 6 guests rattling around in a huge complex for two days . My wife found it nice and private, I found it a little eery and disconcerting.
Amateurish welcome at reception, general feeling of staff doing a perfunctory job throughout but not really caring, and largely focusing on the small conferences that were being held. I did get the strong impression that there was no strong management of the place. Staff generally seemed to be east european and so were polite and efficient when we came into contact with them. In the bar though a miserable girl spent the best part of two days reading the paper, harumphing, not collecting our glasses from the terrace for over a day (we knew they were ours due to no-one else being around!); music played from a portable cd player was out of keeping; the terrace lighting was not switched on at night. Bar didn't have a drinks list, despite the vast array of spirits and when asked we were told they don't do cocktails (!) - when I suggested this was an oversight that could be costing them profit I must have seemed like a bleeding edge business guru, not a normal tourist that has been to random selection of middle of the road hotels all of which DO do cocktails.... The Billiards room would have been great if it had balls and cues.
Food was poor to passable and nowhere near as good as the overly formal restaurant wanted it to be. The kitchen is clearly geared to catering, not dining. On our second night the waitress got one of our main courses wrong - there were only two couples in the whole room that night.
Overall a mixed bag - if you can get a deal for the main house I'd recommend it as the grandeur of the surroundings probably makes up for the failings of the hotel. There's someway for it to go before it becomes the 'resort hotel' it describes itself as and the destination it aspires to be.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Heythrop Park Hotel is set in 440 acres of stunning Oxfordshire countryside and forms part of Heythrop Park Resort. The hotel is in a traditional 18th century mansion house and has access to the resort's extensive leisure facilities including an 18 hole championship golf course, spa and health club. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Heythrop Park Resort, Golf And Country Club
- Heythrop Park Resort, Golf & Country Club Hotel Chipping Norton
- Heythrop Park Hotel Country
- Heythrop Park Resort Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire