We spent a night at The Bear after having failed to get into The Feathers nest door. We'd stayed here before some years ago. The reception was OK but the room an absolute let down. The carpet - the colour of which could be best described as elephant hide post mud bath - was very heavily rucked and the floor creaked loudly with every step. As if in sympathy, the door emitted similar noises when open or closed. The walls were stained and other paintwork was in similarly poor condition. The bath contained some black material which had come back up through the plug hole. Some of the lamps in the bathroom were defective.
We went to the bar for a drink and bite to eat. The bar was being run single handed by a young Dutch work experience boy. Trays of dirty glasses were being brought in from the restaurant and filling up the bar surface. There was no draught beer available, only the normal brands of freezing lagers and Guinness. We had a coupe of drinks each and a mediocre meal. The bill came to an astonishing £60! It transpired that the glasses of wine (admittedly 250 cl but from an already opened bottle) cost around £12!. You can pay less for a glass of wine at Gordon Ramsey's in Hospital Road!
This was the last straw as the B&B rate for the tatty room was £190. Time to let them know all is not well. The duty manager was apologetic and cleaned the bath for us. The next morning we were asked to wait in the bar (where thankfully all the glasses had been cleared away) before we could go into the dining room for breakfast as the dining room was full. Breakfast itself was fine.
The morning duty manager was helpful and we eventually received a 50% deduction of the bill. This was followed up by a letter from the national Customer relations Manager apologising and offering a free night at a MacDonald's Hotel within the next year, which was fair enough.
What is really of concern is that Woodstock is at the heart of England, close to Blenheim Palace. The Bear is a famous old Englisg coaching Inn. Many foreign visitors must stay there. One can only hope their experiences are better than ours was.
Our experience at The Bear confirms us in our decision to never stay at a corporate chain hotel (see my review of the Edgware Road Hilton for further reasons).
It's a little difficult to work out. While we were staying at The Bear it was full and we were in room 50. The car park was full. Clearly they are doing something that many people find acceptable. I'm afraid that we don't.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Macdonald Bear Hotel is one of the finest 4-star hotels in Oxfordshire and part of The Macdonald Hotels' Signature Collection. Set in Woodstock, in what was once a 13th century coaching inn, our hotel combines history and culture with exceptional facilities. With direct access to the historic city of Oxford, our hotel is a popular choice for leisure breaks, business and weddings. Our hotel is a perfect venue for celebrations, events and conferences; we boast superb hotel accommodation, stylish meeting and function rooms, peaceful views over the courtyard and stunning period features. Our hotel in Oxfordshire is perfect for a relaxing retreat. Roam the historic city of Oxford and marvel in the dreaming spires or linger in the city's many shops and museums. Once you've finished exploring - we recommend a visit to our award-winning restaurant and bar for the finest of fares and a well deserved nightcap. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Macdonald Bear
- Macdonald Bear Woodstock
- Bear Hotel Uk Woodstock
- Bear Hotel Woodstock