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“Nothing that special”

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Macdonald Bear Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Woodstock
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 August 2014

I stayed here for my friends wedding at Blenheim Palace and my daughter and I shared a double room. The room was dark and dirty, with cobwebs in the bathroom which had a low ceiling so easy to reach and remove. The plug hole was blocked so when I took a shower the bath filled up with soapy dirty water. There were ants on the floor in the bathroom and the room was on the whole dated with cracked tiles in the bathroom. The outside lock to the door didn't work properly and the key card system was temperamental. Certainly not worth the cost of the room. I complained when I checked out and the staff were very apologetic and also sent me a follow up email to apologise and refunded half the cost of the room and offered me a discount if I stay again. We ate at the hotel on the Friday night and the food was ok but expensive with drinks. Breakfast had a good selection and the staff are very helpful. My friend stayed in a suite with two rooms. Her bathroom was lovely and the bed was not my cup of tea as it was very small but a traditional four poster, however again the cleanliness wasn't up to my standard, but I was told this was due to it being an old building. (Does that mean all old building are dirty? I 've stayed in many old buildings that are clean) All in all the hotel is dated but the staff attentative. Would I stay again? not at full cost!

Room Tip: Check you room and complain before you leave if not adequate. The staff are helpful.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Emmatucker52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General_Manager_Bear, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 19 August 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to complete a review of the Macdonald Bear Hotel following your stay with us.

I was pleased to note that you found the team attentive and you enjoyed your breakfast experience, however may I sincerely apologise for your disappointment your accommodation.

I would like to assure you that your feedback is in no way reflective of our usual standards of service and an immediate review has been instigated with our Maintenance and Housekeeping Managers, who have asked especially to be associated with my apology.

I appreciate your constructive feedback and hope that we will have the opportunity of welcoming you back to the hotel in the near future.

Kindest regards

Paola Cassotti
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,109 - 1,115 of 1,701 reviews

Reviewed 11 August 2014

We stayed here for the weekend 9th Aug The staff are very helpfull and pleasant in all areas of the hotel. The breakfast is spot on.
I'm sorry to say the room for the price and the star rating was a bit disappointing after seeing the photos when booking,We were in room 50 and the bath had mill due growing round the bath and shower screen, the headboard had what looked like an old table cloth hung over it that hadn't seen an iron.I use travel lodge and premier inn hotels on a regular basis and will do in the future.
I thought I would treat the wife to something special for her 50th birthday but the only thing special to me was the price very expensive for what you get.
On the whole we had a great weekend as woodstock is a Loverly place, But sorry we wouldn't stay here again.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Roy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General_Manager_Bear, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 19 August 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to review the Macdonald Bear following your stay with us. I was sorry to note that you left us disappointed, and was extremely concerned to learn of the housekeeping standards you experienced. I would like to assure you that this is not in any way reflective of our usual standards and I will be using your constructive feedback to instigate a review within the housekeeping team.

I do hope that despite your disappointment on this occasion, we will have the opportunity of welcoming you back to the Bear. Indeed, please contact me directly should you have a date in mind, and I will be delighted to take care of the arrangements for you personally and restore your confidence in the hotel.

Kindest regards

Paola Cassotti
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2014

We canceled another booking and reserved 2 rooms at the Bear because they showed that King Size beds were available.Upon check-in they tried their best to give us full size beds instead. I finally had to get mad before they offered us a satisfactory solution: One suite with a Queen Bed (that we paid for) and one room with twin beds for free. I give them " kudos" for correcting their mistake.

The windows that open in this hotel are very small and they do not have AC so if you go when it is hot beware! They did bring us a small fan which helped. The room was very clean with comfy beds and water, as well as a nice assortment of tea and coffee was provided. The bathroom however was very tiny and hard to move around in. The tub/shower was dangerous to get in and out of. My husbands head almost touched the ceiling when he was showering.The WiFi was not very good, although advertised as available and free. Parking was sufficient on site. The hotel is in a great location for walking around town. I would check out other hotels before booking the Bear.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank debbie w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General_Manager_Bear, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 August 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to complete a review of the Macdonald Bear Hotel following your stay with us.

I was pleased to note that you enjoyed some aspects of your stay, particularly the cleanliness of your room and the assortment of teas and coffees available. I am also glad that the team were able to offer a suitable solution to your accommodation concerns.

I am sorry for the error made with your reservation. Our rooms are in an old building and therefore vary in room and bed size. I would like to assure you that your feedback is not reflective of our usual standards of service and please be assured that these matters have been addressed with the team.

Thank you for your constructive feedback and I hope to welcome you back to the hotel in the near future.

Kindest regards

Paola Cassotti
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2014

My husband booked a surprise two nights stay in a feature double room at this hotel for a special occasion and because it is conveniently located close to Blenheim Palace.

Rooms
We stayed in the lovely Clementine Room (room 30) which had a very large modern bathroom. Annoyingly, as there was no hot water we had to boil many kettles of water to take a bath. Needless to say, it wasn’t the relaxing bath we wanted after a long day of sightseeing. When we complained to the reception, we were told there was a problem with the boiler and the hot water would be back in 20 minutes. When we said we didn’t need the hot water anymore that evening because we had already boiled lots of water with the kettle and were done, rather than apologise for the inconvenience he said “Oh well, it’ll be for other guests “ and thanked us for bringing it to their attention. And although we were assured there would definitely be hot water in the morning, there wasn’t any.

Another problem with this room was that it was uncomfortably hot. It is summer and the bed had a thick winter duvet and no air conditioning. We had to leave the widows open but because the room was facing the main road, we heard noise from the traffic and pub goers at night. The worst was being woken up at 7:00 in the morning by the noisy engine of a delivery truck outside on the road below our room windows. The engine was just left on and it didn’t make a difference when we closed the windows. We called reception and complained but because they didn’t bother to do anything I had to go downstairs in a bathrobe to complain about it to restaurant staff. Even when the truck had finally left, the noise from the road was very loud and we couldn’t get back to sleep.

We then asked to see the manager because we did not want to have another sleepless night in this room. Two people came to the door, neither of whom identified themselves as the manager and we were offered a room “overlooking the car park”. That made sense, because we all know that people who arrive/depart early in the morning or late at night are always very quiet with their vehicles and suitcases! After making this point, they went away to look for another room (which would also have hot water) but not before offering us tea and coffee for being woken up so early. This was a strange offer as our room had tea and coffee making facilities and after being woken up so early the last thing we wanted was caffeine before trying to get some more sleep.

Although the new room (number 19) looked nice, it didn’t have a safe and the bathroom was tiny and old fashioned. We didn’t mention this as our main concern was getting a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, one of the windows was just above a generator area which droned all night long. The worst was being woken up early in the morning (again) by very loud electric hedge trimmers outside on the other side of the room. So, we had to call reception to complain, again. The men with the hedge trimmers stopped working soon after but about 30 minutes later they started working on the other side of the room right under the window by our bed. It was at this point that we wondered whether this was a real life Fawlty Towers hotel (but without the humour).

Food & Drinks
On our first evening we ordered a Pimms which had all the ingredients but no ice and was made with Campari. When the waiter put the glass on the table we knew it didn’t look right and said that the dark red liquid at the bottom of the glass looked like Campari not Pimms, but he didn’t bother to go and check with the bartender. My husband had to take it back to the bar and when he asked the bartender to show him the bottle, sure enough it was Campari.

After taking quite a long time to have a bath on our first night because there was no hot water, we called to order room service at 21:50. The receptionist put us on hold to ask the chef whether one of the items was made with dairy. When she returned to confirm our query we then ordered but were told that the kitchen had closed because it was 22:00. After pointing out that it was in fact not yet 22:00, that we had wasted so much time boiling water to have a bath, and were put on hold, she then put our order through (but for cold food only, as she refused to take a hot food order).

The general quality of the continental breakfast buffet (with unripe fruit) was poor. The hot breakfast was made up of stone cold toast, baked beans that had congealed and dry pieces of bacon that looked like they had been made the night before and left out. The only thing which was fresh was the hard boiled egg which came after I had eaten my food because the first one they had made was soft boiled. A hotel that struggles to boil an egg is quite frankly ridiculous. Even though breakfast was included in the price of the room, we couldn’t bring ourselves to have breakfast there the next morning.

Customer Service
We found the staff (in particular the receptionists) to be incredibly false and clearly lacked training, in particular how to deal with complaints and dissatisfied customers. We were quite annoyed that after packing up our things the morning after our first night, the bell boy came to collect our suitcase but hadn’t been told that we were moving rooms. He thought we were checking out and was surprised when we asked if he had the key to the new room. So we had to go and ask the receptionist for the new room key.

A bottle of champagne in a bucket of water (the ice had long melted) was left in our room while we were out sightseeing. It had a ‘with compliments’ card with no apology. We left the bottle unopened as we only returned to the room to get ready for our dinner reservation (at another hotel in Woodstock) and were leaving the next morning. My husband found it insulting to be left a £27 bottle of champagne for all our inconveniences. A genuine apology with an offer of real compensation would have been appropriate.

Internet
Many hotels will provide a username and password for fuss-free wifi access. At this hotel, you have to sign-up to an external wifi company which requires you to enter your name, postal address, phone number, and email address. You also have to accept that you may occasionally get marketing material from third parties. What hotel makes you disclose personal details which will be passed on to third parties and make you accept spam – simply to use the internet!?

Car Park
We had to use the hotel’s overspill car park as the main one was full when we arrived. This wasn’t an issue at all but we are not sure why our car was completely covered in a layer of dust. The cars in the main car pack were unaffected. When we mentioned this to the reception, they didn’t have anything to say apart from recommending a hand car wash place down the road.

Overall
We booked this hotel for its proximity to Blenheim Palace and had planned to see all the sights over two days as it’s quite a lot to do in one day. Luckily, we had seen some of the palace and grounds before we checked into the hotel. It is however, very disappointing that we only had an hour and a half to see the rest before it closed because we had spent most of our morning and early afternoon trying to catch-up on sleep after our first night. This hotel tries to be something it clearly isn’t and really shouldn’t be part of the Macdonald Hotels & Resorts. We thought it would have the same great standards as the Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon where we stayed two years ago, but we were wrong!

Room Tip: I can’t recommend any rooms at this hotel if you want a decent night’s sleep.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank l_MrANDMrs_l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General_Manager_Bear, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 August 2014

Dear Guest

It was with concern that I read your review and I was sorry to learn of your disappointment.

Your feedback is in no way reflective of our usual high standards and I have completed a full investigation into your comments with the team. I have emailed you directly today to reassure you personally.

Best wishes

Paola Cassotti
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2014

I cannot recommend this place for lunch. It has little merit, except the staff are polite and helpful. The service generally is very slow, the portions of food parsimoniously small and the prices unreasonable. £5 for a soft drink and £9.30 for two coffees is shameful.

They seem to have pretensions to be very much more up-market than they are. They place the napkins on your lap unsolicited but that is not worth paying for.

We left dissatisfied.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
1  Thank Viaggiatoreinglese
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General_Manager_Bear, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 August 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to complete a review of the Macdonald Bear Hotel following your stay with us.

I am pleased that the team were helpful, however I was sorry to note that you experienced slow service and were disappointed with our pricing. Please be assured that we review our pricing regularly so that our pricing is competitive and fair, and I am arranging an immediate review to ensure that this remains the case.

Your feedback is not at all reflective of our usual high standards and I would like to assure you that your comments have been the subject of a team management review, to ensure that any similar lapses couldn't be repeated.

I would appreciate the opportunity of restoring your confidence in the hotel. Please can I ask you to contact me on gm.bear@macdonald-hotels.co.uk so that I may reassure you personally.

Best wishes

Paola Cassotti
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Went here for a 2 night break, got one of their feature rooms, Hazell Room. Very nice room, good check in experience, very helpful staff. Good breakfast, if a little slow. Nice courtyard for pre dinner drinks. We greatly enjoyed our stay and Woodstock itself is a really nice village with plenty of pubs etc, close to Oxford and Bicester Village. We would stay again.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Kerryad876
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General_Manager_Bear, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 31 July 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to review the Macdonald Bear Hotel following your recent stay.

I was delighted to note that you had such an enjoyable stay - we look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Best wishes

Paola Cassotti
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014

Wonderful location, charming hotel, loved our room, one of the most comfortable beds we have ever slept in, friendly and welcoming staff, great breakfast, nothing was too much trouble, Woodstock is a pretty little town on the edge of the Cotswolds, hotel is within walking distance of Blenheim Palace, and you can get the bus easily into Oxford, we will definitely return, without hesitation, loved every minute of our stay.

Room Tip: We do not recall seeing if there was a lift at the hotel so may be worth asking for a ground floor r...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Sharon S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
General_Manager_Bear, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 24 July 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to review the Macdonald Bear Hotel following your recent stay.

I was delighted to note that you had such an enjoyable stay - we look forward to welcoming you back!

Best wishes

Paola Cassotti
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Macdonald Bear Hotel

Address: Park Street, Woodstock OX20 1SZ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Woodstock
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Woodstock
Price Range: £84 - £243 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Bear Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 54
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

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