Was booked in here by work, and had a quick peek at their website before confirming. I requested breakfast at 06:45, which was no problem for them; during the phone conversation, they asked for an approximate arrival time. Pictures on website looked good, and I was surprised that it was 4* for that price.
Booked the afternoon before the first day of my stay, and just after lunch on the day of my stay, received a call asking what time I was due to arrive. He also said I could contact him on that number if I needed anything. Arrived 5 mins late, but they were there to let me in.
I was immediately taken into the office, to pay the outstanding balance on the room. We'd paid the deposit on a company credit card, and I was due to expense the remainder, so I'd looked in advance on the website, it said cash or cheque. Cheques apparently aren't accepted here any more, and I didn't have any cash, so he agreed to let me pay the next day.
Was given a tour of the breakfast room, before being given my keys and shown to (and round) my room - room 8. It was enormous, and had an equally huge bathroom to match! There was a laminated sheet with general information including breakfast times, payment terms (on day of arrival), DVDs to borrow, fire procedure and free wifi login details. The furniture was good and solid; a double bed, 2 bedside tables, a chair (not quite an armchair), a large chest of drawers and a large wardrobe (with a grand total of 2 hangers!). More modern bits were the office desk and chair, and the large flatscreen TV. The fridge is the size you'd expect to find in a fridge-freezer combo - plenty of space! Good tea and coffee making facilities, with the added bonus of biscuits.
After reading previous reviews, I looked for PAT stickers. The fridge and single bedside lamp were due to be tested on 30/6/2010, and the TV, set-top box and kettle hadn't ever been tested. I suppose at least that means those ones are newish...
The bathroom, reached through a door on very squeaky hinges, contains an oval bath and shower, a sink, a toilet and a mirror. There obviously used to be a shower curtain round the bath (the two end fixings and the corner rod from the ceiling were still there), and it needs one; the floor gets very wet without it! The arrangement of bath and wall-mounted shower head means that, to get my head under the shower (I'm only 5'3"!), I had to either bend over backwards, or stand with one leg in the bath and one on the bath's arm rest/seat, or sit on the bath's arm rest/seat. :-o The shower head mount swivelled freely, so it was impossible to change the direction of the water. It was a really good, powerful shower, but there wasn't a large temperature range. Handwash was provided by the sink, and soap had been left with my clean towels on the bed, but it would have been good to have a shelf to put washkit stuff on. When the door is closed, you can't hear the extractor fan from the bedroom.
Both in the bedroom and the bathroom, the windows are covered by vertical blinds, rather than curtains. As well as letting the dawn light in (at 04:54 this morning, according to the BBC!), the blinds are cunningly arranged in conjunction with mirrors to make it impossible not to be seen from outside! I couldn't alter the angle of the blinds in the bedroom. However, both rooms do have radiators, and both are lit by spotlights. The bedroom is carpeted, whilst the bathroom is tiled.
I originally parked round the back, but when I queried the best place to park, was told at the front. Of the two available spaces alongside the drive, the first appears to be occupied by whichever member of staff was on duty. I was driving a Peugeot Partner van, but had no problems reversing to the front of the house, or turning round in the available space. However, an American couple took a chunk out of one of the sandstone gateposts whilst reversing their hired estate car out this morning! There is an additional parking space part way up the drive, at the side of the house, and a further three or four at the rear. That bit's quite snug for parking.
Breakfast wasn't anything to shout about, but it kept me going 'til lunch. A choice of orange juice, milk or DIY tea and coffee to drink. Food consisted of decent apples, yoghurts (Danone), cereals (Kelloggs, in tiny boxes), bread (and toaster), croissants, brioche, hard boiled eggs, some sort of sliced processed meat, cheese triangles, jam, and possibly some other things that I've forgotten. The staff member asked if everything was okay once I'd started eating.
When I went out to work at 7:15 this morning, the same member of staff checked that I'd remembered my keys, and asked whether my room needed cleaning. I asked for a toilet roll, to be on the safe side, and it was a good job that I did; they'd not even been into the room during the day to top the tea and coffee (and, more importantly, biscuits!), up. The loo roll was left on the floor in front of my door with their business card on. Slightly odd...
My general impression is that, with just a small amount of work and a more normal B&B attitude towards replenishing the rooms during the day, this really could make it to a 4*.
If the owner(s) read(s) this at any stage, I'd suggest a quick update to the website so that it reflects current procedures. A few more hangers in the cavernous wardrobe wouldn't go amiss. The out of date or lack of PAT stickers is a more serious issue, and needs a swift resolution.
For the bedrooms I'd suggest either curtains in combination with the existing blinds or new net curtains, or just thick horizontal blinds that cut out the morning light. Horizontal blinds would go well in the bathrooms, too.
A little squirt of oil would fix the squeaky bathroom door, and a new shower rail and curtain can't be that hard to put in. Moving the shower mount to the right of the controls would fix the issue of not being able to stand under the shower. A small shelf for washkit stuff would be good, or even just a glass to put toothbrushes in!
Breakfast could be spiced up by offering things like fruit salad, a range of meats and cheeses, and museli and toppings.
I hate to tell you this, but it's just not normal not to go into the rooms during the day! Your guests shouldn't have to ask for more toilet roll, or tea and coffee. Fair enough asking about whether the room needs cleaning, but a more acceptible way would be a paper hanger on the doorknob. This is the first B&B that I've been to where the beds aren't made daily, but in my opinion, that's something that's not really necessary.
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