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“This is one of the great hotels”
Review of The Arden Hotel

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The Arden Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“This is one of the great hotels”
Reviewed 5 April 2011

As a very jaded traveller, the Arden was a very pleasent experience. The room was very clean and had everything required for a comfortable night.

We had a pre theatre meal which was very good.

There was a wide choice for breakfast, everything I had was well prepared and served.

The staff were all very attentive and friendly.

If you are going to the RSC then you could not be better placed.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank travellingman59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Scotland
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2011

The Arden is a beautiful hotel - newly refurbished in elegant hues of antique gold/green, mole, mouse greys and creams. The reception, terrace and brasserie areas are light and airy - quite something, in an older hotel that would have been difficult to adapt. The charm extends to the naming of rooms, each after a tree. And the location is a dream: just steps away from the river and opposite the magical new Shakespeare theatre. With the option of a third (proper) bed in the room and breakfast included, it represents stylish, good value for money in a quality boutique hotel. There are thoughtful extras: free wifi in the room (not only in public areas); bottled water; fresh milk in the mini fridge and coffee and tea for quick and easy refreshment. The toiletries are l’Occitane and our bathroom was large, well lit and well appointed.

So it’s a pity to gripe, but there are a few things that jar. For theatre-goers who travel long-distance and arrive at an awkward time of the day when rest and freshening up are more of a priority than eating, there is no post-10 pm/theatre snack to be had, other than via room service. And that’s odd, given The Arden’s connections with the RSC. In most hotels, the room service menu is often a last resort option – and the Arden is no exception. The first phone call to room service/reception was timed out. My younger teenager who has a meagre appetite at the best of times, commented that even for him, the chicken and rice was a small portion. It looked boil-in-the-bag unappetising. The sandwiches (one ham, one cheese, no choice of bread) were half-filled and the bread was morphing into cardboard. Cost with two sodas: £ 35.90 excluding service – and that was the best bit – prompt and smiling. Don’t shoot the messenger.

The following day was to end with the treat of a traditional afternoon tea taken on the terrace overlooking the river. It was sunny, we had walked our feet off and ticked all our must-see Shakespeare boxes, “Oh, to be in England, now that April’s there”…what could be more perfect? We arrived well in time and neither terrace nor inside dining was especially busy. Yet we waited 15 minutes before anyone spoke to us, or brought the menu.

Afternoon tea for two comprised ten finger sandwiches filled with uninspired scrapings of chicken, smoked salmon, cucumber and a bit of limp lettuce and tomato. I’ve forgotten the fifth. No lemon or black pepper with the smoked salmon and the white bread, like the night before, was curling at the edge. The cakes were slender slices of commercial chocolate, walnut and lemon drizzle/butter cream. Oh, and two bullet-hard plain scones. If any of it was home-made or baked on the premises, it was well disguised.

I drank black tea but neither lemon nor honey was offered. The children’s drinks – water and a soda - were an additional cost even though my tea was included. Cost: £ 30 for two plus drinks - and an indifferent afternoon tea that promised so much but in the end, looked and tasted like corporate-do leftovers. We ate because we were hungry, because this was our highlight and we were supposed to be enjoying it and because the boys hate a fuss. But I was disappointed and wondered why such a lovely hotel could fail so comprehensively to deliver something as quintessentially English as afternoon tea. Where were the puffed up and crinkle-edged scones? The butterfly dainties in pretty cases? Fruit tartlets? Wedges of sponge cake oozing home made jam and laced with icing? Beef and horseradish, prawns with chilli and lime mayonnaise, creamy local cheese and sharp watercress….Selections of exotic teas from India, Sri Lanka and China?

Most of the Arden’s staff are pleasant – the housekeeper was bright, warm and friendly. When we arrived, no help was offered with the cases – or perhaps it was simply that I had two strapping lads with me. (In fact, both were walking wounded, one recovering from a broken arm.) When I asked on the first night about a late night snack, I was advised to pre-order as it would be quicker: but by the time we returned from the theatre, no-one knew anything about it, and the person who had taken the order had presumably gone off duty. None of the staff whom I spoke to, had any particular recommendations to make about what to see in Stratford – maybe it’s just self-evident – but there was no passion at all about this lovely and historic town.

On checkout, two hours before our departure, I requested a taxi for a specific time to take us to the station. Trains that day were being re-routed owing to industrial action and engineering works: missing a connection on a seven hour journey would have been problematic. But when I checked with half an hour to go, whether the call had been made, (years of travelling makes me wary!), it looked like it had been forgotten. Coincidence possibly, but it’s unusual with two hours notice that the taxi was ten minutes late.

Teething problems perhaps. The hotel only reopened last year after its refurbishment and it takes time to mesh the team together. And it takes someone with a heart and the vision to attend to all the small details that transform beautiful hotels into the sort that linger in your memory long after you have left.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank kefb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milton Keynes
Level Contributor
54 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2011

The Arden is a high quality, hotel in the heart of Stratford upon Avon, directly over the road from the RSC. It has its own, ample parking facilities which in Stratford is defintiely a plus. We arrived close to the earliest check in time, but we were told the room wasn't quite ready yet, so they sent us to the bar with instructions to supply us with free drinks....and not just a tea or coffee. The staff handled this in a very friendly manner, providing service with a smile - as they did on any occasion when we came into contact with them.
We were only there one night, and we had not asked for anything special in terms of room, but the room (the Oak Room) was large, with a great view over the river and RSC and an exceptionally large and comfortable bed. The bathroom was modern and clean. It had no bath, but that's never an issue for me.
Breakfast was included our package, and was delicious, though I suspect I would have been a little disappointed if I'd had to rely on the contents cold buffet.
All in all, this was one of the best hotels I've stayed at and would not hestitate in recommending it, nor revisiting again. Hopefully soon!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sqwawk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newbury, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2011

This is a beautiful, refurbished hotel in a fantastic location in Stratford and if you are going to to the RSC it is perfect as it is opposite the theatre. Parking is a breeze and the staff are all very helpful. We had both drinks, dinner and breakfast at the Arden and all were prepared with much care. We did have a couple of issues though, one was that our shower seal was broken and hence water poured all over the bathroom floor to which we had to use all of our towels to soak up the water. When we informed reception of this we were told that they would look into the issue, unfortunately they did not repair the seal but did provide us with more towels in order to aid us mopping up the inevitable flood (I only use this word because the water covered the bathroom floor and was also making its way into the carpeted hall).
Our second area of concern was to do with booking, we booked a Romantic package for our 10th wedding anniversary in a feature room, having seen the websites room description describing large rooms with feature tubs, stunning partner showers and spectacular views over the river Avon. Our room was the Maple room, it was large, having a separate living area (not mentioned on website description), but it had a fairly standard bathroom with shower over bath and bath screen, so no feature tub or stunning partner shower, Also we were directly looking onto the RSC and the street (so had quite a bit of noise from people leaving the theatre and bottle recycling!) and if you pressed yourself up against the single window you could just about get a glimpse of the river (so not what anyone would describe as spectacular). After seeing our room we spoke to reception because we thought we were in the wrong room. However reception told us we were in the correct room and informed us we should have pre-booked a specific feature room as not all the feature rooms have all the features (you can't actually book specific rooms on the website though, there is no mention of you needing to this on the website and no indication that not every feature is in each feature room). We were offered 1 night in a different feature room but would have had to move back to the original feature room the following day which really didn't seem too relaxing a way to spend a 2 night weekend! On return home we looked at the Arden website and the description for the feature rooms describes the features generically, so you would expect those features to be in whichever feature room you book. I would like to see the website description altered so as not to mislead customers. We paid for the best room in the hotel (as we mentioned it was our 10th wedding anniversary) and we wanted to treat ourselves. In hindsight we would have been better off booking a cheaper room because we didn't get the things we really wanted and hopefully it would have possibly been quieter with a better bathroom (the Deluxe and Master descriptions have "walk in' or rain showers). The feature of the Maple room is a separate sitting area and it's size (50sq m) which is the same for all feature rooms (according to the website). However, we had no need for a separate sitting room and didn't use it once during our stay and had we known that this was the "feature" we would not have booked this room - we certainly didn't see a mention of this separate area in the description of the feature rooms which as mentioned before is focused on feature tubs, partner showers and spectacular river views - none of which we had!
We feel sorry about giving only three stars but this is down to the booking/website issues, without these or the flooded bathroom we would have given five stars.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank lizzy046
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2011

My wife and I decided to book a short weekend break in Stratford, and after reading the Tripadvisor reviews decided that the Arden appeared to be miles ahead of any other hotel in the town. Whilst generally we agree with the overall comments, we had a few minor niggles during our stay which was disappointing as we had very high expectations. For example, the scones we ordered for afternoon tea were tiny and rock hard. We were kept waiting for nearly ten minutes before being greeted into the Brasserie for evening dinner, and then we had a similar wait for coffee and toast at breakfast the next morning. And the TV in our room kept losing signal.
However despite these aberrations we had a thoroughly enjoyable stay at the hotel, the food in the Brasserie is really excellent, the staff were very helpful and welcoming, and the location unbeatable. We shall almost certainly return to the hotel next time we visit Stratford.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ant14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leicester
Level Contributor
90 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 April 2011

My wife and myself are frequent visitors to Stratford visiting the R.S.C. For the past thirty years we have stayed at the Arden Hotel from the days when it was owned by Robert Peel, through it's Thistle life and now the present owners. It has ALWAYS afforded first class comfort and service but it now excels the past if that is possible. From arrival through to check out everything is of the highest standard. The rooms are exquisite in both decoration and taste and the dining room affords meals of the highest standard. The only downside on the night we stayed was a party of revellers in the bar immediately below our room (Rowan). At 1-0'clock I phoned reception and the matter was cleared up immediately ensuring an otherwise excellent nights sleep. SO...if you are looking for the highest standards at a hotel where the customer matters, only twenty five yards from the theatres and overlooking the river, then this is the place for you. Thank you Arden hotel for 30 wonderful years...now better still.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LeicesterActor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warwick, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 March 2011

My friends and I were looking for a nice daytime activity to celebrate a birthday and decided on a daytrip to Stratford, complete with Afternoon Tea at the Arden Hotel.

We had booked, which I'd recommend you do, and were thrilled to find our table beautifully laid out with a delightful china tea set, in-keeping with the traditional yet freshly modern decor of the hotel.

The four of us were waited on attentively by the charming concierge and other staff, our cups were never empty and every whim was catered for, including a hot chocolate in lieu of tea!

We all enjoyed the delicious scones, jam and clotted cream, with a great selection of cakes and sandwiches.
They went beyond just the traditional cucumber; we also had smoked salmon and chicken salad.
The fillings were plentiful, fresh and very tasty, I can assure you, you will be fully satisfied after one of these teas! We had three between four which was more than enough.

To surmise I would recommend this experience to anyone who wishes to while away an afternoon with the girls, or treat their mum or sister to an indulgent experience.
It is good value for money and the service is exceptional.

The only disappointment was that we couldn't stay for cocktails... maybe next time we'll book a room!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank KlovesUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Arden Hotel

Property: The Arden Hotel
Address: 44 Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BA, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Warwickshire > Stratford-upon-Avon
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 28 Hotels in Stratford-upon-Avon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Arden Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of historic Stratford-upon-Avon, directly opposite the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company Theatres, the Arden Hotel has undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment to create an elegant and sophisticated 45-bedroom boutique-style hotel. The transformed Arden Hotel opened its doors in July 2010, and is fast becoming the flagship destination in the redeveloped World Class Stratford, enticing Shakespeare aficionados and theatre-goers from all over the globe.The luxuriously renovated Arden boasts the chic new Waterside Brasserie, a stylish Champagne Bar and spacious suites with beautiful views over the River Avon, providing an inspirational backdrop for your trip, whether for business or pleasure.Set in glorious Warwickshire, the Arden Hotel with its large car park is an ideal base for exploring some of England’s most famous and picturesque countryside, including the charming villages of the Cotswolds, the bountiful Vale of Evesham and the ancient market town of Warwick with its awe-inspiring castle. ... more   less 
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