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“Wonderful Hotel & Stay”
Review of The Arden Hotel

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The Arden Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 September 2013

Stayed at the Arden for our first wedding anniversary on 1st September for one night. Upon arrival we were immediately impressed by the friendly, and genuinely cheerful, receptionist. We were shown to our room, on the ground floor; whilst this did not have a view of anything other than the car park, this was of no concern to us and we thought the room was lovely. The king-size bed was wonderful, the room a fantastic size and the bathroom surprisingly huge, with probably the largest bathtub I’ve ever seen! The tea/coffee tray was much appreciated, even more so the fresh milk in the mini-fridge. An additional, and very nice, added touch was an anniversary card left for us by the hotel staff – we felt that this was very thoughtful.
We didn’t eat at the hotel’s own restaurant as, once we had settled in, we opted to spend the remainder of the day exploring Stratford and its rich history. We did however enjoy the breakfast the following morning, which had options to suit any tastes – we were given plentiful slices of toast to start with and I opted for the full English as my ‘main’ breakfast, whilst my wife opted for an omelette – definitely no complaints in this area; the full English breakfast was delicious, although I will (reluctantly) admit that, as someone with a large appetite, I did find the portion slightly small and not quite sufficient to tide me over until lunchtime as many I have had in the past have been.
We both slept well in the very comfortable bed, and almost overslept courtesy of the wonderful bed and peaceful room. I only had one, very small, issue with the room – the door into the room was very difficult - the key/lock was quite uncooperative and it took several attempts to gain entry to the room – it was a little embarrassing standing in the corridor fighting with the door!
The staff continued to be very accommodating even after we had technically departed, allowing us to leave our car in their free car park for a few extra hours, saving us the tedium of driving around the busy town centre searching for a parking space.
All-in-all, a lovely stay and a memorable first anniversary – we hope to return soon and certainly wouldn’t consider looking at anywhere else.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank laurandy023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 September 2013

Stayed here because we had RSC tickets and didn't fancy the drive home.Free parking was an excellent bonus. The room was good.All of the female reception staff were friendly, helpful and welcoming.The tall man hovering in the reception area was less so. Good standard bathrooms, Orla Kiely toiletries and bathrobes. One of the bath towels was past its best and there was some dust on curtains but generally the rooms were very clean. We had a good breakfast and found the waiting staff to be courteous and efficient. Excellent pillows and good beds meant that we slept well. We were very pleased to have tea and coffee facilities in the room and fresh milk in the fridge (why don't ALL hotels do this?). We will definitely stay again when we next visit Stratford.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank BertieFisher13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 September 2013

The Arden could not be better located - right opposite the RSC Theatre, with lovely rooms, all with individual names, and car parking just behind the hotel. We went to 'As you Like it' at the RSC and our room was so close we went back there for interval drinks! That having been said, the service was (with one exception - a breakfast waitress either through inexperience or otherwise was a little obtrusive and insisted on taking our order even though I was in the middle of speaking to my husband) very good. When we checked out on the Sunday I was welcome to remain in the members' lounge and read the Sunday papers while waiting for my husband. The rooms had desk fans - but no air conditioning - we had the fan on in the night so that was fine. Beds v comfortable and fridge had free small bottles of water and milk. It is, however, expensive, and we would have appreciated having a loyalty scheme so that we can be lured to return.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BGCLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2013

I stayed here mid-week whilst on business nearby. I've been searching for a decent business-orientated hotel in & around Stratford for some time, as the vast majority cater for either the tourist market or the retired market or even worse the retired tourist market. These business offering usually consists of a trouser press (oh pur-lease, has any business executive used a trouser press since seeing their trousers melted to a shiny sheen by one in the 1970s?) and luxury toiletries that make you smell like the illicit offspring of a one-night stand between a bottle of Brut and a bottle of Yardley (ask your grandma).

So having tried just about every other hotel in the area it was with high hopes that I arrived in the car park. First impressions were very good; it has a decent-sized private car park where my car wasn't the most expensive, in fact looking at some of the L405 Rangeys that were parked there, mine was humbled.

Check-in was friendly and efficient and having reserved the room with a credit card, there was no annoying pre-authorisation of another card for 'extras'; you know the kind of thing 'welcome to our hotel. Now because we don't trust you, would you mind giving us some money on the expectation that you are going to nick everything that isn't nailed down'.

I had booked at short notice and the hotel was nearly full but they had kindly managed to find a higher grade room and instead of the booked classic I was given a deluxe, the Pine to be specific. I was shown to the room by the lady on the front desk which is a nice personal touch.

The room was a decent size; it says 30 sq m on the website but I'm guessing this includes the bathroom. The room had a large bed although it wasn't that long a one; I'm quite tall and my feet were sticking out over the end of it, so it meant sleeping at an angle which would was fine but would have been an issue if I wasn't on my own. The mattress was soft but comfortable and with the generous selection of pillows aided a great night's sleep.

There was plenty of hanging space although not much drawer space and the hanging space was restricted by spare bedding stored in the bottom of the wardrobe, i.e. a shirt couldn't hang down uninterrupted. It wasn't a major issue as you just had to move the bedding but one would have thought that housekeeping would have laid it flat in the first place. There were the usual tea & coffee making facilities - OK but nothing special. Every once in a while you see these usual facilities replaced with the lovely Service en Chambre boxes that contain a fabulous range of high quality coffee & teas, including a stainless steel cafetiere for the ground coffee. It's a country mile better than some Nescafe single serving sachets. For a hotel of this quality and a mid-range grade room (3rd of the 5 available grades), something like this would help to differentiate and support the overall guest experience.

There was also a personal fridge with some water & milk in, although not a mini-bar. Again, for a high quality property and one appealing to business guests, a mini-bar is a must. Not because we're too lazy to go down to the bar (OK, not just because...) but because we will often work in the room for hours and it's nice to be able to grab a cold beer. To be fair, I am sure that room service would have delivered some beers for me to put into the fridge but as a suggestion, if you are advertising a personal fridge in the room to potential guests, why not add a section to the booking confirmation email, asking guests what drinks - soft or alcoholic - they would like to have in the fridge when they arrive?

For comparison, the Radisson Blu East Midlands provides a drinks fridge in its suites, full of complimentary soft drinks & water and in its Presidential Suite, full of complimentary beer, soft drinks & water.

There was a work desk and chair, although it was more of a dining chair and not one that I would have wanted to sit at for hours if working. There was a coffee table and a couple of low back armchairs, which were perfectly acceptable for occasional sitting but the low back meant you wouldn't have wanted to sit in them for any length of time. The mounting of the TV up high on the wall would also have made watching TV in them very comfortable because of the lack of back & neck support when looking up at the screen for any period of time. There was no sofa in the room, probably because it wasn't large enough and with just the coffee table & chairs, it felt a little utilitarian.

The TV itself was a good size Panasonic Viera and came with all the Freeview channels including, from memory, the 'standard' HD channels. It had a very good EPG, although I couldn't see any interactive functionality such as view bill. There was also a DVD player underneath and a note that discs could be borrowed from reception.

The room was on the top floor of the hotel (it's split level front to back, so I'm not sure whether top floor is 1st or 2nd or both!) and it was very hot. There was a fan on the desk which is an admission that the room is too hot and somebody has asked for a fan previously, except the fan sounded like a Boeing 757 cargo conversion on takeoff. I tried to open the window but this being Britain, there were stoppers limiting it to only a few inches of aperture. I know the price of Shakespearean souvenirs in the tourist shops is depressingly expensive but is anyone really going to throw themselves to their doom out of a hotel room window when they've paid for it? Some form of climate control in the room would have been appropriate, again especially for a high quality property for business guests and particularly in the highest room in the building. Even I know that heat rises. The hotel mentions that it underwent a multi-million pound renovation but the contract specifier should be taken out back and given a good kicking, or perhaps made to stay in this room during the height of Summer, for not including climate control in every room (I understand that many of the other rooms do have it).

The bathroom was superb; spacious, well appointed and equipped. There was a walk-in shower that was more than large enough to move around freely in (unlike many walk-in corner showers where, once in, you can't turn around, let alone raise your arms to wash yourself) and the water pressure was good. The temperature fluctuated a couple of times during the shower but it was momentary and nothing major.

I ate both dinner and breakfast in the hotel's restaurant and have reviewed the dinner separately under its own listing.

Breakfast was truly excellent. There was a comprehensive selection of buffet items, including several large bowls of fresh fruits & berries and plates of meats & cheeses, under glass domes. Service was prompt and friendly. Instead of the usual full English, I ordered an omelette and it was cooked to my preference, as well as being massive and very filling.

I paid £139 for the room & breakfast and my total bill including dinner & drinks was £191. The published rate for a Deluxe room seems to be around £239 and what attracted me to make the booking on this occasion was the lower rate, presumably as occupancy on the night in question was lower than usual.

If I had paid the full price, I would have been disappointed with the value-for-money and would have given it 4 circles. The minor issues with the room - notably the lack of temperature control - may even have push it down to 4 circles but the quality of the breakfast plus the overall quality feel of the place elevate it to 5 circles.

This is substantiated by the fact that the lower price made it excellent value-for-money, as it was around the same level as the standard business offerings from the Hilton and Holiday Inn in Warwick nearby. However, The Arden is in a different league and has a premium offering as well as a more personal and individual feel, compared to the soulless corporate edifices where the bar is full of sales reps who still have their Bluetooth headsets on during dinner...oh, wear those oh-so-lovely matching shirt & tie sets from Next and have stuck an M badge on the boot of their company BMW, despite it only have the single exhaust that betrays it as a 316i

I haven't mentioned the location being opposite the RSC but this has go to be a plus if you're a tourist and want to see some proper culture. You can literally roll out of the theatre and come to a halt outside the entrance to the hotel's terrace bar. Genius.

What is a plus is that the street you have to drive down and the turn into the car park are both so narrow that no coach could traverse them. I have nothing against coach parties (one day I'll be old and will find them appealing, along with Cash In The Attic and Werthers Originals) but sitting in a restaurant surrounded by groups of people complaining about everything including why they are actually there becomes quite irritating after a while.

The Arden has set out its still and delivers a rather fine guest experience. It is certainly the best business-orientated hotel I've found in the area and I hope to return. My only suggestion is that some of the room features could be improved a bit, to justify the premium price.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled on business
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4  Thank Propaganda_Machine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2013

Recently stayed at this hotel, it has the most perfect position for this beautiful town. Directly across from the RSC, Swan Theatre, any closer you would be in the theatre. It has a large car park, so no worries about parking fees etc., We were originally put in a room named, Labernum, (all rooms named after trees) however this room was nice until we realised that because of its proximity to the car park, every time a car left the car park, a loud, shrill. buzzer sound went off, alerting reception to its departure therefore disturbing anyone in the Labernum room. Reception were very understanding and moved us to a more suitable room named Oak, which was excellent. I would definitely stay at this hotel again, just careful of room choice.

Room Tip: Oak, away from car park.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank darleneb251
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2013

Stopped here last night for the first time. Was taken to the room and the room and all of its gadgets and gizmos were shown to me. Beautiful room, very well equipped and laid out. Met a friend and sat outside on the terrace overlooking the river and the RSC - very pretty location and service was excellent.
I did eat out in Stratford and it is such a lovely town, well worth the visit.
A great nights sleep was followed by a superb shower and a breakfast of high quality.
Cannot stress enough how lovely this hotel is. I would definitely stay here again and want to try other hotels in the group which look equally lovely

Stayed: September 2013, travelled on business
1  Thank Rushyboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2013

We went for a pre theatre meal at the Arden Hotel and were delighted with the tasty meal and the decor and the excellent service we received from the staff, they were both welcoming and attentive, the quality of the food was excellent and the food was presented well.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Mark H
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

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: £91 - £247 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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