Things went wrong from the moment we checked in. We were confronted with a large printed notice apologising in advance for a disco that was to be held in the ballroom with music going on until 1:00 a.m. In our experience, when parties are held in residential hotels, it is normal for music to end around 11:00 or 11:30 p.m. as a courtesy to other residents. As it happens our room was far enough away from the ballroom for it not to be a great problem...
Well, it would have been, had it been possible to stay in our room. Alarms sounded at intervals for no particular reason; the electricity went off and this meant not only that there was no light and no TV, but that there was no water pressure, so that we had neither hot nor cold water. The fault appeared only to affect the bedrooms, not the corridors or public areas. When we rang down to Reception we were told that it was a substation fault and out of the control of the hotel. No “Sorry”, no “How can we help?” If only someone had thought to offer candles and bottled water, this would have shown some concern for the comfort of their guests, rather than the grin-and-bear-it attitude that we got. From talking to other residents we learned that there had been similar problems on the previous evening, so at the very least we could have been forewarned that they had not been completely fixed.
It also appeared that there was no heating in the hotel other than wood fires in the bar and restaurant areas; certainly there was no heating in our room, and the heating pipes and radiators were stone cold.
We were tempted to pack up and drive home, but then we remembered that the NCP car park with which the hotel has an arrangement is locked overnight, and there was no way we could get the car out.
The rosetted restaurant did not improve our impression of the hotel. In fact we were left wondering on what basis the rosette was awarded. As we had booked a half-board package we had expected to be asked to choose from the table d’hote menu, but we were shown a “house” menu, which obviously was not offered to non-residents, and which was no better than the light bites menu at my local pub. We asked to be allowed to choose from the a la carte menu with an allowance being made for the value of the house menu and this was agreed, but the quality of the food served was a huge let-down. Scallops were swimming in a thin sauce. The braised beef was served in tower shapes but without gravy or jus and very little accompaniment: the vegetables for two were served almost raw in a bowl approximately the size of a coffee cup, so that whole dish was dry, unbalanced and difficult to digest. When it came to dessert we were told by our waiter that the chef liked to deconstruct, but the lemon cheesecake was presented in such a way that there was very little cheesecake mixture and again the dish was unbalanced.
Our table by the window was cold and draughty, but when we said we wished we had been seated on a table nearer the wood fire, we were told that we would not be comfortable there.
In our room in the morning the hot water tap had to be left open to run into the bath for about five minutes before any hot water would come.
At breakfast, which was interrupted by yet another false alarm, the used dishes were not cleared from the small tables leaving them overcrowded. The hot buffet items were left uncovered. Mixed toast was brought without request, and no waiter appeared to ask whether we required anything more.
At least when the final bill was presented at checkout a small adjustment had been made to compensate for the inconvenience. However it was very little compensation for a ruined weekend. We would certainly not recommend this hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 4 star Tudor hotel with 74 ensuite rooms located in the centre of Shakespeare's Stratford. Ideal for exploring local villages, the Cotswolds, shops and theatres of Stratford. 19 miles from Birmingham International Airport, 1 mile from Stratford upon Avonstation, 10 miles from Warwick Parkway station. Easily accessible via the M40. David Garrick Restaurant, Othello's Bar Brassiere, Quill Bar and Lounge, 6 conference rooms with natural light for up to 100 delegates. Limited parking at GBP10.00 per day. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mercure Stratford Upon Avon
- Accor Stratford Upon Avon
- Shakespeare Hotel Stratford