The Kings Hotel is a handsome building with a large garden in the very centre of Chipping Campden. The public rooms are very attractive, especially the dining room.
We booked a "compact double" room for a Saturday and a Sunday nights. It was one of their cheapest rooms, but was still £139 for the Saturday and £109 for Sunday. The room was of a perfectly acceptable size with a nice view over the garden and a decent bathroom. It was a little shabby and worn, but not enough to be problem. It had a tiny TV (14"/35.5 cm), on which, when viewed from the bed 11 feet/3.35m away, it was impossible to read titles, etc. Oh yes, the bed! We thought it looked a little on the small side as the pillows overhung the sides. It was only when we measured it the next day that we discovered it was only 4 feet (120 cm) wide instead of the 4.5 feet (137 cm) of a standard double bed. Perhaps the "compact double" referred to the bed rather than the room! The four pillows were all foam rather than feather, and not conducive to a good night's rest.
These aspects were minor, however, were insignificant compared to what became apparent when the evening came. The room (108) was directly above the kitchen, and when they started work there, a loud noise was heard from an extractor duct that was evidently in the wall between our bathroom and wardrobe. The bathroom floor noticeably vibrated. On top of that there were loud crashes of metal pans and bottles until 12.30 am, when the clearing up finally ended, and again from early morning when breakfast was being prepared.
We complained about these shortcomings on the next day, and were fairly promptly offered a free upgrade and a £20 discount. We were offered the choice of three rooms (there was a much lower occupancy on the Sunday night). All were equipped with significantly larger beds (with feather pillows) and TVs, though the two in the main building only had baths with handheld showers rather than overhead ones. The manager was keen to show us their most expensive room (they called it a "suite", as seems increasingly common practice for a large room with a couple of easy chairs) in an annexe, probably an old stable block, drawing attention to the complete quiet there, as well as the overhead shower! So we were glad to accept it on the agreed terms (rather than at the list price of £249, or £289 on Friday or Saturday).
The room, with beautiful old rafters and a nice view in two different directions of neighbouring gardens, was lovely, and we were, not surprisingly, very happy with it.
However, were we paying anything like the "real" price, we would have had reservations about some of its shortcomings. At that price, we would have expected a fridge, a safe, and a magnifying mirror in the bathroom; and somewhere to plug in the electric kettle and hairdryer without scrabbling about behind one of the bedside tables. That's right; there was no socket anywhere near the table on which the kettle and tea and coffee was arranged. Equally, there was no socket for the hairdryer anywhere near the mirror (which was not fixed to the wall, but leaning against one in such a way that it blocked one wardrobe door; the other door did not close properly, and inside were only three wooden hangers and two others). In fact, there were no spare sockets anywhere, apart from two in the middle of the floor, into which standard plugs would not fit. And, bizarrely, but not that it made any difference, the window-latches were all mounted upside down.
There seemed to be a general lack of attention to detail in housekeeping in both rooms we stayed in. Both had a non-working light when we arrived; over the washbasin in the first, and over the shower in the second. One of the two washbasins in the second had a blocked outlet, and there was ragged carpet edge in the bathroom doorway. There were fewer toiletries in that room than the first and no non-decaffeinated coffee.
Both rooms had large electric fans (the one in the first room was huge; 2 feet/60 cm in diameter), which leads me to suppose that they get warm on hot days; but where would you plug in the fan in the second?
We ate in the restaurant on the Saturday evening. It is a beautiful room, and the service was very good. The food was good without being in any way outstanding. The cooked breakfast was very good, but the ancillaries — cereal, fruit, etc. — were uninspiring.
I have read in other reviews that customers managed to get good deals on the price of their rooms. I think that if you managed to get a reasonable price on any than the "compact doubles", you would be well-pleased with your stay; all the rooms that we saw were attractive. At the full rate, all the rooms are overpriced, and in the case of the "suite", ludicrously so. The shortcomings I have mentioned (apart from the major ones in our first room, which are not acceptable at any price) are tolerable, even amusing , and need not detract too much from your stay if the overall cost is okay.
As of course ours was in the end; one night in the worst room and one in the best for a total cost of £228 (not counting the meal). Full marks to the manager for his response to our complaint, even though it really should not have been necessary for us to have had to complain at all in a hotel of the standard to which the Kings aspires.
Oh, and by the way, their website is so intent on looking arty that it contains very little in the way of useful information; e.g. lots of close-ups of food at the expense of pictures of the facilities, and very few actual facts rather than marketing hype.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Kings Hotel is a charming 18th century town house boasting distinctive and stylish accommodation. Sympathetic and careful renovation means guests can enjoy all the modern day comforts they need yet still soak up the character and history of a Cotswold stone building. Nestled in the heart of picturesque Chipping Campden, it is the perfect location to experience the beauty of the Cotswolds. The Kings combines traditional character with contemporary style to create a relaxed and welcoming home away from home for every guest, whether for business or pleasure. The dedicated team at Kings draw on a wealth of experience to ensure your stay will be memorable and comfortable. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Kings Hotel Chipping Campden Cotswolds