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“Cheeky hidden charge !”
Review of Bedford Swan Hotel

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Bedford Swan Hotel
Ranked #8 of 18 Hotels in Bedford
Reviewed 29 July 2009

I have been a regular customer of the Swan in recent years being a local to Bedford, but have never stayed here before. They are doing a current deal where local residents can stay on Sunday nights for only £ 20 - including breakfast, free parking, and use of the leisure facilities. As I like the Swan, myself and my wife took up this offer. We also took up a further offer of 2 meals for the price of one (see website under 'Offers') and so that was Sunday dinner sorted out !

Service = overall good....though some of the young female staff in the restuarant at lunchtime seemed a bit lacking in customer service skills....more training needed I think ! Also, one of the reception staff was even more lacking in customer skills...as I was booking in, I had the real feeling I was seen as an inconveniece ! However, other staff were fine.

Bedroom = bit disappointed. The hotel has recently has a £ 2million upgrade...and I was expecting more. Indeed, it was only really on a par with a Travel Inn room - worse in fact, as it was smaller ! We reminded ourselves we had only paid £ 20 each...but the point I am making is that NO way was the room 4-star...and I would NOT have paid the usual fee for the room (£ 80)

Restuarant and meal = pleasant venue, bit disappointed with the customer skills of the waitresses...but the meal was good. Also, breakfast the next morning was fantastic...a very large choice of foods and beverages.

Venue = what makes the Swan is its "atmosphere." A very historic building, and the area near reception where you can enjoy a coffee is one my favourite haunts. I also noted a large function room (weddings) and upstairs some very good sized conference rooms.

Leisure = no sauna or steam room (I would say they have room to add these) but a good jacuzzi and though the pool is not big, it is a bit different to the run-of-the-mill and so overall the facilities do their job. Spare towels provided too.

Car parking = the grumpy receptionist asked if I wanted a permit, but had not even explained how they worked first ! But basically you put the permit in your car for the duration of the stay. It is a real bonus to have this free parking added into the mix, as parking is not easy in Bedford and you are only 2 minutes from the shops here. A big positive.

Location = excellent. 2 minutes to shops and restaurants etc and right on the Ouse embankment too - great for walks. Nice view all round - if you "block out" the hideous Park Inn Hotel on the opposite bank !

Overall....we enjoyed the stay, but more so due to the "experience" rather than the hotel alone itself. For a supposed 4-star, it did not live up to that. The room certainly did not, and I found some of the staff need more training yet ! For only £ 30 each (B&B, meal and a coffee, lesiure use, parking) the value was of course exceptional on this occassion - but I have only marked value as 3 stars as it would NOT be value for money at the usual rate.

Oh...and take note of this...there is a "naughty" hidden charge ! Our room had a large flat screen TV, but we did not use it - as you have to pay £ 20 a night to use it ! It has internet, films etc as well as TV...but you cannot simply watch BBC or ITV for free unless you buy the whole £ 20 package ! And that is per night..so imagine if you stayed a week ! Why do I say "cheeky hidden" charge ? Because there is no mention at all of this on their website. Even £ 5 a night would be cheeky...but £ 20 really is awful. Hopefully, enough customers will complain so thay may change this policy. I understand paying an extra charge for films and possibly internet but NOT to watch terrestrial TV. I have NEVER heard of that before....

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled on business
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2  Thank Calvinist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Swan113, Food & Beverage Operations Manager at Bedford Swan Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 11 August 2009

The TV in the bed room is only chargeable when you have pay TV for films.All the other TV chanels are free.You access this by pressing Menu and select options avalible.The display comes up TV/Radio/Interactive,it is at this point that you select what you want.We apologise for the confusion with this guest however it is the first time we have had a complaint of this nature.

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1,615 - 1,621 of 1,650 reviews

Reviewed 8 July 2009

We were expecting a high standard but I have to say the reality surpassed the expectations. This hotel and its staff must prioritize attention to detail as quality showed everywhere. The rooms were lovely, clean and nicely fitted; the food was delicious and every member of staff we dealt with was absolutely fantastic. We weren't expecting it to be in such a nice location either and really enjoyed walks along the river and the local park nearby. We couldn't have asked for more. Thank you very much for all at The Bedford Swan.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank HeronRichmond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2009

we found it a very nice Hotel,the staff were very friendly and helpful.The rooms were excellent and all worked well.The food at Breakfast was first class ,I would certainly go there again

Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
1  Thank Rover68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2009

I stayed here for a week on business, subsequently returning for a few more days a month later. On my first visit, I was struck by the historical atmosphere of the hotel- it has an impressive past and certainly makes a good impression when you arrive. There are many things to like- the food is good, and the rooms are clean and comfortable, and sitting in front of a raging fire in the bar is a pleasant way to end the day. However, my impressions faced death by a thousand cuts as lots of little details chipped away at my tolerance:
- Furniture in rooms- the chest of drawers looked nice, but was too small to meet my ascetic needs. I dread to think what my wife would have made of it.
- TV in room- cunningly positioned so as to be out of sight when in bed.
- Shower- not terribly effective.
- The telephone did not work. I pointed this out on Monday. On Friday, I was still waiting for someone to take a look at it.
- I ordered a paper, but didn't receive it, so I went down to reception (no 'phone, remember) to remind them. This process was repeated the next day.
- Service at breakfast- I wasn't once asked for coffee all week.
- Service at dinner- one night, because we were busy we decided to stay in to eat quickly rather than go out. It took over an hour to be served the first course. The next night, we walked 10 mins to another restarant, had a bigger meal and still made it back to our rooms earlier.
- One night, another guest ordered room service, including a cheese board, and left the tray (including the remaining stilton) outside the door. Later that evening, I watched a member of staff walked past and studiously ignore it (not his job, apparently). The next morning, it was still there. Much as I like my stilton, it's not a smell I want to wake up to.

To be fair, the rooms were being refurbished whilst I was there, which should correct some of the first few issues, and the staff were more efficient on my second visit, which might sort out the latter. I hope they can correct these issues, as it is potentially a very nicce place to stay.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled on business
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1  Thank Djh_Wilson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Swan113, General Manager at Bedford Swan Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 4 June 2009

I would like to thank you for taking the time to inform us of your experience, as without regular customer feedback we would not be able to continue to improve the service and facilities we offer.

We strive to constantly improve on any short falls and the points you have raised will be discussed with the hotel team in-depth in order to ensure they do not reoccur in the future.

On another note a £2 million refurbishment programme led by the renowned OCCADESIGN has now been completed and the results are stunning. All 113 bedrooms have been fully refurbished with contemporary fabrics, throws and cushions, signature wall papers and stylish furniture. Offset with all the mod cons, including 32” LCD TV screens and air conditioning, the result is elegant and luxurious yet reassuringly comfortable.

The exterior stone work has been painstakingly restored to its former glory while the terrace has been transformed with stylish contemporary furniture and parasols. Downstairs, the public areas are receiving a sympathetic makeover, retaining the elegant charm and character loved by visitors and locals alike.

Dominic Mills - General Manager

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Reviewed 6 March 2009

Perfect start to our holiday with a relaxing stay (3 families). The fabulous location overlooking the river, our rooms were traditional and full of charm. Excellent service in the restaurant & the best steaks we have ever had!!

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled with friends
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Thank AJN21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 December 2008

This is a delayed review as I've only just discovered this website! But I just had to write something about how amazing the hotel was when my best friend got married there a few years ago.

It was all perfect, I know she had no trouble in booking and organising the wedding. All guests (100ish sit down) had a wonderful time. The food was amazing, bar staff and waiting staff were friendly and helpful. The room was pretty basic but clean and tidy. Breakfast was good and plentiful.

The decor and quality of the inside of the hotel meant that the wedding photos were amazing!

I can't comment on the swimming pool as I was too hungover to contemplate a swim in the morning!

I would definitely consider this for any other big event - it was perfect - especially considering there was another wedding going on at the same time!!

  • Stayed: July 2005, travelled on business
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Thank helenlouise9898
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2008

Thank goodness I was only staying one night - I was glad to leave! As with a previous reviewer, a hairy bathroom. I was moved to another room, but this took some time. Then I ordered room service, a thai fish curry and a mixed salad (undressed), plus a glass of wine and a small jug of milk. I got the thai fish curry (which was approaching the vindaloo scale in terms of heat), an overdressed salad (so much salt I had to gulp down some water), no wine and no milk. Wine was brought up - practically room temperature (white) and then another journey brought a replacement salad, which was slathered in oil this time. I gave up and took my wine down to the bar myself where the barman topped me up generously and added some ice. Eventually some milk arrived, but yes I had ring reception for about the fourth time. On checking out they had deducted the cost of the food and wine from my bill. What a disappointment! This hotel looks great from the outside, in a great location, but it does need a contemporary refit. There's not much to choose from in Bedford so unless you fancy the Park Inn (and most people don't) you have no choice. Bedford is in desperate need of a decent hotel so go on Swan, time to transform yourself. Receptionist was very apologetic and deal with all the isues well, but she really shouldn't have had to.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled on business
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Thank pheonix-1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bedford Swan Hotel

Address: The Embankment, Bedford MK40 1RW, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Bedfordshire > Bedford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Bedford
#4 Business Hotel in Bedford
Price Range: £69 - £188 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Bedford Swan Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 113
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Bedford Swan Hotel is situated in a stunning town centre location overlooking the river and just 30 minutes from central London. Steeped in character and history yet fully refurbished to meet the needs of both our corporate and leisure guest The Swan provides outstanding hospitality expected from a 4 star Hotel. REST Enjoy a perfect night's sleep in one of our stunning bedrooms with thick soft duvets, contemporary fabrics, throws and cushions, signature wall papers and stylish furniture. Air conditioning is in all rooms as standard along with flat screen 32 inch LCD TV with in - room entertainment offering a wide range of up to date movies and high speed internet access. EAT We offer a fantastic range of dining options including the fabulous AA rosette awarded River Room Restaurant and relaxing lounges. 24 Hour room service is available daily and in the summer enjoy al fresco dining or drinks on our terrace overlooking the river. All our food is freshly prepared by our highly skilled team of Chefs. SPA: Our stunning Roman bath inspired pool and Jacuzzi provide the perfect way to unwind after a long, busy day. Our fully trained therapists also offer a wide choice of treatments including Swedish massage, Decleor facials and luxury OPI manicures. MEET: The Hotel is the ideal destination for conferences and meetings. Tailor made to suit the individual requirements of all our customers. CELEBRATE: With its superb location and stunning setting, the Hotel is a popular choice for weddings and functions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bedford Swan Hotel Bedfordshire

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