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“Totally Acceptable” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club

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Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club
Ranked #2 of 16 Hotels in Newbury
Certificate of Excellence
Scotland
Level Contributor
46 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Totally Acceptable”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 December 2012

This was a one night stay in December, so the hotel was extremely quiet and downstairs felt slightly cold.
Our room was large very comfortable bathroom spacious, plenty of hot water. We ate in the restaurant and had excellent service and the Chef made an extra effort with dietary problems without any fuss, full marks.
The views are lovely (even in winter) but this hotel I expect comes alive in the summer, with its golf course and weddings. So if you are into golf and/or want to get married in Berkshire definitely worth a try.
One draw back there is no lift in the main building.
Dreweatts Auction house is less than five minutes away, so on a rainy day you may find something of interest.

Room Tip: One over looking the Park/Golf course
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ScotlandMartians
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nigel G, General Manager at Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club, responded to this review, 12 December 2012
Dear ScotlandMartians,

Firstly thank you for taking the time and trouble to post you comments on TripAdvisor, i was delighted to hear that you enjoyed your recent stay.

We have a range of accommodation at Donnington Grove, so to avoid the main staircase in the Manor House I would recommend some of the ground floor rooms or the superb Summer house accommodation - just next to the main hotel.

Please contact me directly upon the next occassion you wish to stay and I will be happy to discuss your requirements.

In closing may I once again thank you for your positive comments, my team are always encouraged by feedback - especially when its good.

Merry Christmas and best wishes,

Nigel Green
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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371 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (110)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Columbia, Missouri
Level Contributor
358 reviews
125 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 239 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2012

This is the sort of a property that can easily get 2 stars and 5 stars depending on the hit and miss experience that travelers can expect here. That kind of a maddening lack of consistency caused me to settle on the 3.

First the Good -

The setting is spectacular. A gorgeous english golf course. A castle as the man building, away from the noise and bustle and yet a short drive from Newbury center (centre if you prefer :-)) and a 45 minute train ride from Paddington Station in London. It is a wonderful base for exploring London and souther England.

The prices are reasonable especially when compared to London and a bit on the high side when compared against Newbury.

Certain rooms are newly done and are absolutely great. I stayed in "summerfield cottages" which have just been done and these were huge rooms with great bathrooms, walk in showers, with view of the Golf course. Excellent. I am sure that there are other great room on the property.

This is a great place for social functions, corporate retreats, and other group events.

The restaurant in the evening featured good quality food (albeit the menu was somewhat limited)

The staff is friendly and know how to smile.

Now for the Bad -

Your experience will be very much dependent on the room you get. Some of the main building rooms (as I walked around the hallways a bit) seemed smallish and dated. That tells you not to book the rooms via web sites, but contact the property directly by phone and secure a good quality room. Again, I recommend the Summerfield Cottages. You will be pleased.

The public places in the main building are worn and dated. Its time to replace those carpets, floors, and doors. Simply repainting will no longer do.

The restaurant is really more of an institutional dining room. The Kitchen and all of the banter in it are fully exposed to the diners and the decorations lack any sort of originality. The menu is limited to english favorites and while they are well made it is no loner enough for travelers. More salads main courses, and some lighter fare would be very helpful. Breakfast was below par, especially for the place with such aspirations. The buffet was limited and not well thought out (only small side plates and cereal bowls, no cheese, no bread selection). My order for poached eggs and bacon yielded two tiny eggs with one punctured and caked, floating in a bit of warm water. The burned toast was delivered with a cheerful smile.

The staff are friendly but untrained and very young, so their service actions almost always fall short. At breakfast I was interrogated about my room as I was walking around the buffet table. THis place ONLY has guests who are staying here, I think the verification can be relaxed a bit. Either place a person at the door and get the room and have them seat the guest or collect the room number discreetly once the guest is seated and has placed the order. Basic stuff. The buffer kept on running short on things and it had to be either pointed out by a guest or noticed after it was already gone. The staff just didn't seem "with it". AT dinner the service seemed better, but then again there were hardly any people there. The front desk staff seemed more professional and better in tune with the customer. Overall impression is that a lot of young people were hired and are still finding their way.

Wifi is supposed to be available in all rooms and feee. However, its up and down intermittently and therefore pretty much useless.

Even in my nice room the bed was still made up of tow sets of mattresses joined together. One of my favorite peeves of European hotels is the lack of a real bed. So here is this great room that was redone and they still do not take the opportunity to put in a real queen or king bed for guest' comfort.

No fitness center - For a property of this calibre in this setting, a fitness center is a must.

Conclusion - This is a good property with an amazing potential. I see the signs of management working on upgrading and improving it. I hope that next time I stay here, I can write a 4 or 5 star review. But for now, it's work in progress.

Room Tip: Don't book online. Call and secure a newly remodeled room directly.
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank onepoet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
victoria
Level Contributor
33 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2012

We stay regularly at Macdonald hotels on our trips to the UK and this was one of the best.
From the time we checked in we received excellent service from an Asian gentleman who went out of his way to change our room, organized our luggage and even helped with the IPad problems.
Our room was in the summerhouse overlooking the golf course was spacious, modern bathroom and every amenity was provided. The restaurant service and food was everything you would expect with the prices very reasonable.
Reception staff were extremely helpful and efficient tracing an item left in a previous Macdonald hotel. They could not do enough for us and for that we were extremely grateful.
At checkout, the manager, introduced himself and gave us a tour of this beautiful building, would be perfect for functions and weddings. Most impressive manager and tour.
We will be returning to this hotel on our next visit from Australia and we will look forward to this.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank austravel_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bushey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2012 via mobile

Lovely grounds, the normal golf club bar pretty empty with not much atmosphere. Our room was on the top floor in the main building, lovely and hot great view, no room service available. Not far into Newbury town centre. Our room was huge and traditional with character a small staircase down to the bathroom. Ideal quiet romantic break.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Leedyse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warrington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 October 2012

We stayed here as we like the Macdonald chain very much and we had Tesco vouchers and were visiting Thorpe Park. It is a very small hotel but has amazing character. The room was functional with the comfiest bed we have ever stayed in. The room had no tea and coffee making facilities and a tv that made strange noises! The bathroom was fully equipped however if you were older or more infirm you would never get in the shower as it was in the bath with high sides.
We had a meal in the evening and it was delicious, the breakfast was adequate but not the best Macdonald breakfast we'd had.
This hotel is meant for golfers and if you didn't go for this then there is nothing at all to do. In the evening when we went for the meal there was only 4 other people and they were 2 retired couples staying for golf. There was no atmosphere and the tv was on with sky news on it so quite depressing. The staff were wonderful, friendly and helpful. Unfortunately the room (101) the first room you come to was open to a lot of noise from passers by and they sounded like they were in the room, literally a couple of people but sounded very loud. The Hotel itself is full of character and I'm sure houses a ghost or two!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Dr Jane W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nigel G, General Manager at Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club, responded to this review, 25 October 2012
Dear Tigggeeer,
Thank you for posting your review, some great feedback and great news for me to share with you. I am sorry you didnt find the tea and coffee making facilities, they are in the drawers of the desk. As an associate we have not fully implmented all Macdonald Hotels branding, however breakfast is the next area and we have plans for another restaurant and bar near reception, in the main house that will be a more intimate experience for non-golfers. I do hope to show off our new standards and facilities to you next time you visit, the restaurant will be early 2013. In the meantime if you plan to return please call me at the hotel and perhaps you would like to try the Summer house rooms for a change? these have great view, a private terrace and walk in wet rooms. Many thanks again for your comments, kindest regards, Nigel Green
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
126 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 October 2012

My husband and I booked to stay in one of the Feature Summer House rooms to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary on 5th & 6th October. This hotel is great if you love golf as it is on a large and what looks like a great golf course, judging by the amount of golfers there from first thing to evening, but not being a golfer myself I cannot comment.

Positives:
--------------
Beautiful Hotel / Beautiful Rooms / Beautiful Grounds
Your own allocated parking space
Great friendly staff
Lovely comfortable bed and bed linen
Brilliant Rain Head Shower in wet room / underfloor heating / big bright mirror
Lovely big rooms / plenty of storage / Iron & ironing board
Good food in the restaurant - fresh and well cooked - would recommend fish cakes, smoked salmon and steak.

Negatives:
----------------
Slow breakfast service
Too many golfers
No atmosphere in bar or restaurant
Maintenance issues on arrival
No bathrobes & slippers as advertised
No safe in room

On arrival at the hotel it is a beautiful drive through the grounds to the main hotel, which in itself is a gorgeous building, at reception we checked in and was given Summer House Room 1 and the receptionist, a lovely Chinese man explained how to get to the room, either walking two minutes to the side of the hotel to the Summer Houses or driving back around the grounds to the rear of the Summer House where there is an allocated parking spot for your car.

On arrival at the room we were impressed by the size, the smart modern decor and the lovely king size bed, but on closer inspection there were a few maintenance issues.

The Wet Room radiator was leaking into a fair size puddle on the floor and we could see this was not a new issue as the lower part of the radiator where the water was dripping onto had rusted and the area where the water was coming from had form a small stalagnite from limescale. There was a bulb out in the wet room at the side of the mirror and also a couple of bulbs out in the bedroom lamps, finally the large sliding glass mirrored wardrobe had one of it's doors off the runner and was just leaning, so when you tried to slide it open it fell backwards - thankfully into the wardrobe rather than out onto us. I immediately called reception and explained about the radiator and to his credit the receptionist gentleman came to our room with keys for Summer House Room 6 and helped us carry out stuff across the outside courtyard/patio (which is really lovely - when the sun is shining) and unlocked the room for us before leaving. Summer House Room 6 is even better than Room 1 because the view is unhindered by trees and beautiful across the green and down to the river Lambourn, but unfortunately it was made up as two twin beds and as this was our wedding anniversary we did not want to sleep in separate beds, so once again I went back to reception, through the pouring rain and explained that we would stay in Room 1 as long as they sent maintenance to sort the problems. The manager was present when I went back in to reception and he offered us a complimentary bottle of wine to celebrate our anniversary, which was very nice and much appreciated.
Back in Room 1, unpacked, enjoying a cup of tea in the seating area of the room which has two very comfortable arm chairs and waited for maintenance. We did not wait long and to his credit the maintenance man was very nice and kept apologising for us having to come into a room with so many issues and that it should have been brought to his attention by housekeeping so he could have fixed the issues before we arrived. He replaced the bulbs, put the wardrobe door back on it's runner (with my husbands help as it was heavy) and tried but failed to stop the leak on the radiator. He explained that there was a fault on the radiators in the new summer house rooms and that new ones were on order and he apologised again. The plus side is that the bathroom is a "Wet Room" so the puddle was not much of an issue and we just made sure we rolled up our jeans/trousers so as to not get them wet and moved the towels away from the leak on the radiator for the duration of our stay. Also noticed that the sink water ran away really slowly when releasing the plug, but as the plug did not hold the water in when sink full, this rather helped issues, otherwise the water would have run away before you finished washing.

Back to the room, the bed was enormous and so comfortable, we had two very lovely nights sleep in that bed, bed linen just right, right size quilt and just warm enough but not too hot. Pillows were a little soft, but this doesn't bother me. The room is very bright/light, several windows running along two walls, a lovely seating area with two very comfortable arm chairs, a small coffee table and a flat screen TV on a desk in front of the window with tea/coffee making facilities and a desk lamp. A very large wardrobe with lovely big mirrored sliding door, plenty of storage, iron and ironing board and hairdryer provided. Unfortunately there was no "Fluffy Bathrobes and slippers" as advertised on the MacDonald web site, which would have been ideal for the wet room and there is no safe in the room.
The view from the room was very nice, but a little too close to a putting green right outside your window, so when you first wake up and open the curtains, there are golfers right there, so not much privacy.
We had dinner in the restaurant on the first night and it was very nice, very good food and really reasonable on prices. The hotel caters mainly for golfers and their golf club dinners and meetings, so the restaurant and bar was full of men/golfers. It appeared that we were the only other guests that first night, which also seemed the case the following morning at breakfast.
Breakfast was nice enough, although not cooked to order as some previous reviews have said, the food was pre cooked in warming trays in a canteen style kitchen scenario, but it was plated up to order and brought to your table. There is a nice selection of cereals, cakes, pastries, jams, juice etc on a buffet table and then you order your cooked breakfast from a menu.
During the entire breakfast there are golfers coming in from the side patio door and going up to the canteen style counter and ordering their coffee/tea and bacon/sausage baps to take out on the golf course.
The second morning the service was really slow as there were only two girls serving and one of them (the larger of the two) didn't do much and left it to the younger slimmer girl to run around trying to cover everyone, by both taking and serving orders. it didn't help that large golfing parties were coming into breakfast in dribs and drabs, so some were seated and eating then others would come in, join them and be served straight away with their party, leaving us waiting in the corner to be noticed and served. I eventually got up and went to the counter to place my order and to their credit it was plated and served almost immediately.
The main hotel entrance reception takes you into a beautiful foyer with a wrap-around staircase with wonderful paintings and tapestries on the walls as you go up the staircase and if you look directly up the ornate ceiling is lovely. This is the original part of the house and the overall building is very quirky with little rooms coming off reception here and there and grand reception rooms with smaller reception rooms, ideal for weddings - well that's if you can avoid being hit by golf balls when having your wedding pics taken outside :)
The fairly large bar just outside of the restaurant looks very nice and is comfortable, but it lacks atmosphere and understandably is full of golfers either just finishing their round of golf or waiting to go into the restaurant for the annual golf dinner.
There does not appear to be any or many other regular guests in this hotel, only golfers who might stay overnight for an early round of golf on the golf course.
The grounds are beautiful and well maintained and there is the beautiful river Lambourn running through the estate with several small bridges crossing it. You also have Donnington Castle a short walk up the hill from the back of the Summer Houses. There is a public footpath that takes you throughout the estate, through the golf course and past the river and also onto some wooded areas before the Castle. I highly recommend a walk through the estate as it is very beautiful, but be aware of the golfers and stray golf balls coming your way, this is very unnerving as you are always expecting a stray golf ball to come your way.
Newbury town centre is pedestrianised and within walking distance from the hotel, takes around 20 minutes - you can drive but there is restricted parking as the high street is pedestrianised. There is the Avon Canal running through the town and you can have a very pleasant walk down the canal - very pretty and you get to see some of the original buildings along the canal. There are also Jubilee Narrow Boat rides run regularly down the canal at a very reasonable £6.00 per adult for a 1.5 hr tour.
On the Saturday daytime we went into Bucklebury as there was a beer festival and live bands (which were very good) and we had a lovely afternoon there, before eating in the local Italian restaurant in Newbury - Valle Doro - which I highly recommend. Lovely service, great food, good prices. We walked to the restaurant in the evening from the hotel, but I would recommend taking a small torch or using your torch facility on your phone as there was absolutely no lighting through the grounds on the way out and it is pitch black, although on our return it seemed as though someone must have told them to put the lights on as there were two strong spotlights, one at the entrance and one on the main bridge halfway through the drive to the main hotel.
So overall we had a very pleasant stay at The Donnington Grove, despite the maintenance issues at the beginning, but I doubt we would return as this is predominately a Golfers Hotel and as a regular hotel guest we felt a little out of it or in some cases (especially in the breakfast room) ignored.

Room Tip: If you prefer a bath go for the main hotel rooms, if you like wet rooms and modern decor go for the...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ginnyLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
76 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 September 2012

Stayed around Newbury quite often but never this place. I got a bargain of a room (i think down to the fact it was mid week and quite quiet with not many guests staying) at £70. The drive up to the old part of the hotel itself is spectacular, al be it through a gold course! In fact, the whole place is really a golfing hotel but not being a golfer it didnt effect my stay. The room I had was large with a great view. Talking noise from the next room was an issue as there was a locked interconnecting door with some loud americans the other side! However, good nights sleep was had. The bar / restaurant was more like a "golf house" ie, full of golfers and it did a range of bar meals and restaurant food but essentially the same menu. The food was good however. A nice cosy bar in the main old building would be nice but one doesnt exist that i saw. All in all great value for money and no noise whatsoever from traffic etc.

Room Tip: Over looking the grounds/course/water was great.
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Tazzer8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club

Property: Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club
Address: Grove Road, Newbury RG14 2LA, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Berkshire > Newbury
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Newbury
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club 3*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
18Th Century manor House set in 500 acres of Berkshire's finest countryside. Offering rooms in the Manor House, Sunmer House and lodges. 18 Hole championship golf course, Clay shooting and Fly fishing by appointment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Donnington Grove And Country Club Hotel Newbury
Donnington Grove Hotel And Country Club Newbury, Berkshire

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