We have been long term fans of this hotel, even back to a year ago it was a hidden gem, a fantastically good value location for a relaxing break, brilliant spa, lovely rooms and great service. Something has changed.
Our recent visit was a catalogue of bad service and the hotel has definitely suffered from a reduction in staff training, or a change in management. We actually really enjoyed ourselves as it became funny... but for the record our highlights included:
1. Three changes of room on arrival, due to lack of "executive room" benefits. One had no wifi reception, one was promised as "with a view" and had a view of... a hilll ...
2. Best customer service excuses ever:
Why is the view you promised us non existent? "well, it says on my PC that there is a view". Would you like to come and see it for your self "no, I'm far too busy here".
Where are our (advertised as benefit of executive package) robes & slippers? "They are here, in reception, could you come and get them"
3. No TV remote.
4. No bulb in the desk lamp
5. Tea pot and cups not cleaned when room was serviced.
6. Thanking reception for replacing our TV remote, being asked by the guy behind the desk. "you don't have a Nokia charger, do you I'm out of juice"? Surely it should work the other way round!
The night we had dinner was absolutely excruciating, it included main courses that arrived within 2 minutes of the starters, an incredibly overcooked piece of pork which could not be cut with the knife... being told that it could not be overcooked because "we cook everything to order". To be fair, the main course was replaced with a perfectly serviceable fish casserole but we ate in relay! Next to us, a pair of ladies sent back their starter four (yes... four) times, and one of their main course once.
It's not all bad, though. The spa is still lovely, the pool is gorgeous, the steam room and sauna are as good as you will find in any hotel anywhere. The gym is excellent. The rooms are still very nice but not quite as clean as they used to be. And if you want a laugh, order the "guinness and chocolate mousse" in the restaurant, it will give you anecdotes for years to come.
If you are fussy on service, I'd give this place a miss for a while. It's gone from being a 4 star hotel with 5 star service and facilities to a 4 star hotel with 5 star facilities and 3 star service.!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Surrounded by glorious hills and stunning parkland, Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa is a natural blend of charm and elegance with uncompromising quality and countryside views. Home to 111 bedrooms, Donnington Valley is a privately owned 4-star country hotel in the heart of Berkshire with a state of the art spa and 18 hole golf course. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Donnington Valley Newbury
- Donnington Valley Hotel Newbury
- Donnington Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa Newbury, Berkshire