In some ways, this is a very difficult hotel to review. On the one hand, it's an independent hotel in the middle of the countryside that combines 3* prices with a relaxed yet professional approach that's to be admired. On the other, the rooms' decor is stuck in a 90's style and the staff, while undoubtedly friendly and keen, don't know how to operate to the standards that a hotel of the highest quality demands. They unfortunately strike of mediocrity because they have no knowledge of how to be better, despite being keen to offer it, and the main reason for that strikes me as the result of experience of a better alternative.
Now don't get me wrong, some will love this hotel and a lot of that depends on the room. If you're in one of the more superior rooms, I'm sure it wil be excellent. If you're in a mediocre room (for eg overlooking the side of the hotel), the room will be a good size but with a view of the bins and be noisy in the early morning if your waking coincides with the deliveries. If you're in one of the smallest rooms, you will overlook a well on the ground floor and if you stretch out your elbows you'll almost touch both sides of the bathroom. Oh, and don't ask for Cable TV anywhere (despite the flat screen TVs) because you'll always be on FreeView.
But it's the mismatch between attempting to offer the highest standards of country hotels and the reality that's the real problem; and for that I blame the owner or general manager. If you're offered a table at 7pm in the restaurant when you check in, don't make the mistake of going to the restaurant (where you'll see all the tables prepared for dinner) at 7pm and expect to be shown to your table! "What are you doing here? Did anyone ask you to come through? Go wait in the bar!" will be the riposte; but fear not because when you do so, you can make friends at the bar with whom you can share your shame at such a rebuke. Of course, when you are allowed through, nobody that evening will have sat at where you've been previously been shown.
And while the food is very good (not cheap, but good value for money), you can sometimes expect (on a Monday) to be told that the staff have had a very busy weekend with weddings - which is their code-phrase for "This is why we're not coming through to ask if you'd like another drink". Again, another mismatch with hotels of the highest standard. Same at breakfast... The salmon and scrambled egg is good but don't make the mistake of asking for lemon for the fish! Where do you you think you are? Oh and please don't expect a peaceful departure - even before 9am - because that reception won't get hoovered by itself and those cables should just be expected. And even if you've stayed there for more than 10 nights over 3 months, don't expect to be remembered by name.
So all in all, as an impartial reviewer there are some parts of the hotel that I particularly welcome. The owners have genuinely tried their best and the value of that must not be overlooked particularly in an old building that has good character (I imagine the cost of attempting to make improvements in an environment such as this is horrendous). The gardens are large and (in Summer) fine to walk around. The wedding photos from there would look lovely. But let's be completely frank about this... This is not a 5* hotel, it's a standard, run of the mill hotel that happens to be in a location that's beautiful through the co-incidence of nature; and for that I can only offer it a 3 star review. Please don't be put off - it's fine. But it's not excellent.
PS, the one area that I'm unequivocally in praise of is the cleanliness of the hotel and general housekeeping. It's excellent and whoever is in charge of it is doing their very, very best.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This beautiful hotel is conveniently situated minutes from junction 17 of the M4, set in the Cotswolds and a short drive to Chippenham, Bath and Bristol. The house has a rich history and is listed in the Domesday Book. Some rooms have luxury king-size four-poster beds, while others are suitable for families. All rooms are en-suite. The Gallery Restaurant has an AA Rosette and serves traditional British cuisine, overlooking the stunning grounds. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Stanton Manor Chippenham
- Hotel Stanton Manor
- Stanton Manor Hotel Chippenham, Wiltshire