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“Lovely stay!”

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Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 4 October 2013

We recently had a lovely two night break away here. The staff were always very friendly and really helpful. We were upgraded to a suite room with a lake view which was lovely. The hotel is in a great position right opposite the lake. The breakfast was very nice with a wide choice. Big bar area. The only small downside was the banging of the other hotel room doors which do bang when shut, could be heard throughout the night. However, would definitely stay again, couldn't fault it otherwise! lovely.

Room Tip: The suites are large and sunny.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank TravelTheWorldIfPoss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 October 2013

We had booked a room with lake view for 2 nights on our way home from Mull and it proved to be an excellent choice. Having read one or two 'concerns' about parking, this was totally stress free as the car was valet parked for us and, when leaving in pouring rain, we were helped with loading up. The room was first class, clean and well appointed and the promised view of the lake was just as described. We ate in the Restuarant on our first night - food was excellent as was the attention of the polite staff. The breakfast service and variety on the menu was also very good. A first class hotel, I am sure we will return.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank Wendydavid1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edward C, Manager at Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 October 2013

Thank you for sharing a great picture of the Old England and the lovely summary of your stay. We were pleased to hear you found the valet parking useful. As the hotel is over 200 years old you can imagine that the roads and buildings in the area have grown up around us. With 3 private car parks around the hotel offering the Valet service to all guests makes sure you stress free stay can begin the minute you arrive.

We hope to see you again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2013

My husband and my parents stayed here 2 weeks ago. I picked this hotel as part of a treat for my parents anniversary and Dad's Birthday. I had read up reviews and done quite a lot of research, as I wanted it to be special (even though it was pricey).
When we arrived (we had travelled half way across the world) we were greeted by a lovely member of staff (the only one who actually was friendly) & our rooms were very nice. In fact, the hotel itself was beautiful & it's location just wonderful.
Unfortunately, our first dinner there, followed by our 2 breakfast's were so very disappointing that it ruined the whole time we were there. The service in the restaurant was lousy and the staff were not polite and its almost like they treated us differently as we were foreigners. I had planned on having a lovely dinner organized for my parents anniversary, but was so put off, we went somewhere else.
It's such a shame that a beautiful hotel can be ruined by grumpy staff and inadequate service resulting in a terrible experience.

Room Tip: Rooms with a side view of the lake are in fact smaller than the regular rooms.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with family
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Shanon1411
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edward C, Manager at Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 October 2013

We are pleased to hear you found the hotel to be beautiful and set in a wonderful location. It was disappointing to then hear that you felt let down by our teams politeness in the restaurant.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your stay in more detail.

Thank You

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Reviewed 1 October 2013

We came here for a couples spa day during our holidays to the lakes. Because the sat nav for some reason decided to send us up to Penrith instead of Windermere (yes I forgot to double check it was set right...) we arrived at 11:55, our massage was booked in for 12. Instead of telling us that it was our fault we'd missed it the guy on reception rushed us through check in, showed us the changing rooms and left us to change in to the robes we were given. We didn't feel rushed or hurried at all by his manner, he was just being ultra efficient so we weren't too late. When we were changed we got taken up to the relax room to wait and fill in the forms. We didn't have to wait long, in fact the massage people left us for another 5 minutes to finish filling in the forms!
The massage was amazing, and very relaxing. We didn't notice the time going but when we got downstairs we found that it had been at least an hour long as promised! No skimping!
We both ordered sandwiches for our lunch, included in the price. We were able to stay in our robes as they brought them up to us in the lounge area of the spa. Only downside was we had to wait a long time for the sandwiches to be brought up. When they came we were half expecting the tiniest little sandwiches, but they were well filled and there were 6 quarters each! We also had a small salad garnish and bowl of plain crisps. We both had to leave one quarter of sandwich each so we wouldn't be too full for the swim!
The pool was the right depth for swimming, while still being able to stand up easily. It's 20m long which is quite a nice length for casual swimming. The sauna, steam room and ice room were lovely and there's an experience shower which was interesting. I didn't think much of the 'fragrance' setting.
All in all a lovely day, we stayed there for 3 hours before going for a walk in Windermere itself, and worked out that we paid £25 per person per hour, which for the service we received we thought was a fair price.
The other point I would mention is parking, there is a little car park for spa customers down the side of the hotel, down a very steep drive. If there's no spaces left there isn't really any space to turn around in it and we ended up having to back up the steep slope to get out. They do have use of another car park if that one is full which we used (you need a swipe card from reception to get in, but it's not required for getting out again). This was only a minute away from the hotel if that.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank RachelandSam G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2013

We stayed on a Saturday night with our two children. We had a lovely room with an amazing view of the lake. The service in the restaurant was excellent. Chris Bushby looked after us and gave the most amazing service. The food was wonderful too.

The pool was a very inviting 30 degrees which we were all grateful for! We've stayed in some hotels where it's like breaking the ice to get in. My only quibble with the pool is that the hours seem odd. No children after 6pm on the Saturday and then no children until 10am on the Sunday morning. My daughters would have loved a morning swim but with checkout at 11am we wouldn't have had time. Also, we were eager to get up Catbells and, as we were up at 7am, it would have meant hanging around for 3 hours.

My daughters were thrilled with the full sized bunk beds and not a pull out sofa bed.

Other than that it was a wonderful stay. We've been before when I've had treatments at the spa. These were good too with friendly, well trained therapists.

I think this is an excellent family hotel.

Room Tip: You can't beat a lake view room.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with family
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Thank MoPrice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2013

Ive just returned from short one night break with my partner here. We booked late (a week before going) and the price was £250 bed and breakfast. Clearly the area was filling up due to the forecasted sunny weather and although I DESPISE IT when Hotels put prices up in line with demand we still decided to indulge based on the fact it was a Spa hotel with a pool and positioned on the lake. Some of the £250 I expected to pay given its location/view but for the remainder I expected a LOT better than we got. Every hotel has a ceiling price and that should be based on what they offer/facilities/standard rather than what a "desperate for a night away prospective customer" is prepared to spend. (in my opinion of course but sadly commerce doesn't work ethically sometimes!)

The rooms are of high standard and comfy beds etc however Room 17 that we got given had a whirring vibrating sound all the time (kitchen fans or similar) and it looked out on to a small gravel roof. We had asked at check in if there were any lake views and she said not as they were fully booked. Knowing it was fully booked we saw no sense in asking to move and being honest we didn't hear the dull whirring until the room was quiet and we were trying to sleep and no one fancies moving when you want to try and get to sleep.

The room we just suffered with, but at five star prices I also expect decent (not even five star) service. We got neither - and we weren't alone.

There were plenty of F&B staff on duty - most times there seemed to be 3 behind the bar in the lounge chatting and then the odd very rare appearance on the terrace where we (and many others) sat for a very expensive lunch. Someone did come to take our order, we weren't quite ready so she said ill pop back in two minutes. 30 mins later I had to call some one over during their rare appearances. Twice we sat there with empty glasses, once for 40 minutes and the other 23 minutes. £25 EACH for a celebration afternoon tea. a glass of champers, some finger sandwiches, scones and some fruit cake. Again, we didn't mind as the sun was beating down and we just looked out over the lake. While we waited the 35 minutes for our afternoon tea to arrive we watched and heard other people asking where their lunch or drinks were and worse still we watched another 2 tables be seated with menus only to be left so long with no attention at all that they upped and left! Staff were bringing drinks and food out but taking nothing back to the kitchen and worse still not taking any orders for more drinks/food back with them. They simply brought something out and disappeared in the main. Usually not a problem but the smell of jam kept tempting wasps to tables and it sat there for over an hour after we had finished with it.

We spoke to the Catering shift Manager about our bad experience nicely and respectfully and gave her our feedback with examples but I have to say she seemed very deflated before we even spoke to her (she will remain nameless on here)

Breakfast the next morning was just as bad. Seated professionally and asked what toast/tea/coffee we wanted. 15 minutes later the table next to us (that had been there 10 minutes before us) asked the waiter where their tea and coffee was! They must have been waiting about 25 mins!!! We waited a few more minutes (so now almost 20 mins) and did the same - asked - then hey presto 2 mins later it arrived.

I just think overall the Food and Beverage Manager has some work to do with their staff. Apart from that it is a lovely hotel with nice features and a stunning view - but lets not forget we are not just paying for views when we book and pay for a hotel. I know others rave about the service on here but maybe they are lost in the views and relaxation to notice how bad it actually is? I even questioned whether we had just had a bad experience ourselves but given we saw and heard others having a bad one too we feel this review is totally justified. I also think for the £250 the room could have been a lot better and larger - eg with a living area, no noise, better view, AIRCON, and even a bottle of water in the fridge that had nothing in it?!

Maybe this is what happens when you overprice a room because you're filling up - ie. people expect more because they are paying a lot more. In this case though, I just wanted service and a nice room - not even brilliant service but I expected a great deal more than we got and I don't think its unjustified expecting it when you spend £250 for a night away.

If management of the chain or the hotel are reading this I can be contacted through messaging if you wanted to discuss further.

Room Tip: just avoid room 17!
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tazzer8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2013

Recently returned from a birthday break at this lovely hotel which was perfect throughout the stay .
Stopped outside hotel and entered main reception greeted by valet who then helped unload car and parked car for us so no stress trying to find car park or parking .great service thank you to both valet staff working pm on 19th and pm on 21st who were professional and very helpfull.
Check in was excellent we had requested an early one and were allowed to check in at 3 instead of 4 pm. Due to an issue with the web site the room we had booked from the photo was not the actual room we had been allocated but this was picked up by Paul on reception by looking at our print out of booking picutre .Paul acknowledged we were here for special occasion and returning guest to macdonalds club. He swiftly spoke with a manager and moved our room making this a truly special stay Thank you Paul !!
the room
was fantastic . in the newer side of the hotel on the second floor with excellent views of lake and a lovely little balcony with french doors with view of marina. the room was imaculate and well stocked , a grand canopy double bed which was more than comfortable , the decor was grand and looked new. beautifull large bathroom with separate bath and walk in shower tastfully decorated and modern. facilities in room included hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities including coffee machine. large flat screen TV and mini bar . good sized wardrobe with plenty of storage and complimentary bathrobes for stay . and good selection of complimentary toiletries .
Food
we had the DB&B option and this was excellent value . good chioce for evening meal and the food was delicious freshly prepared and no problem for the chef to accomodate special requests such as gluten free. Breakfast was huge !! choice of cereals , fresh juices, continental selection including danish's, fresh fruit , toast and then the amazing macdonalds breakfast with your chosen selection plus botttemless tea &coffee.
service in restaurant was very good with plenty of cheerfull helpful staff thanks to , Jorge, Laura, Nico , Pawl , Jesu we enjoyed practising our spanish and Italian with you , you really looked after us and brightened our stay. Thanks also to Chris and Mike the restaurant managers who kept everything running to schedule well done !!All of this delivered in a very modern restaurant with fantastic views of lake !!
Spa
we tried the massage and Elemis facial which was fab most relaxing time in long time Katie our therapist was very knowledgeable and skilled wish we lived closer would be regulars . Thank you to Amy too for all your help with bookings .
Leisure
the pool is small but big enough and again has fantastic views over gardens and lake which cant but help you relax . there are great facilities of sauna, steam room, ice room and massage shower . The Gym again is small but enough there to keep you occupied and with such a great location doubt you will want to spend to much of your time there. Again all staff there were very helpfull and professional , towels are given on arrival and you need a £1 coin for your locker.
Location
couldnt get any better this hotel is very well planned taking good use of the beautifull viiews at every oppurtunity wether you are in restaurant , cafe bar, pool or room.
located on Bowness in Windermere
The feries are 5 mins away as is the village lots to do and great to leave the car secure without having to worry about parking.
If you go on a Friday there is a saver ticket for the ferries which lasts 24 hrs and is good value at £14.
Checking out was effortless Mollie was lovely and very helpfull , we had arranaged a late check out for 12 instead of 11 then left our bags with hotel and car in car parlk to enjoy our last day there .
We have stayed in a number of macdonalds hotels but this has to have been our best yet thank you to all the staff apologies if we have missed of any one but can honestly say all of the staff we met during our stay were consistenlty helpfull , friendly and proffessional .

Room Tip: request higher room for better views , lake view upgrade worth it , request new section
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank K A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa

Address: 23 Church Street, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3DF, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Bowness-on-Windermere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#3 Business Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#6 Family Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#8 Luxury Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#8 Romantic Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
Price Range: £95 - £320 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 106
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa is one of the finest 4-star Lake District hotels. Set on the shores of Lake Windermere - England's largest lake - our hotel offers the best of breathtaking scenery and exceptional facilities. From unrivalled views over our mature lawns, to private jetties and moorings on the lake - our hotel proves a popular choice for family holidays. Our hotel in Cumbria is perfect for country adventures - hire a private jetty on our lake and marvel in the glorious scenery we have on offer. And once you've finished exploring, we recommend a visit to our spa and thermal suite for a relaxing steam before you dine in our award-winning Restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Macdonald Old England
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa Bowness-On-Windermere, Lake District

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