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“A poor four star hotel pretending to be five star”

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Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
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Reviewed 2 April 2014

We stayed in this hotel for 8 nights in March. We booked one of their feature suits (described on the website as "luxurious") which couldn't be more misleading. It was a great waste of money as it was nothing more than a spacious room with dated and a very mismatched decor, the fridge was broken (we complained, it was fixed and then it broke again), and only one of the two TVs worked, however the view from an average size window was great (the other window faced a brick wall). Our welcome tray consisted of few nougat sweets, mini bowl of humbug mints and some water, also our toiletries were not topped-up on daily basis. The bathroom was absolutely tiny, with door opening inwards, so if me and my partner were both there one could hardly move. However, the power shower was great. Also, the housekeeping staff does a great job and all was very tidy at all times.
The hotel bar, although with amazing views of the lake lacked atmosphere. We've ordered a cosmopolitan and mojito there and both were awful. Also, tried a soup there which turned out to be a tasteless, watery, green mixture.
The hotel breakfast is nice although if you arrive after 9.30am you may find that they don't top up their buffet, so if the yogurt bowl is empty, there will be no more available.
We believe that there is something seriously wrong with the management of this hotel.
On the plus side we thought that the service was very good and we wanted to say thank you to Gosia from Reception, Pawel from the restaurant as well as two other (we guess) Spanish girls who serve the breakfast and were absolutely lovely. There is also a very nice young chap who works at the bar, we unfortunately don't remember his name.
We've been to the Lakes before and stayed at some wonderful four and five stars there. We won't be going back to the Old Macdonald for sure.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Szinvene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,057 - 2,063 of 2,964 reviews

Reviewed 1 April 2014

Having read the negative reviews, I was a bit apprehensive about our stay here.

From walking through the front doors, the reception staff welcomed us offered us help with our bags and valet parked our car. Great start.

Check-in was quick and easy and we were on our way to a good sized, well appointed room with a view of the lake.

Food was good and the waiting staff made sure mealtime was a happy experience.

We used the Spa and it was well appointed for the gym equipment, warm pool, sauna/steam room modern and up to the job.

Overall, I cant wait to return. That speaks for itself.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank burnieScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2014 via mobile

My mother in law and her friend decided to have lunch at this establishment as it looked nice and wanted to splash out and treat them selves to some nice food after sitting a while with there beverages they decided on fish and chips and chicken dinner my mum in law ended up with 8 uniformed size chips a fish the size of a bread roll not much fish in it and the batter was soggy and at £17 it should be perfect in every way her friends chicken dinner ended up as being pasta with a little chicken £15 that was plus £3.50 for veg £40 they spent on that and a soda water and cup of tea staff were dozzy to much time and effort spent on the appearance of the place and not enough though about what's going on in the kitchen food utter rubbish they need to get a proper chef in the place and sort out some decent meals you may as well just go have lunch in morrisons because its on the same level as that

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
3  Thank higgypuffalump
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2014

Had a two night stay and whilst most of the hotel was beautiful, especially the lounge overlooking the lake there were some disappointing features too.the positives were the helpful staff, the excellent breakfasts and the overall ambience of the hotel.our room was comfortable but the bathroom left much to be desired with cracked tiles and water pooling near door when shower was on.at these prices you are entitled to expect much better.
Dinner was mediocre to say the least, with a very small wine list and no table cloths to cover tables which need some TLC .i could not fault the serving staff who were excellent and very helpful .

Room Tip: Make sure you have a lake view and eat out as several nearby restaurants offer better VFM
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Grogandes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2014

We stayed for one night mid March for my husband's birthday. The beautiful lakeside setting of the hotel is what you are paying for...the rooms are actually pokey, scruffy with some serious maintenance problems.
Our room was 327...DO NOT stay in this room. The view over the lake is lovely but there is the most horrendous enormous cupboard right long the side of the bed which houses pipes, weird electrical stuff etc (apparently according to my husband it's a 'service unit' for the rooms). Unfortunately it is 30cm away from the bed, and the doors don't shut properly so you've got this scary, dusty tangle of pipes and wires in your face (see pictures).
The bathroom was clean but the radiator setting dial was missing, the bath plug had snapped off the chain so you couldn't get it out of the bath to let the water out, and the bathroom door handle was hanging off. (see pics).
The cleaning staff need to have a system to inform the maintenance dept of these issues. It is completely unacceptable in a supposedly 4 star hotel (which it so isn't)
Reception check in was very pleasant, very nice young man brought our luggage to room & suggested places to eat.
Drinks in the bar...2 staff stood chatting behind bar with their backs to the room, ignoring everyone til one plucky guest strode up and asked very politely, but very loudly, if there was any service or did we just help ourselves. And the prices are beyond any comprehension: £19 for a g&t which was full to the top with crushed ice, and an Irish coffee.
Breakfast was nice, beautiful setting overlooking the lake, nice fresh toast & I like how the full English is served out of the kitchen rather than from a buffet.
We ate dinner in a fabulous restaurant in the village called the Village Inn Bar & Grill...lovely staff and fabulous food (the Hanging Kebab was great fun).
Overall, the room for b&b for one night cost £125...not too bad considering the setting but the room was appalling.

Room Tip: Avoid room 327
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank loulouham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2014

I use Macdonalds hotels for work (Media) because they are always a high standard and the staff are excellent. I have joined the Macdonalds club so used some points to take my Wife away for a night. This is our Silver Wedding Year so we wanted a treat and we got it. We went into the Bar which has a beautiful view of the Lake. we had planned a trip on a boat but were so at ease in the surroundings we sat for 4 hours talking and watching the beauty of the lakes. the room, a feature Suite had a similar view and was excellently equipped.We had a plenty of room. Dinner was excellent, we sat in the modern dining room that has huge windows looking out onto the lake.The food was to the high standard i expect.. Breakfast in the same location was again spot on.. Like all hotels in the Chain have very high standards across the board but i feel it is the Staff that always stand out. Service is so easy to get right and whoever trains the staff does it just right. Polite helpful friendly without being stuffy.. Macdonalds hotels have a taken over many classic hotels and given them their distinctive refurbishment. Im very surprised that comments made about this hotel seem to ignore this is a classic Victorian hotel. It is modernised but you feel you could be sat next to Sherlock Holmes. This is a Victorian Gem but given the right treatment. I would highly recommend this to overseas visitors who want to see the lakes but experience something of that magical era of Britain 100 years ago. Location is superb right next to the waterfront with hotel parking nearby.. I have read some comments and cannot agree. We had a fantastic stay that was faultless. We are planning to go again soon and would urge you to make up your own mind. Thank you for a great stay !

Room Tip: We stayed in a suite overlooking the Lake. Beautiful !
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MDJ63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2014

Don't go there. No brandy at the bar. Had to wait 2 hours for them to get some. The service - Over 3 hours for a 3 course meal!!! The soup was tasteless, the beef was burnt to a crisp. Crammed in so the waitresses struggled to get to the tables. Drink spilt all over dress by waiter who couldn't even apologise. Management who could only apologise ang give no explanation to why the service and quality of food was so poor. Very poor quality for the money. My advice is stay well clear.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
4  Thank princess-stacy-april
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 24 March 2014

We were sorry to hear that you found cause to complain about a recent function you attend at the hotel. Your comments will of course be reviewed by the team to understand what needs to happen differently in the future. Should you require your evening wear to be cleaned professionally please do not hesitate to contact us direct to make the necessary arrangement.

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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 Romantic Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#8 Luxury 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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