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“Should have been better”

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Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Hessle, UK
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Should have been better”
Reviewed 8 March 2009

A beautiful looking hotel in wonderful surroundings, but let down badly by inconsistent service and some real glaring errors.
Having arrived late evening we were pleased to have the option for valet parking of the car. Unfortunately that was the best that happened. Check-in was painfully slow with one couple checking in before us. I really don't expect to wait 10 minutes before I can get to my room. The room was small and the bed was of equal proportion. I had booked an executive room, so If I really had got one (which I have some doubts) then the standard rooms must be miniscule. The flat screen TV was smaller than my computer monitor, but having Sky Sports was a plus. Lack of any indication of Internet access was a big minus. The room was clean and tidy with only two visible cobwebs.
We'd booked dinner in the restaurant and this is when it really started to go wrong. We sat in the lounge with a drink looking at the Menu; which was a £30 set meal with limited choices. I asked to see the a la carte menu only to be told that 'that was last year, this year we change menu daily' the purveyor of this information was Eastern European (as arfe most of the staff). I tried to ask why there was still an a la carte menu on the Website and in front of the entrance, but her English deserted her completely (which is a polite way of saying my question was just ignored).
The food itself was superb, but I was still simmering about the fact that I wasn't allowed a wider choice. There seems to be an assumption that everyone is there on some form of Dinner, Bed and Breakfast break and I always feel slightly insulted to be told that if I want Cheese and Biscuits there would be a supplement. The same thing happened at breakfast when I asked for a full cooked breakfast - 'that will be £6 extra' - yes I know it will I can read.
Badly trained staff, lack of attention to detail makes this a very poor 4* hotel - a good 3* maybe. The facilities in the room really don't go with the star rating - no sign of a mini-bar, and the 'generous work area' helps redefine the word 'generous'.
At checkout there was chaos as the car park was packed and people were blocked in. It took me 45 minutes to actually check out and get on the road. Badly understaffed.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MikeT_Hessle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,774 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (555)
Date | Rating
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  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2009

My wife and I stayed at this hotel... it is pretty expensive for the price but if you get the right room in the "New Wing" then you won't have any complaints.

Some of the rooms look over the lake which is amazing on a clear day.

Location is superb and breakfast is really good. We have heard that the hotel dinner is great, however we just ended up walking around Windermere into one of the local restaurants (lots of Chinese and Italian restaurants).

The pool is a good size - but on our trip it was ice cold! They had a powercut which cooled the pool.

Management very understanding and helpful.

Lots to do - nice drives and if local boat cruises to local areas.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sunny C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2009

I visited this hotel with my boyf for Valentines Day, and stayed 2 nights. Overall, we had a wonderful time. The hotel is in a nice location, right on the lake and as you enter, has a welcoming reception. Check in was very efficent, although we asked for some help with our bags, which didn't arrive. They did however park the car for us - which was nice. We had a lake view room which was OK - clean and OK furniture but i have stayed in better - there are a number of room types above this one, which i think have been refurbished. Our room was fine though - lovely view of the lake, flat screen TV, small but serviceable bathroom, nice power shower. If we went there again though i would upgrade the room just to have a bit more luxury.
We had booked on a dinner, b&b basis and i have to say the food in the hotel restaurant was superb. Alot of foreign staff, but they worked very hard and the service was very good. Some of the food was out of this world - best fish dish i have eaten in a long time and the pre-starter veloute was absolutely sublime. We eat out quite a bit and this definately rated amongst the better meals we have eaten. Nice wine list too - and quite reasonably priced.
Breakfast was good as well, although cooked breakfast isn't included in the b&b rate - they charge an extra £6.50 for that which i think might be a bit stingy! We had it both mornings and did enjoy it, but noticed alot of people weren't prepared to pay the extra.
We also made use of the spa - having a couples massage which was very good and at £90 for both of us, quite reasonable.
Overall, the hotel is very good - quite pricy in some respect - 2 nights cost us £1000, but we did have wine/champagne/treatments etc. so i suppose that isn't too bad. Would i go back? Yes, but Bowness is a bit of a dull place - full of tacky tourist shops and hairdressers that close on a Saturday!!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KatyBrum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
rossendale
1 review
Reviewed 4 February 2009

We loved it !
Stayed on 12th Jan 09 for one night birthday celebration.
I rang prior to our visit and spoke to Justine who was really helpful, she was also on reception when we arrived and was welcoming and helpful.
Our room no. 321 overlooked the lake, was spacious and special. dble bed, coffee table, chairs, large dressing table, flat screen tv, tea/coffee etc. spacious and clean bathroom.

The classic lounge rooms in the hotel had fantastic views over the lake lake, pure relaxation.
We used the pool and sauna's which were brand new - didnt even think the pool was too cold !
We opted for full english breakfast but there was plenty of choice with the continental.
will definitely book again, cant wait to go back!

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank brownshols
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
N.Wales
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Old England Hotel at the end of January, having been given a gift voucher towards our two night stay.
The location on Windermere is great and the views from the lounges and restaurant are superb.
We did manage to check in before 4.00pm and were given our key . I presumed a second floor room as the key indicated 200+ but then had to travel up a floor to third! Perhaps the receptionist could have pointed this out?
The "Classic " double was very small but included all facilities. Perhaps the expensive "broom cupboard "was a punishment for querying the booking system! I had wondered why a regular booking was actually cheaper on line than the booking made under the "Winter Saver" Special deal? We had to remove the bulky robes from the tiny wardrobe to enable a small hanging facility. The trouser press and ironing board etc were also squashed into the space.The room was rather cramped but the bathroom was fine and cleaning standards were good.
Service in the bar and lounge was good, all staff were friendly and efficient.The bar was however rather empty on the Thursday night - a bit like the Marie Celeste with no barman to be found for a while.
The restaurant food and service were excellent, with the Set menu dinner choices varied. I was disappointed that the a la carte menu was not available. It's worth having cheese for t dessert , just to look at the great descriptions of the cheeses available.Wine selections are good .
We opted for the cooked breakfast choice in the morningsbut the continental options were plentiful and varied.
We did use the pool and Sauna - as others have noted the pool temperature was on the chilly side! but it was enjoyable.
All in all a great couple of days - but not a budget break.

  • Disliked — Small room
  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NWMisas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lancashire, U.K
Level Contributor
18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2009

Just got back from the Old England, stayed over Saturday night the 24th January, myself, my wife and my 6 year old daughter.

Arrived 12.45pm, room ready! Parked car in the free car park approx 100 yards down the road. Receptionist's very friendly and courtious.

Room spacious, well presented and clean. A little 'tired'. Bathroom spot on.

We all went for a swim in the Spa, the whole Spa (changing rooms, pool, sauna etc etc) looks BRAND NEW, as if just opened yesterday!! Fantastic. Great view from the pool over the lake. However beware, pool was not very warm - I would say cold in-fact.

Went to the Albert (now done up) looks great and onto the Hole Int Wall a family favourite and then had an excellent Chinese at the 'China Boat' just 20 yards on from the Hotel. If you like Chinese then this is a must!!

Up for Breakfast. We decided a head that we would not be paying extra for a cooked breakfast. Who needs a cooked breakfast??!! There was loads to eat, loads of choice & great views again of the lake. You DONT need to buy a cooked breakfast, trust me and I normally swear by them when Im away.

Overall great short break, all enjoyed and we wil be back.

  • Liked — Location, Spa & Breakfast
  • Disliked — Some tired looking area's (not many but spruce these up and you have a PERFECT Hotel)
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mark P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bradford
Level Contributor
241 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2009

My girlfriend and i stayed at the Macdonald Old England for one night on 19th January.

We decided to book the hotel as it was ranked 2nd on Tripadvisor(at the time) and was in a great location in Bowness.

We easily found the hotel and there was plenty of parking space right at the side of the hotel so parked up and checked in. Check in was short and simple and we were put in a lovely room in the new part of the building. The standard room was lovely, flat screen tv with sky sports, bathroom with shower cubicle and bath. Upon arrival we were told there was going to be a power cut at 11am the next day, so i guess this must be a regular thing!

we used the spar on our stay on the first day, the pool was lovely and my only complaint was the lack of hot tub and the pool was freezing but this was due to the heater or something being broke.

We opted for a lie in so didnt have breakfast, we didn't fancy paying the 15 quid for a cooked one. The spar was shut the next day due to power cut so we left and explored the lakes instead. All in all a lovely hotel in an excellent location.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Power cut!
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Paddy459
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

Property: 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
#7 Luxury Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#8 Romantic Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#8 Family Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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