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“Traditional Hospitality”
Review of The Imperial Hotel

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The Imperial Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Barnstaple
Reviewed 28 August 2012

My husband and I stayed at the hotel for the first time for 2 nights in mid August whilst he was on business on Barnstaple. We enjoyed the fact that the service together with the decor and ambience of the hotel gave us what we value but don't seem to find so much any more in the modern hotels. We had traditonal, personal and excellent hospitality and it felt like going back in time to the golden age of hotels. We stayed in room 109 which was clean and beautifully decorated with lovely views over the river.The chocolates, slippers and dressing gowns added to the feeling of luxury. The food and service at breakfast and dinner was excellent and we were particularly impressed with the fantastic service we received from Magda in the restuarant. Nick and Matthew are also singled out for high praise for their service, together with the ladies on reception. Whilst many of the guests were older than us, we enjoyed the quiet and respect which fellow guests had for one another. All the staff couldn't do enough for you and we were impressed that having arrived late and harassed, the Director Matthew Brend was so helpful and carried our bags to our room. I don't think a lot of Hotel Directors would have done that for us! We will definitely return. Thank you for a wonderful and relaxing stay.

Room Tip: I liked having a river view - ask for a room at the front of the hotel as the rear overlooks a lane...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank janice p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,496 - 1,502 of 1,614 reviews

Reviewed 20 August 2012

Stayed there only one night, arrived late and left after breakfast. A traditional room in the building nex to the hotel, room no 7 with a view to the backyard. Numerous servants in the restaurant serving the breakfast, but average age must have been well over 60.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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1  Thank JoKva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrendHotels, Hotel Director at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 25 August 2012

Thank you for your short review of The Imperial Hotel, Barnstaple.

Although a high proportion of our guests are of a certain age, we cater to all age groups and stays such as business travellers, family holidays and relaxing breaks.

I hope you decide to return to our hotel again in the future.

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Reviewed 18 August 2012

Stayed for a 2 night break. Very good reception staff. Room was very well equipped, and sizeable, but creaky floorboards in the room, upstairs and in the corridor outside made you aware that this is not a new hotel. Most residents seemed to be over 70's enjoying the excellent service and open rest areas in the hotel and the formality of the dining room. Breakfast was cooked to order, but ours could have come hotter. Similarly our room shower although brilliantly clean, would not go hotter than tepid - despite piping hot water in the taps. Excellent parking facilities and position for walking into town. Overall, a well maintained and managed hotel but showing its age in places.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank shirnansman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrendHotels, Hotel Director at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 20 August 2012

Thank you for your recent review The Imperial Hotel.

I am glad that you felt the room was well equipped & of a good size and your comment of excellent service is most pleasing. As you also mentioned we are in a perfect position to visit the town centre.

Due to the age and nature of the building there can of course be some occasional minor issues which we have to accept. Regarding the water heating, as I type we have work taking place improving our water pressure and heating systems to the whole of the hotel. Please accept my apologies if this caused a problem during your break with us.

All breakfast plates are sent out only after inspection of presentation, quality and temperature. I must apologize if they were not as hot as you had expected them, but from carrying them every morning myself, they are always very warm indeed.

Again please accept my apologies for some of the points you have highlighted in your review. I do hope you would visit The Imperial Hotel again in the near future.

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Reviewed 13 August 2012

The Imperial Hotel is a lovely, clean, upmarket, well maintained hotel. The rooms (I stayed in 111) were spacious and furniture of an excellent quality. Fruit, chocolates, dressing gown and slippers provided was a nice touch and the breakfasts were excellent. Wifi also provided, and there were lovely little break out areas for sitting and reading. I preferred the design of this - with its wooden panelling and plush furniture - than a modern day style travel lodge. I did like the fact the staff were all wearing uniforms and were all well turned out - it's these little touches that speak well of a good chain and good management.

On the other hand the stay was not without incident. On arrival, we discovered that neither of the two phones in the room were working. I had to go back downstairs and report the incident. Whilst they attempted to work out the problem, which was obviously a line problem into the room and not the actual handsets, we had to go without a phone. In this modern era of mobiles this isn't too much of an inconvenience except in a hotel is where I want a working phone - to call reception for service and to call somebody else staying in another room. Where the Imperial dropped a clanger was we returned after an afternoon out to see a pre-printed piece of paper under the door which said "we tried to call you to see if everything was OK with your stay, call 0 to speak to reception". The phones were still not working. I checked, but no paper cups on strings had been installed either so yet again I had to walk back downstairs to see what was going on, by now starting to get a little bemused and cheesed off with the service. There was no real apology offered and I was sent away again with promises of a fix.
On late return that evening, we found that the lines were up and running. As were were not in until 10pm, this is a point where a letter under the door would have been appropriate. Fortunately I have enough nous to check for myself, somebody waiting to be informed of a fix could have gone without using their phone at all and that could have led to an even bigger complaint down the line. Again, on check out the next morning, nothing offered by the way of acknowledgement that we had this inconvenience. If the Brend chain would like to pride themselves on good service - which they did for all of our stay from all their staff apart from this incident - then they need to work on how staff cope in situations where they are out of the norm. Speaking as somebody who works in the customer service industry this is not difficult to do. Unfortunately for this review service now goes from what should have been a five star rating to two.

The second issue is to point out that as an older hotel there was no aircon. We had an exceptionally hot day, and as the rooms were at the front they were bathed in sunlight for several hours. Despite opening the balcony doors wide all day from check in and through the night, it was still like a sauna in the room. I know the Imperial cannot control the weather, and installing air con would detract from the style of the hotel, but one small fan was not enough to keep us cool. So if you are somebody who does not like warm rooms, think long and hard about staying in the front rooms.

Would I ever stay in a Brend hotel again? Humm. Hard to say. Let's see if this little Trip Advisor review gets any feedback; they encourage us to go online and leave feedback and this is exactly what I'm going to do. Over to you Brend hotels.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Brother_Cadfael
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrendHotels, Hotel Director at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 16 August 2012

Thank you for your review of The Imperial Hotel after your recent stay with us. Many of your comments are most pleasing to read especially that you were very happy with your room, breakfast and the appearance of our hard working staff members.

I am most sorry that in some respects, we fell short of your expectations and that there were one or two minor problems during your stay.

As a procedure we call all of our guests after they arrive to see if they have settled in to the room and to confirm any essential information such as evacuation procedures. If there is no answer we place a slip stating such information under the door at 6pm. Of course as you had an issue with the phone not working in the room a small letter from myself which mentions to dial 0 for reception must have seemed most strange indeed. Of course this was something that simply 'slipped through the net' as it were.

Our general manager himself fixed the telephones while you were out in the evening and I understand you did not hand your key in to reception when leaving that evening, therefore an explanation or apology was not given due to you not visiting reception. All of our receptionists ask if you had enjoyed your stay and if there were any problems on check out so I am sure they would have apologised then if the matter was raised. Perhaps the receptionist that you checked out with was unaware of the problems during the previous evening. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Your comment that the room was very warm will certainly be taken on board and although it does not feel like we have had a summer, I do understand that the front rooms can become very warm because of our traditional floor to ceiling windows on the first floor. Many guests find that drawing the curtains before leaving the room can help, but again your comments will certainly be taken on board and we may well look in to alternative room cooling in the near future.

I do hope you decide to visit a Brend Hotel again in the future as we pride ourselves on providing the best possible service to our guests and The Imperial Hotel is no exception to that. I hope that if so you do not endure some of the minor problems you have mentioned once again.

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Reviewed 12 August 2012

The hotel is very grand and regal. The staff were some of the best I've come across in the industry and for a treat this hotel is amazing for a holiday. However, for those of us that spend the odd night in hotels whilst away on business and want to kick back and relax, this is not the place. The dress code is strict. After spending hard day at work the last thing you want is to get dressed up for a pint. I would go back for short holiday, but not on business.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank WallisKirkland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrendHotels, Hotel Director at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 16 August 2012

Thank you very much for your review of The Imperial Hotel and for rating us 5 / 5. It is most pleasing to read that you felt the staff were some of the best you have come across and that you felt it was an 'amazing' holiday destination.
I am sorry to read that you did not feel it suitable for a business traveller. Although a high proportion of our guests visit for a relaxing break, we do have many business travellers stay with us and I feel we cater to this clientele well with services such as free wifi, modern rooms full of character and alternative casual dining as well as the option of a dining experience in our Arlington Restaurant where people enjoy dressing for the occasion.

As mentioned above, we do offer the option of alternative dining in our Litchdon Room which is an extension to our 'Colours Bar' which offers a Bistro style menu with a relaxed atmosphere and dress code. Of course there is also the option of room service available to you.

All of our dining options are explained on check in at The Imperial Hotel to all guests as well as being offered a 'Dining Options' card including further information such as dress code and opening times.

I must apologise for you feeling this way, but hope you can see that we do try to cater to all of our guests needs, business travellers being no exception. In my next heads of department meeting your positive and negative comments will be raised as they are every week with all reviews.

Whether it business or a family break, I do hope I could welcome you back to The Imperial Hotel, Barnstaple in the future and again thank you for taking the time to write your review.

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Reviewed 10 August 2012

I am a business traveller, who spends 14 out of 31 nights each month in various hotels around the country. This is the first time I have stayed in this hotel.
The room was lovely, I have to say. Plenty of space. The staff were friendly and professional. The entrance has a regal feel to it, with the sweeping staircase.

I chose to have room service as the main restaurant has a dress code - no trainers, jeans or tshirts, they specify shirt and tie and preferably a dinner jacket.

No smoking rooms, which shocked me. Nearly all other hotels of this standard I stay in have a small quantity of smoking rooms. What annoyed me was the receptionist stating 'it's the law now, we are not allowed any' to which I smiled and said that was actually wrong.

I wouldn't have minded as much, however, at around 1130 on a night, the night porter locks the main doors and then vanishes into thin air. So, if you fancy a smoke before bed, you have to go before a certain time or you won't be getting out!!

rooms are lovely, service is good, food is excellent (highest standard of food I have had in my life I believe), massive car park at the back of the hotel and a dozen at the front. BT Openzone internet in the hotel, not free. So bring your dongles.

Would recommend. But if you smoke, be warned. A hotel of this size and calibre and magnitude should have a few smoking rooms still, it wouldn't hurt to be a little more customer friendly and less anti smoking.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Sophie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2012

We have just returned from The Imperial and can only say what a super stay we had. We used the hotel as a base to explore the area and it was ideal, being in Barnstaple only a short walk from the town centre. The weather was brilliant, so we spent most days on the various beaches only a short drive away and then returning to the comfort of the Imperial where nothing was too much trouble. The hotel is also a short walk from the Tarka trail cycle route which was the most perfect day out, for individuals or as in our case a family with two teenagers. We had use of the nearby sister hotel pool, which we only used once but it was another option.

The food is wonderful and my hungry boys enjoyed choosing from the extensive menu each evening and the breakfast delights, especially the omelettes.
We were lucky with the weather, but we had selected the Imperial as it we thought that if the weather was bad, we would be comfortable and well fed. We certainly were and by the comments from all those checking out everyone felt the same. We would certainly return!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Abdyandrews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Imperial Hotel

Address: The Imperial Taw Vale Parade, Barnstaple EX32 8NB, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Barnstaple
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Barnstaple
Price Range: £87 - £155 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Imperial Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 63
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The elegant Imperial Hotel, Barnstaple, North Devon, is part of the prestigious Brend chain of West Country hotels. Overlooking the River Taw at the heart of the market town of Barnstaple, this exceptional four-star hotel combines old-style charm with the highest standards of comfort and service. Whether you're looking for a family holiday or a peaceful break, the Imperial is the place for superb service. The hotel is also a popular venue for conferences, banquets and weddings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Imperial Hotel Barnstaple
The Imperial Hotel Barnstaple, Devon

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