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“Fathers Day lunch with a downside”

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Lumley Castle Hotel
Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 June 2014

My wife and 2 sons booked this as a surprise fathers day lunch.
First let me say that the food was good. and the Castle amazing.
What a lovely setting for a special occasion.
Now the downside.
My son booked a week in advance and was asked to pay the whole lot £25 per head UPFRONT.
Have you ever heard the likes? 10%, a contact number or a credit card if required, should have been enough. I was not told about this until we all got home after the meal. Had I known this I would have suggested we ate elsewhere.
The service or rather, where was the service?
Before the starter we had a small bread roll and 2 of us asked if we could have another. One roll was place upside down on the side plate and nothing said such as what kind would you like as there were different flavours of bread roll or of course that's not a problem, please enjoy etc.
We ordered 2 cokes in the Library bar before we went in for the meal which was charged to our open drinks account. As the meal progressed, we had 5 more non alcoholic drinks and 2 wines.
My son paid the drinks and then asked for his jacket and we got up to leave and that's where the problems began.
WE were stopped and told we had drinks to pay for and my son explained we had already paid.
Once again as leaving we were asked to pay for the drinks and my wife explained we HAD paid.
My wife asked my son to shoe the receipt to the staff who then acknowledged we had in fact paid.
"Can we go now"? my wife asked.
When we got home I was quite put out about what had happened as it spoiled an otherwise good day.
My 2 sons left a tip but frankly it wasn't deserved.
We will not use this place again which is sad.
It's NOT difficult to train staff to service levels and standards. After all, it is a people business.
Not a good memory to be left with.
Sorry Lumley, get your act together when dealing with your customers.

What a surly lot. Everyone did their job and that's about all you could say.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank J4NOD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,420 - 1,426 of 2,177 reviews

Reviewed 15 June 2014

I had never been to Lumley Castle before and after looking at various venues , my husband decided to treat me for a meal there for a special big Birthday. Sadly we were very disappointed with the meal itself and the service. The castle itself and the grounds are fabulous. The Restaurant we ate in was super, had so much character with lovely paintings and furniture. My husband had mentioned when booking the table that it was for my Birthday - and it made no difference to the staff there at all! The waitress who served us was not terribly friendly or welcoming and the menu itself was rather ordinary and run of the mill. There wasnt very much choice for the main course and what I had was rather tough lamb and I love lamb. The starters and desserts were good but not the main. My husband said it was like a pub meal and that is certainly not what I expected from Lumley Castle. I also wrote to express my comments and nearly two weeks later have not had a reply nor an acknowledgment. On this basis, I would not recommend the place..... sadly as I was expecting to have a fantastic meal in a fantastic place.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DPP02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2014

Great night. Food very nice, tasty and hot when served.
Really good show. Entertaining.
Service excellent. All staff were very pleasant and accommodating.
Drinks reasonably priced.
Saw little bit of the castle and was very impressed.
Didn't stay over but may consider it on another occasion.
Would definitely recommend.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Dillybop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2014

My wife and I recently stayed at Lumley Castle while our on honeymoon. The castle itself was beautiful, and I was really impressed with the property. That all changed however once we entered. It seemed as though checking in was a major inconvenience for the lady working up front (apologies for interrupting you on you mobile phone) - we were greeted with a sigh and 'may i help i help you." For a night that cost us just about $500 CDN, I would hope for a bit warmer of a welcome.
We had arrived at the hotel fairly late, but reading through the website and booklet, it seemed as though the kitchen was open until 9pm. When we went to the dining room at about 9:05, we were informed that the kitchen had entirely gone home, and we were left with a ham sandwich and chips for dinner. It would have been at least nice to know when checking in that the kitchen was closing early.
I was also expected a smart casual dress code (as per the website and booking confirmation), however was slightly bummed to see other guests (or off duty staff?) in runners and sweat pants throughout the stay. I would assume the reason such a dress code exists would be to imply some level of prestige or whatnot, but that was sorely lacking.
While our room itself was great, and we both enjoyed a good sleep, the next morning's breakfast was a disaster. Not a single dish was cleared from our table, and the wait for toast and coffee was over 10 minutes. There was ample staff on, and it was by no means busy.
Individually, maybe not deal breakers, however for the cost of a night at this place, your money could be spent far better. I've had better service (and time) at a $50 motel 8.
We would not recommend Lumley Castle Hotel to anyone - look elsewhere for your castle experience!

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Jeff L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2014

This is a real castle, out of town by about 20 or more minutes so if you are not driving yourself, you will need a taxi to get into Durham. If you are wondering what it is like to be in a castle, this is probably as close as you can get. It is a real mix of odd rooms, different periods of style and building, somewhat elegant old state rooms where they hold weddings and various events, a hall where they have an Elizabethan dinner that you have to book ahead of time, low dark halls, stone floors that are uneven, copies of Roman emperor busts, separate dark dining halls, ancient towers too dangerous to climb, etc. It was interesting to explore. We were lucky to get to see the large state event rooms as this hotel is very actively providing the venues for events and conferences. The two nights we were there, we saw two wedding parties, a celebration to renew wedding vows and several conference rooms filled.

I can see how this is a good events place but I was disappointed in it as a hotel. I found it to be dark, dour, and severe, in need of all kinds of repair-even taking into account the historic nature of the castle. The furniture and carpets looked a bit seedy. There are cracks in the ceilings, in our room in the plaster, I guess also authentic. Even the state rooms lacked the warmth of atmosphere. The stairs I found hard to ascend, as they are old uneven stone. You have to watch your step as the floors are uneven. I have no idea of the cost to keep up such a place. It must have a lot of historic preservation regulations that apply.

Dinner was served in a dark hall that looked like it may have been a stable or storage area at one time. The food was good and serving time not too slow. Breakfast was served as a buffet in the corridor by the dining hall. It was not very spacious so that serving yourself from the buffet was a bit difficult. The buffet was adequate and you can also order from a menu. Be sure to reserve dinner if you don’t have a car because you are not within easy walking distance to the town. Taxis are easy to get as the hotel staff will call for you.

The grounds are large, green, a golf course across the street looked like it may be part of the property.

Our room #58 was small and located on an upper floor at one of the corners. It looked like it could be cold so I asked for a heater and the staff brought one. With the radiator heat, it was more than enough. Furniture in the room crowded the space. I found the twin beds to be comfortable enough. They provided us with tea and a water heater. The TV worked well, but the lighting was inadequate. It was very dark in that room. They have a long neck stand up modern lamp that was really out of place. To use the hairdryer I had to find a plug near the make- up table and mirror because the right plug is not in the bathroom. In doing so, I had to remove a lamp plug behind the table and scratched my hand badly while trying not to move the desk. There is no light in the closet either and it is rather dark. There is an ironing board neatly tucked away. Looking at the ceiling I could imagine that the room was once a large room but the stairs were the spiral in the turret, now dangerous to use, so they had to cut stairs and a hall to get to the upper rooms. Probably this is why the room seemed odd and dark. I found it depressing.

The bathroom is small, with a slippery tub/shower and glass half door. The light is on a chain, and not very luminous. Be careful to close the toilet seat unless you want to be splashed when you flush. It is quite a show and can cause the floor to be slippery so be aware of that danger.

Room Tip: There must be other rooms that are nicer than #58, so be sure to ask about them. Possibly our experi...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank suzanochka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2014

We stayed here a short while ago just for one night.. It was a great stay the staff were brilliant from the time we arrived to the time we left. The breakfast comedy duo (the restaurant staff) would cheer up anybodies day. We had an evening meal in the restaurant and it was excellent. The only downside to our stay was the restaurant manager who was a little off hand when we asked for advice. Having said that it did not spoil our stay and we would recommend Lumley Castle to anyone as a great place to stay.

Room Tip: Have a meal in the Restaurant it was fabulous.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank nashvilleman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2014

I couldn't find any objective Wedding Reviews of Lumley Castle when we were planning our day, so hopefully I can provide one for future Brides (& Grooms!)
A stunning venue for a Wedding of any size, we opted for an intimate day of only 17 guests, and despite 2 other Weddings on the same day, did not feel in anyway we were anything other than the number one priority.
Ben, who looked after us on the day was fantastic, really went out of his way to accommodate us and make sure that we were happy, he deserves a massive bonus! Also Sue, Sharon and Vicki who helped me getting ready (bit of a dress malfunction) they totally saved my day.
Food was lovely, well presented and all our guests commented that it was one of the best Wedding meals they'd had.
Now, I umm-ed and ahh-ed about the rating, because everything on the day was made to feel like nothing was a hassle and no one could do enough for us. Sadly, in the planning stage the communication, attention to detail and speed of delivery was not great and I was getting particularly apprehensive about how the day would turn out, but because Ben and his team were so great, I decided to go with the 5 stars, because they absolutely deserve it. If possible, ask for Laura as your Wedding Planner - she came through for us in the weeks running up to the Wedding when i was starting to get especially stressed!!
I stayed in a court yard room the night before - I did wonder of noise from a college party would keep me awake, but no issues and i had a great nights sleep. On the Wedding night, we stayed in a castle feature room, which was both quirky and comfortable
In general, my advice would be don't stress about your wedding day - all the stuff that seemed important isn't, as long as you get married! It's easy for me to say that now, but especially because of the way we were looked after on the day.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Helen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lumley Castle Hotel

Address: Chester-Le-Street, Durham DH3 4NX, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Durham > Durham
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Durham
#5 Romantic Hotel in Durham
#5 Family Hotel in Durham
#7 Business Hotel in Durham
Price Range: £63 - £174 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Lumley Castle Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 74
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Also Known As:
Lumley Castle Durham
Hotel Lumley Castle
Castle Lumley
Castle Hotel Lumley

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