I must start by saying that this is a truly stunning venue, and has beautiful rooms filled with amazing artwork......... but.......... we visited as a group with some students from a local college, we had spoken to a lady there a week or so previously and been told we would be welcome, we also contacted the venue earlier on in the day to ensure it was open and were told it was and a visit would be fine. Upon arrival at the car park we were greeted by the worlds friendliest dog, he was the high point!
Some of our students wanted to sketch as we were visiting as part of an Art class. The gentleman on the desk was quite nonplussed by this, and seemed somewhat put out by it. We tried to engage him in conversation but to no avail..... the overall feeling we had was that he just wanted us gone. He did make a point of saying that it was a "private hotel" and "we don't receive any public funding". Whether this was a polite way of telling us to find a public art gallery or not I'm not sure, but we were made to feel quite uncomfortable. At one point we were almost followed round to make sure we weren't up to no good. Highly unlikely as we arrived wearing ID badges and in a car clearly marked with the name of our college!
We did use the cafe and purchased drinks, staff were lovely and helpful and the drinks and prices were fine. I would honestly have expected slightly dearer prices due to the standard of the venue/produce.
I am really torn as I loved the place and the current art exhibition is wonderful... but being open to the public means you will sometimes encounter people you are not entirely comfortable with, might be a bit nicer not to let it show quite so much!
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