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“City Boutique prices for a country pub with rooms?”
Review of Roast Ox Inn

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Roast Ox Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Painscastle B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“City Boutique prices for a country pub with rooms?”
Reviewed 9 June 2011

This charming little pub in my native Wales looked to be the perfect base from which to enjoy the last weekend of the Hay Book Festival. I really wanted to be able to rave about the place for all the right reasons. Sadly, all I can say is, don't bother.

It was a good start, the staff member who greeted us was friendly, handing us a key and saying to come and go as we pleased. The room and en-suite were very clean. I would have been willing to accept the fact that any noise from the rear car park (even someone whistling) was audible from the room, but being asked to specify an exact time for breakfast was a bit odd. After a long journey, thinking of a lie in, I asked what time breakfast was served until - usually there's a window of opportunity. The response was that the chef liked to cook all at once so if other guests wanted theirs early it would be early… OK…

The next morning we went for breakfast at the appointed time to be told that there was one bit of bacon left for two cooked breakfasts. Given that this was an advanced booking of the room and the pub is off the beaten track I can't help thinking that they had an idea of how many guests they were catering for? Still the waitress was polite and quite apologetic…


It was that night that really sunk the whole experience, having been told to come and go and having mentioned to the staff we were going to Hay for the festival events I didn't think anything of the fact that we arrived back 1215pm on a Friday night. Bear in mind, the only guests the place caters for are adults. When we arrived we found the doors locked and that the key didn't fit any of the entrances. Knowing that the rear windows were paper thin I can guarantee that the landlord will have heard the car pull up on the gravel and the noise when I knocked on the door and I'm sure he would have heard the phone when I rang twice and left answer phone messages... Certainly there were lights going on and off in the staff section upstairs so someone was about (unless the Roast Ox has a particularly active poltergeist?) Still, he seemed to feel it was reasonable to leave two paying guests out in the cold in the middle of nowhere.

We were lucky enough to find a hotel down the road where the manager was kind enough to let us have there D of E camping dorm for the night (The Baskerville Hall Hotel = lovely staff!), but by this pint we had lost most of a nights sleep. The ridiculous bit was that, whilst we should have been warned that the doors would be barred come the witching hour, we both would have forgiven this little incident and laughed about it if there had been any attempt at service recovery. Instead when we returned, whilst the waitress looked on horrified, the manager told us that he hadn't let us in because he had already locked up and he only runs a country pub that happens to have a couple of rooms (10 to be precise) so we should have told him we were going out, oh and the answer phone was dodgy so he couldn't make out my messages . What he pointedly didn't claim was that he had no idea we'd been outside.

If there had been a single other place to stay in Hay or the surrounds that night then I would have left that night, but there wasn't so we stayed the final night. The bill when it came was a staggering £45 per person per night or £90 per night for a double room (Oh and having requested payment by card when I made the booking they then told me that they didn't have a card machine). The manager had at least taken the disrupted night off the tab, but I have stayed in boutique hotels for less money and had cracking customer service to show for it. To quote the guy running this heist, "I run a country pub that happens to have a couple of rooms love"…Quite.

All in all, I felt I got two nights sleep for the price of three and the service was truly quite special! Beautiful location, lovely building, just can't recommend the atmosphere...

Room Tip: Go elsewhere!
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Bexbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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85 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
northants
Level Contributor
72 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 June 2011

We were aware that the pub had recently been taken over by new owners as they phoned to ask if we could confirm our booking as the previous owner had left the bookings in a shambles. We were therefore not alarmed by earlier review and can now agree with the very positive recent review. The pub has clearly just been refurbished - the stairs/landing and our room appeared to have a brand-new carpet. The bedroom and shower room were spotlessly clean and there was a plentiful supply of thick, white towels. The beds were comfortable and, though functional, the room was all that was needed for a few days' stay.

As vegetarians we are always a bit wary at breakfast-time, but, like the previous reviewer, were pleasantly surprised to be offered veggie sausages in with any other cooked items we fancied.

The welcome was friendly and all-in-all I would recommend this as a good, pleasant b and b in an excellent location for the countryside and Hay Festival.

Room Tip: Ask for end room - thin walls and snorer not great
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank flo-josh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dundee, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 29 May 2011

We travelled to Hay on Wye for the Hay festival and booked to stay at the Roast Ox Inn, having seen their website and finding that they had B&B accommodation available in a twin room at relatively short notice.

Painscastle is a lovely hamlet, located about 15 minutes’ drive from Hay on Wye, and surrounded by beautiful countryside and villages. The Inn has recently undergone a sympathetic and characterful renovation, under new ownership, and boasts modern comfortable bedrooms and a very welcoming ‘country pub’ bar, with friendly locals and staff.

When I arrived at lunch time, the room was already available – it was clean, modern and well provisioned, with an ensuite shower and toilet room, and tea and coffee making facilities. The room smelt fresh and the window opened out onto fields at the rear of the pub. We got back to the pub late but not too late to have a pint and a wind-down chat at the bar before bed.

There’s plenty of original features in the pub downstairs including a well and log burning stoves. Breakfast was delicious and filling, with a selection of cereals and fruit juice to start then a full English, cooked to perfection, served with toast and marmalade. I hadn’t warned them in advance but they were able to provide me with a vegetarian alternative to sausage and bacon. The atmosphere was relaxed and unrushed with attentive friendly service throughout.

It’s obviously horse-friendly too, with tie-ups available outside for your trusty steeds. I would definitely recommend the Roast Ox to anyone visiting the area and in need of a comfortable base to return to in the evenings.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank suburbanhippy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RedRose82
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2010

Just got back from a three-night stay at the Roast Ox and had a good time. We stayed for a mini-festival in Hay on Wye which is about 15 minutes' drive away but the village is in a really peaceful setting, surrounded by beautiful countryside, so we are thinking of returning when the weather is warmer to get better use of the surroundings and get some walking in.

The pub is traditional and quiet with a roaring fire and a great selection of real ciders on tap - the pub has won a cider prize from CAMRA. There's also a good selection of wines, whiskies and beers.

The food is good - the portions are huge! I enjoyed the chilli and my partner had a curry which tasted really fresh and home-made. Had some nice steaks too.

Our room was comfortable and clean and we had several peaceful nights' sleep.

One thing I will say is we had good service the whole time we were there and the locals who pop in and out of the pub at all times of the day are really friendly and really keen that people enjoy their stay in their part of the country. We had some really great conversations with them and they were really welcoming, as were the staff at the pub.

The location is great in many ways - in the heart of beautiful countryside. That said, we went in the middle of the 2010 "Big Freeze" and I was worried about taking on the country roads in all the ice and snow, which can be a disadvantage in somewhere remote. But the roads weren't too bad and they were well-gritted by the local council. There's not much in the way of big-line facilities nearby and it is very rural - but then again, if you're wanting to stay in a country pub that's probably just what you are looking for. It'd be a great place to stop off if on a walking holiday and have a nice big meal after a tough day on the hills.

Mobile phones don't work in the area (they are also pretty patchy in bigger areas such as Hay on Wye) but there is wifi at the pub.

Overall, a comfortable stay and good value for money. I really like country pubs with character - if that's your thing, then this is a great place to go to.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RedRose82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2010

Pulled up outside this pub for a three night stay on the August Bank Holiday to find that the rear of the pub was pretty much a rubbish dump. On walking into the pub, pasing a broken down marque full of more junk and clutter - which the website claims has a 60 seater restaurant and a conference centre attached - we found the pub smelling of chip fat, and completely empty, at 8pm on a Bank Holiday Friday! and no 60 seater restaurant in sight. We were shown to our room which had a TV that did not work, a bathroom that was filthy and a very soft bed. In the morning, I was offered breakfast, but the smell of fat from the kitchen was so overpowering, I didnt was to eat anything that was made in it. So we checked out after one night and found a B&B in Hay on Wye that had had a last minute cancellation. Do not stay here - it is a dump!

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jobeansyUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ChrisRoastOx, Manager at Roast Ox Inn, responded to this review, 1 November 2010
Words absolutely fail me at this review. I can only assume that the reviewer was in a trance whilst in was being written or during her visit. Certainly no-one made any complaint and I have no recollection of anyone terminating a stay early. The comments are an absolute surprise and I believe are totally unjustified.

There IS a 60-seater restaurant - probably screened off with a curtain from the main bar at the time to provide some privacy to diners. The Web site is totally accurate in all it states and shows.

Chris
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Roast Ox Inn

Property: Roast Ox Inn
Address: Automatic Exchange B4594, Painscastle LD2 3JL, Wales
Region: United Kingdom > Wales > Powys > Painscastle
Amenities:
Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Painscastle
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Geo Requested 9-3-10 ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Roast Ox Inn Painscastle, Wales

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