We have been spending nights at Cockliffe Country House Hotel for the past 6 years and have always looked forward to our odd romantic night away there at least twice a year. We had a voucher bought for us by our daughter last Christmas and we decided to book our next night's stay for when we got back from our holiday abroad before we both started back to work.
Firstly I confess I was a little alarmed when I booked, as the usual telephone manner I had always experienced was not as pleasant or helpful. I enquired about 2 rooms we particularly like that we have stayed in before and when they were available and then decided on one and asked for the price. I was quoted £75:00 for the night which I had also, prior to ringing, checked out on another website where discounted room stays can be found. I was then asked if this was for more than one person and I said it was for two if us. I was then told the price would be £105:00. At the time I had the webpage open of alternative booking site which clearly said '£75:00 for two people' for the same date. I mentioned this and was told 'Very well book through the site if you want but the charges will be added on at some point'. I decided to book direct and take the charge of £105:00 as we had our gift voucher to redeem. I also asked if we could have dinner that night and was quoted £25:00 each for the Al a Carte menu which I booked. We have always eaten here on our previous visits and the food and service has been excellent normally. When we arrived at the venue it was very quiet indeed but it was mid-week. We were shown to our room quickly. However my disappointment started to set in when I saw how dusty and dirty the room was compared to when we last stayed in it. The bathroom is an enclosed one as it is integral to one of the external rooms and the damp smell was quite obvious. This we discovered was due to the bathroom extractor fan not working. The tiles also needed the black taking from the grouting around the bath. The bathroom floor I had to wipe round as it had hair and dust around the edges. We obviously checked the bed which was clean before we unpacked and we decided to make the best of the evening away despite. On getting out of the shower I realised that there were no bathrobes. We had always had them provided before. We checked the literature in the room which said bathrobes were included so my husband rang reception to enquire and was told 'Oh, we don't usually provide them I don't think'. However, the young girl who had been on reception on our arrival said she would bring some over if she could find them. She did - they were quite shabby and stained. We then went to dinner and were handed menus and told that we needed to order from the Bar Menu! I asked if the A La Carte choices were available and she said there was one starter and one main course which were not our preferred choices so we ordered off the Bar Menu having two starters at just under £6:00 each and 2 main meals at just under £11:00 each. No desserts. The food was nice, not quite as special as the A La Carte dishes would have been having seen the menu. But we enjoyed the time eating. The restaurant was very empty and the usual staff were not there so I got a feeling there had been a change of ownership. This was confirmed to me by another couple having dinner there. They also said that someone had phoned them earlier to explain that unfortunately the chef had a bad back and so there was just the Bar Menu available to them. I felt a little perturbed that we had not been furnished with this information prior to our arrival when we were paying overnight guests and the other couple were only dining. Once we got back to our room we found that the Superking Bed was made up of two single mattresses as they often are (we have one ourselves) BUT there was no mattress topper across them both so the gap between the two was very evident throughout the night and a little uncomfortable. Breakfast was only served up until 9:00am which was fine for us and compared to the huge amount of cooked breakfast we had always had to choose from on our previous visits, the menu had been slimmed down considerably offering continental self service and some cooked breakfast dishes too. Service was very slow and there were only 2 other tables dining. We came to check out and were horrified to find that we had been charged a whopping £205:00 for the room and our starters and main courses on top at £34:00. I obviously said that when I had booked I had been quoted £155:00 which included two A La Carte meals and questioned why we had been then charged for a further 2 A La Carte meals plus the bar meals we had eaten again on top?!? The receptionist rushed off to check with the manager and then came back to redo our bill and gave us a new bill that now charged us £105:00 for the room plus £50:00 for our meals. At this point I tried to tell the rather young and inexperienced receptionist that we had been unable to have our two A La Carte meals and felt that charging us £50 for meals when the costs of what we had eaten had only been £34:00 was not right. She seemed not to hear me and just asked me how I'd like to pay. My husband & I paid but were really unhappy about being so poorly treated. I have to say we were really sad at this visit and feel that the new ownership is unable to maintain the excellent standards we have always experienced at the Cockliffe prior to this. The young staff need more training as they are pretty clueless about customer service to the standard expected at venues like this. The charging tariff needs sorting out. The rooms need to be kept cleaner. Maintenance issues need sorting quicker - a broken extractor fan causing dampness to a room is a real concern and a couple of bulbs were not working either. The offer in the book in each room needs rectifying if items they say are available to guests are no longer provided. With a heavy heart I am cutting my losses and thank the previous owners for many happy stays there over the years. However, based on our last visit last week I am afraid to say - we definitely we not be going back which is a great shame when it is such a lovely location.
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- Also Known As:
- Cockliffe Country Hotel
- Hotel Cockliffe Country