Owned by Greene King and part of Old English Inns this establishment is operated to a tried-and-tested formula. Shareholders will be able to testify that the formula works: for investors as well as for clients.
The approach is very much Food and Beverage ………………………………… with rooms. The three acre site is well laid-out to optimise space for car parking and al fresco eating. The bedrooms are mostly situated in a secluded courtyard away from the Function Room, restaurant and bars. They are compact, without being in any way cramped with en suite shower room. All the trimmings associated with this style of establishment are to be found, with the addition of free Wi-Fi which even a septuagenarian can access without help! There is a very full programme of good-value evening entertainment, mostly tribute bands, is vigorously promoted and would appear to sell very well. These locally promoted and produced events are doubtless as profitable as they are popular.
The quality of food and service at both dinner and breakfast was good, in accordance with the established formulae. There was no danger of encountering anything new, different or particularly exciting but that isn't what this hotel is about. Mr and Mrs Average Guest can be happy with the menu choice, the presentation on the plate, texture and taste: job done.
On arrival at 1400 on a Sunday there was evidence that lunchtime had been busy. With a Carvery offering priced at £8.99 and other keenly-priced eating options the popularity of The Cedars for locals and holidaymakers alike is unsurprising. The formulaic approach includes adequate staffing with pleasant folk who have been well trained in what to do. It all seems to work very well. There were quite a few jovial antipodeans in evidence, which added to an already relaxed atmosphere.
A walk round the outside of the buildings reveals peeling paint and rotting woodwork in the vast expanse of conservatory that is the restaurant. It is earnestly to be hoped that the shareholders' dividend is not funded from a lack of maintenance on the properties. Come on, bosses, loosen the purse-strings to local management. The pool of water on the window-sill beside table 39 at breakfast on Monday 10th August will not have been the only incidence of water ingress to the conservatory area after a few showers overnight. Whilst the wallet is open, let the GM have a monthly sum to get a garden contractor in to tame the areas of dense weed and undergrowth that detract from the aesthetic opportunity afforded by the site as a whole. His remit might even be extended to the removal of moss and creeper from the roofs of the bedroom blocks!
The hotel displays a Four AA Star sign at Reception: why? It is not suggested for a moment that this rating was not properly awarded but the question remains unanswered. It really isn't Four-Star:-
• Not a mention of help with luggage on check-in.
• Rooms and bath / shower rooms are both on the small side.
• No offer of laundry / dry-cleaning in the Guest Services wallet.
• Minimalist approach to bathroom toiletries.
• No room-safe.
• No linen in the restaurant: i.e. no tablecloths and only paper serviettes.
• Restaurant chairs are a motley collection associated more with a junk shop than with interior design.
None of the above is or should be a problem to the target-market guest. Management and staff are good at what they do and clearly satisfy the needs and wants of most of their guests most of the time…………………………………… but not at a four-star level. Is this another quirk of the remote bosses in the Bury St. Edmunds Head Office?
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- Also Known As:
- Cedars Hotel Barnstaple