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“The Compleat Angler, Marlow - in a class of its own”

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Macdonald Compleat Angler
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Marlow
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 27 March 2012

The first time we visited the Compleat Angler we expected it to be stuffed to the gills with antique furniture and Art Nouveau fixtures and fittings.
It has some nice wood panelling and ornate stained glass windows but its decor is more faded House & Gardens than stately home grandeur.
The real gem of this hotel is the setting on the river bank, close to Marlow Lock and the weir, opposite All Saints church, nestling beneath the 19th suspension bridge and downriver from another historic town, Henley-on-Thames.
We are drawn to the place and keep going back and when we do we seem to continuously bump into other familiar faces also on a return visit.
This is because the hotel it is just lovely, very comfortable and the food is fantastic.
From breakfast to afternoon tea, from dinner in Bowaters to room service nothing disappoints.
Bowaters isn’t too fine dining or fussy, the portions are just right and there is always lots of choice.
There is an alternative restaurant at the Compleat Angler called Aubergine which boasts award-winning European cuisine and says ‘guests can be assured of a gastronomic experience in calming surroundings’, we will get around to trying it out.
Apart from its setting the other thing which sets the Compleat Angler in a class of its own is its staff.
They are always friendly and professional and they make you feel special, as does the boss Gaius Wyncoll who was celebrating his 40th birthday during our stay.
When we first booked we thought all our fellow guests would all be upper crust gentry but in this age of austerity the hotel seems to attract its share of the corporate class especially midweek.
These get mixed with some society weddings guests and those on walking holidays although the odd person does give the impression they have just stepped off the pages of a PG Wodehouse book.
The bar prices like many hotels these days are pretty steep - £36 for an ordinary bottle of Sauvignon Blanc but it does come with its own ice-bucket!
On Thursday evening we ate in the Bowaters restaurant named after Sir Ian and Lady Bowater, who owned the hotel from 1932-1980, there were six starters on the menu.
We chose the cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup and the terrine of John Ross JR smoked salmon, the latter is served on Melba toast with watercress sauce and both were delicious.
My husband plumped for the vegetarian option for his main course, a ravioli of woodland mushrooms in a Sakura cress and tarragon sauce and I opted for the pot-roast breast of guinea fowl with confit potato, braised Savoy cabbage with pancetta, celeriac and parsley mash and Madeira jus.
Mine was a work of art and he licked his platter clean.
The cost for two courses is a reasonable £32 per person but as we were booked for DBB we found that £17.50 was added to our final bill plus the discretionary 12.5 per cent service charge.
Not sure how this works but think the side dishes are charged as extras although I didn’t think we had ordered any?
There were five desserts plus a selection of British cheeses which come with a supplement charge of £5.
As we were stuffed and couldn’t eat another thing we retired to the lounge but unfortunately my ice-bucket and alcohol got lost on route so we retired to bed minus a nightcap.
As Elite Club members (we stay often) we usually get upgraded to an executive room which comes with a bath – and if you are lucky a separate shower.
Although the rooms are smaller we prefer the older wing especially the double-aspect rooms with river views – it is also a short stumble upstairs from the bar which is great late at night.
Exciting plans are afoot to build 31 new bedrooms, upgraded function and meeting facilities and a new reception area although there is no start date for the work to begin and some ‘locals’ opposed the proposals fearing flooding and traffic congestion.
Providing the cupboards and wine cellar is well stocked I would happily be stranded by high water or a highway/waterway barrier at the Compleat Angler for many more nights.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Carol D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,919 - 1,925 of 2,112 reviews

Reviewed 25 March 2012

This is our second visit to this hotel and stayed on saturday night.
Our room was - a standard double room- very good size and nicely decorated, very clean and comfortable with a decent size bathroom.
Plenty of free parking which was a bonus.
We had an evening meal with friends in the Boathouse restaurant. On our last trip (2 months ago)we had a dinner in the restaurant and that time restaurant looked like a canteen with a terrible table settings and the lack of athmosphere.
But this time we were amazed with the change. Flowers and candles on the table light was dimmed and it was a very romantic athmosphere with the beatifull river setting. What a transformation?
Our meal was superb and we could not fault the service.Manager was very attentive and checked our table on many different occasions if we were okay.
Management and and staff was extremely helpful and friendly arrival to departure we had a fantastic service. We could not ask for more.
We would certainly like to return this lovely hotel.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank henry71186419
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2012

I lived in the U.K. for many years and used the Compleat Angler often for business meetings and conferences as well as privately over a period of some ten years. Until this past September my last visit was some fifteen years ago. Although the ownership group has changed, the standard of service and quality of facility is the same as that which I patronized and enjoyed so many years prior. The location speaks for itself. The staff first rate. Would we go back? Already booked for Oct. 2012.

Stayed: September 2011
2  Thank John G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2012

Firstly, the location is brilliant. Probbaly one of the best in the country. Secondly the staff are lovely. We came on a business trip and I can honeslty say the staff were incredibly attentive. Thirdly the food is excellent (except for the coffee which is appalling). BUT the room I had was faded and cheaply finished. Naff bathroom with cheap fittings and peeling paint and broken venetian blind. Broken handle on mini bar. However, comfy bed, free broadband and did I say good food?

Needs a refurb. Oh and take a sat nav to find your way to your room as signs pathetique - either missing or faded.

Room Tip: ask for a room decorated in last ten years
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank Rusty10000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GWyncoll, General Manager at Macdonald Compleat Angler, responded to this reviewResponded 17 March 2012

Thank you for taking the time to pass on your comments following your recent stay. I was especially pleased to read how friendly you found the team here. It is our intention to go out of our way to look after our guests in an attentive, yet unobtrusive way that makes everyone feel at home. We equally pride ourselves on our high standards of food quality. The products we buy are only the best, however, they are equally prepared by a great team of enthusiastic chefs. I am proud that we have two excellent award-winning restaurants. The rooms were all refurbished in the last 5 years so I am sorry that they were not to your liking. The rooms in the main section of the hotel I could best describe as modern with a classic/traditional twist. The feature rooms are more contemporary. There are clearly a couple of maintenance issues and the poor standard of coffee served on this occasion that I will rectify immediately as this is not the standard that we would wish to portray. I will equally take a look at our signage following your comment here.

I do hope that we will welcome you back to enjoy the great location of the hotel, the food, the service and the ambience of the hotel.

Thank you again and kindest regards,

Gaius Wyncoll
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2012

I chose the hotel as I thought it would be a nice place to celebrate our wedding anniversary and I am delighted to say that we were not disappointed.
I had booked on the internet for a package that included a feature room as well as dinner and breakfast. Shortly after making the booking the hotel called to see what time we wanted dinner which was a nice touch. They also called a few days before we were due to arrive to see if I wanted to arrange any flowers or chocolates so I asked for flowers and my wife had a lovely bouquet in the room when we got there

From the moment we checked in the whole stay was a most enjoyable experience. We were taken to our room and they even offered to valet park the car if we wished. The room was lovely and very well furnished with two very large flat screen TV’s. One in the bedroom and one in a separate sitting area with a settee and comfy chairs and it had magnificent views over the weir at Marlow. The room was of a good size with a lovely comfortable bed. We had a large two sink bathroom and a Jacuzzi bath tub which worked as well as a separate shower. The room had a separate closet area where there was a wardrobe as well as a table with tea and coffee making facilities and a trouser press. There was a safe but that appeared not to work as there were no batteries in it, but it didn’t bother me as I didn’t use it. There was a stocked fridge (hotel prices) as well as a free bottle of water. Internet is free via a telephone cable link but wifi is charged for in your room but free in the reception area. I think that these days wifi really should be free and available in your room

That evening we ate in the hotel restaurant and the food was in our opinion exceptionally good and enjoyable. Service was delivered discreetly and yet friendly and the room overlooked the Thames and the church that was lit up on the other side of the river. A really lovely setting to have an anniversary meal.

The following day we had a hearty cooked breakfast before wandering round Marlow which is very convenient to get to on foot just over the historic suspension bridge next to the hotel. The town has some lovely shops and eating places. We also wandered over to the lock at Marlow as well as taking in Mary Shelly’s house as well as the Two Brewers of Three Men in a Boat fame. We thought it was a really nice town almost with a 1950’s unspoilt feel to it.

I always say in my reviews that a good hotel is one that recovers a negative situation however small or large. On this stay we were a little disappointed that the bathroom toiletries were a bit on the lean side for a hotel of this class with just one tiny shower bottle and one tiny shampoo bottle with no moisturising cream. However, when my wife mentioned it in passing to the women on reception when we got back to our room some more had been placed there as well as some moisturising cream. Well done that woman!

I would certainly recommend this hotel and the staff were very helpful and always willing to oblige. Lisa on reception was lovely and made us really welcome making it an excellent way to enjoy our wedding anniversary celebration. Thank you.

Room Tip: Get a room overlooking the weir or the river
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank charnwoodfield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2012

The conference office (Jennie) were really good in the preparations in the months before the meeting, nothing was to much trouble. On the night of the meeting the conference manager and his staff were really professional and made the evening run really smoothly. In nparticular my compliments go to the chef as the food for the event was amazing and lots of my guests commented on how good the food was. The actual venue is absolutely charming highly recommend for any business meeting.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank Casalucas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2012

The compleat Angler is a beautiful hotel, with a great location. It over looks the river and is just a short walk into the town.
The food is amazing! and the rooms are of a good standard
definitely the place to stay if you are having a trip to marlow for business or leisure

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank KarenV22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Macdonald Compleat Angler

Address: Marlow Bridge, Marlow SL7 1RG, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Buckinghamshire > Marlow
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Marlow
Price Range: £131 - £254 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Compleat Angler 4*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Named after Izaak Walton's famous book on angling, the beautiful four-red star Macdonald Compleat Angler is idyllically located on the banks of the River Thames. The hotel is just a short walk from the Georgian town of Marlow, 10 minutes drive from the M4 and just over an hour away from Central London by train. Beautiful both inside and out, enjoy mouthwatering meals from the recently refurbished, three AA rosette-awarded Riverside Restaurant overlooking Marlow Weir or delicious afternoon tea on the terrace. Alternatively, dine in Sindhu by Michelin-starred Indian Chef, Atul Kochhar. For meetings, strategy days or conferences, our meeting facilities are ideal and our 2 brand new SMART board technology board rooms perfect for inspiring great ideas. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Macdonald Compleat Angler Marlow
Macdonald Compleat Angler Hotel Marlow

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