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“Relaxing, idyllic riverside setting - classic English”

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Macdonald Compleat Angler
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Marlow
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 31 May 2014

I absolutely recommend this wonderful place! Less than an hour's drive from the hustle and bustle of London and you're in the idyllic settings of charming Marlow, a true gem of the old English riverside. The Compleat Angler became the perfect getaway for a weekend full of sunshine with our 13 year old Jack Russel, Pumpkin. My parents had stayed at this well known hotel over 40 years ago and on our return there just recently, my mother was delighted at the new refurbishments which brought the place up to the needs of present day travellers/guests with all the amenities such as internet connections in the rooms etc. The hotel was also still extremely dog friendly, which made our stay very comfortable and enjoyable. We were given a very warm welcome as we drove up to the property. Robert, the friendly bell captain made a huge fuss of our little dog, helped us with our bags and valet parked my car while we checked in. Our wonderful experience of great hospitality and attention to guest satisfaction continued, when Jemma and Gregg at reception, managed to upgrade us and give us a beautiful feature twin room, with a balcony and view of the river, when it turned out that we had actually been assigned a room atop three flights of stairs(!) This, despite the fact that I had specifically requested a room on a ground or low floor for my mother when I booked through the Macdonald central reservations line. Though they were almost full, due to a wedding going on in the hotel, all the staff were extremely pleasant and professional. Special mention must go to Oliver and Sean, two young waiters who really are a shining example of the old school of professional, good quality service. Courteous, and always with smile, they were always ready to find a way to accommodate our needs. It was lovely to hear the words "Certainly, madam..." rather than "Yeah sure, no problem..."
We thoroughly enjoyed doing absolutely nothing but soaking up the sunshine while sitting on either the terrace out on the river or out on the garden lawn in front of the hotel facing the river and the beautiful church - just watching boats and ducks go past.
Special mention must go to the excellent quality of their tea. Proper leaf tea served to perfection. We would absolutely recommend indulging in an old fashioned cream tea out on the terrace. The hotel's bar food which can also be enjoyed on the terrace, is actually better than the food in the restaurant. Unfortunately, I would have to agree with other reviewers, that our "fine dining" experience was not really up to the mark, given that the hotel is very proud about their restaurant. I would suggest more variety in the restaurant menu, such as adding a daily special menu using fresh ingredients like "soup of the day" and "catch of the day" etc and definitely also more generous portions! The breakfast however, was scrumptious! A good English breakfast is what its all about and at The Compleat Angler, you won't be disappointed. There's even a good vegetarian option of the classic "Fry up" available.
We also took a little boat trip along the river, arranged through the hotel, costing £90 per hour which was really the highlight of our trip. Our captain, Barry, was a very interesting gentleman who knew a lot about the river and the local history. He entertained us with little anecdotes about the riverside and helped us identify the names of all the different birds and ducks we came across on the water. A truly wonderful experience, not to be missed!

Room Tip: The feature rooms in the newer part of the hotel are really lovely as they have a balcony and rivers...
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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Thank squarecircle
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 8 June 2014

Thank you for your detailed and very thorough review of you stay at the hotel. It is such a pleasure to read your comments and see specific members of the team mentioned for their exceptional levels of service. I will have great pleasure in sharing your comments with them and I am sure that they will be greatly encouraged by this.

For your information and other readers, I have appointed a new Head Chef, who joins the hotel shortly and he will be focusing on the restaurant food and making further enhancements. The ‘Breakfast with a view’ continues to be a highlight of a stay at the hotel and of course, is often one of the last impressions of staying with us.

The boat is also a ‘unique selling point’ and it is worth taking advantage of. An hours trip will take you gently upstream to one of the locks and back and there is plenty to see on the way – just don’t forget the bottle of Champagne of jug of Pimms!

I hope that we will see you again.

Kind regards

Gaius Wyncoll
General Manager

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1,525 - 1,531 of 2,071 reviews

Reviewed 28 May 2014

My husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a late lunch in the bar area of this hotel. We generally felt let down as we've experienced far better food at cheaper prices.Guess one is paying for the location and view. The view over the River Thames was undeniably stunning, despite the typical rainy bank holiday Monday.
The service was slow and inefficient. The waiter didn't know the soup of the day or the selection of ice cream flavours available, and basically didn't offer to check. He also forgot to bring the tap water we requested along with our drinks. The staff all seemed unfriendly, even at reception, in fact they all seemed pretty miserable!
We asked about the full afternoon cream tea but we were informed that this wasn't available until 4.30pm - not far from dinner time for someone who generally eats around 6pm! Cream tea without the sandwiches was available from 2.30pm.
We both ordered the home made burgers, one with bacon and the other with blue cheese. The chips tasted rather underdone, but we were starving by the time the food eventually arrived so didn't bother to complain. Afterwards I ordered ice cream (£7.95 for three very small scoops), whilst my husband ordered another latte. I had a soft drink. In total we paid almost £65 pounds, which we considered a lot given the service, quality and quantity of food and staff attention.
Attracting the attention of the staff was very difficult, even at the beginning of our meal given that by point in time it was relatively quiet. There was a general lack of attention to detail, that of the food, service and even the state of the hotel with its flaking painted window frames on the outside. We decided to skip the restaurant, which I'm so glad upon reflection given the above. Food was very expensive, but then I resent having to pay an extra £4 per portion/person on vegetables as well!
Business had picked up considerably by the time we left and it still took an age to pay. I very much resent my card being taken away from my sight in order to get the paying machine and felt compromised as I wanted to say something regarding the security of my card. I feel that it is a 'given' that a customer's card is not taken out of their sight these days as it's unnecessary.
I have always wanted to stop and try the Compleat Angler whenever we've driven past. I have extensively tried all kinds/types of establishments and experienced better for far less in the UK and abroad, so feel somewhat let down. I feel that the Compleat Angler is just aimed at tourists who are generally considered unlikely to return on any kind of regular basis, unlike myself.
Still there's plenty of competition in Marlow...

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank M R
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 8 June 2014

I was very disappointed to learn about your experience which is not the standard of service that we would want anyone to experience. Without wanting to make any excuses, merely an explanation, there should have been more staff on duty on this day – your experience shows that this is the case. I am more than happy to discuss this with you directly if you would like to make contact.

We are also looking into alternatives for the credit card machines as the range of the signal does not reach the external terrace fully and I appreciate your comments with regards to this. Refurbishment quotations are also being gathered to improved elements of this outside space. Please accept my apologies for the disappointment on this occasion. I would encourage you to raise any dissatisfaction at the time with the Bar, Restaurant or Duty Manager.

Kind regards

Gaius Wyncoll
General Manager

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Reviewed 27 May 2014

A great overnight stay started as we arrived late Sunday afternoon, the sun was glistening off the River Thames set underneath one of the nicest smaller road bridges in the UK, the view of the Church and the beautiful waterside properties opposite the hotel make this a very special location.
Varied reports of indifferent service were not visible. The reception and restaurant staff were efficient. The food in the restaurant was very good (beware of strange supplement charges on the Dinner menu - if you have booked Dinner, Bed & Breakfast, this was dealt with very professionally on checking out) the wine list good value. We upgraded to a large river view bedroom which is set in the new part of the hotel. The room was large and well appointed A/C all worked perfectly well. I have stayed in the older parts of the Hotel many years before and can only agree with some of the comments about the heat.
We both had a very enjoyable and memorable stay and we will definitely be returning. If you can get one of those sunny days when you go then I truly believe there is no better location for a relaxing upmarket stay away in England.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank davidnt
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 8 June 2014

Thank you for your great review following your stay with is. I like the sentence ‘the sun was glistening’. The suspension bridge is actually a smaller version of the bridge in Budapest, designed by the same architect and with the River Thames and the Parish Church behind, it is a perfect back drop for a relaxing stay. I am pleased that you enjoyed both the food and the service throughout and I look forward to welcoming you back.

Kind regards

Gaius Wyncoll
General Manager

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Reviewed 27 May 2014

Beautiful hotel_authentic/luxeurious, beautiful room_comfortable/cosy/great interior design, beautiful surroundings_Marlow All Saints Church/Marlow bridge/Marlow countryside. Staff is professional; Thames Valley at its best; Perfect location in Marlow; Delicious cuisine at the restaurant; Just marvellous!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank stanislas360
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 8 June 2014

Thank you for your review. The town is often referred to as ‘Marvelous Marlow’ for the reasons that you have mentioned. I am glad that your stay at the hotel was equal and you were able to dine with us. Come back again soon,

Kind regards

Gaius Wyncoll
General Manager

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Reviewed 25 May 2014

Stayed here for one night for a family celebration. My room was lovely, with a comfortable bed and a beautiful view of the weir. My one complaint is that the room was VERY warm despite having the window open all day. The A/C only cools the room down if it's on high, which I hadn't realised until the early hours of the morning.
Food at dinner was very good. Breakfast was okay, thought very expensive for what it was. However, the fabulous views from the dining room are worth paying for!

I'd love to come back.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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Thank gemoala
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 8 June 2014

Thank you for your review of your enjoyable stay. Some of the front facing Executive rooms can be warmer as they receive the most amount of sun through the day. The climate cooling can help this and we often close the curtains in the rooms to help the temperature. I can’t tell from your review if you bought a package inclusive of breakfast, which means that breakfast is just £15 per person and receives frequent comments about the range and extend of the buffet and the cooked to order breakfast from the kitchen. I am glad that you enjoyed dinner here too and I do hope that we can welcome you back soon.

Kind regards

Gaius Wyncoll
General Manager

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Reviewed 24 May 2014

Stayed for two nights with family, two rooms in total. Reception and front desk service could not have been better, very hot day and met with fruit punch and biscuits. Car parking is large and free of charge. Lunch of braised beef had to be returned as it was dry and obviously "ping ping" food, as confirmed by presence of the "Brakes" delivery van the next day.
Breakfast was extra, at £22+ or slightly cheaper if booked in advance through reception. Breakfast was a disaster, a symphony of errors. Staff who had difficulty with English, errors or omissions with each of four plates of food, hard boiled eggs instead of soft, one plate consisted of one dried up rasher of bacon, half a grilled tomato, beans and forgotten fried bread, another had forgotten Black Pudding, toast was toasted ends of baguette transferred from another table. "Real" toast was requested and we were told that they had to borrow the bread from the restaurant (I don't need to know that) and when it arrived it almost seemed like a protest that they had toasted half a loaf each of brown and white. It was 40 minutes before we got this disastrous breakfast and they were not at all busy (no surprise there!).
The following morning we went out for breakfast and had wonderful food at a third of the cost not 100yards away.
On checkout they tried to charge breakfast for 3 days, yes including day of arrival 4 hours after breakfast had finished and the second day we did not have breakfast, all at the full price and not the pre-booked price.
Back in the early Eighties when I lived locally this place had a wonderful reputation and I was looking forward to staying there, unfortunately this experience means I will not be returning.

Room Tip: Check that the aircon works, our room was too hot even with it turned on all night.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank ukstayer
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 25 May 2014

I am very disappointed to read your review and may I firstly apologise for the poor breakfast service and the dry braised beef. I am guessing that you stayed over the first very hot weekend of the year where I know that the breakfast service was not up to its normal high standard on one specific morning as we tried to serve guests on the outside terrace as well as inside. Please do not take this as an excuse, merely an explanation as this is not normal for us. When booking breakfast in advance of your stay, it is an extra £15 per person, which including VAT, should offer extremely good value for money.

With regards to the food quality, we take great pride in sourcing the best produce. Our beef and lamb is only from Scotland from a high quality supplier called Scotbeef, our eggs are free range, our chickens are British and free range, our pork is from East Anglia, our smoked salmon is John Ross Jr. which has the Royal Warrant. Brakes does supply some dried products, however, they act as the ‘distribution wheels’ for all of our suppliers in order to reduce food miles. The bread used for breakfast is a large bloomer rather than a baguette, however, clearly it needs to be cooked and served properly as toast in the same way that lamb does.

The air conditioning is only climate cooling and reduces the temperature by several degrees. Unfortunately, in higher temperatures, this will not appear to be effective.

I appreciate that the positives highlighted with the reception team and the free car park. Our service is normally consistent across the hotel and I am sorry for your disappointing return visit. I do hope that I can encourage you to return. Please contact me directly and I will oversee the booking personally.

Kind regards

Gaius Wyncoll
General Manager

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Reviewed 20 May 2014

It would be difficult to better this great Thames side location. The hotel has direct frontage on Thames overlooking Marlow Bridge and the weir and lock, opposite the lovely Marlow All Saints Church. Comfortable rooms, excellent breakfasts and good dining in the restaurant with outdoor seating for warm and sunny weather which we were lucky to have. A great hotel to stay for exploring the Thames Path and close by conservation town of Marlow with its many restaurants, pubs and boutique shops. Only downside was the variable service standards, especially during busy times, e.g. orders for drinks an the terrace were forgotten, as well as room service orders that failed to turn up. Access to many of the rooms would be a bit of a trial for the disabled - no lift, stairs and long corridors.

Room Tip: best rooms overlook the Thames but are at a higher price
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Ron G
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 25 May 2014

Thank you for your review following your recent stay with us. I agree that it is difficult to get better in terms of the location, which you can take full advantage in the summer months with walks beside or perhaps a boat along the river. We have a skippered boat to hire for £90 for an hour – perfect to relax and enjoy the scenery with perhaps a bottle of Champagne. I am glad that you found the room comfortable and enjoy dining for breakfast and dinner in our riverside restaurant. I am sorry that there were some inconsistencies in service standards with regards to room service and on the terrace. From our first hot weekend of the year, we have learnt some lessons and conducted further training with our seasonal staff, which is required to cope with the warmer climate. We do have rooms on the ground floor for disabled guests, however, a wheel chair user would have to come across the car park to access the public areas with the lounge, bar and restaurant. I do hope that despite the shortfall experienced that you will return and stay with us again when it would be a pleasure to welcome you.

Kind regards

Gaius Wyncoll
General Manager

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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 - £244 (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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