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“A very mixed experience”
Review of The Bell Inn

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The Bell Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Brook
Reviewed 9 April 2012

We chose the Bell very carefully, using Trip Adviser (and other) reviews, and particularly for its well-praised AA** restaurant, "Briscoes", as we enjoy quality food.
We had booked in January via Booking.com for 3 nights over Easter at standard room rate of £90pn, inc breakfast. Arriving at 2.30pm on Good Friday, we were given a small, plain room, nothing like the photo on the web. When we complained, we were told it was already an upgrade to "Traditional" from the "Cosy" offered by Booking.com. We knew nothing of such gradings, and stuck to our guns that it was not as advertised. Without too much fuss (maybe they expected it?) we were offered a much larger, nicer room, which we were very pleased with.
We had booked a table for dinner on arrival, but when we went to look for "Briscoes" and couldn't find it, the Receptionist admitted it no longer exists, and has been "integrated" into the pub, likewise its menu. We were devastated by this, as it was a crucial part of our choice.
However, we thought we'd give it a chance, and picked a nice table in a side area furthest from the bar. There were few diners. We sat down at 8.30, ordering at 8.40 from the rather meagre menu, but when we enquired as to the delay at 9.10, the waitress admitted forgetting to put our order in. By the time we received it at 9.35, we were past it, and didn't enjoy it - it was nothing special anyway. In recompense, they waived the wine bill, and, subsequently, the meal itself, but it spoiled our evening.
We avoided it on the Saturday evening by going to the excellent Green Dragon, just across the road, enjoying a lovely meal in a nicely-buzzing pub atmosphere, but their food service finished at 6pm on Sunday, so, without driving, we had no option but dine at the Bell again.
I'm delighted to say it was a totally different and thoroughly enjoyable experience - a better menu, well-presented and timely.
Throughout our stay, even with the problems, we found all the staff friendly and anxious to help, with none of the reluctance mentioned by other reviewers. I feel rather guilty writing this critical review, because everyone was so nice.
In summary, I think something major has changed. Although they denied a change of management, we heard rumours of big changes in the food arrangements, and they were turning people away on Sunday evening, although there were lots of empty tables, because the kitchen was overstretched.

Room Tip: Rooms on the front (even numbers, I think) suffer road noise if windows are open.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank bigal257
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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688 - 694 of 762 reviews

Reviewed 29 March 2012

This hotel/restaurant was an offer that we took up as we wanted to go to Paultons Park - Peppa Pig World..
I expected a standard room but when I opened the door I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the room.. Very spacious.. The bed was enormous and so comfortable.. We had all the amenities we needed and also, was pleasantly surprised by the size of our bathroom.. Staff were friendly and helpful - I really would recommend this as a place to stay whilst visiting the New Forest..
Can I just say, our friends were also staying at the Bell Inn and their room wasn't as nice as ours - their bathroom needed updating so just a word of advice - don't be afraid to ask for another room if you're not happy with the one they've put you in.. We definitely had a streak of luck and by having the room we had, I would go back...
PS: food was really nice as well.. again, staff were very pleasant and helpful...

Room Tip: Can't remember our room number but it was upstairs and overlooking the road - the front of the B...
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Joanne L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2012

|The Bell is set in the New Forest next to a golf club. The views are over the course and woodland beyond.
The service throughout the hotel is excellent, the menu is not vast but very good, the restaurant service is excellent. In the bar the ales are well kept and fairly priced. The warm and cosy room will greet you after a good meal and a couple of the local ales.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank Vostro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2012

My other half got us a weekend away using travelzoo vouchers. I think she said they cost £150 or so, and it included 2 nights, 2 breakfasts, 1 full dinner, and a cream tea on arrival. Great value, I think. The hotel was very clean, the room was super spacious, and I thought we might have gotten upgraded for whatever reason, but when i took a look at the floor plan of the hotel, I realised that our room was one of the smaller ones, So im really impressed. The location is really good, quite near to most New Forest attactions, and for lunch we popped over to the pub accross the road (The green dragon I think). The food at the Bell Inn was amazing. I would advise anyone thinking of going here to jump at the change. I didnt play any golf, but the course looked really nice.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank savageflash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2012

My partner bought me a stay at the Bell Inn for my Christmas present. He used a Travelzoo voucher to buy the gift and assures me that it was very good value for money because of this. The food was absolutely stunning - we thoroughly enjoyed our 3 course a la carte meal in the restaurant preceded by canapes in the bar. The one minor thing that let the Bell down was the attitude of a couple of members of staff. We were greeted on our arrival by a very "snooty" receptionist who was quite rude when she realised we didn't have our booking code instantly to hand - not a great first impression. Then, when we arrived for breakfast the following morning (half an hour before the end of the stated breakfast hours) the restaurant manager was quite disapproving that we had arrived so late! In contrast the following morning we were first down to breakfast and had to wait half an hour because they weren't ready for us. However the waiters (Miguel and Alfonso), cleaners and other members of staff were absolutely lovely, helpful and friendly.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kellee P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2012

WOW we had a travelzoo voucher to use for the Bell Inn at Bramshaw so as we were staying in the area we decided to stay there for our Wedding Anniversary and what a fantastic time we had!! The staff were all very very helpful and pleasant and nothing was too much trouble for them !! we had a cream tea which was delicious and then in the evening I had ordered a surprise bottle of Champagne for my Hubby and myself to enjoy and the staff kept the secret beautifully!! the food was absolutely wonderful and also our breakfast was good as well. We will return to this great place and hopefully get room 21 again which was at theback of the hotel but looking on too the golf course. Agreat stay with good company and great food thankyou too you all

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank theoldsWeymouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2012

You would be mad not to give this a look,the staff are so friendly and helpful the food is out of this world and the location is breath taking would and will be going back .

Room Tip: There is no bad rooms
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Rob H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Bell Inn

Address: Roger Penny Way, Brook, New Forest SO43 7HE, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Hampshire > New Forest > Brook
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Brook
Price Range: £96 - £129 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Bell Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to The Bell Inn, which has been part of my family since 1782. Inside we have made stylish updates to our historic New Forest hotel without spoiling any of its traditional and rustic charm. With open fireplaces, flagstone floors, elegant reception rooms and two superb 18-hole golf courses we are unlike other hotels in Hampshire. With nature’s larder on the doorstep our team of talented chefs create seasonal specials, mouth-watering menus, and have unique access to game from our family’s New Forest estate – a true ‘Estate to Plate’ dining experience. Whether staying in one of our 28 tasteful rooms, enjoying local ale whilst relaxing on comfortable sofas in our dog friendly bar, dining with us exploring the flavours of the New Forest or playing a round of golf on our New Forest Hotel's oldest course, we look forward to welcoming you to this timeless and magical place. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Bell Hotel New Forest

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