We booked the hotel for the murder mystery evening, having over nighted in the hotel in January while attending a family event.
The reception was warm and friendly and information given regarding the murder mystery evening ahead. A standard room came with the murder mystery package and after staying in a superior room last time was a disappointment, clean and tidy but very cramped ok for one night but I wouldn't have wanted to stay longer. The bathroom was adequate but with the space a shower rather than a bath with over shower would have been better, the shower was underpowered.
We arrived to make use of the spa facilities but were disappointed, the facilities themselves are quite good if a little stark. However the whole place was packed with women, it was impossible to get into the sauna or steam room for a good half an hour and the hot tub was full for the hour we were there, no one was sitting in it they just dangled their feet in while they chatted! As the facilities are available for day use and to local members there is simply not enough space for hotel guests. This continues into the other facilities of the hotel with insufficient lounge space some guests had to sit in the dining area after dinner and queues for tables at breakfast.
We had a drink in the attached stables bar, which was pleasant and the bar staff very friendly mentioning it was cheaper to buy a bottle than get three glasses of wine.
Now to the main event , we had been advised to arrive at 7 for dinner at 7.30 which we duly did having been to such events before and finding clues to the mystery early in the evening. However the arrival at 7 appeared to be to allow the bar queue to clear as no drinks were served to tables, there were plenty of staff on duty but they and the breakfast staff, seemed in the main untrained and unsure what to do. The room itself was a little bland, usual conference facility and quite cold. In addition the acoustics echoed and made it difficult to follow conversation, not ideal, when trying to follow events. The murder mystery itself was ok if difficult to follow because of the noise and we did not see one of the main protagonists until the last min, it did go on too long, but that may have been hunger, and the second solution so obvious we dismissed it.
Dinner was finally served at 8pm, we had pre selected from a small and quite bland menu, one of our party had the soup which he described as bland and Luke warm, the pate was ok but arrived with the smallest piece of toast I have ever seen (we had eaten the bread buns on the table in desperation while waiting). After a long wait the main course arrived the sliver of salmon and two tiny potatoes would not have fed a toddler adequately, the chicken the better option but only consisted of a over cooked chicken breast and small piece of potato. Pudding both the choc tort and the apple pie were cloyingly sweet and were left by most people.
Breakfast was nice well cooked and plentyful if erratic, on ordering the full English some members of the party got hash browns some didn't, that was after being presented with another tables breakfast twice, having to go and repeat the order for coffee by finding someone and waiting nearly an hour for food.
This hotel could be good, but we left feeling disappointed, and hungry its shooting way above its ability.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Attractive Georgian Country House with original portions dating from 1540, set in 69 acres of park & woodlands. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hall Garth Golf And Country Club Hotel Darlington
- Hall Garth Hotel And Country