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“Cottages at Lovelady”

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Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel
Ranked #2 of 14 Alston B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Ware, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Cottages at Lovelady”
Reviewed 27 July 2012

What a wonderful place, peaceful, stunning scenery, and luxury accommodation. What more can you ask for? Local amenities are very good, pubs, shops and touristy things are all available .Thoroughly enjoyed our stay and our dog was wellcome too!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank hayley_henderson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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661 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (154)
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English first
Sandbach
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2012

We stayed 2 nights with friends and yes it is in the middle of nowhere but that was what we wanted, we were doing some walking and sightseeing in the area. They couldn't fit us in the hotel so gave us a cottage in the grounds which was beautiful and the beds were really comfortable. We found the staff friendly and helpful and they have some very good chefs there, I can honestly say I have never had such amazing food and they deserve all the awards they have won.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
4 Thank 157LB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 26 July 2012
Dear 157LB,
Grumps here, what is this?
Beautiful rooms, comfortable beds, amazing food-are you sure you are talking about Lovelady?
You'll be telling us that the grumpy old B****r is a nice guy next!
Havn't you read the awful reviews?
I must admit that we had almost lost the will to live after the last couple of vitreolic outpourings.
So, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We will carry on a bit longer!
Sincerely
Grumps
(alias Peter Haynes)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
preston
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2012

when I spoke with the owner he said he would uprade my room as they had not got my booking details he said 1st night would be in a double suite with plush decor! oh deary me! what is plush to you the owner! it was awfull we thought we was in the loft lol the room was smelly and the bathroom dirty! we was dreading the second nites stay infact we was going to depart but after talking it over we said he could be a better room! Oh my god how wrong we was room 3 I wouldnt have let my dog in it there please take the wood chip paper off the walls the tv on a window sill? that you couldnt even see, thank god it was a lovely day!!! the pictures show a lovely bedroom maybe it could be the owners lol!!!! to sum this hotel up stay clear!! it is a xxxx hole will not ever return

Room Tip: not room 3
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank ellejaipreston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 27 July 2012
Hello reviewers, Grumps here...again!

We do wish we could have some fair reviews that accurately reflect our business.

Should you look through our reviews we have never had such a damming report so what has gone wrong?

Well let us answer a few things for you.

First as we have said before if you book a late deal you cannot expect the best room in the property. We utterly refute their opinion of the first night (as do most of our guests) with regard to the quality of the room. Now, whilst it was true that we did not have two consecutive nights available we did have another room they could move into the following day. This was explained and they agreed to do this.

Now you need to be a hotelier..... what would you do if your cleaning staff say that they had been smoking in the room they vacated? It was touch and go whether it would be ready for the next visitor. Would you upgrade them or would you put them in your least favoured room?

As we were away that weekend our staff, rather than be confrontational, chose the latter.

If properties have a no smoking policy (and with 12 bedrooms we cannot be anything but) the guests have to respect the needs of others.

No, Alison H you got what you deserved!

....and they got the rooms 'round the wrong way Room 5 is the room with the chipboard and television on the ledge. we affectionatly call it "the prison cell".

It will be completely refurbished next month (even the wood chip!) into a treatment room and we will be offering beauty treatments, massage, nails etc...

Sadly we will not be inviting these guests to try it out.

Hopefully, you, the readers will.
Grumps
(alias Peter Haynes)
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Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 July 2012

In the absolute middle of nowhere and our Sat Nav guided us up several 'goat-tracks' before we found a friendly local who took us to it... Lesson 1, rely on a printed road map and chuck the SN in the glove box. The approach 'road' up to the hotel is so pitted with pot-holes (some very deep) I am surprised our little car didn't disappear down one of them... perhaps the terrible rainfall recently has had something to do with it but I do think the hotel should make an attempt to fill them in. The hotel itself is old-fashioned chintzy manor house style with jumbled era's in decor to make it feel comfortable and welcoming. Charming in some ways and missing the point in others. For example, the bar has no cask beers or on tap ale but plenty of bottled stuff/wine/whiskies/sherries and the library can offer books and DVD's of dated variety. (Warning! Drinks are VERY expensive - their local competitor is far more reasonable...).Our bathroom was tired, jaded and a bit mouldy, room clean and tidy, while the tea and coffee making facilities in the room (Room 1) needed a juggle for table space to achieve a successful brew (the plug for the kettle was no where near the small table-top facilities box so I unplugged a light across the other side of the room).The (huge) bed was so soft I felt like I was sleeping on marshmallow which my husband thought marvellous but so-so for me - but that was okay for just 2 nights. Staff all extremely friendly and plentiful during the day (if you cannot see anyone around just ring the bell/buzzer in the library for attention). Staff absent at night after the last guest has retired- you need to dial 600 at night in case of emergencies (the staff do not live-in and there is no one bar the guests on site overnight). Now I come to the food. Hmmm - chef thinks he is starring in an episode of Master Chef. Slate as plates; odd little preserving jars presenting some parts of the dish...artistic but not always enhancing the flavour of the dish. Some hits, some failures. My constructive comment is that not EVERYTHING needs to be 'de-constructed' and perhaps some 'rustic' dishes on the menu would be advisable for the hungrier diner? Husband enjoyed the lamb dish. We both enjoyed the breakfasts. Can't fault the puddings myself but one lady guest told me she had tried the 7 course 'taster' menu... not so successful she thought. She had to wait some time between each (small) course. She greatly anticipated the chocolate (mousse?) sweet but was greatly disappointed to see it just presented on a spoon. No bowl required as the portion was so tiny. I saw the portions offered for the earlier courses and would concur that the word 'taster' is an absolute definition - so be warned if you are a Hungry Horace! Wine. Hotel prides itself (well the wine list does) on being a connoisseur. Staff uninformed when asked what would be suitable for the courses chosen and referred me to 'Peter' (owner). Met Peter twice, once at arrival and lastly at departure. Conspicuous by his absence. Left to our own devices and flowery descriptions in the menu... Garden is slightly overgrown and a bit wild but lovely with croquet lawn (grass too long to play and weather not conducive to it anyway). Please remove the cigarette butts from the outside table, swimming in a flooded ash tray...yuck. Fountain playing (despite the rain!! I thought this was delightfully eccentric, especially when it ceased once the sun came out...lol). Little river bubbling by the hotel front is scenic and would make a great walk alongside it into Alston town when the weather is better - we didn't dare try it as we were warned that the banks had given way in places due to the recent rainfall. A good Spar supermarket in Alston (new) for supplies if you want them. Alston itself is quaint and cobbled. Narrow gauge railway a short trip but a delight. So, would I stay again? Yes, I would. On a deal, not full price. Would eat out on an evening at their competitor if staying more than one night or needing a hearty meal and especially if wanting to drink and not pay way over the odds. Love the Lovelady Shield for its quirks and quaintness. Thanks for an interesting trip into Cumbria!

Room Tip: Ask to see the room before checking into it and taking time to choose...they don't mind.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank alison h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 19 July 2012
Grumps responding.

Well where do we begin?

We are truly sorry for the weather. I will have a word with God and ask him to make the rain stop.

When he does we will refill the drive yet gain and believe it or not the gardener has managed to get out there and strim (as he cannot get his sunken lawn mower from the quagmire that is the lawn!)

We also apologise that the ash trays keep filling up with water. It would be better if guests did not smoke but we do take the point.

As we have stated before our beds are V sprung, and some are set as hard, some medium and some soft. All, however are fully supportive and come with lifetime guarantees.

As to the food. Yes you are right, a taster menu is exactly that but Hungry Horace would not get through seven full to bursting platefuls. The idea is to enjoy both the visual and taste of each course.

Finally we respectfully wish to point out we are not a pub and therefore do not have cask ales. We simply do not have the demand. What we do have is a wonderful selection of local brewed ales in bottles. Our wines start from £17.50 which we think competes favourably with most pubs. Our measures are 35ml not the cheaper 25ml as served in pubs......and yes you get what you pay for. so, if your idea of heavan is a snake and pigmy pie with loads of chips, beans and gravy washed down by pints of cask ale, then, no, this is not the place for you. If, however, you want a meal that is crafted with thought, care and presented to please the eye as well as the stomach, washed down with a carefully selected wine that will complement your dinner then we are for you!

Finally old Grumps cannot work seven nights a week 52 weeks a year. I bet you have days off?

Grumps has got it off his chest again!
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Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2012

Recently stayed one night en route home, taking advantage of a voucher for a free nights stay. Chose the hotel as the pictures looked lovely and it stated it was child friendly as we had our 2 year old son with us. We arrived and were surprised at how secluded it actually is....it is in the middle of nowhere. Our room was OK...view not great, but clean enough. We had read the reviews on the restaurant and fancied trying it. We were put off however as the hotel guidebook in our room stated that 'children under 7 were not encouraged to be in the restaurant unless they were especially well behaved'....I found this rather off putting and don't know any parent who could guarantee such a thing! Child friendly? I think not. We therefore dined in the nearest village in another hotel that welcomed kids. The hotel was very peaceful, there was virtually no noise or atmosphere, I would suggest it is suitable for people wanting to have total peace and quiet. We did not stay for breakfast as if my son wasn't welcome at dinner, we would take our custom elsewhere. I wouldn't return personally but again if seclusion and quiet is your thing, go for it.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank mazzaghirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 19 July 2012
Hmmm....indeed.

As anybody reading reviews of this venue will know that the thing that stands out is first, the true ambience of being in a perfect quiet setting and the quality of the dining experience.

Indeed these guests wanted to have the dinner following the "wonderful reviews".

Now imagine a seven or four course dinner, carefully crafted, and taking anywhere from between 1-2hrs before you leave the table. (No we don't do beefburgers or pizza), this is serious eating and is "slow food".

Now imagine again loads of children running 'round-no it does not work. So that is why we have the over 7 rule. Sometimes we do have parents whose children are a complete delight but it is rare.

...and yes we are child frendly-we even have some of our own!

We provide high teas as an alternative for the younger ones who don't want the "stuffy" grown up food and they often retire to bed with a complementary dvd and have a wonderful time! This works for the vast majority of families.

Breakfasts are a time for all guests and everyone is welcome.

Methinks that there was more to this review.....

Grumps
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Manchester
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 July 2012

Last minute decision to book here, and so glad we did. Our room was large and comfortable (a bit tired) and when the hot water didn't work they immediately gave us the key to use another room. The surroundings are lovely and peaceful and it's a really nice walk along the river into Alston. We had a half-price deal for accommodation and to be honest if we'd paid full price we'd have been disappointed. But the food was the star of the show, probably the best we've ever had. I've eaten in Michelin star places which weren't as good. We stayed there over a month ago and I still think about the kedgeree for breakfast! Although they didn't have kippers either morning, and my husband's eggs florentine were distinctly over-cooked the second morning. The petits fours with coffee were beautiful, and probably the bargain of the year. Service, although friendly, could be a little slicker. The hotel is halfway on a journey we make often so we'd definitely stay again, esp as we know about the gourmet deals which we'll look out for!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank sauzie123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 19 July 2012
Once in a while we get reviews that give us that warm feeling of a job well done. This is one of those occassions. Thank you so much-bargain of the year, Michekin standard....words fail us!
we look forward to your return.
Sicereley.
Peter and Marie Haynes
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Rugby, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 July 2012

During June2012 my wife and I toured Cumbria and the south of Scotland. Only for 8 days and the weather was some of the worst we have encountered.Fortunately we had been able to plan a bit of a gastronomic treat and stayed at high quality hotels. All were really excellent and we enjoyed everyone ( see other reviews) However there is always a winner and overall Lovelady shield in our opinion is it. We did not even meet the owner, which is unusual, but we think he had his mind on other things such as an AA food inspector to give them an extra star. The hotel and grounds are even just a little tired but something about the welcome, the surroundings and especially the 8 course taster menu we had just took the biscuit, combined with the best full Cumbrian breakfast I certainly have ever had . Try this place you will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: Its not just a hotel room you are booking you must enjoy the food too. That is more than just excell...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank benno448
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 3 July 2012
Dear Benno,

Thank you so much for your kind comments.
It makes such good reading after the previous review. It really does puzzle us sometimes when guests such as yourselves say our food is so good and then the next says its tasteless. How is a restauranter to make sense of it all?
Believe us when we say we are so grateful.
Come back to "The Winner" soon!
Kind regards.
Peter and Marie Haynes
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Additional Information about Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel

Property: Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel
Address: Lovelady Lane, Alston CA9 3LX, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Alston
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Alston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Lovelady Shield Country Hotel
Lovelady Shield Country Alston
Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel Alston, Cumbria

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