** Hotel located in very beautiful countryside and drive up to it is very pretty with sheep in fields either side.
** Hotel has lovely gardens with a fountain in the middle and is located alongside a lovely river.
** Not easy to find hotel as it is set back from the main drive from Alston.
** Turning into the hotel grounds the first thing you see is a cage which houses recycling bins and rubbish.
** Not a lot of parking for the cars when the hotel is full.
** Initial thoughts were that the manager who greeted us was very busy but we did not feel that we were being made particularly welcome. She told us that there were no hand towels in our room but that they would be put in place in due course. We were asked if we would be dining in the hotel, which we thought we would be, and were presented with an evening menu even before we had been shown our room.
** We briefly went into our room to leave our suitcases and returned downstairs to order lunch.
** As we had arrived earlier than expected we decided to order lunch of soup and sandwiches. We decided not to sit in the lounge area as it was very cold in there and a couple of guests were already in there eating with big coats on. We plumped for the bar area as it had a small table to eat on. The food was delivered in a timely fashion. The sandwiches were very nice. However, the soup was barely warm and the rolls were stale. We contacted the manager and she came out and agreed that the soup was warm and the rolls were stale and although she said she would replace them she offered no apology. On bringing the replacement food out to us she dropped a roll on the floor and shouted out very loudly “BUG**R!” for all the guests to hear. We did not think this was very professional and indeed some guests may have been offended by this, but no apology was offered for the outburst. The replacement food was nice and we then enjoyed our meal. Throughout our lunch the male manager kept coming in and out of the bar area. Eventually, he said very loudly for the guests to hear “that’s me finally finished here now”. He really sounded as if he was unhappy working there and it was such a chore but the guests didn’t care and again this displayed a lack of professionalism on his behalf. Another couple sitting next to us had to check up on their food and when the manager came out to serve the food she alluded to a lack of staff. By this time we had been there less than an hour and already we were starting to feel uncomfortable and decided that we would not have our evening meal in the hotel and would look elsewhere.
** We went back up to our room. The bed was very comfortable and we noticed that the room was furnished with quality furniture and furnishings and the room itself was generally clean.
** However, we discovered that the window frames in the bedroom were covered in thick black mould, the shower had mould around the grouting, and the air vent in the bathroom had not been cleaned for some time, having thick black dust clinging to it (photographs of these have been uploaded above). We also shared the bedroom with several spiders during our stay although they were luckily well behaved and they stayed on the ceiling until the morning we left when for some reason they all decided to expand their webs.
** The ‘towels’ that were in our room were clean but so shabby and worn with the edges hanging off I took them back to the reception and asked them to be changed. We would not have used them on an animal. It was an absolute insult to guests who were in what was supposed to be a £160 per night room.
** When we first turned on the radiator it was extremely loud with lots of banging and water noises coming from it. We actually thought it was leaking water into the bedroom and it sounded like we were sitting in the bathroom with the water flowing at full pelt. This went on for about 5 minutes. The radiator in the bathroom did not work.
** After reading reviews on Trip Advisor we realise that we did not by any means have the worst room in the hotel, but it left much to be desired.
** Breakfast was superb. There was plenty of choice and it was served promptly.
** On departing the hotel my husband asked me to collect the receipt. He normally sorts these things out so I presumed he had already paid the bill for our lunch and a couple of tins of coca cola as the hotel already had our credit card details. The manager gave me the receipt and I took it out to the car and showed it to my husband. We were ready to set off when the manager came over to the car to request payment for the bill. My husband then told me he hadn’t paid so I went back in and paid the bill. Rather embarrasing, but it was sorted out quickly and without fuss. I will make sure my husband deals with this in future. However, on driving out of the hotel we did realise that although we had seen the manager on several occasions this was the first time he had spoken to us and we did think that it would have been nice if he had made as much effort to make conversation during our stay. Hey ho!
** Notwithstanding the first offering of lunch, the food we received was really good. However, the unclean areas of the bedroom described above need some TLC to get it back on track. The awards that the hotel has received are mostly from 2006 (6 years ago). We were on a deal which was supposedly worth £320. We have stayed at a lot better hotels which are also located in nice surroundings for less than that.
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- Also Known As:
- Lovelady Shield Country Hotel
- Lovelady Shield Country Alston
- Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel Alston, Cumbria