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“Great looking hotel from the ouside. Disappointing furnishing and service from the inside”

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The Priest House by the River
Certificate of Excellence
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great looking hotel from the ouside. Disappointing furnishing and service from the inside”
Reviewed 22 May 2011

We stayed at the Herron Suite (one of the best rooms at the hotel) after a friend's wedding reception. From the outside, the hotel looked fantastic. Great looking heritge building by the river in a nice old English town. Once we stepped inside the room we were bitterley disappointed. Although suite had a nice living room and 2 TVs, there was no fridge. The worst part was the bizarre layout of the room. Lights to the living room was turned off from the bedroom, there were no obvious power points for the tea making facility (so the tea pot was plugged into a PowerPoint of the floor). The bathroom was small compared to other suites we have stayed in. On top of this there was no WIFI connection at our suite. This is poor value for money given the rate of £232 a night.

To finish with a positive note the breakfast and the service was great the next morning.

  • Stayed May 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ProfDrPaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (163)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2011

I booked a night here with my wife as I liked the quiet river front location and knew the Hand Picked Hotels group to which this belongs to be a good chain I had used before. The front desk were very helpful and friendly on arrival and our first floor room (No 37) was a decent size, clean and fresh (no mini bar) and it all looked and felt very much as I had expected.

But when we decided to stay in and eat we ran into poor service and other problems you don't really expect in a hotel of this class. It was explained when we arrived that due to low occupancy levels the main restaurant was closed and only the brasserie was open that evening. Fair enough and there was still a reasonable choice on the brasserie menu but the wine list was clearly from the main restaurant and had very little under £30 a bottle. We were given a table adjacent to a noisy group who were planning a wedding along with the hotel staff. They were not even eating a meal so it was not exactly a great ambience to enjoy our meal, why weren't this group seated in the bar area? No other table was available we were told although we were eventually moved after an hour. We also had to ask for a replacement side plate as the one set out had not been properly washed.

Service was generally very slow and our first dish arrived 50 minutes after we were seated, the two staff on duty were sevicing other tables as well as consulting with the wedding group. Some bread would have been a nice touch to fill the time and accompany the bottle of wine we had almost finished before the food arrived. It was clearly under staffed that night.

The food when it did arrive was very good so compliments to the kitchen here. At the end of the meal we ordered two Irish coffees but the bar staff had not been trained to make these and had to Google for instructions. It wasn't their fault but what we got had no sugar, no napkin and no little biscuit and at £17 for the two you expect a little better than that, my local curry house could teach them a thing or two!

At breakfast we were made to feel uncomfotable for arriving at 9:15, apparently breakfast finishes at 9:30 but we hadn't been told and not everyone reads the in room manual from cover to cover when they arrive after a long day. Oh and no yogurt of any type at breakfast, yes really.

The management duly apologised when I raised all these issues on checking out and the coffees were deducted from our bill when I asked them to. But I got the distinct impression nothing would be done to address the issues which were surely not just unique to us. If the management wish to contact me I'll be more than happy to suggest how they can ensure future guests don't experience the same poor level of service.

Room Tip: Consider eating out for better value & service
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BitterSweetKicker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level 6 Contributor
244 reviews
161 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 213 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2011

Its a strange one this. Everything about this place makes you think its going to be great. the location, the gardens are kept looking fabulous, the building and the interior of all parts of the hotel are great.
My room was clean and modern and very well decorated. The stylish bathroom added to the quality of the room.
The room had nice bath products, free water and a good tea and coffeee making selection.

So all this should make it good or excellent shouldn't it? Yes it should but it is spoilt for me in too big ways.

1. The evening meal menu excites until you see what is delivered against what you pay.Portions were small and food not cooked well. The food and wine was expensive which would be fine if the quality lived up to the price but it just didn't.

2. The service in almost all parts of my stay was lacking. There seemed to be a lot of young inexperieinced staff that seriously needed better training and supervision. Managers seemed to be hidden away somewhere and unaware of the problems resulting in slow service and lots of mistakes or inappropreate comments.
The evening meal spoilt by incorrect order taking, missing items from the courses which were asked for and failed to arrive, incorrect serving of drinks and lack of knowledge of the food and wine.
Breakfast and lunch wasn't much better, less mistakes but a lack of appropreate interaction with the guests and checking that things were right.

Check in and check out were very efficient but again would benifit from friendly interaction and a run down of the hotel which didn't happen. On colleage being told that the resturant being out of their budget on arrival didn't set his stay off in the right way and seemed totally inappropreate. We probably spent more than anyone staying that day so their assumptions were unwise!

This is a big wedding venue and I can see why. I think I would want to be given the upmost assurance from the manager the the day would match the expectations and price or else the service we experience could seriously spoil your day.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank docscooter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
146 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2011

Stayed here for one night on a business trip to the area. Unfortunately there was a large work group staying there so we were put in the "cottages" across the lane. Nice modern look but very small room. Would have been extremely tight for two and more than one night (as it's a wedding venue I wouldn't want to be getting ready at the same time as a partner!)
The shower room looked great but again very small.
We ate in the restaurant and were the only diners but the waiting staff couldn't have been nicer. The same at breakfast.
Being next to BMI HQ it looks like the hotel is used by airline staff on stopovers so guess this in the week and weddings at weekends are the hotel's main markets.

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Whitby1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derby, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
26 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2011

We stayed here for one night as our friends got married here. After the wedding it was lovely to be able to go back to the room to freshen up ready for the evening.
We had a lovely room with beautiful big double bed, lovely shower and the breakfast was great too.
Our friends wedding was amazing, they had a wonderful day and all the hotel staff did amazing with every last detail to their special day.
Highly recommend.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank get_in_the_van
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2011

Went to the Priest House for lunch with family today. I hadn't been there for about 20 years so was really looking forward to a nice trip down memory lane. The place has been tastefully modernised and it looked great. That is probably my better memory of the day....

Confusion was the order of the day amongst the wait staff. The poor chap who served the 5 of us looked utterly bewildered and confused (maybe it was his first day) and failed to get our order right, we ended up going through it with him a couple of times. We were clearly not the only party who were having issues, the table next to us received starters that they didn't order.

It wasn't particularly busy when we first arrived, but we found ourselves having to prompt the staff to take our order for drinks and had to remind them up missing meals, although at the end of each course they did have the courtesy to ask us if everything was alright.

The food itself was 'okay', not 4 star and probably overpriced. My dessert, a strawberry cheesecake accompanied by a strawberry and pepper salad in balsamic was laughable. Since when did a salad consist of half a strawberry and a dumping of pepper on the side??

This establishment needs to educate its serving staff to be a bit more prompt on service and proactive in ensuring that meals arrive timely, and all at the same time. It would also be greatly improved if the staff didn't have to consult the chef to answer basic menu questions such as which cheeses come with the cheese board?.

The saving grace was that they also managed to stuff up the bill, by at least it was in my favour. Come on Priest House - you can do better than this.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sarahyoung2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
Level 6 Contributor
173 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2011

Stayed 1 night for an anniversary.
I was asked if it was a special occasion when I booked,and I did say yes its an anniversary.What an opportunity to make it special in some small way,did they?

No,not even a word of congratulations when we stayed-very bad customer/service rapport in my book.

Anyway the receptionist was efficient,welcoming and speedy.Our room overlooked the car park,nothing special about it other than the large screen tv.Bed though was very comfortable.
Dinner was average,again nothing too special.Bottle of full bodied red wine was chilled????,waitress did the right thing,mentioned it and went to warm it up.Did ask if we'd like another bottle,but stayed with same.Basic error on their part,must store in outside cellar?
Service was okay at best,it is after all a 4 star hotel with 2 aa rosettes.Should do better,seemed understaffed but maybe just my opinion?
Saturday night,restaurant almost full,staff should be more proactive and watchfull.
In respect of service and food I certainly wouldn't class it as a 4 star establishment.

We are staying at the Moat House in Acton Trussel next week,very similar to the Priest House.We'll see if they are as good as the first time we stayed there(2007)have stayed since but now perhaps due for a further review.Watch this space.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank shroppiefly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Priest House by the River

Property: The Priest House by the River
Address: Kings Mills, Castle Donington DE74 2RR, England (Formerly The Priest House Hotel)
Region: United Kingdom > England > Derbyshire > Castle Donington
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Castle Donington
#3 Luxury Hotel in Castle Donington
#5 Romantic Hotel in Castle Donington
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — The Priest House by the River 4*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in a tranquil and stunning location on the banks of the River Trent, The Priest House's history is a rich one that can be traced back almost 1,000 years. Built around a mill tower with its very own water wheels, this 42 bedroom hotel is perfectly placed for a romantic break, an exclusive conference venue or a picture perfect wedding. We've hand-picked a fine selection of food and drink to compliment the charm and romance of our English Countryside setting. Fine dine in our beautiful dining room or relax in our newly renovated and re-named Millstream Bar & Terrace where you can enjoy al fresco dining overlooking the River Trent in the Summer months. We invite you to come and relax and really feel at home with us. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Priest House Hotel Castle Donington
Priest Hotel Castle Donington
The Priest House By The River Castle Donington, Derbyshire

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