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“Highly priced wine list”

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The Priest House by the River
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 July 2012

Service and location very good and food in the Fine Dining Room excellent. The visit (in particular the overall meal experience) was somewhat spoiled by the exhorbitant pricing of fairly 'modest' wines!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Ken R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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636 - 642 of 787 reviews

Reviewed 9 July 2012

I recently took my girlfriend for a night here and I must say we where pleasantly surprised with the standard of this hotel, the cottages are very small so get yourself a room in the main block these are spacious and fitted out superbly , the dining in the la carte restaurant was fantastic the food was beautiful and well presented we had a problem with some wine but it was changed immediately and breakfast the next morning was great, a lovely stay!!

Room Tip: Make sure you get a room in the main building
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Matt77777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2012

Just stayed at the Priest House for 3 nights for my 60th birthday. Would like to say what a great welcome we had there. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff there, every one of them went out of their way to make my birthday treat really special. The room was very good and the food was excellent and well presented. They even went to the trouble of piping a birthday message around my dessert plate, which was a lovely touch. Would recommend this hotel to anyone. Thank you Priest House staff for making our stay so memorable.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Margaret H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2012

Went here for a one night break over the Jubilee weekend after receiving a promotional email (Ive stayed at a Hand Picked Hotel or two before and always found them good). Lovely spot in the country and a very picturesque setting, on a river with some nice history attached to the building itself. We stayed in a cottage room, which was fine. Not over the top (dressing gowns provided and good toiletries) but adequate.

Every member of staff we came across was so helpful, smiley and a joy. They couldnt have done more and every single one was a delight, especially the restaurant staff for the evening meal and breakfast. The hotel inside could be so much better though. Its so picturesque on the outside the inside is quite plain and a bit of a let down - its fine,but I just expected a more cosy, atmospheric, antique feel based on the setting and the building from the outside.

The evening meal included in the package was exceptionally good. I've eaten in many hotel restaurants and this was one of the best meals I've ever had.

I wouldn't return for the small room or the plain inside look of the hotel (the bar area was particularly plain) - but that would be outweighed by the staff and the food, which are more important anyway.

Room Tip: cottage rooms are a little more quaint - but very small, especially the bathrooms
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank lesley909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2012

This is our second visit to the Priest House, but it will also be our last unfortunately. When we last visited it was an independent hotel, now it is part of the Hand Picked Hotels group and whilst being a chain isn't always a good thing, one thing I hope for with being part of one is consistency of service. This was not in evidence during our stay from Friday to Sunday on the Download festival weekend (we stayed during the festival last time as well).

First to the basics. We booked an executive double with breakfast included and the bedroom itself was fine. It was pretty small and it did feel there is a large part of the hallway that is a complete waste of space leaving a rather snug bedroom. The bed wasn't great (very soft) but OK and the bedding was nice. The bath shower combo (one of my pet hates as you will see in previous reviews) was a little awkward to position yourself in for some reason but it was clean. There was a huge unsightly crack at the base of the sink (see picture) but it didn't detract from what was a nice modern, if again rather small bathroom. The air conditioning worked very well and the tea and coffee facilities were much appreciated, as were the full sized towels (we're used to American serviettes!)

The 'free Wi-Fi' was pretty pointless. We couldn't connect in our room (No. 40) and the only place we could actually get a signal was in the bar. If I was here to work I would not have been impressed. The staff are very friendly but in the main they are ineffective and not very helpful, the exception to this was the guy who checked us in on the Friday afternoon.

Examples of the poor service that we received include returning at 11.30pm on Friday night, calling the number stated on reception and getting nobody for what felt like an age. Eventually a guy appeared and provided us with our key and checked in an understandably annoyed lady who had been waiting as well.

Breakfast is lovely, but waiting to get it can be hit and miss. On Saturday we were seated fairly quickly but served by an overly familiar guy who seemed more interested in chatting than providing us with food. As a result despite ordering two breakfasts, my husband's turned up very quickly but after waiting for 10 minutes, it became apparent that mine wasn't. Chatty man had been in and out but neglected to realise the error, when I asked, apparently the kitchen couldn't read his writing and decipher a 1 from a 2 as our orders were the same!

Sunday morning was worse; four separate parties were waiting in the dining room with no service or person to be seen for at least 10 minutes. We seated ourselves and waited patiently only to see two staff members eventually walk past the doors, look in and then hear people in the kitchen but still have nobody come to serve us. Eventually someone did come in and one of the guests gave the staff a piece of his mind for the wait and lack of service, good for him. They subsequently managed to mess up his order as well - not good!

On Saturday night we arrived back around 11pm and yet again nobody was about and despite calling the number, nobody came. When the (same) night person eventually showed up I asked him if there was any chance that we could extend our stay by another night. Rather than check, he merely shrugged his shoulders, said 'I doubt it' and suggested I ask in the morning - completely unsatisfactory as I needed to make alternative arrangements, which I did. He made no attempt to look for me and clearly couldn't be bothered.

The reason that the service and staff are so lacking in this hotel appears obvious. They are completely focussed on weddings which appear to be the hotel's bread and butter (and also accounted for hideous music blaring out until 12.30am on both nights). In my opinion they need more staff to actually pay attention to those who aren't part of a wedding party. The hotel is not cheap and it sells itself on its location and its service and if it wants to retain non wedding business, in my opinion, it needs to reassess.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank buffgirl73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2012

We took advantage of a dinner b&b package for £70.50 per person per night and found ourselves in a nice peaceful location with helpful, friendly and polite staff. Service was generally very good, but on our last morning there were no glasses, cereal bowls or orange juice for a while. Food was very good, although the menu didn't change for three days which could have been a problem.
We had a cottage room, reasonably sized with a large comfortable bed, the decent quality toiletries, plus tea, coffee etc. There wasn't a bath which my wife would have liked, but the shower cubical was large. For some reason the room (11) was always rather hot despite the weather being cool and no apparent heating being on. We slept with the window open, something you are advised not to do in hot weather due to flies off the nearby river. I guess this could be a problem had the weather been hot.
My only real disappointment was the wine list. Nothing under £23 and £28 for a Chilean Merlot. It should be possible to offer a few decent wines in the £15-20 range, so value does not quite get full marks.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Phil P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2012

A wonderful setting with staff that are attentive and considerate. My only negative comment would be thy in the cottage accommodation, there was only a shower room that was so small as to be virtually unusable - great quality fittings, but very poor design!

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank surveyme
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

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
#4 Luxury Hotel in Castle Donington
#5 Romantic Hotel in Castle Donington
Price Range: £74 - £133 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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