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“Lovely location but what's with the cold food?”

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The Priest House by the River
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Lovely location but what's with the cold food?”
Reviewed 30 November 2012

Booked a weekend here after some exhaustive research as a special pre-baby treat for my husband and I. The receptionist was very welcoming and friendly and the room was great; spacious, large bed, nice toiletries.

However it all went downhill at dinner. Our stay included dinner and breakfast on both days. We chose to eat in the Brasserie the first evening and the service was friendly if a little haphazard. My husband requested no anchovies with his ceaser salad but it arrived complete with the fish and my risotto was only just tepid. A glitch, we thought, and didn't mention it.

On the second evening we decided to try the Restaurant hoping the food would be better. Again both mains arrived cold and my salmon was actually raw. This time we sent the food back and I asked for my salmon to be cooked more (at seven months pregnant I cannot risk raw fish). After a substantial wait the plates arrived back hot to the touch but the food was still cold and my salmon was still raw - it would appear the plates had been slung on the plate warmer but the food had not actually been heated up! I had to leave the salmon and eat the rest of the tepid food. The waitress asked if the food was ok on clearing our pates and I explained it had been served cold twice, she said she would speak to the chef but never returned. Extremely disappointing! Allegedly this restaurant carries 2 Rosettes?? No evidence of that on our weekend.

It all came to a head at breakfast on our last morning when I ordered the smoked salmon, scrambled egg and caviar dish. The salmon arrived on toast with no sign of the eggs and caviar. I asked the waiter who grudgingly brought a bowl of scrambled egg (again cold! Aaarrgh) and no caviar. We now couldn't wait to leave and gathered our bags to check out.

Chaos at reception on check out as a wedding party were checking in and getting irate as rooms were not yet ready. I waited as one after another wedding guest jumped in front of me and became annoyed at the receptionist. Eventually I checked out but the receptionist did not ask if I had enjoyed my stay, if everything had been ok etc. and with the wedding party baying for blood I felt then was not the time to raise issue with the food.

Overall, a terribly disappointing stay. As the hotel is quite remote the restaurants were pretty much our evening entertainment and there really is no excuse for cold food and especially when it has been sent back and arrives again still cold. I would recommend the hotel itself but definitely avoid the restaurant. But based on this stay I would never again risk a Handpicked Hotel.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank HelenaSLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PriestHouse, General Manager at The Priest House by the River, responded to this review, 20 December 2012
Dear Guest
May I apologise for the poor quality of food served to you during your recent stay with us, which was totally unacceptable. Following your comments my head chef has carried out retraining of his brigade and reinforced our policy for the chef in charge to check every dish prior to leaving the kitchen, to prevent a similar situation recurring in the future. I was pleased to read your comments regarding the friendliness of our receptionist, which I have passed on to the team, and that you found our rooms to be comfortable. Kind regards Michael
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706 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (158)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 November 2012

We went for Sunday and got a drink at the bar( as one does) before sitting to read the menu, after giving our order we were asked if we would like any wine, it was then we realised that my husbands large glass of white wine had cost £13.25!!.
On further reading of the wine list we found that the wines started £28.00 per bottle, we have now found out why they are offering a voucher for 20% off your lunch.
The staff clearly do not read what the hotel offers as they were insistent that coffee/tea was not included and was £3.30 per head extra, I advise them to read their own web site.
Needless to say this spoilt the lunch which I have to say was faultless.
With so many local places doing as good as if not better we shall not be returning.
Based on our visit I would not recommend an overnight stay.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Margaret585-12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PriestHouse, General Manager at The Priest House by the River, responded to this review, 20 December 2012
Dear Guest
Thank you for your feedback following your lunch and may I apologise for the incorrect information given by one of our staff members, regarding the pricing of our Sunday lunch. Following your comment all food service staff have been retrained on our pricing policy to prevent a similar situation reoccurring in the future. I was pleased to note that you thought your lunch was faultless, but very disappointed you will not be returning. Kind regards Michael
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
66 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 2012

Booked at the last minute, we opted for a River View room in the main hotel - good decision.

As you come down the road it looks good.

First impressions as you came through the door - a bit tired. Not bad, but could have been slightly better. The handle missing from the reception desk, the chips on the paintwork. Enough to wonder what the hotel was going to be like.

But the staff, in general, were fantastic. The receptionists couldn't do enough for you - and were very thoughtful.

The room did not disappoint, and the champagne was nicely chilled. So, a good start.

I saw a previous review, bemoaning the lack of a menu before the meal - and I would agree with this. It is nice to see a menu outside the restaurant, so you can see what you are going to get.

The food was excellent in general. Especially the desserts. My scallop starter was a bit rubbery - a sign of overcooking - and scallops were thin on the ground and the food was generally not piping hot - my beef and my partner's pork both suffering from the same problem - the plates were not warmed which made the heat go out of the food. Not really good enough. But the bread rolls have to be the highlight - have not had better anywhere.

The Malbec wine we had was exceptional - but at £43 for a bottle should have been. I would agree with other reviewers who have noted the high starting prices for wine - especially when the cost of a meal is £36 and the lowest cost wines around £28. The two figures are not congruent.

In fact I have just Googled the cost of the wine - Catena Malbec 2010 - and Majestic are selling the wine for £12.99 - so yet again I would have to agree with the reviewers who have suggested that the wine mark up is ambitious at best, and greedy at worst.

Excellent night's sleep - very comfortable bed.

Next morning there was a Wedding Fair at the hotel. I include that because of the breakfast experience, where there seemed to be a lack of qualified staff.

We could not get in straight away - by the way the restaurant is excellent, very cosy - and were sent to the Brasserie for a coffee. Perfectly acceptable.

When we came back we were shown to a table where the places had been set but the crumbs from the previous diners had not been cleared. What followed was embarrassing as the, obviously, trainee first tried to clear the crumbs off part of our table with a knife and the surrounding tables later with the menus to hand on the table.

We had to remind our servers to produce milk for the tea and coffee, butter for the toast, and sauces for the breakfast. Not very professional - and a training issue (for the manager who will undoubtedly look at this review). They were very amateurish, and only saved by one obviously more talented trainee and Paul, the restaurant manager.

But the breakfast was delicious, although suffering from the same cold plate syndrome of the night before. Could not fault it at all. Excellent!

So, overall?

A great hotel that falls below the amazing experiences that I have had previously at Rookery Hall, another Handpicked Hotel. It is so nearly there, but need to attend to the small details that lifts a hotel from the good to the exceptional. This hotel could easily improve this, if it wanted to.

Would I go back? I have had a great stay and a nice experience, but I would probably try other hotels rather than go back. With a little more attention to detail I think this could be different.

Room Tip: Choose the rooms in the main hotel - and the extra for a view is well worth the tenner.
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank simon9350
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PriestHouse, General Manager at The Priest House by the River, responded to this review, 20 December 2012
Dear Guest
Thank you for your review following your recent stay at The Priest House Hotel. May I thank you for your kind comments regarding the receptionist and for your comment regarding the quality of our food. I have discussed your feedback with my head chef, who in future will ensure plates are polished and place in the hot cabinet following breakfast, to ensure they are hot in readiness for service.
I was disappointed you found our wine prices to be too high, however the pricing of our wine is managed centrally to ensure consistency across the group, the tariff for spirits, beers and ales are managed locally. This is however something that we will be looking to review as we move forward.
With regard to the poor service you experience at breakfast I can only express my sincere apologises and regret for the shortfall in our usually high standards of service. Following your review I have asked my food service manager to carry out the necessary retraining of his team to prevent a similar situation in the future. Kind regards Michael
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Norwich
Level Contributor
87 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 November 2012

we had a one night stay in November. The setting is beatiful with a river to the front of the building. The reception staff member was very welcoming and it is a while since we were escorted to the room and had luggage carried for us. Tne room we had was well appointed with views over a courtyard garden. We had a large flat screen tv and other touches were equally luxurious, delicious coffee bags, and a selection of upmarket toiletries, etc. The bed was very comfortable and the room was very conducive to a good nights sleep.
We ate in main restaurant, there is also a brasserie. Our only gripe was that there is no menu to be seen until you are seated.It is usual to have one on display either outside the room or on a stand just inside That said, the staff service and food was of the best quality we have had in a while, and my desert of chocolate and pistachio was quite simply fantastic. The wine menu is extensive but we felt the markup was to say the least ambitious with prices starting at the mid twenties. Fixed menu price of £36 for three courses.
Breakfast cooked to order, £15 per head, but a fantastic range of hot and cold food, and unlimited toast,tea and coffee. We would definitely go again.

Room Tip: we went in the main building, there are cottages away from the hotel. No traffic so very quiet.
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank colinpNorwich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PriestHouse, General Manager at The Priest House by the River, responded to this review, 20 December 2012
Dear Guest
Thank you for your review and your kind comments regarding the quality of food and service you experienced during your stay, which I have passed on to all concerned. Following your excellent recommendation to display a menu outside our restaurant I have purchased a display stand and as of today our menu is on display outside restaurant for our diners to view. We very much look forward to you returning in the near future. Kind regards Michael
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Level Contributor
87 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 November 2012

Only spent one night in this hotel whilst on a business trip. And a pleasure it is not to be stowed in a standard block of concrete, and rooms that are all alike. This hotel is conveniently priced for business travellers, the atmosphere is cosy and friendly. Bit quiet when i stayed there. Had dinner in the brasserie. The menu was limited but okay. Watch your head !

Stayed November 2012, travelled on business
Helpful?
1 Thank heer17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PriestHouse, General Manager at The Priest House by the River, responded to this review, 20 December 2012
Dear Guest
Thank you for your review following your stay. I was delighted to read you found the hotel to be cosy, friendly and well priced. We hope to see you again sometime in the near future. Kind regards Michael
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Kent
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 November 2012

The location of this hotel, overlooking the river Trent is lovely, peaceful and relaxing. The food is not as good as you may expect from this lovely hotel, but it is better than average and the staff are very friendly and welcoming. We stayed in one of the cottages that have been converted to rooms, very nicely done and had everything you would expect to find in a hotel of this standard. TV, DVD, Ironing board, trouser press etc. nice bathroom. my only complaint would be the pillows were not comfortable and let them down somewhat, and the lighting was not good enough to read by. I would stay here again, but would probably opt for a room in the main hotel

Room Tip: Opt for the main hotel as you have to brave the elements to get to the dining rooms from the cottage...
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rhonrich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PriestHouse, General Manager at The Priest House by the River, responded to this review, 13 November 2012
Dear Guest
I was sorry to read you found our food not to be up to your expectation, which I have passed on to my head chef who in turn has reviewed our Brasserie and Restaurant menus. I was delighted to read you enjoyed our delightful location on the banks of the River Trent and that you found our bedrooms to be comfortable. Following your comments I have asked my housekeeper to replace the light bulbs to a higher wattage as well as replace any misshapen pillows. We look forward to welcome you back in the near future, kind regards Michael
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Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2012

Booked and paid in advance for a nut free champagne afternoon tea for 8 for a very special occasion.

No welcome, barmaid surly and not attentive. Waited at the bar for a full 10 minutes whilst she scowled at the till and a previous order.

When I introduced myself and said I was with a party for a champagne tea we were told it was all set up... But I had tI prompt her to tell us where!!

We went to the table rather than being shown and waited for another 10-15 minutes before she appeared to take a drinks order.

When we asked the barmaid for wine we had to prompt her to bring over a wine list, then she brought just one list for a table of 8 and was more concerned in telling us it would be in addition to the 'afternoon tea'

we were waiting for some of the party to arrive and did not want to open the champagne until all had arrived, I felt as if we were being 'inconvenient' to the barmaid- the extra money for a bottle really wasn't a problem and I did not want my guests to be troubled by this!!

Waited over an hour for the afternoon tea, then it arrived with nut based cakes. These were replaced for the but allergy sufferer- but I had been quite specific when booking that I wanted but free for all, so as not to single out one person- aftersll afternoon tea is aboyt sharing a three tiered plate, not individual settings.

Two if the afternoon tiers arrived, another 5 min wait for the third.. Causing the whole party to wonder if there would be more, or enough sandwiches to go round.

Overheard other diners complaining about waits- one diner actually went to speak to the chef!

I complained about our wait, the nuts and the fact coffee and milk served was not enough for 8 cups let alone a refil. I did not recieve an apology.

Staff did not check on our service, no apologies for the lateness, barmaid insistent in blaming others.

At the end of a truly Dissapointing afternoon I was hosting for friends I was then presented with a bill- I had paid advance. After the barmaid 'checked' with someone else I paid for the additional bottle of wine we had ordered.

Barmaid did not once apologise for the mistake or ask if we enjoyed the tea.

Food was lovely, but there is absolutely no excuses for the terrible service and lack of attentiveness as a 'handpicked' hotel.

I would not recommend dining at this hotel, we returned home watched fireworks in the village and got better service from the volunteers serving cups of tea than we recieved from the Priest House.

Truly terrible, dissaponting, embarrassing and awkward dining experience.

Stayed November 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank 2uptourers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PriestHouse, General Manager at The Priest House by the River, responded to this review, 13 November 2012
Dear Guest
We do take all feedback extremely seriously, as this helps us to improve our service, standards and facilities and I am very sorry that your experience at The Priest House Hotel was not to your expectations and below our normally high standards of service and customer care. It is never our intention for a guest to leave us with a poor lasting impression and I was very disappointed to read your feedback, which I have discussed with my Food and Beverage service Manager who in turn will retrain the individual concerned to ensure such a situation does not reoccur in the future. Kind regards Michael
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 Luxury Hotel in Castle Donington
#3 Business 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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