Booked a Sunday night including dinner and breakfast here as an anniversary treat. Had heard many good things and it's nearby. Overall, the superb grounds, beautiful rooms and lovely spa (including a first rate massage) were let down by general service way below what I would expect for the prices charged. I am not sure why the service was so hit and miss, as there seemed to be staff (and management) everywhere. I'll give a few examples - some might consider these petty, and they certainly didn't ruin our stay, but given the hotel's reputation and prices I can't believe the management aspire to these standards .
-check in. On arrival, shortly before 3pm (stated check in time) our room wasn't ready. Suggested we went to the bar for a drink and the receptionist would come and get as soon as it was - 'a few minutes'. After half an hour we went back to reception - appeared we had been forgotten about, as the same receptionist immediately tried to call housekeeping to check. After multiple attempts she wasn't able to, so asked us to take a seat in reception. A manager then came over, apologised and offered us a comp drink, and said our room (including a modes upgrade) would be ready in a few minutes.
-dinner. Pre-arrival email suggested booking a table online. There were few options available (earliest 9pm in 'Reflections') but on check in I asked to change this and 8.30pm was agreed. We arrived on time and were shown to a table with menus. It was another 15 minutes before we were offered drinks, and another 10-15 mins before the ordered drinks arrived. At one point a waiter turned up with a drink we hadn't ordered, and another with the wrong drink. Two items from the fairly limited menu weren't available.
-breakfast. Service again painfully slow and haphazard. Once shown to table, I asked for a cooked item that wasn't on the limited buffet which the maitre'd said he'd arrange. After another very long wait, a full breakfast arrived (not what had been ordered and not required) but I mentioned to the waitress what I was waiting for. She replied stating they had completely run out of that item.
Unless we were very unlucky, there are service problems with check-in, dinner and breakfast, suggesting wider issues - the three main interactions we had in a one night stay. Once would have been perhaps understandable but when the cost of a single night is c£500 the hotel really should be able to do better.
Couple of other niggles included being unable to use the outdoor hot tub as a large group were in there for the entire 2 hours or more we were in the spa, and the hotel has some extensive building work going on next to the car park which meant my car was completely covered in dust by the morning, and was blocked in by a JCB that I had to ask to be moved.
On a positive note, the rooms are fabulous (and surprisingly modern), spotless and well equipped. The spa (and staff) are top notch and the food is very good. The poor service was however a significant irritation and for this kind of money (and in some cases significantly less) I would look elsewhere including some local hotels we have tried.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on 170 acres of stunning private gardens and parkland, Alexander House Hotel in Sussex is both a boutique retreat and an unsurpassed destination spa hotel near London, UK, the heart of South England's countryside. With tastefully designed, luxurious bedrooms, award winning Utopia Spa and a 3 AA Rosette restaurant, Alexander House Hotel is ideal for a weekend luxury escape in Sussex countryside and is a perfectly appointed private function venue, wedding venue near London and business events venue. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Alexander House & Utopia Hotel East Grinstead
- Alexander House And Utopia Spa
- Alexander Hotel Utopia
- Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa East Grinstead, West Sussex