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“Great in parts but absolutely did not meet expectations”

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Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in East Grinstead
Certificate of Excellence
Sussex, UK
Level Contributor
87 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Great in parts but absolutely did not meet expectations”
Reviewed 1 September 2014 via mobile

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.

Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Dazzer6666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jurca T, Manager at Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, responded to this review, 3 October 2014
Dear Dazzer6666,

The comments you kindly made us aware of are extremely worrying for us to hear. I would like to offer you my sincere apologies for the less then satisfactory experience during your stay here at the Alexander House Hotel. I do hope that your most recent stay will not be your lasting impression of the Alexander House Hotel, I hope you will return so that we may have the opportunity of changing your opinion of us. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly on tjurca@alexanderhotels.com should you wish to discuss the above matters in further detail. Thank you once again for taking the time to provide us with this very helpful review for it has enabled us to improve our services in the future.

Best wishes
Tamas Jurca
Front Of House Manager
Report response as inappropriate
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (365)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2014

Spent several days at the hotel which we enjoyed despite the inclement weather. The service was truly excellent as staff went out of their way to please.
The spa was truly excellent and really enjoyed the facilities a lot!
The grounds were excellent too for either walking or riding bikes.
There were building works going on on the grounds but weren't audible from our room.
Although the room itself was ok, the view from the window was disappointing as we faced a big pipe and a wall. The closet space was very limited (just above the minibar). The bathroom we felt was probably the best feature of the room. Some light music/noise was just occasionally heard inside of room as we had to keep the window open as it was too warm for us to sleep well otherwise.
Btw, the breakfast was wonderful! Excellent quality fresh fruit. The scrambled eggs were a bit too underdone for our taste but otherwise the breakfast was fantastic overall! Again excellent service.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank afr1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jurca T, Manager at Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, responded to this review, 3 October 2014
Dear AFR1984,

Thank you for your comments.
I was pleased to read how much you enjoyed your stay at Alexander House Hotel.
We put a lot into offering our undivided attention to all of our guests.
I was sorry to read that the view from your room was not as expected.
Thank you once again for providing feedback and I do hope you will revisit us, giving us a chance to change your opinion of the Alexander House Hotel.

Best wishes
Tamas Jurca
Front Of House Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 August 2014

I organised a few days away as a thank you to my husband for his support during a recent illness. We were upgraded to the beautiful Henley suite, a vast three roomed suite with luxurious finishes.

On arrival we had afternoon tea, very efficient service by the lovely blonde waitress (sorry I did not get your name) who consistently ensured everything was fine & whether we required refills of tea or sandwiches.

We ate in Reflections on our first night which was very nice & had a private room on the second night with food from the AG's menu which surpassed our expectations, the food was divine and a thank you to Alexander our waiter & sommelier for his attention & knowledge.

Although I could not use the SPA bathing facilities my husband was very impressed,however we both had treatments & I would like to say thank you Hannah for relieving seven weeks of stress in a 55 minute session!

The tranquility of the Alexander & it's very helpful and courteous staff in all areas of the hotel made our break wonderful & a special thank you to Christian in the 1608 Champagne bar for his smiling efficiency.

We hope to return and cannot recommend the hotel Alexander hotel highly enough.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank YLRS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jurca T, Manager at Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, responded to this review, 3 October 2014
Dear YLRS,

I was pleased to read how much you enjoyed your stay at Alexander House Hotel.
All of the team here really appreciate your praise for them.
We work hard to create and deliver exceptional experiences for our guests.
Hopefully you will get the chance to join us for autumn break which is are on sale now.
We look forward to welcoming both of you back in our Hotel.

Best wishes
Tamas Jurca
Front Of House Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 27 August 2014

I visited here recently with a friend, for a much needed weekend away after a tough year. The hotel, spa and restaurant really did provide the boost that we both needed.
I can not fault it.
The hotel itself is beautiful. The room was in the classic class and although not huge was big enough for comfort. It was very clean and the little extras, such as the lovely toiletries, made all the difference. Also the grounds are fantastically picturesque for a not over taxing hike.
There is building going on in the grounds but we did not find that it interfered with our stay at all and the only time we were aware of it was crossing the main car park (which wasn’t the main feature of our stay anyway).
The spa was excellent. Strangely the pool area never seemed overly busy even though the hotel seemed quite full. The treatments were relaxing and the therapists were very professional.
We ate in both Reflections and AG over the weekend. Both were very good restaurants but I have to give an extra recommendation for AG’s. The food was delicious and the service was perfect. The sommelier especially was very helpful and guided us towards wines which we would never have thought of but fully complimented the food and we a bit of a revelation. He also answered all our questions fully without patronising us.
Through out the hotel and spa the staff were exemplarily. Friendly, helpful and warm, qualities that I have found missing in some other 5 star hotels.
We have both come away feeling ready to face the world and looking forward to our next visit.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lizc99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jurca T, Manager at Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, responded to this review, 5 September 2014
Dear Lizc99,

I was pleased to read how much you enjoyed your stay at Alexander House Hotel.
All of the team here really appreciate your praise for them.
We look forward to welcoming both of you back in our Hotel.

Best wishes
Tamas Jurca
Fornt Of House Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 August 2014

We had Sunday lunch at AG restaurant at the hotel. The experience was faultless, from the moment we purred up in the Bentley, to when we left a while later.
The staff are all amazingly friendly and courteous, the food and wine were delicious and all in all I couldn't have wished for a more romantic setting to take my lovely lady.
Definitely returning.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jamesbythesea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jurca T, Manager at Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, responded to this review, 5 September 2014
Dear Jamesbythesea

Thank you for joining us for Sunday Lunch and for your subsequent review.
I am very pleased to read that you have had a fabulous Sunday Lunch here with us in our AG restaurant .
We very much look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Best Wishes
Tamas Jurca
Front Of House Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2014

The best quality that this place has is its service. Often this is often the most overlooked in places that are given AA 5* but alexander house deserves it for this. The spa is ok , hydro pool best item. The only problem we encountered was an obvious very screechy hen party that could be heard from our bedroom making rest difficult. Smoking in non smoking areas also was not frowned upon. . Food wise the AG restaurant is worth a mention. Service excellent though two of the male waiters including the head waiter smelt of BO which was a little over powering. The food ( we ate there twice) was at times exquisite and worthy of Michelin but missed the mark on other occasions.( a pickle radish shaving made an appearance in almost every dish !) The staff at reception were top notch as were those in the spa. The room was big though junior suite not really what I would call a suite as only one room. Our bathroom ceiling had stains and the bath had no plug but these issues were both addresses promptly by the management. Probably wouldn't go back as there just wasn't anything unique in this 3 day visit. However v close to london so possibly .

Room Tip: If you are going to spend money on a suite go above junior
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SC3005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jurca T, Manager at Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, responded to this review, 5 September 2014
Dear SC3005,

Thank you very much for such wonderful feedback about your experiences in our hotel.
Your comments will most certainly motivate our staff to continue to improve our services at the Alexander House Hotel

We to have the opportunity to welcome you back to Alexander House Hotel in the future.

Yours Sincerely,
Tamas Jurca
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandhurst, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 24 August 2014

From the moment we arrived and were greeted by the concierge team to carry our bags, we were transported into another world. We had arrived into the most beautiful, tranquil and friendly place imaginable.

As we were celebrating an anniversary, I organised a bottle of chilled bubbly and a selection of chocolate dipped strawberries to be in the room on arrival which were delicately waiting there in our luxury room. What a way to begin our break! We sat and drank Prosecco and ate strawberries whilst we got ready to go down to the spa.

The spa is everything you can hope for and more. It is a blissfully soothing, peaceful slice of heaven which really does fulfil you with a breathtaking sense of escapement. I would recommend this to literally anyone.

Whilst the spa, the food and hotel room were truly exquisite, what made our trip extra memorable was the staff at Alexander House. Every single person with whom we spoke, from the concierge to the reception and the restaurant to the spa, were remarkably polite, friendly and genuinely caring. At every opportunity, they wished us a happy anniversary and really did make us feel like we were the only guests there. I cannot thank each and every person there enough for making our stay so perfect.

I would highly recommend Alexander House to everyone. The only problem we had was that we had to come home.

P.S. Make sure you book the full body massage. Simply wow!

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Anthony P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jurca T, Manager at Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, responded to this review, 5 September 2014
Dear Anthony P,

Thank you for your feedback and taking the time to post your comments.
Your review will most definitely encourage us to continue to strive for superior customer service. We work hard to create and deliver exceptional experiences for our guests.
We do hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back soon.
We look forward to welcoming both of you back in our Hotel.

Yours sincerely
Tamas Jurca
Front Of House Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa

Property: Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa
Address: East Street, East Grinstead RH10 4QD, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > West Sussex > East Grinstead
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in East Grinstead
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 58
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

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