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“Disappointing Afternoon Tea”
Review of Pontlands Park

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Pontlands Park
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Great Baddow
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 August 2014 via mobile

I took my son and daughter here for afternoon tea. It was my daughters 19th birthday and it was something none of us had done before. How disappointing and over priced. £14.00 per head, 3 x finger sandwiches each, I x scone each and 3 x mini pastries. Now I'm not an expert in afternoon teas but I can tell you this, £42.00 it definitely was not worth. Tea and coffee was not replenished and refills of sandwiches and cakes were not offered. I understand from friends and family that this is unusual as most places especially in London refill as and when. Washed down with a glass of prosseco for my daughter and I and a £5:20 gratuity charge my final bill was £57.20. Definitely not worth the money and would not recommend Pontlands Park for afternoon tea.

Stayed: August 2014
4  Thank Nicki C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HLGroup, Owner at Pontlands Park, responded to this reviewResponded 22 August 2014

Thank you for your review following your recent visit for Afternoon Tea.
I know that you also emailed the hotel directly about your visit and the manager has been in touch to answer some of your questions.
I can only apologise that you were not offered additional tea or coffee but if you had asked staff they would have been happy to serve extra.
With regards to the amount of food served, we offer a traditional afternoon tea of three different finger sandwiches (the equivalent to one round of sandwiches), a homemade scone and then a selection of other homemade cakes and sweets per person, all for £13.95 and we receive many positive comments on the amount of food included, as such I am surprised to read you did not consider it to be worth the money. I can only assume you were happy with the quality of the food as you have not made any negative comments.
As you say some places in London do offer additional sandwiches or cakes, but the prices in London are also much higher.
The service charge you mention is discretionary and if you did not feel that the service or quality of the food warranted it then you could have asked for it to be removed from the bill.
I am sorry that we did not meet your expectations on this occasion but do hope you might choose to return in the future.

Jason Bartella
Managing Director

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278 - 284 of 453 reviews

Reviewed 13 August 2014

I stayed at Pontlands Park Hotel recently with my partner and came down for dinner one night.
The service was excellent and the food was wonderful.
We came to stay here for a friends engagement party after one of our friends recommended the hotel. We are so glad she did as we had an incredibly enjoyable stay.
We will be returning in the future.

    • Value
    • Service
Thank laura a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HLGroup, Owner at Pontlands Park, responded to this reviewResponded 22 August 2014

Thank you for your review following your recent stay with us here at Pontlands Park.
It is always a pleasure to hear that people are recommending us and hope that you will now do the same.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Jason Bartella
Managing Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2014

The hotel is very attractive and in a beautiful location. We also thought the rooms were very spacious and well maintained. However, on telephoning the hotel a few days before our arrival to ask about an early check in we were advised that we had to pay an extra charge of £25.00 per room. We reluctantly agreed because we had no choice as we needed to unpack and change before 3 pm for family wedding held at this hotel. We decided to speak to the Manager on arriving to discuss this and he informed us that the Spa facilities were available instead of paying this charge, but we would not have found this acceptable. We do not feel that his attitude was very understanding and think he could have been more accommodating. The standard of our breakfast the next morning was rather disappointing. The buffet dishes were not replenished, the staff were not well organised and lacked leadership. Overall, we feel that the relatively high cost of the hotel is not justified, would not return to this hotel and would not recommend it to others.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Robert W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HLGroup, Owner at Pontlands Park, responded to this reviewResponded 15 August 2014

Thank you for your recent review, you will see from previous responses that I take all comments seriously, always investigate problems and learn from them. However on this occasion I would like to tell our side of the story and stand up for my company, its policies and the industry as a whole.
I am not aware of another industry where anyone would agree to a price for a service, turn up to receive that service and then argue with people about the price to try and get it reduced, which is what happened on Saturday.
You called the hotel on Thursday to enquire about an early check in and were advised that to guarantee access to the room from midday there is a charge of £25, which you agreed to. Then on arrival you challenged the receptionist about it and then myself, the Managing Director and owner, not the Manager. I explained the reason for the charge, as our check out time is 11am (and at the weekend most people stay as close to this as possible) in order to turn rooms around to our usual high standards that quickly and still manage to service all of the rooms for regular check in, requires that we have additional staff on duty. We are not the only hotel to make such a charge, additional fees for early check in and late check out are common practice around the world. I also explained that if you did not want to pay the charge then you could have access to our leisure centre changing facilities or use the disabled toilets. You opted to use the bedroom and 4 of you got ready, after you had left for the wedding we went in and refreshed the room as a goodwill gesture, replacing the towels and replenishing the tea/coffee tray.
When I saw you again on check out I asked about the rest of your stay, looking for genuine feedback, you advised me it had been enjoyable, you made no reference to any issues with the breakfast and instead decided to hide behind your computer and post comments on here that you did not want to mention myself or any of the other staff on duty, which I find very disappointing.
My family has been in business for 50 years and this is down to our high standards in all areas, including customer service and although not my usual style, I feel I was left with no option but to reply in this way.

Jason Bartella
Managing Director

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Reviewed 11 August 2014

I though wow when i drove up a fantastic looking place and inside it did not disappoint.
We found the room and the facilitates at the hotel excellent and the assistant manager was very helpful a asset to the hotel.

we will definitely return hopefully in the very near future.

thanks guys a great team all round

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank br r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HLGroup, Owner at Pontlands Park, responded to this reviewResponded 22 August 2014

Thank you for your review following your recent stay with us.
I am really pleased you enjoyed your time here and we exceeded all your expectations.
We look forward to welcoming you back next time you are in the area.

Jason Bartella
Managing Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2014

We had my daughters wedding reception here at the end of July. The management were very good right from the initial planning of the day to the end of the evening. It was quite a small wedding in the conservatory, and yet it was absolutely perfect. The grounds were stunning with some amazing photos over the lake. The staff were helpful and the food and service was wonderful. We had all booked rooms up for the night, and my daughter had been upgraded. I wish that we had been told that the spa facilities weren't available for children after 4pm, that would have saved some dissapointment with the grandchildren. I would love to know where the cake decoration off the wedding cake went. My 80 year old mom made it, and it wasn't returned to us, yet it took her over 100 hours to make a beautiful bouquet of sugar paste orchids!!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank robearhorton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HLGroup, Owner at Pontlands Park, responded to this reviewResponded 22 August 2014

Thank you for your review following your daughters wedding here recently.
I am pleased that the wedding was as beautiful as you had hoped and you all liked the accommodation, we would love to see some of the fabulous pictures in the grounds.
The swimming pool does have restricted access for children, they are allowed to use it between 4-6pm on weekdays and 10.30am and 5pm at the weekends, apologies if this was not made clear to you on arrival.
I have asked that the team look in to the missing cake decoration, as a rule we do not accept items like this for safe keeping as we cannot accept liability for them. If it is found at any point we will of course return it to you.

Jason Bartella
Managing Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2014

Brought my family here yesterday to celebrate a milestone birthday with a Sunday lunch. Can not praise it enough the food(bufett starters and roast carvery mains) was excellent all three courses and such value for an upmarket venue.We all had agreat time and the young staff on duty were exceptional -well done. And what a fantastic idea to give the 3 young members of our party etch-a-sketches to play with. Well done all round. Can't wait to find an excuse to come again

Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
Thank Graham C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HLGroup, Owner at Pontlands Park, responded to this reviewResponded 22 August 2014

Thank you for your review following your recent visit to celebrate a big birthday.
I am pleased that you enjoyed the meal and were all well looked after, its great to hear the kids enjoyed our etch-a-sketches.
We look forward to welcoming you back again soon and hope you don;t wait too long to find another excuse to visit.

Jason Bartella
Managing Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

We stayed here over the weekend of our daughters wedding in July. The room was lovely, but it should have been for the price. Our wedding was NOT at the hotel.
The whole focus of the weekend was on the resident wedding party, service at the restaurant was very slow as a private party was the focus of the staff's attention. Breakfast was understaffed and room service non existent. However by far the worst aspect of the weekend was the noise. I do not exaggerate when I say on the Saturday evening when we returned to the hotel, we could not hear ourselves speak.
When we complained, the manager explained that we should have been told about the wedding when we booked! He disputed other complaints when we wrote to him on our return, even denying that our table was not dressed and our food arrived an hour late. I could go on, but you get the picture.
I've no doubt that he will reply denying everything and stating CCTV! But don't spend hard earned money here if your want a peaceful weekend away. Most of the staff were polite, but kept using the excuse that they had only been working there for a few days,
We were eventually offered complimentary tea for 4, but as we all live in London and beyond, I'm guessing he knew we could not take up the offer.
The problem here seems to be a certain manager, who lacks the skills to staff his hotel adequately and ensure staff are informed if the protocols.
Decent fans in rooms would not go amiss.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
4  Thank Elaine P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HLGroup, Owner at Pontlands Park, responded to this reviewResponded 11 August 2014

I am aware of the issues you encountered during your stay and that you had been corresponding with the hotel manager who is now on holiday. I was passed your most recent letter on Friday afternoon and was planning on preparing a response today. However rather than wait for this you decided to post a review online less than 48 hours after sending the letter, therefore not giving us a chance to respond or deal with this directly.
Whilst I am usually a firm believer in the customer is always right, on this occasion I feel it is only fair that I challenge this. Contrary to what you have said I will not 'deny everything', I take complaints very seriously and always look to learn from them and yes there were some things we could have done better and will do in future. However I will refer back to the CCTV, because I was so disappointed to read your comments about the restaurant I did take the time to look at the footage from the evening, which led me to dispute your claims.
I also question your statement about staff using the excuse they had only worked here a few days as almost all of our team are experienced and have been with us for some time.
The offer of a complimentary afternoon tea was genuine and not made knowing you could not take up the offer, having looked in to it you are less than 40 miles away which is not an unreasonable journey and I presume you have family in the area as this is where your daughter held her wedding.
With regards to the comment about a decent fan in the bedroom, each room has a very good quality fan stored in the wardrobe.

Jason Bartella
Managing Director

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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 Pontlands Park

Address: West Hanningfield Road, Great Baddow, Chelmsford CM2 8HR, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Essex > Chelmsford > Great Baddow
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Great Baddow
Price Range: £94 - £144 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Pontlands Park 3*
Number of rooms: 35
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Pontlands Park Great Baddow, Essex

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