The website for this hotel implies a grander hotel than it turns out to be. Essentially a functions and business hotel, it can fall somewhat short of the four star status applied to it. At first glance it is a splendid 700 year old building, through which one enters and is dealt with at reception. Like many old building ‘new’ wings have been added on where most of the bedrooms are. In the case of this hotel the Executive Rooms are in such a wing.
However, in order to reach these rooms from reception one has to negotiate corridors, pass through a functions bar, then a cold functions lobby and then pass through doors outside onto a covered verandah walkway which is completely open to the elements on one side. Dashing along this when it was raining is hardly what you expect in a four star hotel.
The Executive Rooms are a good size with excellent bathrooms featuring decent length baths, separate power shower, and good thick towels. Usual bottles of body and hair lotions. Minor gripe: tiny cake of soap. One needs to search in the wardrobe for the towelling robes and slippers. The kettle and tea/coffee equipment is hidden in a cupboard under the television. The television has a limited range of channels but seems to have excellent reception and picture quality. It is worth asking for a room overlooking the parkland. Mine had an excellent view of the fields and next morning there were real live cows contentedly munching close by me!
The picture of the restaurant featured on the website bears no resemblance whatsoever to the restaurant in use. Perhaps once it did feature a fine dining experience with table cloths, candles and napery as shown in the picture. Now it is just plain tables and chairs, all very close together and not so much as a place mat or anything. Cutlery is simply placed direct onto the table tops. This is no place to eat and have a confidential business discussion.
Despite this, the food turned out to be better than expected. Like so many hotels today the place seemed staffed by a handful of ‘seasoned staff’ and teenagers or college kids. The level of service therefore varies a bit but I think it would be fair to say on the whole it is acceptable. Some were quite cheery and efficient. Others need a little more training. The restaurant gets very busy and the bar area beside it can become quite full. It would be advisable to book a table if planning to dine in of an evening. One dish which is excellent is the poached haddock with soft boiled egg on top which features on the breakfast menu. If the hotel is busy with overnight guests the breakfast service can be a bit slow but the staff seem cheery and manage to get coffee (which seems to vary in strength) quickly if you need it to kick start the day.
As with the executive rooms, the Spa is in a separate building. The pool looks a good size but can become busy as this is one of those spas open to outside membership as well as hotel residents. There is an excellent set of steam rooms, saunas and a well equipped gymnasium. Towels and a locker key are provided. Be warned. It is a bit of a trek from the Executive Rooms to this spa and back again which in itself is good exercise!
I am not sure I would wish to stay if the hotel was full, or had a conference or noisy function going full blast. I suspect rooms close to the function areas could be noisy. It is worth noting the executive rooms are a bit of a walk to get to but seem to be well away from the main function suites. In fairness to the hotel it does seem to be the largest in the surrounding area and is probably the only one which can cope with large functions and weddings. Individual guests might suffer a little if several functions were all on at once. With a little fine tuning of the service staff and greater attention to detail this would be an excellent hotel.
Would I return? Definitely. But I would try to ensure the hotel was not too busy and I could be tucked away in the Execute Rooms section again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Mercure Dunkenhalgh Hotel & Spa is situated in 17 acres of parkland. Combining a traditional setting with modern technology, our hotel offers both an enjoyable weekend getaway, or facilities for business meetings & conferences. Also featuring a luxury spa, with 8 beauty suites, & Cameo Restaurant & Bar, a relaxed dining experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel Clayton Le Moors
- Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel And Spa
- Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel & Spa Clayton-Le-Moors, Lancashire, UK