Wanting a single night in a family room in Cleethorpes, we were pleased to find the Dovedale Hotel and Restaurant. It is close to the railway station and sea-front and looked pleasant enough from the website and reviews on here.
We had some problems doing an online booking through the website so I booked by phone. The price was about £10 more than the online price said but the website had been a little unclear about whether everything was included. The price was relatively expensive, on a par with some budget chain hotels in London. I was therefore expecting much more than a B&B.
The hotel is easy to find, it is even sign-posted off the main road. There are a number of other hotels/B&Bs on the same street but the Dovedale is the most impressive looking of them all. There is a nice terrace to the front of the hotel which seemed unfortunately popular with the smokers. There is a ramp to the entrance.
Inside, the decor is modern and looks in good condition. Slightly off-putting, the ornaments and decorations all have very visible price tags hanging on them. A more subtle approach might have looked a little more classy.
There is a bar area and a small well-signed reception. Although we arrived well before check-in we were able to get our key and access the room. Our family room was right at the top of the building and there is no lift. This wasn't an issue for us but may have been for others.
The room had a double and two single beds. The furniture and decor looked in good condition, although there was an obvious damp area under the window frame. The window also appeared to be stuck/damaged and we were unable to open it. The hotel was overly warm and we couldn't find a means to reduce the temperature in the room. We eventually slept with the bathroom door open and the bathroom window open to cool the room. We didn't think these things were important enough to refer to the hotel.
The bathroom was quite small, there was no bath but a shower cubicle. The decor was OK but looking in need of a little TLC in places, for example there was no toilet roll holder (though obvious holes in the tiles for the fittings). The bathroom was clean and fresh smelling.
There were plenty of towels provided, plus individual soaps, sachets of shampoo, shower gel, etc. The bed linen was clean and fresh and the double-bed duvet cover had pretty embroidery rather than the usual plain 'corporate' approach.
The room had plenty of facilities (wall-mounted plasma TV, tea/coffee facilities including well-known branded provisions, iron and ironing board, high quality hairdryer). There was free wi-fi in the room (ask for the numerical key at Reception) but performance was somewhat flaky.
The room faced the street and there was some noise at closing time. It was relatively quiet other than that, although a crying baby in the next room did wake us up at about 0500.
We were pleased with the hotel overall. However, we were surprised and disappointed by the restaurant, particularly as it had apparently won local awards. We had decided to eat dinner at the hotel for convenience. Having not made a booking, we asked whether they could fit us in. We were advised that Saturday night tends to be busy but that we should be OK if we went straight in (around 1900). However, the entire service seemed poorly organised and even those with reservations were left waiting an undue amount of time to eat.
Curiously, the approach was to place diners in the bar, give them menus, take their order and leave them there some considerable time before taking them into the dining room. This had the effect of filling up the somewhat small bar area quickly whilst the dining room was largely empty. We waited almost an hour for our food to arrive, and a party with a prior reservation had a similar or slightly longer wait. The hotel was lucky that a couple of groups didn't leave - one group had its order taken twice, the other didn't have its order taken at all. People looked annoyed and fed up, which isn't the experience I guess the restaurant is looking to provide.
Once in the dining room, we were placed at the far end of the room, next to the kitchen doors despite there being many vacant tables elsewhere. Perhaps we had inadvertently offended one of the staff. It did provide us with a view of the kitchen, the performance of the chefs and snatched bits of conversations that were probably best not shared with paying patrons.
Having given our order over 30 minutes before, one of our party was asked how he would like his steak cooked. We were advised that his choice - well done - would take some time, so he changed it to medium!
When our food arrived, it looked well presented (the menu looks good and there was a reasonable range of dishes, including several vegetarian options). However, it wasn't quite as ordered, mixing up salad and vegetable sides, but that was relatively unimportant. The quality was variable. The vegetables were over-cooked, the sea bass full of bones, the vegetable open lasagne watery and lacking in flavour. However, the pepper sauce for the fish was excellent and the herby potatoes went down well. The blue cheese stuffed mushrooms (actually a large flat mushroom with crumbled cheese on top) was nice enough but not as expected.
Once we had finished eating we had a 15 minute wait for someone to clear our plates and to offer us dessert, etc. We had planned to have dessert but given the time taken and the general quality we decided to not bother. When someone did clear our plates, they only cleared half. When the other half was eventually cleared we were asked whether anyone "had asked whether you want anything else". She didn't look particularly surprised when we said we didn't.
We paid the bill but exceptionally left no tip as the service was amongst the poorest I've ever experienced anywhere. There were plenty of staff waiting on, but only one who appeared competent or motivated. We regularly saw members of staff 'shadowing' each other to carry out tasks requiring just one person. Perhaps this was training for someone, but surely Saturday night isn't the time for elementary training?
Having had the experience of dinner the evening before, it was with some trepidation that we went down for breakfast the following morning. (Given the slowness of service, we actually deliberately got up 30 minutes early.). Breakfast was included in the room rate and I was looking forward to the much-vaunted Vegetarian breakfast.
Service was efficient and pleasant, although there appeared to only be one person waiting on. Cereal and juice is self-service but breakfast is from the menu delivered to table. Disappointingly, the Vegetarian breakfast was simply the normal Full English minus the meat. This isn't any worse than many (most) other hotels but I'd hoped for more given the prominence of it in their advertising. The hotel might want to consider whether the cost of a couple of Quorn sausages is really that big a deal and it really would set them apart then.
Breakfast quality was good, the food was well cooked and tasty. Portions were quite mean perhaps, with an undue share of the plate for beans. However, it was one of the better hotel breakfasts I've experienced, possibly as it was cooked to order rather than en masse and drying out under lights.
Overall, I think the hotel is expensive for what it is and where it is. I would however recommend it to others wanting to stay in Cleethorpes. I wouldn't recommend the restaurant for other than breakfast though. I would also advise any potential guests with mobility needs to check accessibility before making any bookings.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Newly refurbished boutique hotel, in the heart of the seaside resort of Cleethorpes. Close to all amenities. Category winners of restaurant of the year 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dovedale Hotel Cleethorpes