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“Have a Nice Day!”

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The White Swan Hotel
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Alnwick
Telford, Shropshire, UK
Level Contributor
52 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Have a Nice Day!”
Reviewed 26 April 2008

We were a party of three on a midweek break sharing a large room on the top floor. Our DBB package worked out at £50 pppn so couldn't really complain about value for money.

Whilst the hotel boasts about how much money has been spent renovating the hotel, there is little evidence of this by the time you get to the second floor. (It didn't bother us but you may want to note that there isn't a lift.) Our room was fairly basic and not particularly clean although the bathroom was fitted to a good standard with a good shower and always plenty of hot water.

Meanwhile downstairs Harvey's Bistro is a pleasant enough bar/restaurant. No complaints about the food or the Alnwick IPA and, when Yannick was on duty, excellent service. However the main attraction of this hotel is undoubtedly the Olympic Restaurant which was constructed using salvaged materials from the sister ship of the Titanic. It is certainly an unexpected and impressive room. Service was efficient and the food, both breakfast and dinner, was of a good hotel restaurant standard. The fried eggs at breakfast were freshly cooked and particularly tasty - free range?

Outside the hotel is an attractive building situated in the centre of a generally unspoiled small town. It makes an excellent base from which to explore this beautiful and interesting area. Some great coastal walks usually with a castle thrown in and what must be some of the most unspoilt beaches in England.

The car park to the rear of the hotel proved to be too small even when the hotel wasn't full and lacked direct access into the hotel.

Our only real criticism - reception staff. Is it asking too much to expect a bit of a welcome when one first checks into a hotel, a greeting when one comes down to breakfast in the morning or even an apology or acceptance of responsibility when mistakes are made. We don't think so. Which is why we cannot give an unqualified recommendation. The White Swan gets most things right. A pity that our impression was so adversely affected by the performance of staff in these key positions.

  • Liked — The Olympic Restaurant
  • Disliked — Reception
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peter1NS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Herault, France
Level Contributor
308 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2008

I booked the room during December for an overnight stay en route to Scotland in February We were allocated our double room only to find it already occupied. Upon returning to the Check-in desk the surly receptionist said 'If only people did their [--] jobs right'. We were given a cold twin room, located in the extension, not the 17th century coaching inn, as advertised.

I complained to third party booking provder, very helpful, unfortunately White Swan staff were not. My complaint was not given any importance, the general manager cut me off during a converstion where I aired my concerns. He said he'd return my call the next day but never did. I continued to liase with third party agent, who insisted the hotel refund money, the general 'manager' eventually contacted me, after he'd informed the agent the complaint was closed, he became very rude and would not entertain refunding money but offered a free nights stay - not practical because the original stay was a stop over.

We continued our conversation simply going round in circles, the final straw came when he insulted me, saying I was not educated enough to understand what he was proposing. Upon which, I simply put the phone down, he was never going to take my complaint seriously.

Should you stay at the hotel, make sure you raise any problems at the time of your stay.

  • Disliked — Rude staff
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank Mootman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Alnwick hotels

Newcastle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2008

Our only negative experience at The White Swan was upon our immediate arrival, at check in, when we were 'greeted' by a surly receptionist who obviously was annoyed at us interrupting her. As we were walking up to our room I was beginning writing my review in my head :0(

The room was very small (I suppose that's a negative too) but immaculately clean and beautifully decorated. The bathroom was a toilet, shower & washbasin - no room to swing a cat but plenty of hot water! (a bit perplexed why there were bath crystals amongst the toiletries). Room was cool but warmed very quickly. There was a smell from the drains which we thought may be due to the shower not being used for some time and that it would go once the shower had been on; which it did.

We had dinner in Hardys restaurant - very good food very reasonably priced and lovely atmosphere/surroundings. The staff were great, very attentive & friendly, especially Yannick.

Bed & pillows were very comfy, so much so we woke late the next morning for breakfast! When we got to the dining room they had stopped serving cooked breakfast 15 minutes earlier but our waitress spoke to the kitchen staff who were more than happy to cook us fresh breakfast, which was very tasty.

We went out for the day and when we came back to our room we found the drain smell had returned. My husband called reception who were really apologetic and within 5 mins had allocated us another room - a suite, WOW! Now this room was very spacious, had a bath and a kingsize bed and really made up for the fact that we'd had to move.

We can only praise the staff at the White Swan; they were extremely friendly, helpful and when there was a problem they bent over backward to resolve it.

If we were to return to Alnwick we'd definitely stay at the White Swan because we felt they really looked after us.

  • Liked — The suite, comfy beds & immaculate rooms
  • Disliked — Standard rooms quite small
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jameos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2008

Our arrival and check-in at the hotel went well. We were expected (4 people, two rooms), the rooms were ready and help with luggage offered but declined. This initial response was, unfortunately, just about the best we had the whole stay.

Our rooms were across the Courtyard and were easiest accessed through there rather than up some stairs along several corridors and down some stairs. I concur with the previous review that the rooms were either red hot or freezing. Why do they turn the radiators on full and then open the window? Also, there is no form of heat source in the bathrooms and they are quite cold. I also wonder when the last time a vacuum cleaner was used in our room. Other peoples hairs on the carpet are not an attractive feature!

We had booked on a dinner, bed and breakfast rate of £85.00 per room per night, which we thought was a good deal. My review is fairly lenient because of this fact, if we had paid more I would probably have been very upset.

We reserved a table at Hardy's Bistro for dinner the first night. Four staff were working the room, two behind the bar, two on the floor but none seemed to know what the others were doing. Drinks ordered arrived wrong or not at all. A bill was PLONKED on our table that had nothing to do with us and no apology issued. The only bright point of the evening was our cheery waitress one of only a handful of staff we saw smile the whole weekend.

Granted, it was Easter weekend and the hotel seemed busy when we arrived on the Saturday but customer service is obviously not top of the agenda. Being short staffed is not the customers fault and they should not be constantly informed of such.

Breakfast the next day in the Olympic Suite, which, granted, is quite impressive, was eventful too. My partner and I were queuing for the buffet breakfast when the bacon and eggs ran out. There was quite a line forming behind us when the head waitress came past on her way to the kitchen. My partner advised her we were waiting for fresh eggs and bacon and she said "so are we" in a tone that can only be described as insulting. Fortunately, we are pretty easy going so said nothing further and the bacon and eggs arrived a few minutes later. In all, breakfast was okay.

After a day sight seeing, we came back to the hotel at 4 pm for a quick drink and a snack for our son in Hardy's Bistro only to be told that the sandwich menu was "off". I stood up to go and said we'd order from room service instead as sandwiches were available 24/7 and lo and behold sandwiches suddenly became available. The Club sandwich my son ordered was very tasty too.

Dinner that night was in the Olympic restaurant. As we were on DBB, it was A La Carte - choice of 4 starters, 4 mains and 4 desserts. When we were eventually given our menus we were informed that the beef was "off" and it was lamb instead, which we all ordered. My family had soup for their starters, which was quite acceptable and I had prawn cocktail, which on the menu was described as being accompanied by buttered brown bread not the stale/soggy toast it arrived with. Also, the lamb steaks were over cooked and not very warm. Dessert of cheese and biscuits with celery and grapes had no grapes. The entertainment of the night (male solo singer) did his best to keep everyones spirits up.

On check-out our receipt showed a dinner charge, which as we were on DBB should not have been there and not one member of the staff behind the counter asked if we had enjoyed our stay. Maybe they had a sixth sense that we hadn't.

All in all, Alnwick and the surrounding areas are beautiful and the people very friendly. There's lots to do even in the extreme weather we had at the time. We will go back to Northumberland just not to the White Swan Hotel.

  • Liked — It's position in the town
  • Disliked — Extreme lack of customer service
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank BeckyBooLeeds_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stirling
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2008

We booked this last minute and given that it was Easter friday, were very surprrised at the deal. £80 for both of us for dinner, bed and breakfast! Very friendly staff, great service and clean hotel. We were a little perturbed when we were told we had to go out the hotel to find our room.....but it was just a few steps into an obvious add-on to the main hotel. The room was small but well furnished with a proper iron and ironing board and a real hairdryer. After wandering around the pretty village and stocking up on some great books in the truly wonderful Barter Books, we put some bubly on ice in the room, had a long soak in the bath and toddled on down to dinner. The Olympic suite is as grand as it sounds and you can easily imagine how it looked on a ship. The food was great, the wine very reasonable (yes, another bottle) and the service superb. You simply cannot fault this place for the money. We saw the beatiful Alnwick garden in the snow and will deffo be back to see how it has changed in the summer.

  • Liked — clean and very conforatbel king size bed
  • Disliked — room could have been bigger
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank fionawils
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
scotland
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2008

can only say ok
room freezing unless radiator on full, window propped open by a flat pebble, no heating in bathroom, mould on sealant around tiles, fan noisy and dusty and the room smelt like your old granny - no offence gran i meant your old house!
we only slept in the room which made it bearable.
'olympic suite' something to see: breakfast as it said 'help your self' to what you want and as much as you want: but one morning...' special promotional event on' so guests not allowed in here. No signs , warning, reasoning or apology given and had to look a bit stupid wandering into the 'event' looking for my breakfast.

still waiting for my coffee in the bistro form the one night we did eat here! a
from reading name badges it seemed the more pay you were on the less you cared for the customer.

  • Liked — dining room
  • Disliked — public rooms give a false sense of the hotel rooms
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank oliveScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth U.K.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 March 2008

My wife and I booked for 3 nights in February but left after 1 night.
We thought our allocated room on the 2nd floor was a mistake as it was the fire escape route for that floor. But no, it seems that this is not uncommon in some hotels and the staff actually tried to convince us that it was the safest room in the hotel.
However the room was clean and reasonably sized so we decided that we would not ask for a change.
We did hear a constant rubble of some sort of machinery outside the back of the hotel but on mentioning it to reception were told that it was the restaurant extractor fan that was turned off when the kitchen closed.
We went out for a few hours returning at 11.00pm but still the noise could be clearly heard despite the restaurant being closed before 10.00pm.
11.30 arrived, midnight, 01.00, 02.00 etc, and the drone continued making it impossible to sleep. My wife wrapped a pillow round her ears and I tried ear plugs from pieces of tissue but to no avail.
By morning we were both exhausted and too tired to continue our short break. We complained to reception and they said we could have been moved to another room but we said why put us in such a unsuitable room in the first place.?

Stayed February 2008
Helpful?
Thank superbill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The White Swan Hotel

Property: The White Swan Hotel
Address: 16 Bondgate Within, Alnwick NE66 1TD, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Northumberland > Alnwick
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Alnwick
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The White Swan Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the heart of the historic market town of Alnwick and only a stone's throw from Alnwick Castle and Gardens, The White Swan is a charming 300 year old coaching inn that blends its unique heritage with superb accommodation.For generations one of the North of England's primary hotels, The White Swan is probably best known for its Olympic Dining Suite which features the magnificent panelling, mirrors and stained glass windows from the Titanic's sister ship. All 57 bedrooms are designed to an impeccable standard, and Hardy's Bistro, our contemporary, informal dining experience, is open all day for coffee, light lunches and an excellent bistro menu.The perfect stopover en route to Scotland, we're also your base for discovering the famous gardens at Alnwick Castle, and a tour of the very best of the North East with its unspoilt coastline, historic castles and Holy Island, Northumberland National Park and the exciting cities of Durham and Newcastle. Then return to the hotel for a traditional afternoon tea in front of the fire. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The White Swan Hotel, Alnwick Hotel Alnwick
White Swan Alnwick
White Swan Hotel Alnwick
The White Swan Hotel Alnwick, Northumberland

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