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Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club
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Reviewed 14 November 2013

We used Tesco vouchers to pay for this stay, so I will start with the booking process. Unfortunately it was a bit of a farce! you can't do a Tesco booking online and the prices they charge you are higher than the standard ones you can get online, so that's an annoyance. Also, Tesco put lots of terms and conditions on their vouchers, and when you ring the hotel and try to book on days that meet these term and conditions, they don't have an availability. I tried 5 different hotels on a selection of weekends, and none of them had any availability. In the end she said I could stay outside of the specified days and so I managed to get in at my first choice hotel, but by moving the dates from a weekend (stipulated by Tesco) to midweek. I asked for a room with a bath and was told it was extra because it would be a superior room, which I accepted. I was offered a 3 course meal for £20 and was told that you couldn't pay for this with Tesco vouchers. When I sent my Tesco vouchers in, some were returned without any explanation. I had to ring them back again to find out why, and discovered that my 'upgrade' to a room with a bath was also not payable by voucher, which I wasn't told when I called. I then had to faff about getting Tesco to refund the extra vouchers.

Moving onto the hotel itself, then. There's a sharp turning to get into the drive and the one-way system they try to use isn't obvious to follow, but we made it down the drive without hitting any of the deer that were interested to see us. The long driveway is very impressive, but I just wish it was clearer where you needed to go, and indeed, where you couldn't go in your car. Check in was quite quick and the room was OK. It wasn't massive, but it did have a bath, so we were happy. Upon arrival we noticed a letter near to the TV. The letter stated that the TV "still" wasn't working, which implied this was not the first day of the TV not working, and said if we took the letter to the bar we could each have a free drink. Well, the TV did not work during our entire stay, we were not able to use it on any of the 3 days. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter to us too much as we were hardly ever in our room and we had both brought reading material with us. However, having said that, we felt really out of touch the whole time, with what was happening in the world, and what was happening locally i.e. traffic and weather. I do feel that for a hotel of this size, and this standard, they really should be able to manage to fix an aerial so that the whole hotel was not without a TV. More importantly, we got a letter and a free drink on Day 1, but that was all. There was no communication on the second day to say it was still broken, what they were doing about it, or how they would compensate for this. That evening we rang reception to ask about it, who said they would call us back, but never did. It seemed that nobody cared about the fact that the entire hotel was without TV. It was no surprise then that it wasn't working on the third day either. There was absolutely no effort made during our entire stay to communicate about this, to provide any alternatives, or to offer anything other than one single drink each (to last 3 days?!) on our first evening.

We ate in the restaurant that evening which was excellent in every way. It was a set menu, costing £20 for 3 courses. There were 5/6 choices for each course including 1 fish, 1 vegetarian, 1 beef & 1 chicken main course as a minimum, so I felt sure most people would be satisfied. The receptionist had booked our table at check in and so we just had to turn up. We experienced no problems ordering a meal "without" one of the ingredients that we didn't like. Similarly, there was no argument when I ordered a well done steak and it was indeed beautifully cooked as per my specification when it arrived. For the £20 we had paid the steak would normally cost that much, and possibly even more. The portions were generous and the desserts were divine. All of the staff were attentive without being intrusive. We had a bottle of wine which was £25 and is £7 online, so the hotel has added a considerable percentage, but it was well served and for a total of £65 for the two of us, the meal was worth every last penny.

We had our breakfast in the same restaurant the following morning. We had been warned when checking in that there was a wedding on and so breakfast may be busy as they may all come for breakfast at the same time. We didn't adjust our plans because of this, as we weren't really in a rush. But in fact this didn't happen and so we had no problems at breakfast. Our tea and toast order was taken by the person who seated us at our table and this arrived a few minutes later. She then took our order for cooked breakfast and invited us to help ourselves to the buffet. The buffet was very well presented, not to mention delicious. There was fruit, oakcakes, cheese, thickly sliced roast ham, cereal, pastries, cakes. I cannot think of anything else that you could have needed, and I went away very full and very satisifed with breakfast.

On the second evening we ate in the hotel pub that's onsite; The Linden Tree. We spent almost as much on this meal as we had the previous evening, and we were just as satisfied with it. We each had a starter and a main, and couldn't manage a dessert. The drinks were reasonably priced and did not seem any more expensive than any other pub you might go to. Starters were £4-5 and mains ranged for £7-15. Again, each course was a very generous size and extremely filling. The menu mainly consisted of standard pub grub fare such as chilli, pasta, lasagne, pies, grilled meats etc which was well cooked. I would say both of the onsite eateries are very good and if you can get the £20 deal for the restaurant, they are both similarly priced.

Breakfast on our second morning was something of a disaster, unfortunately. we hadn't been warned that it might be busy, but for some reason, lots of people were being left without their order being taken, or having to wait half an hour just for toast, for example. This didn't happen to us, however we experienced other difficulties. The buffet was not being filled up, for some reason, but people did not stop coming for breakfast and so slowly but surely it just looked sadder and sadder as bowls and platters became empty and were not revisited. we had to ask twice for butter; the first time we were told someone would bring some but the second time we were told the truth, that they had run out of butter and she would bring some margarine. No margarine ever came, by the way and after a sudden flurry of activity about half an hour later, butter started to come out of the kitchen so we asked for some of that and ordered some fresh toast as the original toast was now cold. the cooked breakfast came soon after we'd ordered it and so we were satisfied, but certainly not as full as we had been the day before as the buffet had been basically empty for most of the time we were there.

Finally, the room. Unfortunately, it was freezing. We are not cold people and have a high tolerance to cold weather as we live in a house with no central heating. The only source of heat in the room was the heated towel rail. I assume there are limitations on what they can do with the windows, given it's an old building. the window seemed to be the source of the cold air as it was a single glazed sash window. The curtains did block out a lot of light but they did not keep out the cold. Our room was in the wing near to the function rooms and we could hear music each night, which thankfully was turtned down at 11pm but still would have disturbed a light sleeper. The bed was exceedingly soft, almost water bed like in it's behaviour and the pillows, although fluffy looking in appearance, had no substance and so offered no support. In short, it wasn't a good nights sleep unfortunately. The building is beautiful and the public areas (bar, restaurant, pub, hall, lounge, reception) all live up to the promise made by the exterior, but the bedrooms are nothing special, and I have had better nights sleep in cheap hotel chains such as Travelodge and Ibis. IN our room, we were provided with 10 sachets of coffee, but only 3 sugars. There was shampoo & shower gel, but only 3 hand towels to get dry with and no mat to prevent slipping on the way out of the bath/shower. An iron, ironing board and hairdryer, but no accessible plug sockets. Something doesn't gel at this hotel, it makes no sense.

I hoped for more attention to detail, less chaos at breakfast, and more efficiency in dealing with problems. I did have a good stay, but remember that I did not pay for the stay, just the extras. I converted £100 of Tesco vouchers into £300 of Macdonald vouchers and for £100, I was happy with the stay. However I can't guarantee I'd be saying the same if I'd paid full price. Taking all that into account it was just OK for me. Although the pub and restaurant both desereve a much better score.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank sticky11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2013

Stayed here for 3 nights, november 2013, and really enjoyed it...the rooms were nice, a bit cold when we arrived late at night, but lovely bathroom with big shower and lots and lots of hot water...the breakfast was served by lovely people and the whole consept very nice...Sitting in fromt of a huge fire, in lovely furniture, lissening to lovely music, I was sat back to another time and loved the atmosphere, and the staff was very helpful...I would come back anytime to enjoy the silence and the lovely nature....also because its a perfect place to bring a dog if ine wish

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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Thank vendy2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2013

Stayed here for one night in November 2013, the room was very clean and comfortable with everything you need, it was lovely and quiet, staff were friendly and efficient the only disappointment was a wedding party who were noisy, greedy, ignorant and rude to the staff!

Room Tip: ground floor rooms are convenient for spa and restaurant , yet quiet.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Judy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2013

whilst the food was excellent the service was not. Not enough plates and glasses for breakfast. long waits while they washed them easily fixed . The service at the pub was so bad that the diners started talking amongst themselves about the poor service and the long wait between course. not enough staff. At one point there were 223 diners in the pub and nobody was eating anything. that says it all

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank AuchterlonieJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2013

We stayed at Linden Hall for the evening reception of a family wedding. We had requested an accessible room and were given a lovely ground floor room near the pool. Our room had a lovely view and had a wet room which was ideal for my husband, it was quite surreal as you can hear the television in the bathroom as there's a speaker in the ceiling! We were provided with sparkling water, tea/coffee making facilities, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. We had a comfortable, well appointed room, I had arranged for champagne to be in the room on arrival but it wasn't there, I called Reception who arrived in minutes and were very pleasant. We heard no noise and slept well. I used the pool in the morning and the jacuzzi, lovely! There was a lot of choice at breakfast and although we arrived en masse as a family we were all accommodated for and not rushed, a wonderful experience.

Room Tip: When booking online it is not always possible to book an accessible room, but a quick call will resolve, there are a few disabled parking bays
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Geordie_Duo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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