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“Disappointing return”

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Dovecliff Hall Hotel
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Burton upon Trent
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 September 2013

It has been some time (6yearsapprox) since we have visited the Dovecliff - we had our wedding here (superb apart from heavy rain all day which no-one can control!!) 10 years ago and subsequent evening meals/family occasions. My husband said he wanted to return for a meal for his birthday which we did with friends. Friday night, 8pm table for 4 - we were the only people in the lounge room for drinks - a glass of Shiraz was ordered - we were informed not sold by the glass and only Chardonny or Sauvignon blanc by the glass (no red wine option given or offer of wine list). The waiter seemed very nervous/not very confident and struggled either to hear or understand us. What was once used as the main dining room was shut with dining taking place in the beautiful Orangery where only 3 other tables had diners seated with a total of 18 of us - very intimate but sadly was it a sign of the times - money tight etc or a business in decline? The food was nice and I asked for a sauce that wasn't on the menu for my steak which was made no problem and was delicious. Our biggest disappointment was the wine selection and cost of drinks (a common criticism with other reviews). I don't expect to go to a "country House" venue/special restaurant and have the option if standard supermarket wines at massively inflated prices - the Shiraz that was only sold by the bottle was McGuigan Black Label (£5.49 -£6.99 in any supermarket) so wholesale cost even less! Wine lst price £23.95. We have paid that and more for very nice wines at other very good restaurants but not ones that are standard supermarket wines! We didn't order a bottle of wine. Unfortunately our final bill, 4starters, 4 mains, 2 desserts, 4 small glasses of wine, 6 pints of Carling came to a rather shocking £177 - almost £50 of that was for the drinks!!! We did note that the Directors are not those from our previous experiences so clearly a change of ownership. The website (and reviews) suggest the main focus to be weddings - the setting us undoubtedly perfect and our wedding albeit with different owners was amazing for that reason. We all came away quite sad as we felt the beautiful Dovecliff Hall is now in a state of decline relative to our memories and past experiences. We wouldn't return as we expect, in this type of venue to experience service, quality of food and drink far superior to that received in your everyday public house or restaurant chain unfortunately we have experienced better at our local "two meals for £10" public house. Ths as been quite hard to write because our hearts are still with Dovecliff.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Huffy1_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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305 - 311 of 436 reviews

Reviewed 20 September 2013

We attended a close friends wedding here and the setting was beautiful. The food was great, but the sticking point was the bar prices. A pint of lager was just under £6.00.,(they said they had run out of carling,so you had to have the most expensive brand...) which was the same tale told to friends the previous week.
They may offer reasonably priced wedding packages and the cost is made up on the excess.i brought a glass of lemonade that came out of a 2 litre bottle and was charged nearly £2.00.
It will e a shame if this place closes due to this.
If I were to return I would take my own drinks,as everybody expects to pay more but not over double .

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Diane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2013 via mobile

I have actually signed up to review this place after the response to the wedding review below.
Firstly I was sat at the back of the room and made the reviewer below, an usher, aware people could not hear at the back.....he then asked for a microphone. 301 weddings now and the feedback from this one is to consider this not defend the fact they have never had one which seems to be the response?...

Secondly, canopes was unfortunate but the bridal party seemed happy enough with the compensation but what did you expect? Them to complain through the wedding day and let it ruin the occasion?

Thirdly this site is for people and travellers to speak as they find and not consider how others may feel but review as you find. We all have different opinions and this is a way of sharing experiences amongst the travelling community. Therefore whilst sticking up for the business you need to understand it is people's rite to form their own opinion. The main factor here is the happiness of the bridal party which you say is no problem fair enough but there were loads of guests of whom all have opinions and entitled to share them. An opinion is not wrong.

I have given this place 3 stars based on what i found so my opinion differs a bit from below.

Positives _ apart from the canopies and lack of volume on speeches I'd say I had a great time and hard to fault the reception apart from those things. The bride and groom were stunning and the hotel itself is grande. No complaints at all about the hall or grounds.

Negatives _ I knowing it was mentioned below and your response was it is not pub prices but this was talked about far and wide on the day. Sorry guys the drinks were very expensive even for a place like this.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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1  Thank northernterrior
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2013

I was an usher at my mates wedding and the night before we had a meal at the venue as a get together. The pork was fatty and greasy and the grooms steak was awful. The staff were either ignorant or rude. I had 2 pints of diet coke which cost £8.80......

The next day came and everyone arrived at the venue after the service.
Where to start?... The drinks package arrived as ordered. Then its a paid for bar which is standard. However 2 drinks will cost you almost £10 and if you have a double vodka and coke expext to pay £11 for it. Ouch.

But price isnt the only issue. Far from it.
They forgot the canopes for the wedding reception for a start. Fairly basic stuff. I went to ask where they were on behalf of the groom and was told 100% they were not ordered.
After they investigated, it turned out they were ordered and Dovecliff just messed it up. Still 100% about that? Shocking stuff and basic wedding planning. So no canopes then.

Other niggles are there is no microphone for speeches. Ridiculous.
A guest asked for an extra small bread role and was told no, only one allowed. He couldnt even buy one.

No flexibility on a wedding day is shocking.

The rooms need updating although the bridal suite is quite nice.

We had a great day at my mates wedding due to the company there. Dovecliff is over expensive and they do not have the expertease to put on wedding receptions convincingly. My advice would be go elsewhere.

Ive noticed the last few reviews are quite negative. Maybe it used to be better and has had a change of owner or manager or something. Who knows.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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4  Thank rich5wolves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dovecliffhallhotel, Front Office Manager at Dovecliff Hall Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2013

Thank you for taking the time to post your review and we are sorry you feel the need to complain about your friends recent wedding. To address your points:
Any issues raised with the food provided at the pre-wedding meal were addressed on the evening and the Bride and Groom commented afterwards that they had enjoyed a lovely evening with good food.
Our bar prices are comparable with other local hotels and it must be remembered that we are a country house hotel and not a public house.
With regard to the canapés, our Wedding Coordinator did make a mistake and after realising this approached the Bride and Groom and family to apologise. The bridal party acknowledged it was a genuine human error and although it was unfortunate were happy to accept the apology and the subsequent financial compensation which was offered. All other aspects of the wedding went exactly according to plan with everyone enjoying the food and drink provided. On check out the next day the Bride gave our Wedding Coordinator a hug and thanked her and all the staff for all their efforts. Mistakes can happen but the quality of any establishment and its staff are shown in the way such situations are handled.
In response to an extra bread roll being requested, there are always extras and we will ascertain which member of staff was concerned and ensure they are aware of this fact. We always do our very utmost to accommodate guest requests and this will be addressed.
We have never been asked for or felt a need for a microphone for speeches in the function room and I can assure you after overseeing over 300 weddings in my time at the hotel this would have happened if it was felt it was required.
I am not sure why you felt some staff were ignorant or rude and this was certainly not the feedback we received from the Bridal party.
We pride ourselves on the huge flexibility we offer to all guests and we have NEVER received a negative wedding feedback. Quite the contrary if you look at wedding reviews this year. It would seem that you feel the Bride and Groom were not satisfied and I will personally speak to them on their return from their honeymoon to see if this is indeed the case.
Helen Lofts
Front of House Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2013

this hotel is highly over-rated ,booked into the the superior rooms that needed to be freshened up staff never seen ,4 of us booked in and both rooms very scruffy and of a very poor standard.best part of this hotel is the free slippers they supply ,not much more to say will never return.

Room Tip: not much to talk about highly over-rated
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank paul26051960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2013

There were 5 of us in our party and I managed to obtain a fantastic late deal through tripadvisor. The setting is lovely, with a sweeping drive as you approach the Georgian house. Inside it is rather "faded grandeur" which is a shame, as it could with a little effort be really lovely. Our three rooms were fine, with good facilities (although the showers were a bit pitiful). However, everywhere could benefit from a deep clean. Bedding, linen and towels were all good quality and spotless, so no complaints there.
The overall feeling is that the Hotel is chronically under-staffed. The first staff Member we saw appeared to be receptionist, manager, bar waitress and later waited on our table at dinner. The food was good - if pricey - £9 for three small pieces of cheese, crackers, grapes and celery was quite expensive, I felt, and my Husband had to ask for butter and then received a saucer with two tiny triangles on it!
Breakfast was fine, although the waitress did not explain that there was a self-service buffet table for cereal and fruit juice (described as freshly squeezed, but I don't think a fresh orange had been anywhere near it!). The full English was very good, nice bacon and sausages together with black pudding which pleased my Husband.
Overall the experience was a strange one - there are lots of little things which need addressing and it appears lots of cost-cutting is going on but we did quite enjoy our stay. However, I would not have been at all happy if I had been paying the full price!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank FouroaksHoram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2013

My wife and I have,,for the last 25 years, enjoyed the dining services of this Hotel, it was our first choice for personal and family occasions. However, our visit for luncheon on the 24th of August 2013, with four guests ,was an embarrassing disaster.The pre lunch drinks were served in a scruffy bar which aiso accommodated a pile of cardboard packing cases. The main course menu comprised three choices, Moroccan Chicken, Salmon and a Vegetarian dish served with basic vegetables and sauces; anything else was extra. Compared to our previous experience the standard of cuisine and service was poor- one individual acted as receptonist,
waitress and accounts clerk.
From a warm welcoming atmosphere this hotel has been converted into a place of cold indifference. The prices were always high but represented good value for money, the exact opposite is now the case.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Derek P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dovecliffhallhotel, Front Office Manager at Dovecliff Hall Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2013

Thank you for posting your review and we are sorry to hear that you were not happy with your recent lunch. Our set lunch menu comprises a two course for £12 or three courses for £14.95 which we believe is excellent value for money and has been a huge success since its launch in June and is the menu which I believe your party chose from. However, running alongside this is our 'a la carte' lunch menu which offers huge variety both in selection and price and may be combined with the set menu if desired.
There was another member of staff on duty but at the time you arrived and paid she was dealing with guests making booking enquiries and would have been on hand if she was required.
There was a cardboard box in the bar which was awaiting collection and should have been moved away from the bar area and i am sorry if this was unsightly during your pre-lunch drinks. Please feel at liberty to call me and speak to me directly if you wish as these matters are always dealt with more effectively on a 'one to one' basis rather than on a public forum. We do hope you will return.
Helen Lofts
Front of House Manager

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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 Dovecliff Hall Hotel

Address: Dovecliff Road | Stretton, Burton upon Trent DE13 0DJ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Staffordshire > Burton upon Trent
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Burton upon Trent
Price Range: £67 - £88 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dovecliff Hall Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dovecliff Hall Country House Hotel is a "hidden gem" nestled in the delightful Staffordshire countryside. Dating back to 1790, this elegant Georgian House has been fully restored to provide a subtle blend of history with modern comfortable hospitality. Set within seven acres of beautiful gardens and adjacent to the River Dove, Dovecliff Hall is the perfect retreat if you are looking to experience peace and tranquility. Our guest rooms have been tastefully decorated and boast views of either the gardens or the River Dove. With emphasis on comfort, elegance and functionality, all rooms have en-suite bathrooms with bath and shower and are equipped with flat screen TVs, telephones, free WIFI access, trouser press and tea & coffee making facilities. Classic English cuisine with a modern French twist can be enjoyed in our beautiful Orangery Restaurant. Only the finest seasonal ingredients are used and wherever possible, our Head Chef uses his local suppliers. Just 10 miles from Lichfield and 13 miles from Derby, we are ideally situated if you are looking to visit Chatsworth House, Lichfield Cathedral, The Peak District, Calke Abbey, Shugborough Hall, Alton Towers or Donnington Park. We look forward to offering you a very warm welcome. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dovecliff Hall Hotel Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire

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