We have been visiting Haor Cross Hall as day guests since it opened about 15 years ago. The first few years were great, it's convenient for us all to get to, the Hall is lovely and the grounds are great for a stroll after lunch. Our only complaint was the swimming pool did not get any natural light.
Gradually over the past few years the service seems to have grown worse and yesterday's visit to Eden Hall has almost convinced us to never go again. From start to finish we felt we had to fit in around staff schedules, from our lunch reservations at 11.30 - who in the name of Gucci eats lunch at 11.30? When we changed our time we were told that 'some-one has to be first'. I would think all of the day guests could have been accomodated in two sittings in the large restaurant so I guess the early start was for the convenience of the chef, so cooking was staggered. To be honest the food was OK but looked as if it had all been prepared way before it was served and none of the plates were even warm, never mind hot.
The facilities are extensive but how can so much money and effort have been put into building a spa aimed at relaxation and enjoyment have so little natural light. Unless you physically go out of the building into the grounds you do not see anything approaching a nice view. The hall is in beautiful grounds but there is not one place in the day spa where you would know that. You could have been in the middle of an M1 service station for all the natural light that was allowed into the building,
We did a yoga class for 90minutes and the teacher was as usual fantastic. However the room was dire, again there wasn;t a window in the place and the designers seem to think covering all the walls with mirrors would somehow help the situation, it doesn't. It's also hard to relax when you can hear the bump and grind of the music from the next door exercise class. Maybe more sound insulation would have been a good idea. Even the pool does not have any windows, there are several sky lights but they seem to have some sort of opaque glass as it wasn't possible to see the sky.
All over the spa there are signs advising, warning, telling, there is not one sign in the whole place thanking us for handing over a wodge of our hard earned cash and wishing us a pleasant stay. I ws sitting by the pool and as I had finished reading my magazine and was waiting for the jacuzzi to start up I counted 57 signs and that was without leaving my lounger!!!
I think that Mr Joyner has actually fallen into the trap of being a victim of his own success. There was every opportunity to make the day spa into one of the most fabulous in the country, it was being built from scratch, there was unlimited land in a fantastic setting, and seemingly unlimited money, so how they finished up with what could be a Travel Lodge in Sutton Coldfield is beyond my understanding. Years ago the staff were friendly, chatty and so keen to help you have a good day, yesterday I actually felt in the way on several occasions.
Overall we were really disappointed at how Hoar Cross Hall and it's spin off Eden Hall has gone down hill over the last 10 years and I think it will be quite a while before we return. We used to visit 4 or 5 times a year, but since 2005 have only been 3 times which is an indication in itself that's things ain't what they used to be.
Last word, we went to the Eden Hall Day Spa near Newark in 2006 and it was fabulous, it's just a much longer journey for us.
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