Having been local for many years I had been aware of The Bush as a hotel, and despite never having stayed here, held it in high regard. In the intervening years the hotel has passed from Forte Group, to Macdonald Hotels and now under the management of Mercure (part of the Accor Group). A friend's wedding brought me to the area and given that most other hotels seemed fully booked, I decided to put my impressions to the test and actually stay at The Bush.
Booking was a somewhat interesting affair, I attempted to book through Mercure's own website, only to be told that there were no rooms available AT ALL. Knowing the hotel is quite large, this perplexed me somewhat so decided to resort to actually telephoning the hotel. There were rooms available and whilst the room I booked was more expensive than I had been hoping, the girl I spoke to was very pleasant and very helpful. Her customer service was excellent even going as far as sending me directions to the hotel from my home as an answer to my question of how to get into the hotel, as I had already said I'd moved from the area and couldn't remember the exact way there. An excellent piece of initiative.
Having arrived at the hotel and locating the car park at the back (secure but a slightly awkward layout for parking), I then went to check in. I was in a bit of a hurry as was between the wedding ceremony and the reception at this stage (check in wasn't early enough for me to do before as the ceremony was some miles away), so this may have coloured my view a tad, but I did find this a little bit of a frustrating experience. I entered through the obvious 'main' door on the back facade and had to ask at the bar for directions to reception. When arriving there the staff member was helpful but despite me clearly being in a hurry (dressing in full wedding attire and with an entourage of bridesmaids) didn't seem in a massive rush.
I was in room 25, which having worked out that this overlooked the entrance courtyard, I was a bit worried it might be noisy later on, but gladly this proved not to be the case. This room is in one of the older parts of the hotel and has been very pleasantly refurbished. The room was fairly clean and very comfortable. I did have a few small niggles though. The seal from the bottom of the shower screen was missing which got the floor wet, the other seals were not as clean as they should have been but not dirty by any means, the light above the shower flickered, the room was a little bit dark in the hallway area as most of the lights are at the other end of the room (the ambiance was quite soft so that helped, but it needed something, although I appreciate the layout this room might not allow so). Two more major issues I have are thus. It took FIVE minutes to, having found the kettle on the dressing table quickly, locate the cups and the coffee! (A tip for those not in the know, under the TV, next to the fridge!) The other was down to the rooms location. The courtyard is floodlit, no problem with that, but the way the curtains are designed meant a lot of light came in on the right hand side of the window. I got round this by tucking the curtain into the pelmet.
Breakfast was very good and served in a lovely room overlooking the garden, an excellent choice and actually the full english consisted of high quality ingredients and was very tasty. The first time I've had this at a hotel for a VERY long time. (The scrambled eggs were still a bit iffy, but they are tricky to do on a mass scale).
The staff were very helpful throughout my stay and proved that the extra mile that sometimes needs doing had been thought about in advance, i.e. decaffinated coffee at breakfast, from ground coffee not instant, toothpaste and a large envelope being found on request from reception.
Mercure have clearly spent a lot of time and effort on the hotel recently and whilst there are a few little bits that could be improved (for instance the hallways look a little dated, although well maintained, and cleary date from the Forte Heritage era, and the linen room with strictly staff only notices which shouldnt be seen by guests, was left open for the entire morning from getting up to checking out, with linen piled outside), these small items were not big enough to impact on my stay and I was cheered that the whole hotel and experience had lived up to my (admittedly high) expectations.
One final tip I would give is that you should keep a look out in reception, there are some very good local information leaflets (not the usual junk), some very interesting local magazines and an interesting factsheet about the hotel (for those interested in that sort of thing, I am), all showing that care is put into the running of the hotel and pride is clearly taken by those who work there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mercure Farnham Bush hotel is located in the centre of Farnham, a very short walking distance from the railway station. The Hotel is only 15 minutes drive to Farnborough Airport, around 30 minutes from Heathrow Airport and 35 minutes from Gatwick. Thackery's Restaurant serves modern European cuisine, and the Coachman's Bar is a cosy spot for a nightcap. The 6 fully equipped function rooms can host varying events from small meetings in a boardroom style right up to 140 people for conferences, parties and weddings. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mercure Farnham Bush Hotel Farnham
- Accor Bush Farnham
- Mercure Farnham Bush Hotel Surrey