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“Sheilas Birthday”
Review of French Horn Hotel

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French Horn Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 January 2014

Ive known the Hotel most of my life as I was born just up the road but moved to Norfolk 5 years ago. We booked for a concert at The Mill at Sonning and took advantage of discount offer for theatre goers. As the River Thames rose each day I was relieved to know both Hotel and mill remained open.
We were lucky to be located in the cottages and must say when we walked in it was "WOW".
A superb breakfast delivered each day to our room so we could eat and relax in our lounge. The cottage was superb throughout and the en-suite larger than most double bedrooms, didn't want to leave.
A big thank you Michael to you and your staff.

Room Tip: Make time to walk around the village of Sonning, so beautiful.
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank NorfolkImages
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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102 - 108 of 200 reviews

Reviewed 4 December 2013

My wife and I stayed here for the first night of our honeymoon 47 years ago. It really has not changed much in all those years. This is both compliment and criticism.
We were convinced that we stayed in the same room and, as far as we could remember, it looked almost exactly the same. It did look tired and badly needed a repaint and refurnishing.
The bar was cluttered with lots of copper and brass. The atmosphere, in spite of a magnificent roaring fire, was fusty rather than the old fashioned warmth that was doubtless intended.
We were asked whether we would like breakfast in our room or downstairs with the other guests and we had to select our choice of food and our time of eating. I can see that this was a great help for the catering staff but we thought it something of an imposition to guess what we would want in advance.
Those are the down points. The dinner was truly memorable. We chose from the set menu which was very reasonably priced for such a posh establishment. The staff were outstanding and almost managed to brighten up the somewhat gloomy atmosphere created by the decor.
The house claret was not cheap but delicious.
We had breakfast in the bar all alone and a dull November morning did nothing to cheer it up! We only stayed one night, a Tuesday and it was very quiet, which never helps to create good cheer but it really does need brightening up. Then it would return to its old magnificence. Incidentally in 1966 dinner bed and breakfast cost £24 and it was very expensive!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Kevin D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2013

We have dined here many times before and always enjoyed the experience.

We took some work colleagues as our guests last week and, having built it up in their minds, we were not disappointed.

This is what the best quality British dining is all about. An absolutely beautiful location, an interior that beckons you to stay as long as possible, service that is very attentive without being intrusive (always a difficult balance), and a menu that delivers on all its seemingly outrageous promises.

It is great to see classics on any menu but, when they are cooked and presented as they are at The French Horn, you simply feel spoilt.

This isn't cheap, but who wants cheap when you can have exquisite.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank BlackfeatherBerks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2013

My husband and I stayed here for the night to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary. We enjoyed an excellent meal in the hotel restaurant in the evening before heading to our accommodation. It was a very sweet cottage with a very impressive bathroom! We had a delicious breakfast brought to us in the morning. The perfect end to a wonderful stay.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Penny E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2013

We almost didn’t come to the French Horn, as we’d spied the prices on the internet. I eat out a lot, through work and play, and also cook a fair amount. So when a restaurant feels it can charge over £20 for starters, and an average of £25-£40 for a main course, then in my mind it has to be something very special. We are in Michelin star / celebrity chef / latest cool London restaurant territory with these prices. We’ve lived close to the French Horn for about three years, and we’ve tried a lot of the fantastic pubs and restaurants around Henley / Marlow / Reading, and so decided that we’d give the French Horn a go – push the boat out so to speak. I’d also decided not to look on Trip Advisor for any previous reviews, as I suspected that if there were a few dodgy one’s that would have been the straw to ensure we ended up going somewhere else, and to be honest I’ve always wanted to go, and so we did.

Well – it started well. How can it not when you arrive and there are four Roast Ducks slowing spit roasting on a real fire in the bar where you have your pre-drinks. All good. Then we went through to the main room. Hmm… half full on a Friday night. And in a room that big – it was like eating in a ballroom. All a bit disappointing.

We then got our starters. My wife ordered “Dublin Bay Prawns, Breaded, deep fried and served with Tartare Sauce”. I suppose we should have realised – but what came up was about 5 pub scampi (they were even called Scampi on the bill). Very disappointing to have 5 little fried stodgy things on a big white plate (£21). My Foie Gras was very nice.

However, I’d order the Roast Duck. It was wheeled to the table on a serving trolley. We then watched as the head waiter started to teach a junior waiter how to carve the duck. Fair enough – you gotta learnt sometime. But what actually happened what the new guy started ‘hacking’ at my duck, the other guy then jumped in and basically did the same, and they ended up remonstrating with each other! At this point I suddenly realised it was MY £26.50 duck that was being butchered, and firmly asked them to stop. The ‘bits’ of duck were put on my plate, and off they went. It was the driest and tasteless piece of meat. I strongly suspect it was one from the day before – I find it hard to believe they would have sold the 8 halves that were cooking this evening. Anyway, when one of the waiting staff asked how it was – I told them – and almost fell of my seat when they said “Yeah – it can be a bit hit and miss” !!! If you’ve got this far, then read a few more of the reviews – and you’ll see this is a common problem. I wish I’d read them myself now. And it wasn’t just the duck. My wife’s (miniature) Dover Sole (£33) was also overcooked and rubbery….

Quite frankly it was not good enough. We ended up spending nearly £70 a head – and that was with me not paying for my duck and we didn’t dare try the desserts. All that in a half empty dining room. If that sounds like fun – then off you go. However, there are plenty more fantastic places around and about that don’t charge as much, but far more importantly care about what they are serving, and using the freshest of local ingredients with modern and imaginative dishes. You have been warned.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Steve H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2013

My wife and I along with our matured children have been constant diners at The French Horn for 40 years. This is a "Classic" in the true meaning of the word. An unbeatable rural riverside location on the Thames coupled with the best fresh ingredients elevate The FH to the top of the league table. Forget Michelin stars here, The FH have there own agenda for excellence and you will enjoy fine dining at the highest level accompanied with superb professional service under the direct supervision of the family owners with a wealth of experience. An extensive wine list caters for all tastes and budgets.

Low cost weekly all inclusive menu make this affordable for all at £27.50 for three courses inclusive of service. A La Carte available 7 days a week lunch and dinner. My favourite restaurant in the World, small parties can be accommodated in the private dining room. The Dublin Bay prawns and spit open fire roasted duck are a house special. Large portions satisfy even those with large appetites. This is simply a must go place.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank John B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

We were recommended this hotel and we were not disappointed. All the male staff were so attentive, charming in fact, it was a joy to stay in this lovely hotel in such a delightful setting. We were accommodated with our requests for a light lunch, we were able to relax in the bar after dinner it was a complete joy. The dinner was superb, lobster to start, the duck was divine, such a varied menu attentive staff again. We plan to return to treat a friend to lunch. We all found the french lady who checked us in to be rather brusque, but that was the only mild complaint that we could find. The breakfast was delicious, freshly squeezed fruit juices a very generous breakfast which you could have served in your room.If you want tea and coffee facilities in your room you have to request them,we had a good sized room with a view of the river.
We would all be happy to stay here again

Room Tip: Request a river view
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Patrick H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about French Horn Hotel

Address: Sonning-on-Thames RG4 6TN, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Berkshire > Sonning-on-Thames
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Sonning-on-Thames
Price Range: £156 - £184 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — French Horn Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 17
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel French Horn
French Horn Hotel Sonning-On-Thames, Berkshire

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