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“Such a shame.....”

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The Great House At Sonning
Hampshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Such a shame.....”
Reviewed 25 June 2007

We booked a night here to celebrate our wedding anniversary - it looked so inviting on the website and we know Sonning village is lovely.

Reception was manned by one person who was on the phone so rather a wait! We were not asked if we wanted a table for dinner.

Our room was up two narrow flights of stairs and was a modest size, with a bathroom nearly as big as the bedroom. Everything seemed to work except the TV remote.

There was a wedding reception taking place in the main restaurant and private bar which seemed to be consuming all the efforts of the staff. The toilets in the public areas were in a disgusting condition.

The restaurant was ok and most of the food, although very pricey. My steak was like leather and was impossible to cut. Another diner who had the same problem was offered a steak knife, I was not. When the plates were cleared there was no comment by the waitress as to why an almost whole steak was still on my plate. I asked her to tell the chef, but that was that - no apology or offer of something different to eat.

We went to the bar after dinner and there was no-one there. A fellow guest used the internal phone to try and get help. The barman when he eventually arrived was very rude and refused to serve the other guest, saying he must go back to the private bar to be served because he was a wedding guest! Toilets in the public area by this time in an even more disgusting state.........

At breakfast the staff problem was dire. A couple of people standing around doing nothing - we had to put our cereal plates on an adjacent table to make room for our hot breakfast and collect cutlery to make up for missing items on the table. One waitress even helped herself to some ham and bread and took it outside the restaurant to eat it!

Such a shame because it is a lovely location. An investment in staff training would transform the place. Until that is done the hotel should not be charging rates equivalent to a five star hotel and giving 2 star service.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Bad service
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Rufus56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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372 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (85)
Date | Rating
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English first
Cambridge
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2007

The website made this place look like a mansion. In fact, it's a glorified pub. The room was OK but not as grand and I thought it would be, the bathroom was very nice and new. My room was a bit noisy during the day and into the evening because it faced the street. Breakfast was excellent (full English plus continental). Generally, the whole thing wasn't as grand as I 'd expected from the website. I stayed here for one night only for business. I had to pay for wireless internet access, but getting online was very easy. The staff at reception were very very helpful. They even lent me a phone charger.

Something else to note - the hotel is located just after a single track bridge. Driving there from Reading can take ages because of the long tailbacks queuing up to the bridge. Taxis, similarly, become expensive.

Overall: comfortable, but I thought it was a bit pricey.

  • Liked — Good service
  • Disliked — Price
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Supermaggio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2007

Stayed here for one night on business. Needed a last minute hotel, and didn't have time to research on Trip Advisor (lesson learned...).

Staff were friendly and helpful, but the standard of maintenance was not very high. In my room (16) the window latch was broken so there was no way of locking it - which was a bit worrying, as the window was accessible from the outside. The furniture was tired and the shower made an almighty noise every time you turned it on. Some of the lights didn't work, and the table was sticky.

Room service food was reasonable (and again- delivered with a smile), and Wifi access was excellent.

I think all in all what could be a good hotel in a beautiful location and great staff is let down by lack of maintenance.

  • Stayed March 2007, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank ThatDanny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
uk
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2006

We were surprised at the ease of booking a sunday night room so easily in the middle of july. We discovered why. The building work in the car park was the first clue. The lack of anything other than a very basic bar snack in the evening was offered. The rooms were clean and reasonably well cleaned but we were with a young child and discovered that we were next to the kitchen extractor fan which ran all night, plus they hadnt made any attempt to make my childs room safe so we had to spend a while removing all objects but discovered we were unable to fully secure both the low level window safely.

The only plus point was the stunning view over the Thames

  • Liked — The Thames view if you got one
  • Disliked — everything else
  • Tips/Secrets — ask for a thames view if you must stay
  • Stayed July 2006, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank seabiscuit101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
71 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 August 2006

My wife and I stayed here August 2006 as part of a UK touring vacation. We were severely disappointed.

Our room (a 'superior') was very basic with intermittent hot water. The river view we had specified was obstructed. There was loud building work going on at 11:30pm, and the staff decided to (loudly) rearrange the dining room tables at 5:30am directly below us. The common parts looked like they hadn't been cleaned for a while, and the restaurant food was at best average.

When we were looking for a hotel in the area, we tried the French Horn (which is on the opposite side of the River) which was fully booked. We were one of only 3 rooms occupied at the Great House - I think I now know why...

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Room and cleanliness
  • Tips/Secrets — Try the French Horn across the River
  • Stayed August 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MartinDe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2005

I stayed there with my sister, based on the stunning view over the Thames and the quaint atmosphere of cottage style hotel promised by their website. When we got there, the reception area looked like a modern BUPA hospital and the receptionist was abrupt and just about friendly, in a "if I really must" way.

I should have rated it "Excellent" because it was like staying at Faulty Towers! We were expecting John Cleese to turn up any minute. We couldn't believe that they had the audacity to charge £99 for this room! I guess we were captive guests as all the other local Sonning hotels were full. Their "tudor" rooms with antique furniture were decorated with mock missmatched 70's plywood furniture.

The room was grotty; the netcurtains were torn and grey; there was an acrid pungent smell of paint, which prevented us from sleeping. We had to open the windows, which led to the stunning views of the car park with a massive wheely bin and the noisy main road. The Thames view as advertised on the Website was probably from one side of the main building.

The pillows were old, smelly and very uncomfortable.

When we complained that they only had given us one towel between the 2 of us, they brought torn bath mats instead, without any apologies.

The shower was not very powerful (we were on the first floor) and kept on changing temperature; so you either froze or burn yourself.

The extractor fan in the bathroom was more like a plane trying to take off and didn't stop all night.

When I asked whether all their rooms were as bad as the one we stayed in, the receptionist said that I should have asked for the main building because the rooms had recently been renovated and were much nicer... Thanks for offering!

The one and only thing that made our stay worthwhile was the restaurant. The staff was great, very friendly, the food was excellent, the menu varied and original and was good value for money. I would definitely recommend the restaurant.

  • Stayed August 2005, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank NattyLondon_England
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 28 February 2005

There's a lovely view on every picture on the web associated with this hotel and that view sold it to me as a place to go for my fiancee's birthday. We spent a fantastic afternoon flying nearby at Whyte Waltham and were ready to find a delightful place to spend a romantic evening....

The hotel is in a nice village near reading. Sadly, while one part of the hotel does have a nice view - most looks onto a large car-park. It's about as enchanting as overlooking any other car-park.

The staff were a little unhelpful with a tendency to tell you why they couldn't do things for you rather than why they could, but they were generally very polite and one of the best things about this hotel in my experience.

Our room was modern-ish but dirty and poorly maintained. A spiders web hung from one bedside lamp; the other wasn't working - presumably because the bulb had gone. The 'satellite' TV wasn't working - all we got was a grainy picture with BBC1 etc. (Though we didnt' spend lots of time exploring what the problem was.) The shower was decent but the plastic rail holding the shower head to the wall was also broken. All in all the hotel gave the appearance and experience of a bit of a shabby place overlooking a car-park. Not exactly what they promise. After I'd booked, i found out this place used to be known as the 'white horse.' I'd say that was a more appropriate name than a 'great house.'

In my opinion, definitely not a great hotel at all - I'd stay well clear.

Helpful?
17 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Great House At Sonning

Property: The Great House At Sonning
Address: Thames Street, Sonning-on-Thames RG4 6UT, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Berkshire > Sonning-on-Thames
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sonning-on-Thames
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — The Great House At Sonning 4*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Recently refurbished, The Great House on the banks of the river Thames in Sonning offers contemporary and stylish en-suite rooms. The hotel offers easy access to the A4, Reading and the M4, ample free parking for guest's use and free WiFi throughout. Bedrooms are located in separate buildings: the original White Hart Hotel, the 16th century palace yard, the 17th century coach house, and the clock tower. Rooms include a number of comfortable features including luxury bedding, work desks and rain showers. A newly opened all-day restaurant, Coppa Club, includes a relaxed bar area with an open fire and an outdoor terrace overlooking the gardens and river. Breakfast can be ordered from 7:30am and a wide range of options are available from healthy smoothies to a full Skillet Breakfast. In the main house guests can work throughout the day and enjoy fresh coffee and snacks whilst making use of the complimentary WiFi and numerous power points. Situated in the picturesque conservation village of Sonning-on-Thames, the hotel is a 20-minute drive to Reading and Henley-on-Thames and less than 2 miles from Thames Valley Business Park. We look forward to welcoming you soon! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Great House At Sonning Hotel Sonning On Thames
The Great House At Sonning Sonning-On-Thames, Berkshire

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