I turned 40 in November and some months before started to look for a venue for a small, family celebration near Bideford.
Well, I certainly wasn't spoiled for choice, as there is a real lack of classy establishments in the area that could lay on the afternoon tea I was wanting for around 20 guests. Then I decided to turn to the Brend's flagship hotel, further away from Bideford, with a stunning view of Saunton Sands beach, and appropriately named the Saunton Sands Hotel. I paid my deposit a month in advance of the date, and specified that I would like a selection of cakes, scones, finger sandwiches, savouries and coffee / tea. They said I would need to confirm numbers a fortnight before, which I duly did. So I am sure you can imagine my intense annoyance, when having sent invitations out specifying 3pm, that 5 days before the event the hotel contacted me to say that they needed to move the start time! To which I replied that it would be out of the question. They sniffily retreated, but with little apology.
On the day itself, we arrived and the table was beautifully laid out with a spectacular view of the roaring waves. However, the coffee and tea had clearly been put there at around breakfast as they were stone-cold. The selection of foods were unceremoniously dumped on ugly-looking platters that had definitely seen better days. The cakes were merely offcuts of stodgy tray-bakes, the scones were more like rockbuns, and sandwiches had stale crusts but worst of all......the savouries were ALL pork-based. ALL. I found this very thoughtless - in this day and age surely I had been right in assuming that there would be a selection of vegetarian ones too? How wrong of me - this was North Devon after all.
After having waited an age to the coffee and tea to be replaced, I sat back and enjoyed the company of my family, who all found it an immense treat to have been invited to the premier venue of North Devon, and quite frankly I no longer had any energy to complain. But for a supposed 4-star hotel, I think that my local pub could have done much better, and I left feeling very sad that they probably didn't know that they should have tried much harder. After all, if they had been based in the Midlands, with all the competition about, they would not have survived in business for so long. The only reason they are still going is because they have a captive audience because of the amazing view.
This has made me think that for future celebrations I may as well order my buffet food from M&S online and pick it up from their Barnstaple store on my way home to my parents in Bideford!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- There is something truly special about the Saunton Sands Hotel. Set above Saunton's stunning three mile beach overlooking the natural wonder of the Braunton Burrows World Heritage Site, the Hotel's magnificent location gives us one of the most dramatic coastal views in the South West.There is far more to staying at Saunton Sands Hotel than what's outside. Inside you'll find first class accommodation and facilities, fantastic food and a quality of service you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else.Whether your stay if for a winter break with a difference, summer holiday for all your family or a business trip we'll do everything we can to make your stay as memorable as the view. We look forward to welcoming you. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Saunton Sands Braunton
- Hotel Saunton Sands
- Saunton Sands Hotel Braunton, Devon