My husband and I have just returned from a three-night break at this hotel, which my husband arranged as a birthday treat for me. The positives of this hotel are the the pleasant and secluded situation, beautiful grounds and the staff, who are friendly and helpful. The rest of our experience was sadly disappointing.
We would agree with many of the remarks of "Tribble-traveller". On arrival there was no-one to meet us and and we had to walk through the entrance hall, past the bar and through a doorway before finding a bell to push for service. This is more the kind of arrangement one would find in bed and breakfast accommodation and results in a rather bleak or empty feel.
However, on pressing the bell a member of staff appeared immediately and we were offered and given all the help we needed. We were also given a tour of the hotel, which was very helpful, before being shown to our room. This was our first disappointment. The room my husband booked was a superior room, but there was nothing superior about this one, except the view to the front. The decor was dull and dreary, the furnishings and fittings were worn and the shower was so small you could barely turn round in it. There was a king-sized bed, which, when we looked at their website, appears to be the only thing that differentiates a superior room from a classic room.
There were tea and coffee making facilities and wifi, albeit very slow, but the toiletries in the bathroom were poor. The soap and shampoo are supplied in dispenser bottles and there are notices asking you to remember that other guests will be using them after you. There was no soap in the shower, so you have to remember to take in the large and unwieldy soap dispenser and balance it on the small shelf squeezed between the shower and the wall, where it was very difficult to use. There was also some body lotion similarly in a dispenser bottle, but this was going brown and smelled as 'though it had been there for some considerable time.
The bed was OK, but the pillows were very poor. We asked for softer pillows and were given feather pillows, one of which was exceedingly heavy and not soft! However, we cannot fault the speed and efficiency of service.
The food, as others have said, is not up to the standard one would expect. The menu was the same on all three nights we were there and there were no specials. The food was not bad, but generally lacked the depth of flavour, leaving them somewhat bland. This applied to the coffee, too. The breakfast buffet displayed was meagre and poorly presented, although you could order a variety of cooked dishes. The standard was unexceptional and the coffee weak. However, again, the service was good and the staff friendly and helpful at both dinner and breakfast.
Having read the management's comments, we know they will say we should have made our concerns known during our stay, but apart from not wanting to spoil further what should have been a special occasion, it is difficult to know what they could have done. This hotel is what it is and the problems we experienced could not have been sorted quickly.
Similarly we know the management will say that our review is exceptional and point to the fact that they have won awards and received many excellent reviews. Quite how, is a mystery to us. As experienced travellers, we know that for a hotel that advertises itself as offering "luxury" and charging the prices it does, it should be providing a much higher standard of accommodation and food.
Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of the 20% discount being offered throughout May, but are still left with the strong feeling that this hotel is poor value for money.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 3 AA red starts, 2 AA Rosettes, AA notable wine list and 'Devon Venue' in the Westcountry Wedding Awards. Northcote manor is a cherished Country House Hotel set in the foothills of Exmoor National Park, Enjoy sweeping views over the Taw Valley, sundowners on the sun terrace and cream teas on the lawn or in front of crackling log fires. The perfect wedding venue or conference. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Northcote Manor Umberleigh
- Northcote Manor Hotel Umberleigh
- Northcote Manor Country House Hotel Devon/Burrington