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“dissapointed”

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Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms
Ranked #6 of 14 Harlech B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 June 2011

We had been recommended the Castle Cottage by a good friend who's recommendations I trust as this is his line of employment, and from reading all the excellent reviews we were both looking forward to a lovely evening celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. We arrived at 7.25, and were promptly told that we were late, that our booking had been made for 7 o clock. I pleasantly informed our host that I made the booking myself for 7.30. We were then served drinks by a very unsmiling lady and left to browse the menu. To cut a long story short, the food was good though overpriced at £38 per person, but the atmosphere and the service was unfriendly and uncaring to say the least, and the place only had 4 tables eating at the time. You felt as though you were sitting in someone's rather formal front room and had to speak in hushed voices as the other tables were very close by. My husband was made to feel a nuisance when he asked for a glass of wine with his food, and all this left a sour taste so we decided to leave without desserts, although the menu was given to us but we were then left for what seemed an age, before we had enough and went to the bar to pay...minus desserts. The same unsmiling lady promptly appeared and asked if she could help. She didn't ask once if everything was okay or had we enjoyed our food or our time with them, which she had plenty of time to do as I paid with the card machine. It was awkward to say the least as she took the money and we ran. We won't be coming back to Castle Cottage again for fear of being insulted by whom we assume to be the owner again. Maybe they were annoyed with us for not turning up at 7, or maybe she was having a bad night...who knows....a smile goes a long way regardless in my book.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
6  Thank cuzamanos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
owainHarlech, Owner at Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2011

Dear Dissapointed cuzamanos
I took your booking over the phone and wrote in the diary the time you asked for ( you asked what time we opened, I said 7pm, you said that's fine)
Glad you thought our food was good - but overpriced????? canapes, appetiser, home made bread with Welsh organic butter, starter, main course (with veg etc) and pudding. We always try and buy our food locally or from Welsh producers.
With all the costs of running a restaurant ( food purchases, wages, rates, gas, electric, Insurance, NI and 20%VAT) we are lucky to get a net profit of £3.80 - you obviously don't run your own business!!
Ive never heard our dining room be likened to a 'front room' before - bizarre,and our table spaces are no different to any other (except in a large city were they cram you in and only give you a limited time at the table) Would i be right to presume you don't eat our very often - just on anniversaries?

After giving a table the pudding menu we always give you some time to choose, as most normal customers like to have a little rest after the main course - you could have asked to order if you were in a hurry
My wife was probably not 'chatty' with you because she thought you had had an argument with your other half and did not appear to be the talkative type

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125 - 131 of 175 reviews

Reviewed 25 June 2011

We were recommended the Castle Cottage as we were attending a nearby wedding - and arrived a day early. Despite a long journey from London, and arriving after the owners had started preparing dinner, we were welcomed in and quickly settled in.
Dinner is excellent and plentiful - especially all the extra bits like canapes. We were still fairly full by breakfast the next morning!
Harlech itself is a charming medieval town and as long as you don't mind steep slopes, it's well worth walking down to the beach. Even on a Saturday in June we pretty had the beach to ourselves.
The room we were in (room 7) is enormous, with a great view of the Castle and beyond . It's been tastefully restored and well decorated.
Even mailing our hairdryer back (which we left behind) was no bother to the owners. We'll certainly be back next time we're in this beautiful part of Wales!

Room Tip: Room 7 is enormous and with great views
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  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank lemesmer2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
owainHarlech, Owner at Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms, responded to this reviewResponded 26 June 2011

Hi lemesmer2010
We are so glad you enjoyed your stay with us in Harlech and appreciated our rooms. Harlech is a fantastic little town with a great beach, its not a long walk to the beach, but the walk up the hill is a challenge - ideal to work up an appetite! Looking forward to serving you again soon

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Reviewed 21 June 2011

We have been visiting castle cottage for years, as we are fortunate to live quite near, sometimes we just eat but often we stay to enjoy the beautiful accommodation and so we can both savour the fabulous wines always on offer.
Castle cottage is our favourite place to eat of anywhere and believe me we get about a bit and are avid foodies. We regularly entertain guests at the hotel and always recommend as the best place to stay and eat in the area, we have stayed at Portmeirion, Maes y Neuadd and other supposed upmarket establishments nearby and castle cottage leaves them all wanting, this opinion is always endorsed by everyone we have ever recommended
there. How this is not the number one place to stay in the locality and beyond I do not understand. Great food , spectacular rooms and unpretentious hosts - keep up the good work

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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Thank jandj50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
owainHarlech, Owner at Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms, responded to this reviewResponded 24 June 2011

HI jandj50
Thank you for your excellent review of castle cottage, we are thrilled that you rate us higher than competitors in our area. You are some of our favourite customers as well, and its always a pleasure to serve you and your friends, especially as you know how to enjoy yourselves!!
Looking forward to your next visit

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Reviewed 2 June 2011

Just to reiterate the surprise at the negative review below, my girlfriend and I had a wonderful time at Castle Cottage. The hotel was recommended to us by family friends who have stayed there many times and eaten there while they were living in nearby Penrhyndeudraeth. Their enthusiasm made it a very easy decision when working out where to stay for our bank holiday trip to Snowdonia.

We had dinner in the restaurant on one of the two nights we stayed there; fantastic food, particularly the canapes you are served in the bar prior to being seated. The wine list is something to behold (if you are arriving late make sure to call ahead and ask for a bottle of wine to be left in your room; the perfect antidote to an inevitably long drive). On the other night we had dinner in the Tandoori next door which was very nice (and no, you cannot smell it from the hotel, we were in the room closest to the tandoori and there wasn't the slightest whiff). The breakfast (my favourite meal of the day) is fantastic; a buffet of cereals, juices and yoghurts with a menu of cooked breakfasts; I had the full english and these guys really nail it, just right on all counts. Perfect to set you up for a long day's hiking/playing golf/driving/anything!

The owners are on hand at all times to make sure you are having the best possible experience, without being intrusive. They make sure to address you personally, a nice touch, and you really feel looked after.

We never had a problem with the parking, one of the three spots was always available, even if they weren't the car park in front of the castle is no more than 40 yards away.

All in all, a great stay in a great hotel run by great people.

Room Tip: Room 6 in the annex is lovely.
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank smithandsimpson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
owainHarlech, Owner at Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2011

Hi smithandsimpson
What a great review by great customers! We are glad you took up the recommendation from family friends because you were a pleasure to serve. Thank for the comments re our dinner and breakfast and your common sense approach to the parking in Harlech. Hope to serve you both again soon

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Reviewed 1 June 2011

My wife and I satyed at Castle Cottage for a two night mid week break in late May. We were hoping to get away for a romantic couple of days with great accommodation and the prospect of fantastic food and The Castle Cottage exceeded our expectations on all counts.
We got parked no problem and had a great welcome from the owners and were shown to our room. We stayed in room no.3 "Caernarfon" which was very well equipped and spacious with all the extras that you could want. What didn't seem to be mentioned in previous reviews was the amazing view that we had from the room which looked all the way up the estuary towards Portmadog and also overlooked part of the castle.
Dinner on both evening was a relaxed gastronomic adventure. Aperitifs in the bar, again with wonderful views, delicious canapés and a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. The only problem we had was choosing from the menu – we wanted to try everything!! The dining room was spacious and gave us enough room to feel that we had our own personal space. We were served an amuse bouche of soup which was delicious. We could not fault the meal - it was superb with the Turbot and prawns being probably the best fish dish I’ve ever had. We went with the house recommended wine which was great on both nights and at around £25 a bottle very good value as well.
We can’t wait to go back as The Castle Cottage has the magic combination of great hosts, excellent accommodation, superb food, wonderful location and a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank cumberton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
owainHarlech, Owner at Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2011

Hi Cumbertons!
Thanks for the brilliant review of castle cottage, we are both glad you enjoyed your stay with us, it was a pleasure to serve customers that clearly enjoyed themselves so much. Thank for your comments re the Turbot (one of my favourite fish - to cook & eat) and the comment re our wines ( we research them very carefully!!!). Hope to see you again soon

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Reviewed 5 May 2011

We stayed from the 27th April to the 3rd May and usually stay at the Castle Cottage 4 times a year and have done so for 20 years. We have watched the Roberts family develop the hotel from "humble" beginings to the 5 star quality of recent years. Little wonder that we and other regular customers are on first name terms with the owners and all the staff.
The one thing that has been consistent throughout the 20 years has been the quality of the cooking. The testaments of Paddy Burt (my top five hotels in the UK this year- 2005) and top restaurant in Wales about three years ago plus many other accolades..
On to the adverse review for we were staying at the same time as the reviewer who complained at the parking situation and then went on to pick holes on seemingly minor things.
Yes there are three only parking spots for 7 rooms but whilst three cars can park it is impossible to leave those spaces when there is a car parked opposite. Over their stay there was a car parked directly across from the parking spaces for their entire stay. I heard his petty remonstrations and could only laugh since there is a very large car park literally 30 yards from the hotel.
My wife and I tried to engage with the man and his wife when she was walking her baby up and down the lounge one evening. She had a few words to say but seemed reluctant to engage with us and he didn't even try.
I don't know whether the couple were Japanese but in my experience of working for large American companies for 40 + years professional Oriental workers always want everyone to see life as they do. Well I'm sorry anyone only gets out what they put in.
Of course this couple will have their view of their stay but when we were in the dining room at the same time as them I did not recognise the comments about friendliness and certainly heard the staff asking whether things were alright and did they want anything else. In fact the staff were accepting of the noisy baby at meal times, cooked special food for the baby which ran up and down the restaurant at times. Credit to the wife she did take the baby out but only when her and her husband's food arrived meaning that her food had to be reheated.
So we have an entirely different view of the hotel, staff and owners. Perhaps we have just been willing to put in more over the years.
It just seems to me that he decided that the parking situation which did not suit him soured his stay, made him grumpy and he was always going to complain regardless but not directly.

Room Tip: Best views are for the top rooms.
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  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank WestEndDiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
owainHarlech, Owner at Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms, responded to this reviewResponded 6 May 2011

Dear WestEndDiner,
Thank you for your common sense review and your endorsement of Castle Cottage. I'm glad that you told your view of the previous review and put the record straight.

The parking facilities of the medieval town of Harlech are not great (Not my fault - blame Edward the first who built the castle and surrounding streets in the 13 century), but we do our best. Its wrong of a customer to give me a negative review because they were annoyed that our car park was full, when the details re parking are clearly mentioned in our info on the website. The fact that we had to put up with a noisy and disruptive child (and not to complain to the parents) and then receive a slagging off on the Internet when the proper course of action is to speak to us direct so we could sort out any 'problems' - real or perceived. its also unfair to dismiss our food and service when the customers were up and down, in and out of the dining room dealing with their child - not the chefs fault!!!!!!

We have three free spaces on our own land, the residents road outside the front door is also free, parking spaces on the high street, free from 6pm to 9am and a car park belong to the castle 30yrds away - that's the facts
I would not slagg off a hotel if I had to drive to London, then complain about the congestion charge!!

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Reviewed 2 May 2011

We were recommended Castle Cottage by friends of ours who have stayed before. The reviews on Tripadvisor made it seem that this was a good choice, although having stayed there now I am unable to corroborate this in full. I was apprehensive to leave a negative review after seeing the style of feedback from management on the TripAdvisor site to those who have done so in the past, but nevertheless feel that the balance should be redressed as everyone's experience and treatment is different.

To start with what we did like about it: the rooms are very nicely decorated (we stayed in the largest Room 7 which has all the structural wooden beams intact) and its location beside the castle is convenient for visiting it (we had a lovely view from our room). The information folder in our room gave a nice overview of the history of the building and the owners' backgrounds.

What really let it down in our experience was the inconsistent level of service which at times we felt to be unprofessional and lacking hospitality. This really surprised us given its size, only 7 rooms, and a restaurant that was by the owner's admission not busy the nights that we were booked in. This was particularly noticeable in the dining room where we felt that effort should have been made to engage with all guests, and not just those who are known on first name terms. It is not an unreasonable or unusual expectation. Additionally, it was surprising that for all the write-ups on its great food, one would never have guessed that there was any passion behind the cooking from the manner and presentation of staff delivering to our table e.g. no dialogue with you beforehand about the menu, not asked if you were enjoying the food and an overall attitude of indifference and unfriendliness that was hard to ignore. On checking out, I literally handed my credit card over at the bar to settle the balance and I was not even afforded basic courtesy dialogue - to be addressed by name, asked if I had enjoyed my stay, thank you for staying with us - all the usual courtesies that you would expect, particularly from an establishment of this size. I have to admit this did shock me.

The other factor which let it down was the double standard approach to parking. We were told in clear terms on arrival that the parking bay was for 3 cars - which we already knew and we had assumed to park with consideration for 2 other cars, which the owner approved of. Later during our stay, 2 cars had taken up all the space when there would have been room for another of our size, and we had to drive a circuitous route down the very steep and narrow hill - which is one way - and around the castle to find another space. The owner told us that he was not going to ask the other guests to move over - in fact we did not ask him to do this in any event - even though we had our baby and related paraphernalia with us. This surprised us given that we had the baby and also because we had booked the most expensive room. The morning that we checked out, we had to drive our car outside the hotel to load up. Another guest (who was one of those on first name terms with the owners and vice versa) ran out immediately, heckling and hawking at us with accusations of parking too close to his car (there was no choice due to the layout of the road) despite the fact that he had been inconsiderate with parking and caused inconvenience to us. The check-out and parking was quite a sour end to our stay. The owners should have a uniform policy on parking, it shouldn't be too much trouble to enforce it given that there are only 7 rooms in the hotel and perhaps delineate each space with paint.

As regards the food, our experience was that it was okay but there was nothing compelling about it - the service is also a contributing factor in this. We regularly stay at establishments renowned for fine dining, accommodation and, importantly, hospitality e.g. Gidleigh, Kinloch Lodge, and we have also paid a lot less for food which tasted better e.g. Michelin starred restaurants in London (Arbutus, La Trompette, Hibiscus).

To put it into context, our next accommodation at Conwy, a fine establishment, gave us no cause for discomfort or concern and we had a very comfortable and welcoming stay there. Based on our experience and the price of accommodation/dining, we are unable to recommend Castle Cottage to our friends and colleagues.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
9  Thank EMSHS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
owainHarlech, Owner at Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms, responded to this reviewResponded 5 May 2011

Dear EMSHS,
WOW what a long review! (shame you do not put as much effort into controlling your toddler child!)
I will respond in the same long winded fashion and hope I don’t get anything wong! I will also redress the balance and tell the full story for our readers!

The original booking was for four days B&B, then changed to just two days B&B, then dinner was added for the first night only. On arrival I asked if the 13 month old would like dinner in the bar @5.30/6pm and what food they would like. Was told the child was to eat with parents in the dining room and they had their own food and could I heat it up - no problem. Then the mother changed her mind (again) and asked for white fish fillet, mashed potato and well cooked veg (asparagus and fine beans) - all to be well cooked with no salt or sugar. This was served with the parents appetiser in the dining room, after they had canapés in the bar.(with lots of child chasing in the bar)

It was difficult to engage with this couple as they spent most of the time walking/chasing their child around the dining room/ hallway and lounge. Then the crying started and the father then disappeared to the room with the child leaving the mother with her starter. we then had to hold all the food whilst they ate in shifts and then finally had a 'take away' pudding the their room ( my staff offered to carry the food for them but they insisted on doing it themselves)

During dinner they were asked if they were OK (but half the time they were not at the table!) Their meal was ordered at 7pm, but they still did not get the main course until 9pm as we had to hold the food while they sorted out their young toddler!

They were the type of persons who gave the impression they did want to chat very much and seemed quite private - so we did not get in their face too much, particularly as they were always dealing with the 13 month old. Other residents also tried to engage with the toddler, but were given the brush off as well, which is fine - but don’t then complain that you were not chatted to enough!. We were on first name terms with some of the other residents as they come to us many times in a year for at least the last 20years!!!

Now to the parking, it states clearly on our web site we only have parking for three cars, but you can park on the resident’s road or use the car park 20 yrds away. (Harlech is a small medieval town and when the streets were built 800 years ago they forgot that we would have cars in the future) It seems that this reviewer got narked about our small car park and has given a very negative review to make herself feel better.

I could not ask the owners of the two cars on the car park to move as they had gone for an afternoon nap, so i asked her to park in the car park (which was free of charge at the time) - having come from London this should not have been alien to her. Would she have been as annoyed had there been 3 cars parked - she still would have had to park elsewhere!!

As for allocating a space per room - this is impossible as we have three spaces for seven rooms, as for painting white lines this is also impossible as we are in a grade 2 listed building

I am flattered to be compared to Gidliegh Park ( rooms from £310 to £750) and Kinloch Lodge (rooms £250) - our top price is £168!!. As for paying less for dinner at Michelin starred restaurant, this reviewer has got things wrong again. Our dinner price (canapés, appetiser and three courses with bread/veg and no service or cover charge is to residents £35 per person
Dinner at Hibiscus for three courses is £85pp plus 12% service, dinner at La Trompet is £40 plus 12% service and i don’t think they would put up with toddlers running around the restaurant as we ( and the other diners) had to.

It’s a shame that you were narked by the parking and decided to vent your feelings with a negative review ( I wish there was a Internet site for hoteliers/restaurateurs to regale their horror stories of awkward clients!!! )

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Additional Information about Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms

Address: Cottage Restaurant with Rooms Y Llech, Snowdonia National Park, Harlech LL46 2YL, Wales
Region: United Kingdom > Wales > North Wales > Snowdonia National Park > Harlech
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Harlech
Price Range: £129 - £136 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Castle Cottage Restaurant with Rooms 5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Room 7 'Harlech' large executive room can be used as a family room - leather sofa-bed. En-suite has large bathtub and a separate large deluge shower. Free WiFi broadband throughout the building. We have won the True Taste award for eating out in Wales 2008/09 - Mid wales and overall winners. Fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere using local and Welsh produce. Visit Wales Gold Award 20/12/13/14 National Restaurant Awards Top 100 in UK 2011.We now no longer allow children under the age of 12 years old in the restaurant, we can do a child's dinner in the lounge at 5.30/6Pm for residents. ... more   less 
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Castle Cottage Restaurant With Rooms Harlech, Snowdonia National Park

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