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“lovely hotel but pricey”

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Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Helmsley
Lancashire, United Kingdom
2 reviews
“lovely hotel but pricey”
Reviewed 19 August 2009

We stayed at the Feversham Arms for two nights as a treat for my husbands 40th birthday. I booked late so we had to change rooms on the second night from a spa suite (36) to a poolside double (2). The first room was brand new and beautifully decorated but was on the small side given the £400 price tag. The second room was definatley showing some signs of tiredness and again we thought that it was expensive for the size. Having said that everything else about the hotel was near on perfect. The food was delicious - both breakfast and evening meal. Service was exceptional, the staff really couldn't do enough for you. The spa was small but intimate and very relaxing. All in all we had a very enjoyable stay. If the price had been slightly less I would have been raving about this hotel and would have definately recommended it to my friends but we did come away feeling that although it was very nice it was also a bit pricey (the hotel is not a 5 star) and it is after all only in Helmsley - not Paris!

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank familycooper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (292)
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English first
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2009

Reading through some of the of the other reviews, I can imagine that people would have some concerns prior to booking this hotel. I wonder/hope if the hotel management team have taken note of the previous issues and raised their game.
We came to stay here to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We stayed in room 31- a deluxe/poolside suite. The room was recommended by the receptionist at booking as one of the nicest. It was lovely, but at £400 pn our expectations were fairly high. We had a balcony- this did overlook the church, but also the road and a bit of a building site( the hotel is clearly undergoing some sort of extension at the moment). Thankfully, the builders stayed away the whole time we were there!
The staff throughout the hotel were all exceptionally friendly and helpful.
We used the spa a fair bit. The treatments were very nice, but the rooms are fairly poorly soundproofed so you are fully aware of other people talking in next door spa rooms and also outside. The therapists were friendly and helpful.
The evening meals were well prepared, but I agree with a previous reviewer in that the tables in the main dining room are closer together than you would want. There is a smaller room adjacent to the main dining room which has tables more widely spaced apart and so gives a little more privacy!
Overall I would recommend this hotel as a good place for a weekend away, it could do with just pushing itself up to the next level as regards the finishing touchs that one expects when paying the room rates they charge.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mrs-Scanlan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheshire
1 review
Reviewed 16 August 2009

Greeting at reception and check-in was excellent. Had a pool side suite, well appointed although I though the bedroom was a bit cramped, clean good selection of books CDs, DVDs, but as ever always find the TV remote difficult to operate.

Generally found the service good, room service was excellent even when I cocked-up the breakfast order first morning. Reception did a good job sorting out a picnic lunch at short notice in well equiped back pack.

Hotel is nicely located not too far from the centre of the beatiful village of Helmsley. Good parking for free. Plenty of customer facilities, umbrellas, free high speed internet, reading material etc.

Dined in the first evening, had taster menu, lovely food and wine. Only fault was the tables are a bit close together in the dining room.

SPA experience was good, the lunch served was slow coming.

The only real failing is the bar man far too full of his own ego. When I ordered a gin martini I don't know how many times I had to walk over to my friend to answer his questions. I guess a good bar man would have spared my embarrassment by coming over to take the order from my partner directly. The drink was excellent the best gin martini my friend had ever had. When were we dicussing this with him the follow evening he was clearly proud of his skill. Fine. What I didn't appreciate was when asked what else I liked to drink, I said malt whisky, was to interrogated which ones, te be told each time I suggested one it was pretty poor in his opinion and to be told at length what he liked. Rather spoilt otherwise excellent service.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DavidhtCheshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stoke Newington, London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2009

My husband, son of 2 years and myself stayed at the Feversham Arms for 3 nights. I really can not express how disappointed we are with the hotel, level of service and therefore value that this hotel offers.

We picked to stay in Helmsley at the Feverham Arms as we were attending a wedding in nearby Byland Abbey. (Incidentally Byland Abbey is beautiful and well worth a visit) We chose this particular hotel as the website made it look beautiful, luxurious and relaxed. The perfect spot to retreat to for a couple of days after a busy wedding. Because we were making it a long weekend and were taking our son with us, we chose to opt up for the more expensive poolside suite which offers a lounge, an extra bedroom and the great advantage of being, as the room suggests, next to the pool for easy access with our boy.

Upon check in at 6pm on Friday evening I was told at reception that I would have to park on the road as the car park was full. Not a big deal, but not great in that I have a toddler with me and am pregnant with baby number 2. The bags were swiftly taken to the room as I parked around the corner and by the time I returned they were in the room.

I was shown to the poolside suite (number 22) and was surprised at how busy the pool area was. It is quite a small area - the pool is in the middle of a type of courtyard with the hotel rooms and suites surrounding it. The space to get around the outside of the pool is cluttered with many tables and chairs, all in use. It was a beautiful day, so it is not surprising that they were occupied, but my general impression of this was that there isn't the space for so many people -(a billboard advertises to passers by to come in and enjoy afternoon tea by the pool, frankly this is just not suitable for the space) it felt cramped and honestly, a bit awkward negotiating our way past tightly packed couples trying to relax in their dressing gowns.

On entry to the room, everything initially looked pretty good. The suite although one of the largest at the hotel was not as big as the photos imply (not exactly surprising I suppose given todays clever lenses and camera tricks, but perhaps a little misleading) We were however relieved to finally be there folowing a very long drive from London and were keen to begin enjoying our weekend.

The first thing we did was to (attempt to) sink into the inviting looking sofa in the little lounge area.... I have never sat in a sofa so surprisingly uncomfortable. It was so hard, it jarred my back - really like plonking yourself down on concrete! Not what I was expecting at all. Nevermind - we laughed about that, thinking it was one of those things and ordered a refreshing drink from room service while we set about putting our luggage away.

The problem really is that it wasn't just one of those things... there were many, many of those things over the course of the stay that continued to chip away at our experience of The Feversham Arms Hotel.

Initial reaction over, we started to notice things like how dirty the room was - pulling out a chair at the table in the lounge which had an enormous dusty hairball stuck to the leg. Drawing a finger along a black lampshade which exposed thick dust. Hair clogged up in the pluhole. Cobwebs surrounding the loo brush in the bathroom.

Then , the general tiredness of the room, which has been mentioned in numerous other reviews. The Roman blind in the bedroom ripped at the edge, the stains on the chair cushions and rug, carpets lifting around the edges of the room, ripped upholstry on the seams of the armchair. Lampshades where the piping has come unstuck and flaps around in the draft the aircon. Tables with ringmarks all over the polished top. Thick deposits of limescale build up on the floor of the shower and in the shower head. Downmarket and cheap.

I can't even redeem any of these things by saying at least the bed was comfortable.... It was, as per the sofa, really hard. It could be that this bed issue just boils down to personal preference. But we sleep on a medium - firm matress at home ourselves, so we don't look for super softness in beds. There was also no matress protector on the bed - I'm not talking about something watreproof and scratchy, just another level between matress and sheet. I have never been able to feel the conours of the matress beneath a single fitted sheet in a hotel before.

I can only describe the service as poor. (exception being the receptionists who were very good and our babysitter Lottie who was brilliant) The waiters/tresses were surly, un- friendly, unattentive and frequently made mistakes. I can only assume they are unhappy in their roles and have not been trained adequately. Examples are drinks being moved from the lounge to the dinner table and each person receiving the wrong drink, ordering a pineapple and soda (which the waitress repeated back to me, of her own choosing) and receiving a pineapple and tonic water, declining a recommended starter of risotto and receiving it anyway - being told that we did in fact order it.
Mostly English is a second language here if staff is not management or reception. This would not be a problem if the training was sufficient and the staff therefore took pride in their roles. I don't think I saw a smile from anyone. Quite depressing and like a cloak of doom, whenever a member of staff came near, it was like a dark cloud descending.

After a long, wonderful, emotional wedding on Saturday we longed for a peaceful, relaxing sunday. Having arrived back in the night, we found no breakfast menus to complete for roomservice in the morning. Too fatigued to wait around for them that night, I assumed it wouldn't be a problem to order breakfast in the morning.
I ordered breakfast at 8am and received it gone 10am. (I called reception to chase it up at 9am) This was really not the way I wanted to start the day. At no point did anyone imply it would take this long and I might be better off taking myself and my son to the restaurant, where i can only assume I would not have been left hungry for 2 hours. Disgraceful. I was told by reception that the kitchen was experiencing a very busy morning.... I suggested that it should perhaps be expected that on a sunday morning the kitchen would likely be very busy witrh people wanting breakfasts and that if they weren't grossly understaffed, they were certainly hugely inefficient.

The final straw.
When we arrived at the hotel and were shown around the suite we were shown a cuddly toy dog which has a 'please do not disturb' sign around it's neck to place outside the door should you (surprise, surprise) not want to be disturbed. When it came to 1pm and my son was nearing nap time I decided to stay in the room and nap with him whilst my husband went for a wander around Helmsley. We left said pooch outside the room and settled for a little sleep. Half an hour in, having ignored the phone call to the room, the cleaning team knocked loudly not once but twice before marching in to begin their clearup. I don't usually get very cross, but this was the last straw for me and being wrenched out of a much needed sleep made me furious. At that point having in no uncertain terms ordered them out of the room I made the decision to speak to the manager about the shambles that this hotel resembles.

He was decent enough to listen to our complaints without trying to defend any of them and agreed that a lot of what we were pointing out was inadequate and embarrassing. As we were discussing the issues laid out above, the sad remains of breakfast were still languishing on the wall that seperates the suite from the poolside guests, 4 hours after finishing! The waiters must have walked past it 50 times and done nothing!

An adjustment was made to our account, but the total cost of staying at the Feversham Arms still fell marginally short of £1000 for 3 days.
I sincerely hope that a large overhall is imminently due to this hotel, not only in the rooms but in the training of staff and perhaps a re-think of how they manage the pool area. (Forgot to mention the pool cover is barely worthwhile as it is in tatters, in manner of being clawed at by giant angry cat)

We didn't use the Spa, so can not comment on that. I did howver note that even as hotel guests, you would be expected to pay £25pp to use the hot tub/jacuzzi area which is outside by the pool. Not impressive at £405 a night.

The food, when it did finally arrive for breakfast and at dinner was very nice indeed.

In conclusion the hotel seems to have modelled itself on the likes of The Firmdale Hotels - The Covent Garden Hotel, Soho Hotel and Charlotte St Hotel etc. We have stayed at all of these hotels, they are in a similar price bracket to the Feversham, but my goodness, the difference in quality, training, attention to detail, objectives (- i.e their job is to make sure you have a great stay. The true meaning of hospitality) Is so vastly different it is laughable. (Although if the purpose of this trip had been a romantic weekend away and not my best friends wedding, then believe me I would be crying not laughing)

Save yourself the disappointment. The price is soooooo wrong for the quality you receive.
As another reviewer posted - don't be fooled by the glossy website. Certainly don't listen to Alan Titchmarsh!!

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank StokeyBaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
59 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2009

My wife and I have just returned from an overnight stay at the Feversham Arms in Helmsley. We chose the Food Lovers Break that included cream tea on arrival, champagne cocktails, 6 course taster dinner and cooked yorkshire breakfast. On first appearences the outside of the hotel and spa looks warm and inviting. The public areas of the hotel and spa were nicely furnished and generally well maintained. We were quickly checked in and shown to our Deluxe Suite. Ok it wasnt the biggest suite but it was nicely furnished and was comfortable. The lounge had a log burner that would be nice in winter with Aircon in both lounge and bedroom. The receptionist took great pleasure in showing us the Bang and Olufsen TV with motion sensitive dvd tray. Ok it looks nice but would have been better if they gave it a better satelite or aerial signal as the reception was crackly. Especially when the aircon was turned on. There was a seperate controller in the bathroom that appeared to be for the audio feed into the bathroom. Unfortunately kept falling off the wall and wouldnt work regardless of what we pressed. Nice touch of having candles in the bathroom for a romantic soak in the bath. Shame there were no matches in our room (told by reception there should be some in each room).

Visited the spa and again were shown the heat spa facilities. The nicest part was the very comfortable lounge area in the SPA. Staff had to check what was in our package with main reception to get the correct cream tea rather than afternoon tea. Heat Spa was ok not quite as nice as I would have liked maybe a little too much focus was put on function at cost of comfort and appearance.

Heated pool and outdoor hot tub were ok and seemed to be well used by families as well as couples like us. Hot tub required a visit to reception to get the bubbles turned on which seemed unecessary considering the clientelle being perfectly capable of being able to press a button were it not hidden away in a cupboard behind the hot tub.

We arrived for dinner at our alloted booking and sat for drinks in the bar first. Asking for our chapagne cocktail which again caused confusion with staff failing to point out the different types they have and asking our choice. Waitress for meal started to explain that we had a certain budget for our meal and seemed completely unaware that some people were on packages that included their taster menu (normally £45 per person) and instead was telling us we had £33 dinner allowance. Eventually another check to reception meant staff accepted that we were on the food lover package and correct dinner was ordered. Food was superb and remainder of service was very good with attentive staff and nice orangery style restaurant. Some small things in the restaurant again pointed to the little things not being noticed such as a large number of lightbulbs not working and a big cobweb up in the lights.

Overall my wife and I realy enjoyed the hotel and its facilities. Its expensive but for an occassional stay and if you use other out of season offers would make it better value for money. Really the issues I'm being picky about are only small criticism and it wouldnt take much to correct these minor points.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JustinBedford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
35 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2009

We stayed in room 16 at the Feversham Arms and we had an exceptional stay. We arrived at the hotel and paid £200p.n for Dinner, Bed and Breakfast. Our room had an open fire place and as it was rainy and cold outside, we asked for it to be lit and within minutes someone had lit the fire. We called and asked for an ironing board and hospitality tray, both of which arrived within minutes.

The room itself has cd's, dvd's, board games and magazines and in the bathroom there was a scented candle, incense sticks and l'occtaine cosmetics. There were many added touches including free newspapers and tea/.coffee in the morning which made this hotel special and actually rather good value (bearing in mind a basic room in another hotel we looked at was £90 B&B)

The food and service in the restaurant were excellent as was the wine list. The spa was reasonable (I had a facial) and the facial was average. Whilst in Helmsley we had the most amazing experience horse riding with a local school where we were able to go treking without the need for wasting hours in a school before heading out - it was just lovely.

We really enjoyed our stay and would stay again.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Shanda66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lancashire
2 reviews
Reviewed 15 July 2009

12 July 2009

I booked the 'I Hate Mondays' package which was a surprise 40th birthday treat for my husband. The hotel extended this deal for two nights and upgraded our room to a suite on arrival due to the special occasion.

I was really worried about going after reading a few of the reviews and very nearly cancelled, that would have been a big mistake as we had a fantastic time.

From the moment we pulled up outside the hotel we were met by friendly and helpful staff and this service continued throughout the stay. The room was lovely and overlooked the pool area which was especially lnice at night all lit up by candles.

The food was excellent, we had the tasting menu one evening and the set menu the other.

The spa heat experience was included in the price and we were in there for most of the afternoon, loved it.

We would stop at the Feversham Arms again, it was a special treat for a special birthday.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Redrose40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa

Property: Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa
Address: 1 High Street, Helmsley YO62 5AG, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Yorkshire > North Yorkshire > Helmsley
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Helmsley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 33
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in a picturesque market town by the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors, this elegant Hotel boasts superb dining, full spa facilities, a heated outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi. Surrounded by glorious countryside, this wonderfully secluded retreat is a haven of laid-back luxury and indulgent relaxation. Famous for its welcoming hospitality, it blends the traditional comforts of its Victorian heritage with an irresistible boutique design. Beautiful, peaceful and thoroughly unique, one visit is simply not enough. Guests can choose from a range of 33 individually designed en-suite bedrooms and suites each with their own unique decor, style and character. Cosy and intimately homely, they all feature Egyptian cotton sheets, soft exquisite duck down duvets (or cotton blankets), free Wi-Fi access, flat-screen TV, DVD player, luxurious Anne Semonin toiletries, hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities. There are accommodation options to suit all purposes, including Small and Classic Doubles, Junior and Deluxe Suites and, for the ultimate indulgence, Luxury Poolside and Spa Suites. Superb food plays a big part in life at Feversham. Here diners can enjoy classically inspired dishes from a menu that draws heavily from fresh local ingredients such as rich Yorkshire game and tasty North Sea fish. It's also home to one of the most talked about cheese trolleys in Yorkshire, traditional afternoon tea in their cosy fireside lounge and an impeccably well-stocked cellar. Throughout the warmer months, dishes can be served poolside on the terrace and gardens. The hotel's award-winning Verbena Spa offers an idyllic haven from the pressures of everyday life. Here guests can kick back, relax and immerse themselves in luxurious indulgence. They offer a range of treatments from manicures, facials and massages through to full spa day experiences. Revitalise and enjoy their famous heat experience with saunarium, aromatherapy room, salt vapour room, monsoon shower, ice cave, foot spa, outdoor heated pool and hot tub. The Hotel is situated in the North Yorkshire town of Helmsley just off the A170. Complimentary on-site parking is available. The city of York is just a 40 minute drive away and it offers excellent transport links to the rest of the country. There is also a local train station at Thirsk, a 25 minute taxi ride away. For those flying in, Leeds Bradford International Airport is about an hour's drive from the Hotel. Beautifully located in the depths of the stunning North Yorkshire Moors the Hotel is the perfect place from which to explore this remarkable area. Yorkshire is renowned as a place of distinct yet diverse appeal, from the majestic Castle Howard to the Gothic seaside town of Whitby, the ruins of Rievaux and Bylands Abbey to luxury designer shopping, Michelin starred restaurants to quaint marketplace tea rooms, there is truly something for everyone. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Helmsley
Feversham Arms Hotel And Verbena Spa
Feversham Arms Helmsley
Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa Helmsley, Yorkshire

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