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“Standards had fallen”

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Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Chard
Certificate of Excellence
UK
Level Contributor
22 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Standards had fallen”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2011

A bit of delay before this review could be posted onto the site - I left it a long time before posting my 2009 review and it appears under Trip Advisor rules you can’t post a review of the same place within 3 months. So the earliest I would have been able to post was sometime in November 2010 since that time I forgot until it was time to post reviews on other hotels. I think and hope management have addressed the restaurant problems referred to below.

We booked a 3 night stay, in September 2010, in a new signature room in the recently built walled garden area (part of garden wing). Unfortunately our overall experience this time around at Warner’s did not match up to my previous ratings given to this hotel or other Warner hotels we have stayed at.

The main problem was the Tree Tops restaurant. It may have been recently refurbished but there are now insufficient tables for the number of rooms, mainly due to the new 22 signature rooms that have been built for which tables have not been provided. Shortly after arrival we went to get our allocated table as is the usual practice and were told that we wouldn’t be getting one but they would try to seat you in the same area. Further more you now had to choose between 2 sittings for dinner and breakfast – you either took a later sitting for both or an earlier one – we weren’t offered an early for dinner, late for breakfast option. Later, when we came down for the late dinner sitting, we came down 10mins early (7.35) as we were told we could – there seemed to be tables available but were told to come back 10 mins later – 10 mins later there was a queue stretching back into the foyer. A lot of people were complaining about the situation ‘like being back at school’ was the comment of one couple who said that they would never return to Warners. We sat at different tables most sittings with different waiters/waitresses on each occasion.

The standard of service in the restaurant was quite mixed. In the past it has been to a high standard. Breakfast on our first morning was quite poor. There was no menu or butter on the table. We asked our waitress for some butter but this did not arrive for about 10 minutes by which time the toast was stone cold. Also the tea was tepid, our unnamed waitress was nowhere to be seen so we asked another for a fresh pot who instead of dealing with it herself just said she would ask out waitress to do it but she did not appear to and our replacement tea only arrived after we had finished eating (nearly half a hour after our arrival). We received no apology.

At dinner the service was much better though my drinks’ order did seem to be forgotten about on more than one occasion.

The other main problem that we experienced was with our signature room. The room itself is nicely appointed (see attached photos). The décor has been toned down somewhat in response to previous guests’ comments on the bright colours used in some rooms on older signature rooms. However we had a big problem with the noise that was coming from the ventilation system. It turns out that each of the new rooms has a fresh air unit situated above the ceiling as you enter the room and it is not possible to turn this off. Consequently when the room is quiet (no TV or moving around) you can hear the fan unit and also the air being pushed out (like an air conditioning unit). In addition the heating is provided by overhead vents – looking at the temperature controls it seemed to me the fan control did not fully work as the lowest setting was 2 bars rather than the one bar suggested. Anyway we knew that sound of the fresh air unit would keep us awake at night so we asked to be put into a different room – had we known about the noise we would not have made the booking.

We were moved to a recently ‘refurbished’ ambassador (standard) room in the same area of the hotel (garden wing). The room was acceptable – it appeared to be as large as the signature room and looked like it had been given a lick of paint. Unfortunately it looked like the refurbishment was somewhat limited – see photo of room where the radiator has been re hung. If you did not keep the bathroom door shut then you could hear the extractor fan (which could not be turned off or does not cut off after the light is switched off as is usual). In terms of sound insulation you could pretty well hear everything that was going on it the bathroom – the walls dividing the room from the bathroom seemed to be just plasterboard. The signature bathroom is fully tiled which probably helps on sound insulation. We were provided with complimentary bathrobes presumably to make up for some of the inconvenience however these were damp and one had no hook to hang it up. The bed itself seemed to be an improvement on previous Warner beds we have slept on - it was more comfortable not so hard and quite large and roomy. The room we were on was on the first floor and these I think are probably marginally larger that ones on the ground floor because they encompass the ‘overhang’.

Our booking experience was not problem free. We wanted to make use of an offer before embarking on our stay at the Bembridge hotel in August and tried to make the booking the day before our departure. We had some money in a holding account that needed to be transferred – the person dealing with our booking said she would ring us back but did not do so – we were left wondering as we departed for the Isle of Wight whether in fact our booking had been made!

We completed the express check out facility but this did not materialise. It appears when we were re-allocated the room by reception they omitted to re-allocate the room number to the charge card too.

The hotel food we found to be of the usual good standard and of course the hotel is situated in a very nice setting. Cricket St Thomas House public areas have been refurbished it appears since we were last there. The landscape gardens are worth a walk around. I wouldn’t say that they are newly landscaped though as the only differences to when went previously in 2009 was that many of the larger animals were no longer there, a new border has been put in where the visitors entrance is, the former monkey enclosure has been made into a bit of a water feature and there are some raised beds around the new ‘Experience Village’ which provides a new games room and the new Italian restaurant (Fenocchi’s).

If you are not in a historic room then there is a £7.50 supplement per person for each meal (though this now appears to have gone up to £10 per person on the website and if you are in a historic room you only get one night’s ‘free’ dining there). I believe the restaurant is also open to non residents.

The hotel’s website seems to have been updated since we booked. There are now more pictures of some of the rooms. We went on a tour of the historic rooms at the end of our stay. Each room has some historic character but they do vary in style and content and each carries a premium of up to £150 per night. As we went on the tour it was evident different people like some rooms and not others. Unfortunately from the website you can’t tell what sort of room you are getting and so I think paying a significant premium without knowing what room you are getting is off putting. It would improve the website if in-room videos of each room (including bathroom or suite of rooms) could be provided and the room identified).

Do be aware that with the garden wing of the hotel it is quite a long way to the restaurant. We counted over 300 paces (over 200 metres) from where we were situated. This was not a problem to us as we are mobile though anyone who found walking difficult may have struggled. In order to get to the Hamilton tea rooms situated in the Historic House a further walk of about 150m is required. Also as stated on the website a small part of the walkway from the Garden rooms to the restaurant is uncovered. If the weather is inclement then there is sudden change in temperature/ elements to deal with.

In other respects our stay was satisfactory. My overall rating is reduced to 3 stars to highlight the problems that currently exist with this hotel that need addressing by the management. .

I was advised by the hotel that my credit card would be refunded with the upgrade price within10 working days. This did not happen. Only after I phoned Warner (central reservations) did they see that there was a note on the system relating to my credit (but had not received any paperwork from the hotel) and then they went onto refund the amount to my credit card.

We wrote to Warner’s regarding some of our concerns and are pleased to report that we had a telephone call three weeks later from the head of customer care at the hotel who appreciated our feedback as it enabled them work on putting matters right.

In particular, in relation to the dining arrangements at the Tree Tops restaurant, the pressure on tables has been eased by an increasing uptake of diners choosing Fenocchi’s. There are plans to open an a la carte restaurant in Hamilton’s tea rooms in January 2011 which should have gone some way to alleviate the problem. It is apparently not Warner’s ‘mindset’ to have 2 sittings for dinner and that you should be able to have a table whenever you want it.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank scowlsandgrowls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cricketstthomas, General Manager at Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel, responded to this review, 23 May 2011
Thank you for your very detailed response,

I was disapointed to hear you thought a few standards had dropped around the dining experience however pleased that on the whole many elements of your stay you found enjoyable.

To help clarify the situation we do not run 2 sitings, at capacity we have 480 guests with 420 seats in our main restaurant and 80 in fenocchi's restuarant giving us the capacity to seat everybody if we need, however in an effort to ease the numbers and give guests a pleasant dining experience we ask guests their prefered time of dining to help control flows of tables etc. This is common place in most hotels around the world and usually works without a fault, it was unfortunate that in your case a delay of around 10 minutes was experienced before the table was ready occured, I hope you will accept my apology on this occasion.

I hope we will see you again in the future

Regards

Ian Gyte
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,470 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (669)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Alton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 May 2011

Arrived on the Good Friday weather perfect. After we checked in we realised this was not the room booked over the phone not sure who's mistake it was. When we went into the room we realised it was a bit tied the wall paper was coming away from the walls for reference this was room 427 but every thing was there and we had a wonderful patio space.

Regarding the Garden beautiful as always but very disappointed that they did not have the small animals which were there last September when we stayed they made a walk worthwhile.

The food this time in the main restaurant was a lot better that our fist stay, the first time we stayed we got board with the choices after two days.

Overall our stay this time was wonderful the staff was extremely helpful and polite. very friendly . Hope to return to a Warner leisure Hotel in the future.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lizzydripping02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cricketstthomas, General Manager at Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel, responded to this review, 23 May 2011
Thank you for your review,

I was pleased to hear you had a lovely stay with us and enjoyed the Hotel and Gardens. Thanks for the tip on the wall paper I will get our decorater to call in and rectify it.
Hope to see you again soon.

Ian
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Broadstone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2011

Our friends have been before so we decided to join them for a 3 night stay and what a great time we all had. No complaints here,we stayed in a signature room in the courtyard,rooms were large ,comfortable and clean. The food quality and service was excellent.The highlight of the weekend had to be the American Drifters what a fantastic show they put on,and we all enjoyed all the other entertainment as well . The grounds of the hotel are beautiful.
We have all booked again for Turkey & Tinsel 28th Nov.

Stayed May 2011, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank loftladderman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cricketstthomas, General Manager at Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel, responded to this review, 23 May 2011
Thank you for your lovely review, I am glad you enjoyed a lovely stay with us and look forward to you coming back this November for a festive break.

Thank you

Ian
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Verwood
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2011

Our Spring break at this Hotel was really great even although the weather was a bit on the wet side. The facilities at Cricket St Thomas ensured that we had plenty of interesting things to do inside the Complex.Evening entertainment was a touch of magic.
We recommend upgrading to a Signature room for that added touch of luxury together with the excellant food made all the difference between an ordinary holiday and something outstanding, we had an standard room last October which was OK but the Signature Room was much superior.My wife is coeliac and she received 1st Class service in the room and restaurant. Looking forward to a revisit in October 2011.
No hesitation in recommending Cricket St Thomas Hotel.

Room Tip: A certain amount of walking may be rquired.
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MrKENVerwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cricketstthomas, General Manager at Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel, responded to this review, 4 May 2011
Thank you for your lovely review,

I was so pleased to read you enjoyed our rooms and felt the upgraded rooms were special. I was also pleased to hear you experience our entertainment and food offerings and that Chef spent some time ensuring you had your needs met.

The proof of the pudding is that we will see you again in October - I look forward to welcoming you back.

Regards

Ian
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gloucester
Level Contributor
22 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2011

As seasoned warners guests that prefer reasonable standards of food, service and respect we were extremely dissappointed. This was our worse experience of any of the warner hotels. Even Fennochis was all round poor and not we consder a reasonable standard. We are not saying you should not go but it now lacks those important discerning features. Not good value because we would have chosen to eat out and cancelled the rest of our trip in favour of a higher standard hotel if we had been staying any longer. We were pleased to be going home.

Room Tip: Not for the discerning
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank ChapelGloucester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cricketstthomas, General Manager at Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel, responded to this review, 4 May 2011
Dear Sir/Madam,

I was surprised and upset to read your posting. As you will see from other listings guests often give differing feedback but other than mentioning disearning standards I have nothing to comment on.

I believe we offer first class standards of food, service, entertainment and accommodation along with all Warner Hotels. Despite this you are of course welcome to check out whenever you please which we honoured once we realised you wished to leave despite still being unsure what had gone wrong.

I hope you continue to enjoy short breaks in the future wherever you chose to visit.

Regards

Ian Gyte
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 April 2011

My husband and I recently had a three night stay at Cricket St Thomas and thought it was fabulous. The location is superb, so peaceful and relaxed, you feel in the heart of the country - with the benefit of staying in a stately home. We were extremely pleased with our Royale room which was delightful - brand new and very large! Staff were excellent, entertainment was excellent (Diana Ross and Tina Turner - plus a hugely funny comedian (Eastwood). On two of our nights we ate in the Italian restaurant (Fenocchio's) which was superb. The food there was excellent, ambience was lovely and the staff were delightful - and very helpful. The only downside to our weekend was the food in the main dining room - we were somewhat disappointed with this, although to be fair, we only ate dinner there on our first evening. All in all a smashing weekend. Many thanks to one and all for everything.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank VignaleLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cricketstthomas, General Manager at Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel, responded to this review, 29 April 2011
Thank you for your lovely review, I was so pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay with us and took full advantage of the food, entertainment and house.

The cabarets you mention were very well recieved in what was a great party weekend at the Hotel. I hope you will come back and see us again in the future.

Regards

Ian
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 April 2011

First time we have been to a Warners & this was recommended to us & we chose a Michael Buble weekend for the main musical event. Unfortunately, we would not chose to go on another Warner break.
We chose a Superior room & I have to say the rooms were comfortable & very clean, but I have to be honest, the rooms offer no more than a Premier Inn, but bearing in mind you go for the whole package ie the food & the entertainment & gardens, then you have to view the stay as a whole.
The food in the main restaurant is dreadful, so rushed & the service was poor. Not because the staff weren't working their socks off, they were, but they were understaffed.
The food especially at breakfast was of such a poor quality, I couldn't even eat the sausages! We were hugely disappointed. You could tell that they very much had their profit margins in mind in this restaurant. However, the next night we paid the £10pp supplement & went to the Italian restaurant & this was superb, exactly what you would expect, couldn't fault it at all.
The gardens were beautiful for the time of year, but again disappointed that the 'train' wasn't running as stated in the brochures.
We had also chosen this hotel as it had tennis courts, we even checked beforehand by phone that they were available & we were told yes - again disappointed as the courts were covered in moss, the net was broken, they had 2 football nets on there & two basket ball hoops, so we couldn't in fact use them!!
I did however do the Lambing Experience & I have to say this was utterly fantastic & for me saved the weekend.
The inhouse entertaineres were v good, but the main event - Michael Buble tribute - was dreadful. The room was jam packed to begin with & virtually emptied out within 20 minutes. Too loud it made your ears ring & he coudn't sing, it was truly appalling.
So all in all, you would get a far better break going to a luxury hotel with a good restaurant attached & book any entertainment you want seperately at a local theatre etc.
We were severly disappointed as we thought the concept of having it all within one venue ie great hotel, entertainment & good food & in a beautiful locaion would be just what we wanted, but it fell far short of what I would expect at £100pp per night!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank virgolizzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cricketstthomas, General Manager at Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel, responded to this review, 29 April 2011
Thank you for sharing your views on your recent stay and whilst I was dissapointed to hear your comments on our main restaurant and entertainment I was pleased to hear you enjoyed Fenocchi's, the grounds and the lambing experience.

I would disagree the rooms offer little more than a travel Inn, the fixtures, fittings, beds and quality of equipment, mini bar, DVD etc are of a far higher specification in our Signature and Standard rooms.

I take on board your comments on price but £100 per person for breakfast, leisure facilities, Grade 1 listed gardens, a wide variety of sporting activities, entertainment throughout the day and evening as well as a 3 course dinner with coffee on top of a lovely bedroom is in my opion good value for money.

Thank you again for posting your views both what you enjoyed and did not.

Regards

Ian Gyte
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel

Property: Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel
Address: Chard | Somerset, Chard TA20 4DD, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Somerset > Chard
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Chard
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 239
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A 239 bedroom AA4 star Country House Hotel, Set in stunning Somerset countryside amongst 160 acres of beautiful lakes and gardens. Our adult only policy and 1/2 board packages with nightly entertainment and pool with leisure club make us ideal for a short break. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Cricket St Thomas Hotel, Lakes And Gardens Hotel Chard
Cricket St Thomas Historic Hotel
Warner Cricket St. Thomas Hotel Chard, Somerset

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