I stayed one night at Cranage Hall Hotel as I was attending a party in the hotel, some distance from my home, which finished at 1 am. The hotel, part of the Principal-Hayley chain, specialises in conferences, corporate events and large functions. It is well-known as a wedding venue.
The hotel, set in extensive grounds and surrounded by beautiful Cheshire countryside, has an impressive facade, approached by a sweeping driveway. It is an imposing early 19th century former private mansion, now Grade II listed.
On arrival, at about 4pm, on a very cold and snowy day, check-in was friendly and efficient. I was informed that, as a guest, I could use the leisure facilities, including the pool. As I hadn't eaten so far that day I asked if I could get a sandwich or afternoon tea. Without hesitation, I was told that the Tempus Bar would serve me from the Bar menu.
I went to my room first, to unpack. My way took me through a lovely sitting-room/library, which was being warmed by a lively fire - very welcoming on such a chilly day. The rooms at the front of the hotel are part of the original house. The greater part of the hotel is in a very large rear extension, which does not reflect the character of the old house at all but has all the bland anonymity of any corporate hotel, anywhere.
My double room was very clean and equipped with everything one would expect: towels, toiletries, kettle, tea, coffee and biscuits, hairdryer and TV. The curtains blotted out daylight very effectively and the thick padded bedspread looked warm. Again, though, the contrast between the old house and the new part was stark and the room felt so impersonal.
I made my way to the Tempus Bar, which wasn't "open" and looked it, with cleaning cloths left on the bar, although there was no reluctance to serve me. I was given the light meals/snacks menu. There wasn't the option of afternoon tea, so I chose a wild boar and chorizo burger, which called for a glass of wine. The bar was opened readily in order to serve me. As I was out on a treat, I had a glass of champagne, whilst I waited for my food. There was large screen TV in the bar, tuned to Sky Sports, showing cricket: South Africa and New Zealand playing in a One Day International. The serving staff did offer to turn the TV off but I am a cricket fan, so I asked for it to be left on. I made myself comfortable in an informal seating area, to sip champagne and watch cricket. Bliss! The champagne had plenty of sparkle, was dry and nutty, with that subtle hint of saltiness which only champagne has.
My burger was delicious! The patty thick and juicy, well-seasoned, with a discernible gamyness from the meat and just enough heat from the spicy sausage. The reasonable bun had some resistance and "chew" in the crumb - a refreshing lack of flabbiness. The burger was served with side salad and a little bucket of hot, crisp potato wedges. I left nothing! Having finished my aperitif, I had a glass of very good cabernet sauvignon with the burger - the wine served at the perfect temperature.
I went back to my room then, to relax with a cup of tea, before showering and changing for the evening party. The hot tap on the handbasin had been trickling continuously, since I arrived, more than a drip. It couldn't be turned off. I wondered why the cleaners had not reported it for maintenance.
Late to bed after the party! The bed was very comfortable and I slept well.
Breakfast was a disappointment. The hotel was busy - quite a number of guests had stayed overnight from the party I attended, and a wedding the day before. Additionally, the Manchester City football team had used the hotel for their pre-match accommodation, en route to a fixture in the Potteries. The Tempus Bar wasn't open for breakfast (block booked for Man City?), so alternative breakfast service had been set up in one of the conference rooms. This wasn't well-organised. The large room felt cold (there was still thick snow, outside), not helped by the great expanses of bland, off-white walls. The quality of the food on offer was poor for the price of the hotel. Indifferent mass-produced sliced bread was offered for toasting. The croissants looked flabby. Butter and preserves were in plastic-packed portions. The orange juice I had tasted weak, as if watered-down. There was a very limited choice of cereals. A selection of fresh, dried and tinned fruits was available - I had apricots and prunes with yoghurt, which I enjoyed. I wasn't able to get a full English breakfast, as at no time were all the items available together. There wasn't enough hot food for the numbers dining. Fresh supplies were brought regularly, but not altogether, so if there was hot bacon, there were no mushrooms, and so on. The eggs looked so unappetising, I didn't have any. The fried eggs were woefully underdone, the yolks ringed with a thick circle of raw white, whereas the scrambled egg looked as dry as crumbled polystyrene packaging material. Pots of tea or coffee were brought to the table by a waitress, to individual order. My coffee tasted somewhat "stewed" and wasn't hot.
After breakfast, I returned to my room to pack. Checkout was straightforward. I reported the running tap.
To sum up: a dramatic entrance, lovely reception area, comfortable but soulless corporate accommodation, an excellent late lunch but a very disappointing breakfast. Overall, a hotel which doesn't come up to expectations: average.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with LateRooms, Booking.com, Odigeo, Expedia, TripOnline SA, Ebookers, HotelsClick, Evoline ltd, 5viajes2012 S.L., HotelQuickly and Cancelon so you can book your De Vere Cranage Estate reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Cranage Hall Hotel Cranage
- Hall Hotel Cranage
- De Vere Cranage Estate Cheshire