It's worth noting that I've worked in the hospitality industry for several years, so am always conscious of the workings of hotels and the way they present.
In light of this, I tend to be a bit analytical of hotels and staff. I am so pleased to say that this hotel met and exceeded my expectations and certainly deserves the brilliant reviews and reputation it has.
We were greeted warmly by reception which was staffed by what I assume was a regular member of the team and a trainee - this was current throughout the hotel as it stands on the University of Essex campus grounds and works in conjunction with the hospitality degrees. Some people may be swayed away by this, but I found it very insightful.
We were shown to our room by the trainee receptionist - a spacious king room built on the new addition to the building, with a balcony that overlooks the campus field grounds. The room had modern facilities; an Apple TV that you could listen to the radio, play DVD's and watch TV through as well as using as a computer. The WiFi was better than the service we get at home and easy to access; a rarity among hotels! The bed was perfect - if you are a fan of soft beds it may not meet your expectations but I prefer them to be medium. It was linked together by two smaller beds, but there was none of that "falling through the gap" problems. A instant coffee machine was available but we didn't use, and plenty of teas/fruit teas, milk and biscuits. Bathroom was very modern with a powerful shower and lots of towels.
Despite this being so close to the campus, I heard absolutely nothing untoward in the way of late night noise. We had a sliding door to the balcony which was open much of the time and it was beautiful to wake up to the birds. The curtains, although not a big concern of mine, were very good at blocking out light - perfect for people who find it difficult to sleep in sun drenched rooms.
The service by all was absolutely perfect. Yes, some of the trainee staff were a bit slower or less confident but I thought it was charming - they were clearly very willing to help in whatever way they could. As part of hotel staff, I really feel the best thing you can do to make a stay is to feel welcome, and everybody did this in abundance here. The hotel was very well covered, with night porters throughout the night and plenty of waitresses/waiters on hand for meals and breakfast.
I'd also like to mention how helpful the domestic staff were - I was working on a lengthy project and was surviving by copious amounts of tea. Unfortunately I didn't catch the housekeepers name, but she was utterly fabulous - we had a lovely chat about my work and she gave me a huge selection of biscuits and tea - enough for at least a week! She could have easily suggested I buy tea/coffee from the bar downstairs.
We didn't eat in the restaurant, but we had breakfast both mornings of our stay. It was presented so beautifully and was a brilliant start to the day. The staff/chefs were speedy but not too quick, meaning we could enjoy a leisurely breakfast. There was a huge amount of choice - from juices, to cereal, pastries and yoghurt/fruit, as well as continental options. I opted to have eggs both mornings rather than full English, and the quality of the cooked food was outstanding - so fresh and wholesome.
I really couldn't find any faults here at all and I didn't want to. The price may not be as cheap as some locally, but it was worth every penny. I wouldn't hesitate recommending Wivenhoe House as a place to stay or eat - it's just a shame we don't live more locally!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Re-opened in June 2012 after a £10 Million refurbishment, Wivenhoe House Hotel is a 17th Century country house, which is also home to the Edge Hotel School. Students at the school work alongside professionals, as they study for their degree in Hotel Management. There are 40 rooms, 16 in the main house and 24 in the more modern garden wing. The brasserie offers breakfast lunch and dinner daily, and afternoon tea is served in the drawing room daily. The panoramic views over the wooded parkland tot he University of Essex, are stunning. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Wivenhoe House Hotel Colchester
- Wivenhoe Hotel Colchester
- Wivenhoe House Essex