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Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast
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Reviewed 21 December 2010

We had a warm welcome from Marilyn and Bob - the main house was delightfully decorated for Christmas and choc full of fascinating antiques. We stayed in The Forge, a two bedroom self catering, or bed and breakfast cottage. It was very cosy and comfortable. We ate in the farmhouse the full english breakfast and it was delicious and great value. A most enjoyable stay, that I would recommend to anyone.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank jillb72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2010

We found this accommodation on the web by searching for Bed & Breakfast Bristol. We were planning to visit relatives in Bristol and this was located in a convenient, if not the best, location. The accommodation is a farmhouse, situated on a hill, with excellent views of the surrounding countryside. We were greeted by a friendly woman (the proprietor) who showed us to our room. The room was huge with an en-suit bathroom and views to the side of the building, overlooking the garden. The room and bedding were clean with interesting country furniture. The bed was also huge (superking). We had a very good nights sleep and received a very good hearty country breakfast served by our congenial host (husband of the afformentioned lady who greeted us).
Overall I would say that the accommodation was excellent. Good location with a very clean and comfortable room. The breakfast was excellent and our hosts could not have been more helpfull. Thoroughly recommended.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank gert60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2010

We stayed in the main farmhouse. Overall there was nothing wrong with the B&B - it was clean and the owners and friendly. However extra effort was not really made. We were disappointed not to be able to go in the garden (as our 2 year old wanted to see it) or the lounge (to keep out of the room while he got to sleep). However we would like to thank Bob for opening up another room for us to sit in while our son went to sleep.
Upsides - friendly service, good location for Bath, Bristol etc. Good en-suite facilities.
Downsides - view of dog-poo strewn yard outside bathroom window, quality of cooked breakfast not great, the sauages did seem to be on the cheap side.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with family
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Thank Scurson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BoxHedge, Owner at Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded 7 October 2010

If you have has just read the above review it would be appreciated if you would take the time to read our response in the interests of giving a fair hearing To Marilyn and I (Bob) as the owners of Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast.

The reviewers (a couple with a two year old son) have confirmed that they stayed in the main farm house and that overall there was nothing wrong with the B&B and that the accommodation was clean, had good en-suite facilities and that I and my wife Marilyn were friendly. We thank the reviewer for these positive comments as we do try very hard to maintain a high standard.

Marilyn and I were far from happy however with the comment that “extra effort was not really made” and extremely annoyed with the reasons put forward for making that statement. In particular, having personally made “extra effort” to minimize the effect of the conduct of both parents on other guests I am absolutely fuming. Let me explain.

Although Box Hedge Farm is open 365 days a year for bed and breakfast and self catering accommodation, Box Hedge Farm is also our home. We are situated in over 200 acres of open farmland which has numerous public footpaths and bridle paths over which our guests can roam. We have about 50 acres of green fields and delightful woodland at Box Hedge Farm which guests are free to enjoy and benches and garden tables and chairs are provided in a communal courtyard area for our guests to use. Guests who book self catering have their own gardens. Obviously we are happy to share our home and enjoy having visitors here at Box Hedge Farm but being open 365 days a year we do feel the need to have some space that we can call our own i.e. a little bit of privacy. We have a private garden which is purposely clearly marked as such, so that we don’t have to subject guests to the embarrassment of being refused entry to our private garden if they were to ask. We live in the main farmhouse and have a private lounge on the ground floor half of which is actually laid out to seat up to 16 guests for breakfast. This room is clearly marked “Breakfast Room Only”, to make it very clear to guests that our private lounge is only available to guests at breakfast time. We also have a second breakfast room in an adjacent conservatory.

This arrangement has worked well for many years with guests respecting our need for privacy as much as we respect our guests’ needs during their stay. This father however having asked me if he could have access to our private garden, and having been refused, immediately asked if he and his could have access to our private lounge as he stood staring at the sign on door which said “Breakfast Room Only”. A sort of unbelievable “double whammy” in less than a minute. By this time I was getting concerned because on our bedroom door we have a sign which says “Private” and I half expected this guest to ask if he could have access to our private quarters in order to earn himself a third refusal.

This family were accommodated in a family room because that is what they asked for. In a family room the family have to sleep together and if a child is unable to go to sleep with its parents in the same room (the parents must have known this) then they should not have booked a family room in the first place. When they booked we could have easily provided an adjacent bedroom and even have provided a baby alarm so they could monitor the two year old, but they insisted on the cheapest option which appears to have been detrimental to the needs of their young son. At no time during their stay did the parents say that they would like access to our private lounge or anywhere else whilst their son went to sleep. If they had, we could have offered the use of the second dining area, or our Barbeque Lodge or Summer House although we would have been very uneasy with the scenario of the parents leaving a two year child in a room on his own whilst retreating to areas that were not in earshot of their bedroom.

This family stayed with us for three nights. It was on the third night that I went up to the first floor landing, only to find both parents sitting on the carpet on the landing across from their family room, sitting with legs outstretched across the landing creating a total obstruction to a bathroom used by other guests in the main farm house. They both had their heads buried in a book totally unconcerned about causing an obstruction, inconvenience and embarrassment for any other guest wishing to use the bathroom. When I asked them what they were doing they said that their son could not go to sleep if they were in the room and that they had nowhere else to go. I could have shown them to the second dining room or to the Barbeque Lodge or Summer House where they would have been comfortable but alarmingly out of earshot of their bedroom which did not seem the right thing to be doing. I could have lent them a baby alarm monitor but setting it up would have probably disturbed the baby defeating the efforts to get him to sleep. Luckily we did have an unoccupied room along the corridor which I ushered them into to get them out of the way of other guests. The unoccupied room that I let them use had been cleaned throughout and bedding changed and the usual inspection made before the room was locked in readiness for the next guests. Opening up the room and allowing these guests to occupy it meant that the room had then to be classified as “used accommodation” in accordance with our strict quality control system, and although they did not sleep in that room it had to be cleaned and inspected the following day to ensure it was ready for further occupation. The family were not charged for the extra effort and use of the room.

If this couple had booked self catering accommodation they would have had a bedroom, lounge, kitchen and fridge and freezer etc. This couple, having only booked and paid for a single family room, relied upon us to store the food for their two year old child in our personal fridge and store their freezer blocks in our personal freezer. They even relied upon us to suggest where they should go on a day out and were thoroughly pleased and thanked us for directing them to Slimbridge Wild Foul and Wetlands Trust. As far as we are concerned none of these things are a big deal but the only thanks we get for making the effort is the totally unjustified comment “extra effort was not really made”. Oh I nearly forgot – as a parting gift they left us vomit stained bedclothes, compliments of their two year old.

From vomit to breakfast, sausages and dog poo.

I am sorry that the reviewers thought the quality of the breakfasts was not great, and that they thought the sausages did seem to be on the cheap side. Their comments at the time would have been welcomed. We wonder was it just the quality of the sausages that they thought were not great, or was it the locally produced back bacon, the free range eggs or fresh mushrooms or tomatoes at fault? Perhaps it was the crispy fried bread or even the toast and homemade jam and marmalade. I doubt that we will ever know now. We may not be able to please all of the people all of the time but I can confirm that our sausages are definitely not cheap, as suggested by the reviewer.

The reviewers’ comments on the breakfast conflict completely with what guests have been telling us for many years. A quick look at “Guests Comments” on the Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast website will explain what I mean. I do recall that this family had breakfast Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning and left clean plates.

We have taken note regarding the concern over seeing dog poo in the area where we kennel our dogs. The area is cleared daily but still dogs will be dogs!! Although we housed our dogs in that area for many years we have never had a complaint before. The bathroom windows are clear glass and therefore have a blind which obscure the view in or out. We believe that most people using the bathroom for its intended use would have the blind down. Even if the windows were opened most people would keep the blind down when using the bathroom. Until now the bathroom window was never considered to be a viewing point merely a means of providing natural ventilation to the bathroom. Clearly this couple were happy to use the bathroom with the blind up (not normally recommended for fairly obvious reasons) or spent time in the bathroom admiring the view through the bathroom window.

We always react positively to constructive criticism and we have considered what action we should take with regard to the fact that dogs, and their poo, can be seen from the bathroom window. Preventing guests from seeing through the bathroom windows by replacing the plain glass with frosted glass and locking the windows would work but would deny natural ventilation to the bathroom and seems a rather drastic solution. We have decided that in this instance a warning notice on the window would be adequate. Guests can then decide for themselves whether or not to take the risk of being offended by the sight of animal poo. The sign states “Warning: Please do not look out of this window if you could be offended by the sight of dog poo, Roe Deer poo or cattle poo”.

Over fifteen years we have had many families with small children stay with us, and we have many enjoyable memories. The memory of this particular family unit, however, will stay in our minds for very different reasons.

Regards
Bob Downes

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2010

Previous occupants had written in the dust, we added to it! Bathroom had sliding door and obviously they only cleaned it whilst open, cobwebs in corners of shower and bathroom, extraction fan covered in cobwebs. Tiny basin so couldn't wash properly and no shelf to put toiletries. TV table, lamp stand, mirrors, backs of chairs all filthy. Couldn't trust the water in kettle as the lid was covered in dust which hadn't been disturbed. Breakfast served from 7 to 9 a.m. Ours must have been cooked at 7 and kept warm until 8.30. Cheapest sausages - just paste inside uck! Obviously they offer a two tier system as we had B&B in farmhouse and definitely not the standards and service which I had expected having booked reading other reviews - but dirt had been there for a long time so ? Would never recommed or go there again

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Essex186220
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BoxHedge, Owner at Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded 7 October 2010

If you have has just read the above review it would be appreciated if you would take the time to read our response in the interests of giving a fair hearing To Marilyn and I (Bob) as the owners of Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast.

Marilyn and I take all comments from guests very seriously and are always happy to accept constructive criticism. We are aware that you cannot please all of the people all of the time but we attempt to do so. Because we are open to criticism we believe that guests that stay in our B&B should also be open to criticism if their behaviour or attitude could adversely affect the enjoyment of other guests staying at Box Hedge Farm. We know from many years of experience that a very small minority of guests when asked to have some consideration for other guests become very indignant and resentful that their behaviour has being criticised, and seem to think that because they are paying guests that they can conduct themselves in any way that they see fit. We are aware that indignation and resentment from a small minority of guests can manifest itself in many forms …..

The reviewer has rated our “value” as terrible, our “rooms” as terrible, our “location” as poor, our “service” as terrible and “sleep quality” as poor. I would just ask that readers of the review, before accepting such comments at face value, take a look at other Trip Advisor reviews as well as “Guests Comments” on the Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast website. Guests comments are reproduced exactly as written by guests in there own handwriting in our Visitors Books which are always available for scrutiny at Box Hedge Farm. The comments on the Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast website are just a fraction of the hundreds of comments that we have documented, made by guests going back some fifteen years. The comments speak for themselves.

With regard the reviewers subjective ratings regarding “value”, “service” or “sleep quality” I will draw the readers attention to some facts later in this response, but first I will challenge the review marking for “location”. The reviewer has rated the “location” of Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast as “poor”. I believe that a rating of “poor” is very seriously misleading for the following reasons. Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast UK is set in 200 acres of countryside just to the north of Bristol and Bath and is on the edge of the Cotswolds. As far as the eye can see there are green fields and lush woodland which we share with Roe Deer, foxes, owls, field mice, birds, numerous other wildlife and cattle. The area is criss-crossed with footpaths and bridle paths, and our guests have access to these as well as having free but private access to about 50 acres of fields and woodlands belonging to Box Hedge Farm. Many very positive references can be found to our location on “Guests Comments” on the Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast website and also in the Trip Advisor reviews. I do not believe anybody could ever say that the location was poor if they enjoy the countryside. It may be that this reviewer may have considered that the location was “poor” because they would have preferred to stay in the middle of Bristol or Bath, with concrete, traffic, noise, nightclubs, and neon street lights etc but it was the reviewer that chose the location, not us at Box Hedge Farm. As the reviewer had total control over the choice of location, but may have made a bad choice which did not really suite them, I believe it is totally unfair to rate as poor a naturally beautiful country location, just because it may not be to the reviewers liking.

Now to some facts.

We do not operate a “two tier system” regarding cleanliness of rooms, the standard of service offered to our guests, or the quality of breakfasts served to our guests as stated by the reviewer. That is a fact. We have 18 rooms that are cleaned and dusted on a daily basis by four permanent cleaning ladies. All toilets and bathrooms are cleaned on a daily basis. Our ladies are very experienced, and are directly employed by us. We do not use contract cleaners who may not be familiar with the very high standard that we demand. An important factor in the quality control system that I have put in place is that my wife Marilyn personally inspects all rooms prior to guests arriving.
Despite all of our efforts it is always possible that a bit of dust may appear, or spiders may wreak havoc, spinning webs furiously between daily cleans. Living in the middle of the countryside as we do, Marilyn and I have to accept that dust (and nature) prevails and spiders are free to run riot! We hope that if our guests do find some dust and the odd spider that they will consider this to be a small inconvenience for all the benefits of relaxing in the middle of the countryside.

It is a fact is that none of our guests would ever be offered a “filthy, dirty room”. If our accommodation was “filthy, dirty” we would not have been in business for fifteen years, and continually turning people away because we are fully booked. There is substantial evidence to support my statement. For a start, out of the ten reviews for Box Hedge Farm B&B on Trip Advisor this is the only review that states that their room was not clean. Of the remaining nine reviews one made no comment on cleanliness, six had maximum rating (5 points) and two had three points. Further very positive comments on the cleanliness of our accommodation can be found in “Guests Comments” on the Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast website.

In the accommodation that was occupied by the reviewer the basin in the toilet/shower room is intended for washing hands, face and for wet shaving. It is fit for purpose. The small basin was never intended for individuals to wash or bathe in. As observed by the reviewer, the basin is far too small. The shower unit right next door to the hand basin was installed for persons to clean themselves, and is fully fit for purpose. Although there is only a mirror above the hand basin there is a cupboard directly adjacent to the basin, in, and on which, toiletries can be stored.

Breakfasts at weekends are served between 0730 and 0900. Breakfasts for guests eating at 8.30 are most definitely not cooked at 0700 as stated by the reviewer. We always ask guests at what time they would like breakfast, and what they would like for breakfast when they arrive, so that we can plan the cooking sequence accordingly. As we can be cooking up to 30 + breakfasts daily at weekends some items like sausages and bacon are kept on “hot hold” for perhaps 20 minutes but never for 1 ½ hours as suggested by this reviewer. Generally breakfasts are cooked on demand as required and this fact is substantiated by the Trip Advisor review “Back in Blighty” dated 20th June 2010, I quote …. “The following morning breakfast was wonderful, a proper full english with all the trimmings (made all the better for seeing it being cooked in the kitchen off the dining room!)”. Further comments regarding the high standard of breakfasts is given in “Guests Comments” on the Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast website. This is probably the right moment to point out that we are formally registered with South Gloucestershire Council and have held the coveted award of five stars (out of five) for the Environmental Health and Trading Standards Food Hygiene Star Rating since its inception in 2007. Prior to this we held a five out of five star rating for South Gloucestershire Council’s Food Safety Award. The highest award possible has been awarded for many years following regular rigorous site inspections and very close scrutiny of our food purchasing and processing procedures. This award does not guarantee how good a breakfast might taste however, but guests should be pleased to note that food safety is pretty well assured!

I turn now to the most important subject of breakfast sausages!! We have searched far and wide, high and low in order to provide the “best” sausages to our guests, but have had some difficulty defining what a better sausage is. It is a fact that individuals’ tastes vary. Some people like sausages stuffed full of meat while others prefer something lighter with more rusk than meat in their sausages. We standardised long ago on a Cumberland pork sausage which contains 75% farm assured British pork, rusk, herbs (sage, thyme and parsley), spices (nutmeg, tumeric, ginger, corianda, black pepper). Our sausages are not cheap and certainly do not contain “paste” – whatever that is. We also can provide when asked in advance vegetarian “sausages” which consist of rusk, wheat and pea protein, onion and salt. For some of our regular guests (who stay week after week) who prefer a “lighter” sausage we have standardized on a sausage that has only 32% pork and 8% beef, the rest of the sausage consisting of rusk and spices (nutmeg, ginger, pepper). We do not serve low meat content sausages to weekend guests or non-regulars unless they specifically ask us to do so.

The guest review is entitled “Filthy, dirty room, could not eat breakfast”. We have never had anybody in fifteen years that has not eaten their breakfast. Some have not eaten all their breakfast because the plate was too full. If any guest had left their breakfast untouched we would certainly have known and would most certainly asked the guest(s) in question why they had not eaten their breakfast. These guests were served breakfast on two mornings. They left clean plates on both occasions.

We remember well the couple that are responsible for the review and are content that they will never return. In any event they had already been added to our very short list of “never again” guests. We believe that more often than not “like attracts like” and are therefore we are well pleased that they will not recommend us to their friends and relatives.

Regards

Bob Downes

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Reviewed 20 June 2010

I stayed here with my husband for a couple of nights as we were attending an event nearby. Right from making my first enquiry Marilyn couldn't have been more helpful, professional and polite.
On arrival we were delighted with the rural location and absolutely made up with our room. We had the ensuite to the left of the main house and found it charming. The bed was huge, the room itself very spacious with everything you may need and the shower room was clean, tidy and well stocked too.
The following morning breakfast was wonderful, a proper full english with all the trimmings (made all the better for seeing it being cooked in the kitchen off the dining room!).
Whilst the location is fantastically rural and felt like the middle of nowhere it is close enough to a number of local amenities and nearby venues to make the best of both worlds.
I will definately use this B&B again when staying in the area - we visit a couple of times a year and this is by far the best place we have found.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Back_in_Blighty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BoxHedge, Owner at Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded 7 October 2010

Marilyn and I have not looked at the Trip Advisor site for a long long time as we have had our heads down working hard at Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast to maintain our very high standards. Although we have eighteen rooms available for Bed and Breakfast and also provide self catering accommodation we continue to be pretty well fully booked throughout the year and as Marilyn and I are “hands on” 365 days of the year there is little time to sit back and reflect where we are after more than fifteen years providing Bed and Breakfast and self catering accommodation. There has been even less time to spend browsing the Internet and catching up on any reviews that have been posted on Trip Advisor. Guests continue to fill up our Visitors Books with their comments and we can glance at these daily as we go about our business and I reproduce just one a month on the Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast website listed under “Guests Comments”. The vast majority of comments are only ever seen by guests interested enough to flip back through the current visitors books. Comments posted on Trip Advisor however can be seen by the whole world and therefore as the owners of Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast, Marilyn and I have decided that from now on we should take the time to read and respond to all reviews.

As from this week (4th October 2010) we will also ensure that our staff of four cleaning ladies and one maintenance man get to read the Trip Advisor Reviews and if appropriate any comment they have will be reflected in our management response to a review.

My wife Marilyn is very pleased to get such nice comments about how she interfaces with prospective guests. I appreciate how hard she works trying to accommodate peoples varying needs, but it’s nice for to have confirmation of this from our guests. As the reviewer has pin pointed exactly which room she occupied Marilyn has been able to pass on the positive comments to Sarah the cleaner for that area. Hopefully other reviewers will say whether they stayed in the Main Farm House, The Barn, The Gables, The Forge, The Stables or The Lodge so we can pass on any comment (good or bad!) to whoever is responsible for cleaning and maintaining a particular area. Sarah’s comment was that although she is just doing the job she is paid for, it does make a real difference getting thanks now and again!!

It does get very hot in the kitchen most mornings for Marilyn and I and the positive comments on breakfasts are welcomed …. some credit must go to the wonderful Aga cooker and the Range Master cooker which allow us to turn out up to 30+ breakfasts in quick time every morning!!! ….. and of course credit must also go to our butcher who continually supplies us with a consistently high standard of produce.

We hope that those that read the few reviews on Trip Advisor will also take the time to review other “Guests Comments” going back some fifteen years on the Box Hedge Farm Bed and Breakfast website.

Regards
Bob Downes

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