More about Barnsley House
We found that extra-special place - it's called Barnsley House!
To celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, my husband and I were naturally looking for that extra-special place. Well,we found it- it's called Barnsley House. Having said that, we very nearly cancelled our reservation after friends told us they had seen a very bad review on this site. I'm so glad we didn't !!From the moment we arrived we were enchanted: the house and gardens are a feast for the eyes and our room displayed an inspired, daring and successful blend of modernism and tradition- a generous and comfortable space provoking an instant feeling of well-being.
Dinner was just perfect- no fussy,pretentious unnecessities- but first-rate high-quality ingredients
simply and deliciously executed.We were impressed to learn that the chef grows all his own vegetables.
A special mention should go to the Restaurant Manager-
a charming Frenchman(with perfect English!)who looked after us in exemplary fashion,and who seemed to enjoy himself whilst doing so- a rare quality these days!
We whole-heartedly recommend Barnsley House for a special occasion and we will certainly be back(when we
can afford it- it is pricey- but worth every penny)!!!
Remarkable and unique
Even on a cold, wet and windy November day, the sun shines at Barnsley House. This exquisitely beautiful country house just radiates warmth and sunshine, and Rosemary Verey's gardens still look stunning under a carpet of multi-coloured autumn leaves. A warm and friendly welcome awaited us at the reception. We had booked the Garden Suite which, much to our delight, turned out to be a separate little stone cottage set in the grounds behind the main house, with the chef's vegetable gardens to the right and surrounded by fields as far as the eye could see. Once inside, we were impressed by its modern and stylish interior- the ceilings had been taken out throughout, which meant that every room opened up into the gables providing this extraordinary sense of space and height. Fantastic lighting everywhere, a very large living room with comfortable furniture, a wood-burning stove (in addition to the under-floor heating) and a huge plasma television screen set into the wall with a sensurround speaker system (just slightly difficult to work out the complex remote control !).
Cosy bedroom with another (smaller) TV at the foot of a very large, very comfortable bed. As an alternative to watching telly in bed, you could instead watch the Barnsley House chickens - kept to provide the hotel's breakfast eggs - in the field outside the French windows.
Gorgeous bathroom with enormous walk-in twin showers complete with massage jets and organic pampering products. Be prepared for hours of "wet fun"!! More of the same could be had in the hot tub outside on the private patio, but the weather prevented us from trying it out.
The hotel's dining room is very pretty, cool and elegant (without being neither formal nor intimidating), crisp white tablecloths, pastel colours and good lighting. Dinner and service could not have been better! Given that Barnsley House is a rather fashionable place, we were especially pleased that there was no sign of "minimalist" food - instead we enjoyed "proper" portions of simple, delicious food albeit with a modern influence. Pumpkin soup with mascarpone, oyster tempura with vegetable spaghetti for starters, followed by venison with wild mushroom risotto and poached sea bass with olive oil mash. Although we hardly had room for dessert, we "forced ourselves" to try the bitter chocolate mousse and raspberry pot- no regrets there!
We can also recommend the Village Pub(under the same ownership) for a simpler, reasonably priced meal. Winter-warming dishes such as celeriac soup, beef and vegetable stew and a nice selection of New World wines, served by friendly staff in a typical pub setting complete with log fire.
We so much enjoyed our (short) stay at Barnsley House, that we can't wait to "find an excuse" to return to this remarkable and unique hotel.
Stunning Hotel for a relaxed weekend away (just don't book the beauty treaments)
Just returned from a weekend at Barnsley House.
It really is the most beautiful hotel and our room was stunning - huge bedroom - plasma screen, DVD player, complimentary champagne and chocolates in the mini-fridge and the hugest bathroom i've ever seen with 2 baths facing another plasma screen. The hotel have a vast menu of DVD's which can be brought to your room within minutes. Couldn't fault the room or it's facilities at all.
However there were a couple of problems. Room service was incredibly slow. We ordered breakfast at 8.30am which didn't arrive until just before 10am - i wouldn't mind but it wasn't as if they'd spent the extra time increasing the portion sizes....
Dinner in the restaurant was great, if slightly stuffy, but if you're vegetarian make sure you ask if they have any specials as they don't print these on the menu.
We had pre-booked in-room massages. A big mistake. Our massage therapist was fresh out of beauty college and had obviously been off-sick the day they were taught about the fact that massages are designed to be relaxing. she insisted on talking her way though 1 1/2 hours and although i sympathise that her boyfriend had left her, I didn't need to pay her £120 to hear about it. She also seemed to have learnt a technique that might work on a bear but was far too rough to use during an aromatherapy massage.
We would definitely return to the hotel but would not bother with the massage and would probably book dinner at the Village Pub rather than the rather formal restaurant.
The worst service ever?
To compare a hotel-restaurant to Fawlty Towers on the grounds of the bungling ineptitude of its staff may not be the freshest or most original of analogies, but never can it have been more richly merited than by this ill-run, accident-prone galère of incompetents.
We ate here last Saturday evening as part of the celebrations for my mother’s 80th birthday. Barnsley House is a restaurant that should have everything going for it: a classic English country house location in a Cotswold estate village; a world-class garden; elegant and spacious interiors; a promising-looking menu and wine list (the Guardian fulsomely sung the praises of its chef in September 2003). Do not be misled. Only my family’s innate tolerance, stoicism and ability to make the best of things in difficult circumstances prevented the experience of eating here from becoming a nightmare.
To describe the service as slow would be akin to describing Hurricane Katrina as a ‘bit blowy’. Arriving on the dot of eight p.m. as booked, we received our starters as late as 9.15, our main course at 10.30, our pudding at 11.30 and finally left the restaurant at midnight, having decided that an order for coffee might take us not only into the wee small hours but also beyond the edge of insanity. And in between moments of service rarer than water-holes in the Sahara were the deep, deep sands of incompetence.
The extreme sluggishness of service resulted, we were told, from the food orders for an unexpectedly large party at a neighbouring table (six booked but ten came) mistakenly being processed before our own (despite their arriving at least half-an-hour later than us).
The fact that only five of our party of twelve chose to order Vincisgrassi (an admittedly fine pasta dish) between first and main courses, seemed to bamboozle the restaurant like Shane Warne’s flipper: only three portions of the Vincisgrassi arrived, and a further half-hour elapsed while the missing two were prepared.
An increasingly serpentine plot thickened with the apparent arrival, after another excruciating wait, of the main courses. A waiter appeared bearing plates of ‘grouse’ – a surprising development, since we had not ordered it (for the simple reason that it had not appeared on the menu). The said grouse was thereupon offered to the next table. The main course for one member of our party then arrived a full quarter of an hour before the other main courses. She had finished it by the time the latter finally arrived.
The pudding course brought further narrative twists. Having ordered an ‘apple croustade’ I was presented with a crème brûlée. When I pointed out that this was not what I had chosen it was taken away, then brought back again almost immediately as if my resistance might crumble under the pressure of being offered it a second time. When I rejected it again I was told that the croustade would take twenty minutes to prepare. It should be noted that by now it was close to 11.30 and we had ordered our puddings (at the restaurant’s request) at the same time as our starters and main courses – some three hours earlier.
We had by now demanded that we be given a significant discount on our final bill to compensate for the lack of consideration shown us. Having acquiesced to this, the hotel proceeded to make bungling attempts at further amends. In a risible gesture, my mother was offered the menu ‘as a souvenir’ of an evening which by now she must have heartily wished to forget; a group of waitresses then approached the table with a hastily produced cake and, in faltering English, sang ‘happy birthday to you’. It was a moment of toe-curling embarrassment. It should have been manifest even to a half-wit that my mother could have little desire to be serenaded by those who had gone out of their way to put a dampener on her birthday celebrations. Quite understandably, she felt deeply insulted by the incident.
To the litany of major complaints about service can be added a plethora of minor ones:
Some restaurant staff seemed not to understand English: a request for more breadsticks, for instance, instilled visible panic and was then ignored. When the wine waiter belatedly got round to taking our order, I was offered what amounted to a guided tour of the entire wine list – despite my having clearly identified the wines I wished to order and neither desiring nor needing the advice. (I received the strong impression that the waiter had been instructed to ‘kill time’.) A regular descant to the progress of the meal was the sound of breaking glass from the kitchen.
If you not are put off by all of this, there were, admittedly, moments of pleasure to be had from the cooking itself: the marinated salmon with dill mayonnaise was good, the Vincisgrassi – a dish from Le Marche with in which ‘wafer-thin leaves of pasta are separated by forcemeat of prosciutto, porcini mushrooms and truffles’ (the Guardian) – undoubtedly excellent. The suckling pig and my (unordered and unwanted) crème brûlée were, however, very ordinary, and the cream cheese and herb dip offered as an accompaniment to the apéritifs was not only inappropriately heavy but also bland and tasteless.
There may – conceivably – be a decent restaurant waiting to emerge here, somewhere quite a long way down the line. The management and service we experienced on Saturday 10 September, however, were beyond incompetence. I have no hesitation whatsoever in describing it as quite the worst experience I have ever had in any restaurant, anywhere. Perhaps Heston Blumenthal could save it? He could certainly give Barnsley House a lesson in how to treat its customers.
Definitely Go Somewhere Else
Do not hesitate, go somewhere else.
On arrival into the disappointingly small reception area there were no staff to greet anyone and no-one at the reception desk. We had to wait until a member of staff passed through to find a receptionist to check us in. This was done with difficulty due an obvious language barrier, nice enough girl but we were not off to the best of starts. After waiting over half an hour our luggage never arrived to our room after being offered the service by Reception, so in the end I went back downstairs to retrieve it myself. (There are only ten rooms so they couldn’t have been that busy!!)
Room was okay (don’t be fooled by the website, they are not a patch on many other more reputable hotels) and was pretty bland. We came to the conclusion it was not finished, and the feel of the room was not warm and relaxing like a hotel room should be, but more cold and stark. Other modern hotels have still managed to create this warm welcoming feeling despite using greater contemporary ideas and furniture. We liked the idea of the complimentary amenities but we discovered much impracticality within the room. I am certainly no technophobe but operating the TV and sound system has been made way overcomplicated by the company who installed it, and our TV remote kept cutting out sporadically. My wife found it difficult to get ready in the evenings as our room had no proper dressing mirrors, and the power points for the hairdryer were no where near the oversized desk so my wife couldn’t sit down while getting ready, this was not our idea of relaxing. The bathroom was no better, for some reason the bath towels were on the other side of the bathroom to the sinks, shower and bath!! We felt this very dangerous and impractical. Talking to other guests confirmed there are other rooms that boast these impracticalities. The wife of one couple had to walk down a set of steep narrow stairs into the lounge of their room to put her make up on and finish getting ready as there was no desk or dressing mirror in the bedroom. While finishing getting ready downstairs she had to suffer the humiliation of being in full view of any passers by as the lounges only window looked out onto a thoroughfare from the hotel to the car park, this was used by staff, guests and even by kitchen staff to get to their stores! Very little consideration has been given to using the rooms from the point of view of a guest.
Food in the restaurant was nothing special, dinner was a choice of 3 or 4 courses and considering the garden grows produce for the restaurant we were disappointed with the quality and selection the menu had to offer. Service was frustratingly slow with the restaurant being only a quarter full, so a quick decision was made to dine the following night at the pub over the road. This is also owned by the same people as the hotel. Menu over at the pub was really limited for each course (this was in stark contrast to the pub menu inserted within the room information folder of the hotel), and the portion sizes were just big enough not be sent back to the kitchen!
Both evenings were just acceptable, but for the money you pay and the facilities offered it is extremely overpriced. Over the years we have stayed in far more reputable and established hotels where our bill was considerably more than here, and they felt like far better value for money than at Barnsley House.
Brief conversations with the owners, as well as hearing them interact with staff and other guests (this was not out of choice but due to the very very small public areas) confirmed all the negative comments posted on this site. No need to list them all again as it reads like a checklist of how not to operate a hotel, but you certainly get a sense of arrogance, unjustifiable snobbishness, rudeness and money driven spring to mind, with customer care and service not even considered, and talking to other guests staying confirmed our feelings.
There are many good hotels in and around the Cotswolds area. . . . . . . . . these would all need to be nonexistent before we would consider a return to visit to this property.
Advice to all who are considering visiting: Go Somewhere Else
Might be great, might not
My wife and I have stayed a few times and lets be honest this hotel feels like it is aimed at a young, (very) fashion conscious and affluent clientele. If you are not in this group, you might like it, but you probably won't. The trad (but fab) exterior is not representative of what is on offer inside.
The grounds are suberb and the rooms ultra modern with great beds, albeit with slightly overcomplex TV and audio installations - even baffling this 30 something gadget boy! Varying degrees of large and impressive bathrooms.
The food is good, but you might have to wait and the bar is a triumph of style over functionality.
State of repair - a recent development but with some wear and tear evident.
Recent highlights - breakfast on a perfect June morning this year. Wonderful.
We'd say service can be hit and miss, particularly food related or when busy. We felt staff could be inattentive.
Good client management is increasingly evident though. On a recent visit there was a mix up with starters, and we were offered complimentary drinks, promptly and without complaining.
Whatever the pros and cons we've been to stay a number of times and will go again. Room Auction makes it a good place for great mid week stopovers, and where fewer guests mean more focussed service.
Having read other reviews we were nervous ...
about staying at this hotel. So many were negative and we'd already booked. In fact - we loved it. Beautiful room, fabulous service throughout and wonderful meal at the restaurant. Warning !! It's not cheap but we'd stay again - as a treat.
OK but the opportunity to do much better. Not at all perfection.
Welcome - OK but not very inspiring, personal or hospitable.
Junior suite - Presentation on the whole good, but not perfection in design or function. Major annoyances inc'd no well lit make up mirror, some lights not functioning and a walk-in shower that leaked water all over the bathroom floor. Be careful of the described detail in the booking confirmation - ours was wrong in some important detail. Go for a full garden view and a specific room number, our suite overlooked a potting shed and wasn't very attractive.
General hotel areas. Standards of decoration and repair are not
exactly first rate in a number of areas. The dining room has dirty furnishings and needs a refurbishment. The gardens are an excellent feature and
well maintained. The gardener was one of friendliest staff.
Food - Good quality and very fresh. The evening menu does not change daily. Only a slight variation in the first course was notable. After a few days stay, the menu could be found to be lacklustre. The menu is not the most imaginative in the world and is easily forgotten. The dining environment is not romantic. The lighting is quite flat and intimate tables for two do not exist.
Service - restaurant service was good. Attentive with out being intrusive.
Between course times were fine during our mid week stay.
Room cleaning on the otherhand was not faultless. On the second day
our suite was not cleaned at all. When we reported this to reception
on our return, a cleaner was instructed immediately, but no apology was
ever forthcoming and no checking afterwards that the suite was cleaned
to our satisfaction. In fact it was not, no carpet cleaning had been done
and the bed was left unmade. At these room costs this is a standard
of basic service that you do not expect to receive, particularly with a
very small number of rooms to look after.
Value for money - looking back at the overall experience, vfm was reasonable. The extra '12.5% service' charge is not discretionary but added
directly to your bill and room contract before you experience any service at all. We found it annoying and viewed it not as a gesture of thanks for
good service, but as a tax to squeeze a little more money out of you.
One did not feel a guest more a walking revenue generator. Not once
did anyone call us by our name.
Overall feeling on leaving - OK but not great. Definitely not an experience that totally impressed you with its quality, service or distinction. On checking out no attempt was made to ask us if we enjoyed the stay. In fact, no attempt was made to gather any feedback at all. To sum up - if you are looking to be 'wowed' this is not the place for you.
Having read some of the previous reports I was a little apprehensive about our impending weekend away especially as it is an expensive treat but we were pleased that we found this hotel to be lovely and in a fantastic spot.
Rooms are spectacular.
If I have any criticisms they are that the supa dupa TVs and radios are very difficult to fathom..an on/ off switch is all I need! Our room did not have a large mirror, just a tiny one on a table.The main gripe is that breakfast service is incredibly slow...better service needed here.My advice to the owners would be to get to grips with this and to redcorate the bar which we thought was completely out of character, looked like a bar in a brothel and is very uncomfortable.
A quality benchmark
A beautiful house with gardens to match. Fabulously furnished with quality showers and toiletries. Service was as it should be but the food was ordinary rather than stunning. The attention to detail is generally excellent. However, no where is perfect and there were a few quibbles. Small places like this obviously depend on a few key people running them. When we stayed the regular barman was off and the cocktails produced by the stand in were very poor. Also the "service charge" added to the bill, whilst only a modest amount, was deeply irritating. Sound proofing in converted buildings is often a problem and it's no different here but not a big issue. I will definitely be returning to this place though. I only hope the planned extension to the facilities add rather than detract.
Where in barnsley?
Hi every1, does ne1 live in Dodworth in barnsley? its urgent !! please reply soon or email email@example.com
Re: Where in barnsley?
Dodsworth is a village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. About 15 miles from Sheffield and about 20 miles south of Leeds. I think it is on the railway line from Leeds to Sheffield. Look at www.arrivatrainsnorthern.co.uk. I do not live near there but in the same county which is Yorkshire.
Re: Where in barnsley?
i live in sheffield...not far away from barnsley