Abode Exeter

Cathedral Yard, (formerly Royal Clarence Hotel), Exeter, Devon, EX1 1HD, United Kingdom

2 Reviews

ABode Exeter
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Satisfaction Very Good
Very Good


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Good For Solo
  • Families60
  • Couples66
  • Solo74
  • Business64
  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Formerly known as the Royal Clarence Hotel


    Having finally spent a night here I was slightly disappointed by my room and by the fact that the rooms are now all non-smoking (though smoking is permitted in the Champagne Bar), a fact which wasn't made clear on the website nor when I booked through Expedia where it gave me the option (noting that Expedia gave me a better rate than that quoted from the hotel directly!).

    I had intended to have a bit of a "slob day" in Exeter with things to do the following day and so was looking forward to a long relaxing soak in the bath and perhaps a bit of writing here and elsewhere, dinner in house and an early-ish night. Having a non-smoking room kind of destroyed the pure "slob" aspect of my stay, the room had a shower rather than a bath and the workdesk was a bit on the small side for this standard of hotel. Having said that I had taken the cheapest room option but at over 100 pounds a night I would have expected slightly more space.

    However, if you want a good quality, centrally located, Exeter hotel and opt for one of the more expensive rooms you could do far worse than stay here and whilst the hotel offers a range of dining alternatives; it's next door neighbour, The Well House (which is owned by the hotel) is one of my favourite pubs in Exeter with a good selection of local ales and excellent lunchtime food.

    Unique Quality: One thing that I was impressed with though was the standard of service, from reception, bar and restaurant - professional, a little formal but with a real desire to look after their customers.

    The food operation is run by Michael Caines, who co-owns the hotel, and between the three main outlets: formal fine dining, the cafe bar and the next door pub, provides meals to suit every taste and budget.

    Directions: Find the cathedral and there is the hotel!

  • cazz38's Profile Photo



    This historic hotel is situated opposite the Cathedral.Named after the Duchess of clarence whos husband became William 1V in 1827.It was the first hostelry in England to become a hotel in 1770.Highly recomended.

    Unique Quality: Beautiful building and fantastic setting around the Cathedral.

    Directions: Exeter town center

More about Abode Exeter


by A TripAdvisor Member

Just spent 3 nights at the Abode Exeter. The location is lovely and the staff friendly and helpful. Our room was huge and had a victorian bath in the bedroom behind a glass screen, with a separate wet room with shower and toilet. The bed was huge and very comfortable and everything needed was provided.
The restaurant was good for breakfast and excellent for dinner with a special dinner rate for residents.
The only negative points were that there is no parking at the hotel
( there just isnt anywhere for a car park) and yes you do have to pay a reduced rate parking fee of £6 for 24 hours. Smoking is allowed in the champagne bar which can be a little unpleasant. The air con in the bar was set too high ( needed a jacket or cardi) but the barmaid quickly adjusted it for us when we asked.
Overall, we were well pleased with the hotel and having booked only 2 nights opted for a 3rd night.
We will return!

Putting The Record Straight

by A TripAdvisor Member

I have recently stayed at the Royal Clarence Hotel, aBode Exeter several times in the past few months and I for one think some of these reviews are very unfair.
Time to air my opinion, the staff from all departments are incredibly friendly and professional at all times, and lets be honest who would want to deal with the general public 24-7? As for parking, this is the first building in the country to be called a hotel, and there's a whopping great cathedral infront of the hotel so where is there space for a car park? Many guests staying fuss about getting a cathedral view so they can either get rid of the cathedral and tarmac the green into a carpark and look at a multistorey through your bedroom window, or you can purchase a discounted ticket at a very reasonable rate for a safe car park a short drive away.
As for the staff on front desk there are a couple of people that have looked after me on several ocassions and have been there throughout the refurbishment, Kevin, Lee-anne and Zoe who are incredibly good at what they do as they know what guests expect from thier stay, they are nothing but polite and friendly in every situation I've witnessed including dealing with complaining guests.
There are a couple of other faces on front desk but unfortunately I haven't got to know them like the other three.
Yes there maybe a few hiccups at times but Michael Caines is launching this new hotel group and it may take a while to settle but I believe he is heading in the right direction and has definetly got top quality staff to help him achieve his goals.
I would definetly reccommend a stay at aBode Exeter, The Royal Clarence Hotel, for anyone looking to stay in Exeter.

A real disappointment

by A TripAdvisor Member

My husband and I have just returned from what was supposed to be a really fab weekend break in Exeter to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Unfortunately right from the very beginning it was a real disappointment. We had booked what's called an 'Enviable' room but when we saw the room it was far from that! It was small and cramped and although it had lovely views of the cathedral, we had to keep the curtains closed most of the time as diners in the cafe just outside looked directly into our bedroom! We were also very surprised that there was no bathroom and there was only a bath (no shower) and a sink behind the bed and the toilet was a in a cupboard that looked exactly like the one with hanging space and the tea and coffee making facilities in!! Very random!

I went downstairs to reception straight away to check that we were put into the right room. She said it was a 'Desirable' room (the room class down from 'Enviable') but then quickly changed her mind and said it was a 'Superior Desirable' (which doesn't exist) and then eventually was told by the reception manager that it was in fact an 'Enviable' room!! I said that it was far from enviable but we still weren't offered a room swap.

A few minutes later the reception manager came up to our room admit that it was in fact only a 'Desirable' room and the receptionist on the previous shift had got the bookings wrong. We were really angry that they had repeatedly lied to us and then tried to blame the problem on someone on the previous shift which is unacceptable. We got the distinct impression that unless I had complained they would just have overcharged us. Eventually they dropped the room price to 'Desirable' charge of £100 which in our opinion was still far too much!

The staff in general seemed very inexperienced and at times, just plain rude! It said that breakfast was served until 10.30am but when we went down at 10.15am we were given a rather frosty greeting and one of the waitresses made it very clear that we were very lucky the chef agreed to cook our breakfasts. Rather unfair seeing as we had our cooked breakfasts by 10.25am!

On a positive side, the hotel is in a great location in the centre of Exeter and the food in the dining room was gorgeous.

If you are staying in Exeter I would strongly advise you don't stay here and stay at the lovely Hotel Barcelona instead which is much nicer, with bigger rooms, free parking, very professional staff and much better value!

I would, however, really recommend trying Michael Caines' restaurant for dinner though as it was lovely.

Never Again! Dreadful!

by TripAdvisor Member Debbo75

This is one of the worst hotel stays I have ever experienced.

Stayed at this hotel on business. Phoned up in advance to warn the hotel that I would be arriving around 11pm and to ask if it was easy to get to, was told yes.

Got to Exeter at 11pm after an exhausting 3 hour drive but my Sat Nav couldn't locate Cathedral Yard. Phoned hotel for directions, its very hard to find. Then spent 30 minutes driving around and around Exeter being given directions by the Night Porter (whom i later found out does not drive). Eventually found hotel and was told that there was no parking and that I had to drive to a car park 10 minutes walk away. Fantastic especially when you are a female not wanting to walk through Exter on your own and it is 11.45pm! WHY did they not tell me they didn't have a car park when I phoned up?? I was very very angry. The only good thing about this hotel was the Chef who had just finished his shift offered to direct me to the car park and walk me home, a true gentleman. Thanks Lee! We eventually found the car park, my mobile rang, it was the Night Porter saying he had forgotten to give me a parking ticket and could I drive back to the hotel (by this time it is midnight). After throwing a wobbly (my blood was boiling at this point) he walked it over to me.

The room was too small and nothing special considering what I was paying. The room rate did not include breakfast and i had a view of a brick wall. After all the hassles, I didn't get to bed until 12.30am but was so wound up i couldn't sleep. With an early start the next day, I managed 5 hours sleep and spent the next day feeling rubbish after a long day at work and then a long drive home.

In the morning I got my bill and was disgusted to find they were charging me £6 for the car parking ticket (after all the hassle they had caused me, what a cheek!). I complained and the receptionist said that she would get the Operations Manager to phone me during that day to discuss the issues I had faced and the possible refund of my £6 parking. Did I get a call? Did I hell. The staff at this hotel clearly clearly do not care about Customer Service (with the exception of the lovely Chef Lee).

This hotel is truely DREADFUL and this comes from someone who stays in about 80 hotels a year, many costing much less than this one.

Quality hotel, full of character

by TripAdvisor Member Disappointment_again

The Royal Clarence is a hotel that dates back to the mid-18th century. It has been very tastefully modernised, without losing any of its wonderful character. I have been reading some of the recent reviews, and wonder if the reviewers have been staying at a different hotel or (more likely) are used to staying in bog standard 3/4 star hotels which all look the same, where the rooms are exactly the same size and mundane quality and which have an aesthetically pleasing NCP attached.

If you are looking to stay in Exeter; enjoy fine dining; like character in your hotels; need a fantastically comfortable bed; want a view over the marvellous Exeter Cathedral and green, then stay at the Royal Clarence. Ignore the peasants who don't appreciate quality, and can't cope with walking 3 minutes from a car park.

Not for lone females

by TripAdvisor Member melwatson

I agree with another female staying on business . I also arrived in the evening after nightfall. I was given a map, which I couldn't see in the dark and whilst driving, to find this car park 10 mins down the road. After driving round and round the one ways, I came back to the hotel and the man on front desk did accompany me. I would never have found the car park , or indeed, my way walking back to the hotel on my own in the dark. I was scared. When I got to my room, I was expecting to have a soak in the bath to relax me - there was only a shower which is very unusual for a hotel charging £125 per night for a basic room. There was no clock, and my wake-up call was 10 mins late. Breakfast is not buffet style if you want cooked. I was told it would take 3-4 mins. It took 20 mins, and a further 4 mins for them to provide brown sauce! All in all, breakfast was then rushed and not enjoyed, and the experience was not good overall. Although in a beautiful location, and I must say the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in, I probably wouldn't go back.

Great staff

by A TripAdvisor Member

Stayed at the Abode Royal Clarence for a couple of nights and thought it was excellent – apart from a couple of minor niggles. On the plus side, the staff were really outstanding, from the front desk to the waiters. The room was not huge, but had all we needed – including the same sloping floor as a previous correspondent, but I can honestly say it didn't affect the pleasure of my stay. I believe the hotel is over 200 years old and it adds to the character. The lift, which others have criticised was fine and typical of an early style of elevator with gates. Not huge, but no smaller than any other. We ate in the Restaurant and the café and alhough the restaurant isn't cheap, the food is superb. The Café was not great, but adequate. I would agree that the parking is a small problem and I'm sure the hotel would happily accompany any lone female after dark if they were to inform the hotel on arrival. We've stayed at the Barcelona, but would prefer to stay at the Abode Royal Clarence. Better food; better location and better staff.

Great Hotel But Get Good Directions

by TripAdvisor Member blackcornish1964

Stayed at this great hotel a number of times and get lost every time. There is no parking so you have to find a pay and display nearby, ask for directions as it is very confusing driving to the hotel (it is on virtually a no through road) Ask for a room with a Cathedral view. They have 4 types of room ranging from comfort to fabulous and the prices are quite hefty. The breakfast is first rate (as it every meal in the restaurant). Very friendly staff and a lovely city to visit.


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 Abode Exeter

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Abode Hotel Exeter
Exeter Abode Hotel
Abode Exeter Hotel Exeter

Address: Cathedral Yard, (formerly Royal Clarence Hotel), Exeter, Devon, EX1 1HD, United Kingdom