A Fantastic Hotel
Stayed here while attending a Charity Dinner in the new Banquet Suite. This is such a comfortable hotel and so well run in every respect. A warm welcome, a great event in a magnificent setting and one of the most comfortable beds (and rooms) I have ever enjoyed. Would stay her again without any doubt - congratulations to the management. I spend a lot of time being processed in corporate business hotels so this was a real treat.
Very expensive food
This is a lovely hotel with lovely staff, but the food is way too expensive. It would certainly make us question whether to stay there again, as the feeling of being ripped off is hard to get rid off. The room price was very reasonable but far better to increase the room price and charge a fair price for the food. There is no choice. £175 for a 3 course meal for 2, with 2 half bottles of wine is worthy of the very best London restaurants.
A December Wedding
We were staying at Fawsley as guests at a family wedding and decided to have an extra night. The room (number 14) was wonderful - overlooking the lake and the Northamptonshire countryside. At £219 double room with breakfast it was definitely for that special occassion, including a particularly large en-suite bathroom and dressing room!
Dinner in the restaurant was outstanding with both the seabass and the Cornish turbot getting rave reviews. At £70 per head for 3 courses + coffee and a modestly priced wine, again for a special occassion, but as good as we have had anywhere (including Gordon Ramsey's!)
The grand hall with its large sofas and open fire is truly magnificent.
Minor niggles - no teapot in the room and a rather sparse complimentary tray; putting "reserved signs" on the better seats in the grand hall; and adding 12.5% service charge to dinner and room service meals.
Wow is all I can say! Paid £233 for a club room, continental breakfast and 5-course valentines meal with champagne plus coffee and petit fours. Yes, it's quite a lot to pay but we would usually spend £100 on dinner for Valentines anyway and this package was truly worth it.
The setting is tranquil and beautiful. When we got our room we couldn't stop looking at everything, a huge bed, bathroom and high ceilings. Every course throughout the dinner was exquisite, the great hall with real fire place was cosy. We felt very privellaged.
Dress code is relaxed, denim isn't encouraged but there's no suit and tie requirement (unlike the George hotel where you feel looked down upon).
Check-out time is 11am but even so you can still enjoy the pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi if you wish.
Their afternoon teas look great if you are looking for something to do for Mother's day!
Gorgeous place, but GET MORE STAFF!!!
First things first, this is an absolutely stunning place, both in terms of the house and the grounds. Any non-Brits reading this who want a taste of old England should definitely have this on their shortlist. You will be staying in a genuine Tudor manor and it’s beautifully restored, with grounds by Capability Brown. Doesn’t get much better than that! The ‘before and after’ photos in the restaurant show to just what an extent the owner have transferred a ruin into something truly extraordinary.
I had the good fortune to be taken here for Valentines, so I’ve no idea what the prices are. This is therefore written in abstract of value. It’s one of those tricky reviews to do, because parts of the experience merit 5, others are more of a 3. Hence the average 4 rating. But please read the full review as you may look for different things than us.
The hotel is definitely off the beaten track. It took us a good 25 minutes in a taxi from Northampton station, which is a jolly good thing. However I’m not sure, if one were staying there longer than a couple of nights, there’d be much to do. There’s countryside, and then there’s barren! You can stay in the back of beyond in the Cotswolds but still have lots of pretty villages to walk to; there is nothing near here as far as I can see, apart from Althrop. The hotel advertises the shopping delights of Milton Keynes, which is a little desperate!
But the grounds are very beautiful, severe mole issues notwithstanding, and we had a good hour long explore. Unfortunately, the receptionist who was obviously a little under-briefed, didn’t give us the ‘guide to walks’ we subsequently saw mentioned in the room folder, and instead told us to walk to the church which would be open, along a road which didn’t have any cars. 15 cars later, said church (though undeniably beautiful and obviously very old) was very shut, and fenced off with barbed wire! But the hotel gardens were also interesting: we saw they had bee hives, whose produce surfaced at breakfast – big brownie points for that! We also inadvertently walked past the kitchen at 3pm and saw about 15 kitchen staff preparing for the evening pass. Again, very good sign.
We stayed in room 1575 which is the Elizabeth Suite, on account of rumours she once stayed there. It’s absolutely stunning. Like sleeping in a National Trust property. It sent shivers up my spine, honestly! All exposed ancient stone, leaded windows, black wood furniture, tapestries etc. You enter into the bedroom which has a 7’ wide four poster with lovely Frette linens. There is a slightly incongruous massive widescreen TV by the bed but at least it means you can watch TV in bed! Off the bedroom is a raised, curtained platform with a freestanding bath, and then off that the WC and sinks. Off the main room is a large sitting room with tapestries, another widescreen TV, deep sofas etc.
It’s a genuinely amazing looking suite. Only gripes would be:
The light in the sitting room is so low that, by 3pm when we got there, it was impossible to read, with everything on max. We therefore had to go into the bedroom, which kind of defeats the point.
There are two doors off the sitting room which, from the sounds of it, open onto another guest room. So despite having the grandest suite in the hotel, we could hear the TV viewing of our neighbours, and more…
Massive suite, lavishly appointed, oodles of magazines, art books…and our sum total of complimentary toiletries were two small bars of soap and half a bottle (ie used) of shower gel. Um?
After settling ourselves in, we went down for afternoon tea in the truly beautiful tudor Great Hall. There are pictures on the hotel website. Genuinely beautiful place. We were very happy! Hubbie had cream tea; I had crumpets. Lovely.
Dinner that night was a Valentines special. We had champagne and crisps on arrival in the bar, and were then escorted into the main restaurant for a fixed menu as follows:
Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan Crust (yum)
Pressed terrine of organic chicken with baby leeks, foie gras and spiced apple preserve (yum, but the bread waitress never came so we had nothing to put the terrine on)
Clementine sorbet (fine)
Roasted saddle of lamb, dauphinoise potatoes and green beans (yum, especially the potatoes)
Chocolate and rosewater (chocolate very nice, rosewater was just pink coloured jelly, should have tasted like Turkish delight)
Coffee and petits fours (quoted in the menu, we were actually charged for this!)
Per previous reviews, it’s NOT Gordon Ramsey, but infinitely better than other food I’ve had in country house hotels and impressive given this was Valentines Day and packed house.
HOWEVER (and this is the 3 vs the 5) – the whole experience, from check in to out, felt like the manager had gone away and left the kids in charge. Very competent, well meaning kids – but completely out of their depth. From the moment we arrived at the hotel, we weren’t sure who was in charge and, without any shadow of racism…every member of staff we spoke to was terribly young, from Eastern Europe, and seemed a bit ‘bunny in the headlights’. This was shown up at dinner. All our food arrived promptly and hot, which is all credit to them, BUT staff were literally running with plates, hissing at each other, obviously terribly stressed about what they had to do. That they managed is testament to them as individuals, not to the management; it made for a less than calm dinner. They had so many covers and, to exacerbate it, rooms, as the dining room is made up of a series of 4/5 small sections, that they were running over their tails. So, for instance, it was impossible to find the bread girl when our terrine was served.
The same was true at breakfast. I had been salivating since I woke at the thought of a full English breakfast. The options on the room service menu showed all the usuals plus smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, pancakes etc. we thought we were in for a treat.
We arrived at breakfast promptly and were given coffee. There was a continental buffet and some hot plates with the usual congealed eggs and anaemic sausages. We thought that was fine because we would be offered a menu so could order fresh hot food, but we were never were. There was ONE waiter serving the whole room, which was basically all the hotel guests, so he could hardly even keep up with the coffee. I felt desperately sorry for him and therefore we just stuck to bread and (presumably hotel’s own) honey.
So…in summary, stunning place, great room, surprisingly good hotel food BUT sour taste left by management’s abdication of duties. This was Valentines Day and we saw no one over the age of 25. The staff were incredibly stretched which is unfair on them and also on guests as it spoils the atmosphere. Not their fault. A couple more waiting staff would have made all the difference at both dinner and breakfast. And it’s financially short sighted of management too: had it been more relaxing, we’d have probably had liqueurs in the great hall, and then at breakfast ordered a la carte, both of which would have added to the P&L, but neither of those options seemed possible when you have Manuel running past your ear. And we might also have booked again. False economy born of poor management: staff that WERE there were great.