More about Widbrook Grange
Nothing but the best
We're just about to stay at Widbrook Grange again for the third time, and I happened to look at the reviews on Tripadvisor. I can't believe that any sensible person would find a problem with this hotel. We think it excellent value, and a perfect location. If you want an Ibis hotel, go to a chain of impersonal hotels, but if you want a comfortable hotel, with character, ambience, very good food, friendly and personable staff, peace and tranquility, then Widbrook Grange is the perfect choice. The owners are professional and make you feel at home. We've been in the hotel business for years, and this is one of our favourite places to stay in the region.
Accomodating and friendly
We have just returned from a three night break at the Widbrook Grange. We booked directly with the hotel and got two interconnecting rooms which was ideal as we were travelling with an elderly, partially sighted relative. The breakfast and dinner were of a very high standard and the service from all of the staff was excellent. Our three day break was expensive but this is not a complaint as we received exactly what we had asked for.
Tranquility with a toddler
A lovely 'weekend away' treat organised by my husband in celebration of our forthcoming wedding anniversary. With our lively two year old toddler in tow, I was not convinced it was to be a completely 'tranquil' weekend. However, our stay at Widbrook Grange was absolutely wonderful. Their unique 'baby intercom' facility - part of their internal telephone system, enabled my husband and I to enjoy two wonderful, relaxing evening meals in peace. With the telephone receiver connected to our room next to us, we were reassured that our little one was asleep upstairs -whilst we enjoyed our evening - a rare treat for us, especially when staying in a hotel with our son. We have not come across such a facility before, even in bigger, city hotels.
The staff were warm, welcoming and friendly and our son certainly enjoyed the attention! Even though the instructions for the intercom were clearly written in our room, the hotel proprietor himself kindly helped us to set it up and went into the restaurant to test it to put our minds at ease.
Thank you so much Widbrook Grange for making our weekend so special - it was certainly was a real treat!
My husband is seriously disabled which makes finding a suitable hotel more difficult. Widbrook Grange has a comfortable disabled room with enough room in both bedroom and bathroom to use a hoist.
The owners of the hotel were happy to organise rented equipment for us and nothing was too much trouble. They opened up a direct route from the room to the dining room to make life easier, and there is car parking near the room.
Apart from the suitability for the disabled guests, the hotel is charming with wonderful food and set in lovely surroundings.
We can thoroughly recommend it.
A Nightmare from start to finish
If I had three or four hours to write of the hell we endured trying to organise a wedding at Widbrook Grange, I would do so if only if I could save one other person the turmoil of trying to comminicate with the obnoxious proprietor who should never be allowed to work in any service industry ever again.
Suffice to say, my fiance' and I were lied to, shouted at and our reasonable requests basically ignored from start to finish.
A tiny sample of our experiences;
After being assured that Bar facilities would be provided in the evening reception venue (not an unreasonable requirement you may think) we were subsequently told that in fact this was not possible and that our guests would have to walk from the venue regardless of the weather, accross the gardens and the car park and through to the end of the main house each time they wanted a drink!
Waitress would not be permitted to serve drinks at the table during the meal and guests would have to leave the table to go to the bar but there would probably not be any bar staff available as only enough staff would be provided to serve food meaning that all of the guests would have to decide what drinks they would like AND pay for them in advance!! Staff could be provided for the bar during the meal (which remember is the ONLY place a drink can be purchased) but this would be at ADDITIONAL cost to ourselves!!
After being told that a temporary dance floor could be provided (as they had done so on a number of other occasions) as well as being provided with a number of a local company to deal with direct for this, we were subsequently told that this was NOT possible and that they had NEVER done so. Later this was renegged but we were informed that we must take out insurance to cover the carpet (which would have been covered!) from damage and seperate cover in case any of our guests fell whilst dancing!
The list of untruths we were told, promises renegged, times my fiance' was reduced to tears really is endless but I'm sure you get the picture.
When it bacame apparent that the situation had become untenable, we of course wrote to cancel and requested that our substantial deposit be returned as as far as we were concerned the situiation had become impossible through no fault of our own. We then recieved a four page letter of untruths that culminated in a threat that unless we dropped our claim for our deposit, we would be persued for a further 25% of the TOTAL cost of our wedding!
Thankfully, at great relief to both of us, after several letter exchanges the owner Peter, eventually admitted that we had been given incorrect information and has now refunded our deposit although we are still waiting for the appology for the rude agressive way we were spoken to and treated throughout our ordeal.
To summarise, if you want to stay or organise a wedding at a venue that is lovely and set in beautifull surroundings and have no problem being treated like a naughty school child who's asked for extra gruel during your stay then Widbrook Grange could be just the place for you. If however you may want a tiny say in the planning of your wedding and require an honest and respectfull approach from the owner then please, please STAY AWAY!
Very poor indeed
I wouldn't normally provide negative feedback on bad experiences but this was so utterly appalling that I feel compelled to help others to avoid the same trap as me. Firstly, Widbrook Grange is not a family-oriented hotel; children are tolerated but not welcomed. However, the real damage is done in the shockingly mis-leading approach of their pricing policy. Briefly, I booked a one-night stay for dinner, B&B for five people - two adults and three children aged one, three and five. I was told that the family room was taken but we could be accommodated in the same way by using two almost adjoining double rooms. Fine. I was therefore shocked to be presented with a bill on departure for over £400 when the official rate for the family room for five was supposed to be £190. Worse, I had to pay a SUPPLEMENT for my one year old daughter's dinner of £20!!! Apparently I was supposed to realise that dinner B&B for five people doesn't really mean that, but instead means that I am "supposed to bring the food for the baby myself"!!! Incredible. Anyway, the owner clearly has limited understanding of customer service and was so defensive and belligerent on our departure that I couldn't leave fast enough. Needless to say he took absolutely no interest in resolving the issues. The owners should also be more careful where and when they choose to have a blisteringly offensive and personal row with each other about temporary staffing and other things. Doing so in the reception area with liberal use of poor language in front of my wife and other guests is, like their deliberately mis-leading pricing approach, hardly likely to create a good impression or a loyal customer base. It is also outrageous to do so in a supposedly family-friendly establishment. Never again.
The owner is character
We had our wedding service and meal there, with the evening do somewhere else. We had slight reservations when we met the owner for the first time as he came across as quite abrupt and inflexible. Nevertheless, we heard great things about the food, the chef was very good discussing menus, etc. and the setting couldn't be better.
The comments throughout the wedding from friends were that the setting was beautiful but the owner was quite rude. He was rude to my mum when she was arranging the cake in the room. We had 6 children under 10 in the meal, all very well behaved and quiet, but it was quite obvious he didn't appreciate them being there.
The overal impression is that you are made to feel priviledged to be staying in his nice country hotel. He was particularly rude to my wife and my mum (silly her, she had brought a bottle of champagne for the close family to toast her son's wedding on the day before - he came out threatening to charge corkage.)
When we left the next day he confirmed that we were all settled up with costs, in terms of wine, etc. We were on our way to Gatwick to go on honeymoon and he already had spoken to my mum (who reserved the rooms on her credit card) to explain that there was a shortfall and that if we didn't agree to settle he would take it off the card - otherwise it we were apparently defrauding him. (The amount owned was from me, not my mum - this didn't bother the owner). I told my mum to cancel her card and I called him to explain that if he thought that he had undercharged us then he should write to me explaining why. I would then settle when we got back from honeymoon.
He offered us a free meal and wine in his final letter accepting his mistake on the bill. We sent him the balance due to him but haven't been back.
Very good food, if you can ignore the owner. The rooms could do with a bit of a lick of paint. And if he is reading this, it might be nice gesture for future weddings held there to leave a bottle of champagne?
Poor value for money
Had a 2 night stay here with 3 friends, the location is fantastic and the gardens are a delight. However for the price we paid (£120 per room per night) I expected a higher quality of finish.
Everything was a bit tired, bathroom seemed damp and smelly with electric shower over the bath which definitely did not provide a power shower.
Breakfast was good and nicely presented, but dinner in the restaurant was disappointing, ok food but not very much of it and over-priced.
My biggest gripe is the attitude of the owners who seem not to care about the well being and comfort of their guests. On booking I was told that one room was smaller than the other but in the event it was so small that it was not possible to open the wardrobe door nor pull out the chair from under the table. When I later complained about this I was told that I had been informed at the time of booking that this room "was normally used by children" (an outright lie). So do not accept Room 9 unless you are extremely petite! I also mentioned to owners that the curtains in Room 12 did not keep out the light, I was told in reply that they were "contract quality and fully lined". In reality one of the windows was covered with no more than a piece of voile! So do not book Room 12 in the summer if you want some sleep! I was surprised by the response I received to my complaint, I thought that responsible and professional hoteliers would welcome guest feedback but all that these owners seemed to want to do was refute my comments!
great getaway location, Very Quiet
Have stayed here before and both times excellent, In fact the receptionist remembered us from the previous stay 6 months before (we know because she commented on something we did the previous time - was pretty impressed, but my memory is poor so I am impressed if I remember something the next day even!) Rooms excellent, pool excellent, food excellent. - what more can I say - 5's all round. We were even warned on booking that there was a private party on that night and we may have to share the dining room, how honest is that, most hotels would just take your booking and say tough afterwards. Then they managed to put the party elsewher so all the hotel guests could have a quiet meal. Not cheap, about £200 DBB, but well worth it.
What a fantastic weekend!
We have just spent the weekend at Widbrook, celebrating our wedding. We had 35 guests, including 9 under 16's (range 21 months - 15 years) and everyone was totally impressed with the friendliess of the staff, the quality of the food and the lovely rooms.
The owners, Peter and Jane, were a delight and could not have been more helpful during our stay. This attitude was mirrored by all the team and the weekend went without a hitch.
The food was nothing short of stunning and we will be going back for dinner some evening soon.
If you like staying at Hiltons and Marriotts, avoid this place as you'll not like the individuality of the rooms and the eccentric, yet delightful nature of Peter. If however you like to be treaded like an individual and stay in beautiful surroundings you may be pleasantly surprised!