More about Whatley Manor
Disappointing Stay at Whatley Manor
We were disappointed by our stay at Whatley Manor. We had been looking forward to the trip for months and were looking forward to a romantic getaway. However, the hotel didn’t live up to expectations.
The arrival was fine. The building itself is beautiful and it is a gorgeous drive to the entrance. It was raining and we were met at the entrance with umbrellas, which was a lovely touch. We were given a helpful tour and all the public rooms were lovely and were beautifully dressed with candles and fresh flowers.
Room – this was fairly big but it was decorated in a pretty naff way. It was just a large box and had no style or features. It looked like a room I would expect in a Travelodge. The bathroom was really small. This was a big disappointment – we thought for the price, the room and bathroom would be amazing but it really was pretty ordinary and lacked character. We envisaged lovely views and fireplaces and roll top baths and extra touches but got something pretty plastic.
We had had a long journey and therefore decided to have a sleep. We then experienced the first of the many things that proved that they haven’t got the detail right in this place, which is pretty appalling for the cost of the stay. The phone rang and my husband answered it but just got static on the line. We therefore went back to sleep and 10 minutes later, it rang again – again with static and no person on the line. This was pretty frustrating as we were there to relax. I have stayed at hotels where when you put the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door, they also divert all calls to messages to allow you not to be disturbed. We tried to call reception to see who phoned us but there was just static and the phone could not be used.
Food - We went for dinner both nights in Le Mazot restaurant. Earlier reviews are spot on in that the décor is like a Harvester and the place had no atmosphere. However, the food was excellent and the service was warm. The place would have benefited for more subtle lighting and candles to create a warm alpine feel. Drinks afterwards in the Drawing Room were lovely and again, we experienced warm service.
Spa – this was much smaller than we had expected. This was my biggest disappointment as this was the key reason I booked the hotel. The ‘pool’ was really just a big warm bath/Jacuzzi and you cannot actually swim in it. We had read reviews of being able to swim outside to the heated outside pool. In reality this was a tiny bit of pool outside where you had to swim through grotty plastic sheeting to get out. Also there were no views as you just looked straight at a small hill. There were a couple of saunas and a salt scrub shower but that was it. The key problem with the spa was that it didn’t have small enough numbers of people visiting for it to be intimate and special but it wasn’t big enough for you to get lost in your anonymity or own private space. I had two treatments which were fine but nothing special.
Service – the service was the one big positive thing about Whatley. All the staff we came across were very polite, friendly and helpful. The only problem was that some of the staff did not speak good enough English to assist us or serve us. For example, on trying to order drinks in the bar, one member of staff couldn’t understand what we wanted as they didn’t speak good enough English, resulting in them bringing the wrong drinks.
Although generally there is nothing major wrong with this hotel, it’s the details that are wrong. For example:
- no iron and ironing board in the room
- everytime we called Housekeeping, nobody answered
- made a reservation for dinner in Le Mazot on the first night with reception but when we got there, they didn’t have the reservation
- there are no tea making facilities in the room and therefore you had to ring for a tea tray. We have experienced this before at other hotels and you normally get fresh tea brought up. We were brought a travel kettle, some milk covered by cling film and some tea bags. Really not very special.
- one phone in our room didn’t work and the other was a really battered 1980’s beige BT phone. Again, not very professional when you’re paying £300+ a night.
- some of the features of the treatments I had been looking forward to didn’t take place
- got my breakfast order wrong and when we rung room service, we were put on hold for 5 minutes and nobody got back to us! Had to ring reception.
- the breakfast order sheet was just printed wonkily on paper. Again, no thought gone into the layout and the presentation. We had recently stayed at Seaham Hall where they give you a really clearly laid out and professional card to fill in with lots of lovely extras like porridge with brown sugar.
- being asked to fill in a comments card as you are leaving, therefore inconvenient and awkward if you want to point out any negative details.
The bottom line is Whatley Manor is fine. It just had no wow or magical factor. It was an OK stay and everything we experienced (with the exception of the service and food which were excellent) was OK. This really isn’t appropriate for the price tag attached to the stay. We are not adverse to paying a lot for a good hotel but we felt this was overpriced for somewhere with no ‘x factor’.
If you wanted to stay in a hotel with amazing food, good service, fantastic spa and special rooms, which is what we were looking for, I would suggest Seaham Hall near Newcastle.
wonderful 1st wedding anniversary at Whatley Manor
My husband surprised me with a trip to Whatley Manor for our 1st wedding anniversary and we had a truly fabulous weekend. We were upgraded to a suite (room 12) without asking (though they were quiet at this time). We ate in both restaurants and the food was great, though I do understand what the other reviewers meant about 'The Harvester' look in the brasserie.
We couldn't fault the place, the staff were really friendly and helpful, and there was loads of attention to detail. We couldn't recommend it enough if you want to get away for a romantic weekend.
Relaxing Anniversary break at Whatley
We stayed for one night at Whatley to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary. On arrival you drive towards large wooden gates as these open you see the delight that is the Manor appear before your eyes. We were swiftly greeted and told to leave our things and car and that they would be taken care of for us. We then had a tour of the property and its rooms. All fantastic, old and new in perfact harmony.
Our room was the standard type, not large but very comfortable. Nice touches like the B&O TV/DVD/CD player (You can borrow CD's/DVD's from the hotel FoC). The flowers I had ordered were in the room and were wonderful. (Our bags and clothes had already been taken to the room by this stage).
We then spent the remainder of the day in the Spa. Very relaxing, a one hour session quickly became 3 hours! The pool enables you to swim outside and take in the view and outside tempeatures. Also, great scented showers and salt scrubs.
The evening meal was in the main restaurant, we had the option of a 3 course a la carte (£60) or taster menu (£75). We both opted for the a la a carte and enjoyed all courses tremendously. An extensive wine menu that caters for all tastes (and pockets!). One small gripe is that I would prefer to see English Spa water on the menu. Why import water from Norway?!
All in all we had a most amazing 24 hours at Whatley Manor, all the staff were friendly and attentive and made us feel pampered and welcomed. The grounds are amazing, all areas comfortable and clean and the food to die for.
Not a cheap hotel by any standards but after 10 years we deserved it!
The perfect romantic experience
Couldn't have been a better place to escape to. We have just returned from a two night stay between Christmas and New Year which totally recharged our batteries. Whatley Manor was rather like a cacoon away from real life, once through the gates you forget all about cooking the turkey, fighting your way through the sales etc.Bliss.
Not sure I went to the same spa as the previous reviewer. Perhaps if I'd wanted to train for the GB swimming team for the next olympics I may have been a tad dissapointed but as far as an area for total relaxation I haven't been anywhere better. Spotlessly clean, calm and well equiped.
Our room was divine, bathroom decadent what more could we ask for? The food, especially on the second evening was the best I have tasted for a very long time and the service was delivered with an un-stuffy smile.
Will certainly reurn, just hope it's just as wonderful next time.
We were very impressed with Whatley Manor. The building itself is beautiful on approach, and the welcome very warm. Our room (standard) was a good size and extremely comfortable and the bathroom was fabulous - large with a separate shower unit and piles of fluffy towels, robes etc. We ordered room service on arrival and it arrived promptly. The food was excellent. The following day we had breakfast in the room and it was again extremely good. The grounds of the hotel are superb - they are large and very beautiful and perfect for a good walk. The spa is a key feature and is really special. The hydro therapy pool is huge and just amazing - how wonderful to be able to sit in the warm water outside and feel the chill on your face. There are other wonderful features to the spa without having to book a treatment - mint infused showers, salt scrub showers, relaxation rooms with warmed, ergonomically designed beds, an art installation that mimics being on a beach. The only problem is staying awake you are so relaxed! Dinner was again excellent, the only problem being the environment of the restaurant (of which more later).
The common areas of the house are very relaxing - the perfect mix of modern and traditional with real log fires everywhere. Great big sofas dominate for afternoons chilling with the papers and a good drink.
Service was generally excellent with every whim catered for.
We did have one or two small problems - we were asked if we wanted papers and they they did not turn up (nor were they available when asked for), one of the waiters who delivered room service complained bittterly about the difficulty of getting the tray to our room and made us feel slightly uncomfortable, the service in the bar and lounge was a bit hit and miss. The worst thing about this hotel in our opinion was the restaurants. The food is wonderful, but the rooms themselves don't work so well. One is very formal French and a bit chi chi, the other is Scandinavian and feels a bit like a Harvester. We ate in the latter and found it souless and uncomfortable. Also - staff kept leading guests through the dining room and used it as a thoroughfare which was really distracting.
We felt that these were small points and they did not spoil our weekend. We would definetly return to Whately Manor again and would recommend it highly to anyone.
Stunning hotel, lovely food and very helpful staff
Stayed last night at whatley Manor as wanted to get away from London and chill for a little while.
Ive stayed at lots of 5* hotels so got lots to compare with and this compared very favourably.
Decent size, beautifully furnished, Bang and Olfson t.v. and sound system, v comfortable bed, even the doors close softly so they dont disturb you or neighbours. Bathroom was cute, and did not resemble an airport or whatever that nasty guy said (and I am in the property business, I know about these things.....!!!)
Hotel Decor and Ambiance
Amazing drive up through lovely grounds with beautiful wooden gates that swing open for you to drive through.
Again beautifully furnished, the interior designer did a great job on this place, lots of wood panelling and cotswold stone floors, loads of comfy sofas to flop on, roaring real fires in the grates, sitting in the lounge after dinner by the fire with coffee was a treat. Lovely flowers everywhere and the place smells divinely of flowers and wood.
Ate in the brasserie, not the main restaurant, fish was very fresh, well cooked and delicious, staff were attentive and polite. Next day had salad in bar, also delicious and great service again.
Lovely, though i advise booking in advance for treatments as they were fully booked even when the hotel was fairly quiet - the changing rooms even have under-floor heating which I thought was very luxurious.
I dont know why someone earlier complained about the staff, they were the politest (ok, apart from Mandarin Oriental Tokyo who almost kiss your feet when you check in but the Japanese have got to be the politest people on earth!) that I have ever come across and went out of their way to be helpful. I had a bad foot and the night reception guy was so sweet and made me two different ice packs and got me loads of bandages which really helped. When I checked out they went and got my car, loaded it up and even left me a little dried lavender thing in the car........Perfection, I will definitely be back, a great escape from the city for a few nights to re-charge yourself and eat yummy food.
Great hotel but.....
WM is a wonderful hotel which allows a complete get away from it all break. We booked a 2 night stay as part of a special 2 for 1 deal with the Daily Telegraph & Mr & Mrs Smith. Arrival at the hotel involves being met by the Hotel Manager and a tour of the property by the check in supervisor. Our room was a nice size and well equipped as one would expect from a 5* hotel. The bathroom was well designed with separate bath and shower and a good supply of toiletries.
Shortly after arrival we went for a stroll around the gardens and afterwards thought that we would have a coffee in the lounge – we waited for 10 minutes but could not find anyone to serve us, so we went back to our room and rang for room service – however it took around 30 minutes to bring a tea/coffee tray to our room…one would expect such a request to be attended to far quicker.
The Spa in the hotel is amazing – the various whirlpool parts of the main pool are very relaxing and swimming outside in the early autumn evenings is extremely invigorating – with the various heated cabins you can easily lose yourself for hours…. Then it is onto the food which is of a very high standard even in the more relaxed dining room and the wine list is surprisingly affordable.
However, our biggest problem with the hotel was the service – there were a lot of minor niggles which really let down a hotel which supposedly prides itself on its guests satisfaction. We’ve both stayed in many hotels around the world on business and pleasure and for us both the one item that makes a hotel really great compared to the many good hotels is the service you receive. At WM, firstly there was the problem with trying to order a drink (see above), then newspapers we ordered never arrived the following morning, arriving for breakfast was met with a 10 minute wait before we were even offered a glass of orange juice. During our stay my wife succumbed to an infection and we decided to cut our break short and return home. When this was explained to reception their first response, before even expressing sympathy despite the fact that my wife was unwell - was “of course, you will have to pay for the night you are not staying”. Whilst I understand (and do not dispute) the reasons for this, it was the way the situation was handled that left me very disappointed. I would have expected a much more “customer orientated” approach to this – the best WM offered was an upgraded room if we ever stayed with them in the future (an invitation to return and spend even more money!)
Overall WM is a wonderful place to stay – the perfect location with excellent facilities for a getting away from it all break. The whole experience could be even more perfect if it could iron out some of the minor service related issues so that they don’t end up being remembered as a feature of your stay.
Relaxing weekend at Whatley
We had a fantastic weekend at Whatley. All the staff and the manager were friendly, professional and genuine. We had room service for dinner one evening which arrived quickly and was delicious, the other night ate in the 'posh' dining room which although was probably a little bit too formal for what we were after the food and service again couldn't be faulted.
The room we had was enormous, and seemed larger than the same price band at Cowley and Babington. The house and grounds are very attractive, we particularly liked the large sitting room and adjoining bar with huge log fires where they served a lethal whatley champagne cocktail ..... and delicious after dinner homemade chocolates.
A great hotel which is run well, we'll be returning
Fantastic place but lacking customer service in the restaurant..
After the last two reviews that are at different ends of the spectrum,
I would have to say that I agree with some points of each review, although certainly not the comment about the language capabilities of staff, I do not see how those comments are constructive in the slightest.. and can see how the hotel construed this as offensive.
the place is wonderful, spa just fantastic as is the food at the spa..
being able to swim outside in Feb is excellent!
could not fault the room or service (car parking, spa etc) either..
our only gripe is the customer service in the restaurant.
yes, the restaurant is lacking in style and is quite dated.. Our food was excellent but..
the table was very wobbly, when we asked to move they looked at us as if we were very strange and were quite short with us.
Finally my wife found porcelain shards in her dessert, no hint of an apology when we alerted this, just about got them to give us a replacement dessert, no thought of a free coffee and tea to apologise etc, in the end I said to the waitress that we should be given compensation for this and maybe in a michelin star restaurant they feel that they should do something about this, so we did get tea and coffee which when the bill came for me to sign, included the tea at an additional price so we had to sort that out again...
therefore just a lack of care and attention which is what you do not expect at a place like this...
Finally, I put all this on the comments card hoping that maybe the manager (who was too busy to ask us if we had had a good stay) would contact me about to apologise etc. but have they? you can guess on that one I think....