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“Saturday Dinner for three” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Old Swan & Minster Mill

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Old Swan & Minster Mill
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Old Minster | Nr Burford & Witney, Cotswolds, Minster Lovell OX29 0RN, England   |  
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Summer Sunday Sleepover
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Minster Lovell
Chipping Norton
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Saturday Dinner for three”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Twenty years ago we held our wedding lunch here on a perfect summer's day in early July and it was a memorable experience. Having moved back into the area, we decided to celebrate our anniversary by having dinner on what turned out to be another beautiful day. What a mistake. The place seems to have turned into a corporate trap for people who think that price equals quality. Our starters were boring but just acceptable. We all chose fish for the main course, two sole and one wild sea trout. All the fish was overcooked and dry. The vegetables were overcooked and soggy. We complained and were offered free puddings. Two of us accepted. An ice-cream was forgotten and the staff had to be reminded. An unintersting lemon tart had burnt pastry. On top of this there was a slight smell of drains everywhere. What a disappointment.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOldSwanMinsterMill, General Manager at Old Swan & Minster Mill, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
We were all so disappointed that you had such a poor experience at the Old Swan & Minster Mill and please accept my most sincere apologies. Of course, our aim is to ensure that everyone enjoys their visit but the meal experience offers many subjective variables too.

Our chef, David, is hugely talented and heads up a brigade of chefs, who create every dish from the raw ingredients. These are sourced locally and to a very high quality specification. Indeed, we are great supporters of the Slow Food programme and earlier this year helped to ensure a very successful Slow Food Week 2013. You are right that price is very closely linked to quality but with food, there are also a huge amount of intangible, personal and subjective variables, which go to determine the success and enjoyment of a meal experience. We are so sorry that yours was such a let down.

We'll continue to develop our food quality, our menus and our staff through training and encouragement and so we hope that you'll return to the Old Swan & Minster Mill again.

With best wishes

Patrick Jones
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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782 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (247)
Date | Rating
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English first
Melbourne, Vic
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

We have stayed at the Old Swan several times over many years. The first time was when it was just a country pub with a reputation for interesting food, and a few nice old rooms. The next was about15 years ago when all aspects (rooms, food, ambience and service) were rather disappointing. But we had heard, including through trip advisor, of a great improvement, so were encouraged to book it again for old times' sake. The redevelopment is certainly impressive and the refurbished rooms in the Old Swan itself very comfortable. However, service was somewhat erratic and the impression was that the young and friendly staff were not particularly well trained or experienced. They are not helped by the layout of the bar, lounge and eating areas, which are not well differentiated, and where it is not always clear whether guests are being dealt with as residents, diners or potential drinkers. Maybe staff could be reminded that most guests might not have been here before and could use a bit of help in orienting themselves. We arrived for dinner and asked if we could take our menus and drinks into the garden and then come back inside to eat. But nobody came out to take our order, so we just wandered back in to our table with our menus and we still had to ask for someone to come and take the order. Possibly the whole establishment is so oriented to the conference trade, for which it is obviously very well equipped, that individual travelers come off worst. This impression was reinforced when the fact that travelers have luggage seemed to take people by surprise. If you have rooms with such a treacherous staircase as exists in the Old Swan, requests for help with luggage should not necessitate enlisting the gardener. Food was perfectly OK but a bit more pub and less restaurant-like than we expected from the publicity. Overall, though, we had a good experience, but not one that lived up to the location and ambience.

Room Tip: Very much depends what you like. Charming rooms in Old Swan but access challenging.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOldSwanMinsterMill, General Manager at Old Swan & Minster Mill, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thanks for writing a review and, if we need to get our act together, then that's what we'll do. Indeed, we've all discussed the content of your review, so that improvements can be planned. At the Old Swan & Minster Mill, we prefer to take a less conventional approach than our corporate competitors, employing hosts, whose job it is to guide our guests throughout their stay. This is what seemed lacking to you and we'll consider expanding the coverage of this role to help.

Our "Inn on the River" is a developing business and so we do hope that you'll continue to visit in the future and experience the improvements we intend to achieve.

With many thanks

Patrick Jones
General Manager
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Aylesbury
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

We spent a very enjoyable weekend at the OS&MM. Food was excellent, beautiful grounds, staff very pleasant and helpful and it is genuinely dog friendly, with dogs being allowed in all parts of the hotel, including the restaurant. The only negative was the room, which was very small and a bit scruffy, plus the shower in the bath was positioned in such a way as to make showering uncomfortable.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOldSwanMinsterMill, General Manager at Old Swan & Minster Mill, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thanks for your review and, although you rated us close to perfect, we were disappointed about your comments concerning your room. It would be useful to identify the room you occupied so your concerns could be addressed, although the size of your room would be fixed.

Our country "Inn on the River" is ideal for guests, who want to bring their dogs and we offer many options, including our Canine Traveller Trip - the ideal short break for dogs.

We do hope that you'll return again soon and why not enjoy one of our river rooms, offering a riverside terrace for you and your dog!

Best wishes

Patrick Jones
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

We have just returned from our first anniversary celebrations and stayed for two nights at the hotel, which is beautiful. The village of Minster Lovell is outstanding. The staff at the hotel are incredibly friendly and professional. Special thanks to Karen and Sam who really looked after us and we enjoyed some good laughs with!. Also reception staff, very helpful, in particular, Nicky. I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel and intend on returning in the near future. Once again thank you Old swan and Minster Mill for helping to make a special occasion a very memorable one. Siobhan and Geoff Sullivan x

Room Tip: I would not go for the cosy rooms as I believe they are quite small but you would be pushed not to l...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOldSwanMinsterMill, General Manager at Old Swan & Minster Mill, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thanks for choosing to celebrate your anniversary at the Old Swan & Minster Mill and we were all delighted that it was made so special for you. Karen & Vicky were so pleased that you pointed them out for a special mention too.

As you're planning to return again in the near future, don't forget you'll qualify for special discount and we look forward to looking after you later in the year. There's so much to explore locally and of course late summer, autumn and winter are all wonderful seasons, offering great variety.

Many thanks

Patrick Jones
General Manager
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

From the moment we arrived we were made to feel very welcome . The room was lovely and the dinner delicious . Walks along the river and to the ruined Hall were an added bonus , you are close to other attractions if you want to venture further afield . All in all the perfect get away !

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOldSwanMinsterMill, General Manager at Old Swan & Minster Mill, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thanks for writing a lovely review of your stay at the Old Swan & Minster Mill and we were all delighted that you had such a great time. If you liked our "Inn on the River", why not investigate our "Inn on the Beach", the Cary Arms at Babbacombe in Devon. You'll get all the de Savary charm and hospitality, set right against the beach and the seaside. Alternatively, return to the Old Swan & Minster Mill later in the year and enjoy beautiful autumn walks followed by relaxation by our open fires.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best wishes

Patrick Jones
General Manager
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swindon
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

My wife and I booked a table in the restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I did mention this when booking. We have been long time fans of Peter De Savary's hotels and restaurants so were looking forward to this dinning experience. On arrival during the mid week evening we were impressed with the area around the two buildings . It was very lovely on the eye and had we more time it would have been nice to have explored.The next door cricket club were practicing just to complete the picture. We did wonder about the distance between the Minster and the restaurant mid winter for people staying there and having to walk outside between the two. Things were a bit busy but not unduly so. This is when we began to be a bit disappointed in the evening. We were greeted quite well by what I assumed was the manager. I wasn't expecting a big deal over our anniversary but a note in the bookings diary and mention on arrival would have confirmed the sort of attention to detail normally shown at De Savary's places. Prior to being greeted we were asked if we wanted a drink by the barman. The bar area is so small the family sitting in front stopped us getting further than the end where the money was taken. We then retired to the waiting lounge. Again very small . My chair was in front of the door to the bedrooms . Not very relaxing. Looking round at the other guests it became apparent we were smart casual but still over dressed . This is not the fault of The Old Swan I supose but if you have an expectation of a fairly smart night out then don't go to the Old Swan. No one had anything but jeans on or even cut off shorts in one case. Awful when the brochure and web site give you other ideas . My old Wiltshire local has a better dress scene. The food was fresh and very tasty but not great. Service was friendly but we were not offered bread or water and had to ask for it eventually.Not OK by any standards . We didn't have a sweet but the other diners servings looked nice .The place needs to understand it's self better and to act accordingly. Is it a pub or a restaurant and or just for tourists ? That's the question. We came away without the answer and I'm very sorry to say not very inclined to go back.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOldSwanMinsterMill, General Manager at Old Swan & Minster Mill, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thanks for posting your review and on behalf of the de Savary family, I am so sorry that we didn't show our style and service as we'd both expect it to be. It is useful to remember that the ethos of the Old Swan & Minster Mill is a country gastro-inn, which differs in grandeur from other properties of our past portfolio, but the attention to detail, friendliness, thoughtful touches and efficiency should still shine through. In particular we should have acted on the knowledge of your anniversary, as it's something we would always make a fuss over. Please do accept my most sincere apologies for such a poor impression given.

I'm glad that you could see the positive opportunities in the Old Swan & Minster Mill, making it in your view a bit of a curate's egg, so I do hope that the "some good aspects" will make you feel inclined to return and see the improvements we're determined to achieve.

With best wishes

Patrick Jones
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carterton, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

My good lady and I went out for a ride on our mountain bikes in the local area and decided to stop here for a bite to eat and a drink. I can’t fault the place for the location and ambience. The food was slightly pricey but I didn’t mind paying the extra as it was delicious. When it came to the drinks though, I nearly fell off of my chair when I saw the bill. £9 for a large glass of house white and £4.50 for a pint of Thatchers, these prices are clearly aimed at our colonial cousins who visit the Cotswolds in their coach loads.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOldSwanMinsterMill, General Manager at Old Swan & Minster Mill, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thanks for your review and for visiting the Old Swan & Minster Mill. Your comments about the excellent quality of our food, the ambience and our setting are much appreciated and we've taken on board your notes about wine prices by introducing a priced blackboard for all our wines by the glass, in advance of our guests making their choice.

It's useful to note that the Old Swan & Minster Mill is the latest de Savary boutique 5-star gastro-inn. Our landscaped grounds offer a fabulous experience to all visitors; guests' bedrooms are equipped with many thoughtful and homely touches with high quality linen and The White Company toiletries; and our gastro-inn dining experience offers all that is exciting about Great British cuisine. We try to be a very special destination rather than a "local pub" and, I'm sure you'll understand that the cost of delivering this is considerable and dictates our pricing.

I hope we've been able to help you understand more about the Old Swan & Minster Mill and we look forward to welcoming you again in the future. You'll be very welcome, as we have a very thriving local following.

Best wishes

Patrick Jones
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Old Swan & Minster Mill

Address: Old Minster | Nr Burford & Witney, Cotswolds, Minster Lovell OX29 0RN, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Minster Lovell
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Minster Lovell
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Old Swan & Minster Mill 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An historic Cotswold inn and boutique hotel,the Old Swan & Minster Mill is privately owned by the de Savary Family. Set is the picturesque village of Old Minster alongside the River Windrush, the 16 bedroom inn is stunningly romantic. A further 44 contemporary guest rooms are available in Minster Mill. Dining in the 600 year old inn feels like stepping back in time with stone floors, beamed ceilings, roaring log fires and delicious gastro-pub food based on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients with a modern twist.Over 65 acres of gardens and fly-fishing on over a mile of the River Windrush ensure a tranquil and pituresque setting. Children have a wealth of activities and there is a tennis court, badminton, croquet, petanque and spa treatments available. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Old Swan And Minster Mill
Old Swan & Minster Mill Hotel Witney
Old Swan & Minster Mill Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire

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