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“Another happy experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Bell at Skenfrith

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The Bell at Skenfrith
5.0 of 5 Inn   |   Skenfrith NP7 8UH, Wales   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Skenfrith B&B and Inns
London, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Another happy experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2014

Being a fan of Trip Advisor and having read a recent entry that was rather critical and then other rather complimentary entries, I thought I would relate my own experiences at the Bell.
I stayed at The Bell a few days ago (where I have stayed from time to time over the years) which a previous writer correctly reported has a new management team. I can only say that my experience at the Bell was very different to this writer’s.
The staff were friendly and well informed. It was explained to me that the menu was temporary and a new menu was being worked on that would be quite different from previous offerings. It sounded interesting and I look forward to trying it. The relatively new chef produced excellent food – at least for me – it tasted great, was well prepared and well presented. No issues here.
The room I stayed in was beautifully appointed. I did not experience water bottles with seals broken and would not expect to. Clean, big white towels, nice bathroom goodies and great views from the windows. No sign of open laundry room doors in the corridor – maybe my lucky day!
I had breakfast before departure and perhaps I was staying in a different establishment to the previous writer but I did not experience any of the problems they had to contend with. It was an excellent English breakfast – delicious!
Finally, having met the new management team, John and Nori, I found them to be delightful and hard working, warm and welcoming and clearly rather awed from taking over from Janet and William who have a great reputation and built the Bell into what it is today. Inevitably they have new ideas and I was intrigued to hear their plans for making the room next to reception into a drawing room for guests with a large log fire – I look forward to experiencing it on my next visit – probably in the autumn.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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354 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (70)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Blackwood, Gwent
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014 via mobile

My husband booked The Bell for my birthday, unfortunately all the rooms were fully booked so we had a 70 mile round trip. Wasn't sure what to wear so as it was a country pub wore smart trousers instead of a dress. Glad I didn't get too dressed up as the people on the next table were all in jeans and fleeces!
When we arrived the the place was lovely and warm which was welcoming on a cold night. We sat by the open fire and ordered a glass of Prosecco whilst we inspected the menu. There were four choices for each course, I chose the goats cheese to start followed by the duck.the waitress didn't ask how we wanted the duck cooking but when it came it was perfectly pink. The wine list has some decent wines which can be ordered by the glass, which is great if only one person is drinking.
The sticky toffee pudding was huge and absolutely delicious, as was the cheese and biscuits. We took our coffee by the fire, which was served with petit fours.
An amuse bouche of pate was served as we were seated at the table and the following courses arrived in rapid succession. I asked if we could wait for ten minutes before ordering our dessert, the waitress said she would be back in five minutes.
The pub had a very pleasant atmosphere and was lovely and warm. I will definitely go back and perhaps book earlier the next time and ensure we get a room.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

We had a lovely night at this gem of a place. The lovely open fire with a warm atmosphere made our stay one to remember. We also tried the local Ty Gwyn cider which was the best I have ever tasted. So much so that we visited their farm shop up the road. Well worth a visit if you go to The Bell. Our supper was superb with nice friendly and helpful staff. Thankyou we will be back soon.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

We really are big fans of The Bell and have been for many years. However, there's been a recent change in ownership and it really shows. Almost everything is on the slide. The new owners are trying hard and I really hope than can lift their game to get somewhere near the standard set by Janet, Will and the old team.
I hope the new owners read this review and act.
The wine list is shrinking but still really good and excellent value. The menu choices have reduced and the chef/kitchen team is now the weakest link. The ingredient they use are top quality but the chef is really having trouble delivering a quality end product. Meat is often overcooked and dried out. Vegetables have clearly been cooked and then kept warn. The result is veg with a nice bite but that distinctive taste that comes with keeping them warm for long periods. The desserts are no where near as good as they used to be.
The drop in food quality has been matched by the drop in staff knowledge. Our waitress didn't know how the dishes were served or what would be on the plate!! When asked if the apple crumble was served with anything (cream or ice cream) the waitress said 'No, it just comes on it's own', when the dish arrived it came with ice cream. They really do need much better training in customer service standards. The staff are keen, friendly and capable just not experienced and lack training. Somebody needs to step up and lead by example and I'm sure front of house will improve.
The kitchen just needs a better chef/team.
Breakfast was served cold and undercooked. When serving French Toast it needs something to moisten the dish, serving it with no accompaniment and cold is not good.

Overall and big disappointment to see a business that was so good, go down hill. I really hope they can turn it around.

Some suggestions:
Don't leave the cleaning cupboard open for hours with laundry left in the hall way, it gives a really bad impression to guest each time the ascend the stairs to the bedrooms.
Breakfast: If you really want to leave bread out for gusts to slice and toast them selves then you need to provide a cloth or something for guests to hold the bread with. We don't want to eat bread that has been handled by half of the guests. And COOK the food. You have some really good quality food. Please, please, please take the time to cook it!!! Cold, Raw, Black Pudding is not nice.
Invest in some training for the staff, use former staff to do it. Rick was fantastic, try and get him in as a consultant to train staff up.
Don't leave bottled water in the room with the security seal broken, refilling bottles of water from the tap and leaving them in a room as if it's a new bottle is a big no, no.
And if you do fail to deliver at any point and acknowledge your failing then service recovery is a good thing. Apologise, take something off the bill, complimentary drink or something. Don't just apologise, admit you came up short and then charge the full amount.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

As a family we have been a big fan of this beautiful place for many years. Had lunch there yesterday and wasnt v good at all. Admittedly we didnt order till 130pmish so our first choices had sold out. But the vegetable soup tasted like it had been prepared for our 4 month old baby. We challenged each other to identify any flavour in it at all. At least it was healthy which makes bad tasting food tolerable. Chicken and steak were ok, vegetable tatin was good. The pastry on the chocolate tart was tough and felt old and the chocolate filling was solid and sort of ok. But it was just after christmas and everyone has an off day so we would not bet against this place just yet.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.
Magor, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

I have had lunch here on many occasions and have never been disappointed. I love the setting of the pub and the restful atmosphere. The food is consistently excellent, and the service is prompt and friendly. Winter or summer - a great place to be.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

We spent a night here recently (our third visit) and were really impressed with the rooms and the excellent food. The setting is very peaceful with lots of walks from the Bell. Walk leaflets are available. Only one small niggle the bar area was very cold as the radiators didn't seemj to be working. Otherwise perfect.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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Additional Information about The Bell at Skenfrith

Address: Skenfrith NP7 8UH, Wales
Location: United Kingdom > Wales > Southern Wales > Monmouthshire > Skenfrith
Amenities:
Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Skenfrith
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Bell at Skenfrith 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pub/Inn, Hotel (Licensed, Offering Real Ales) with 8 letting rooms in rural location. With car parking. Smoking in designated areas. Vegetarians, Children, Special Diets, Organic Products catered for. Eating outside is possible. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Bell At Skenfrith Hotel Skenfrith
The Bell At Skenfrith Wales

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