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“Not quite what I expected from the reviews” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Oak Bank Hotel

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Oak Bank Hotel
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3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Broadgate, Grasmere LA22 9TA, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 12 Hotels in Grasmere
Montevideo, Uruguay
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99 reviews 99 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Not quite what I expected from the reviews”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2010

First things first: the hotel is located in Grasmere which is located in one of the most beautiful regions of the world and I say this having traveled a lot and being close on 50. I live in Switzerland and still was taken aback by the beauty of the countryside and by the village. I was lucky that, calling from my car and trying to use TripAdvisor's mobile application (which is definitely not easy to use when reception is poor), I was recommended to try this village by one B&B owner who had no rooms to let.

Oak Bank ranks first among B&B's so you think right away you must be on to a winner as when you enter the town you see what look like one beautiful inn and hotel after another. It was therefore with a bit of a surprise that I pulled up in front of the hotel and did not see the cute little place I was expecting. It is not an unattractive house and I recognise now that it is a 2 star hotel so not trying to be quite as flashy and gorgeous as some of it sneighbours and anyway you cannot judge a book by its cover.

I was delighted the hotel accepted dogs and had a room as much else was booked and I was quite tired. The lady that received me was charming and took care of my every need. The room was perfectly comfortable and for a two star and the price I paid perfectly correct.

I unfortunately arrived too late to enjoy the cuisine but had a hearty breakfast in the morning which was also correct and included in the price.

I had a lovely walk around the lake with my dog and will definitely come back to this region and speak widely about its charm to anyone who will listen.

About the hotel I would say this: wifi was free but did not work in the evening and only worked in the morning. Frustrating but even at home my wifi goes down sometimes. When i mentioned it in the morning I initially got a "well it usually is working response" but then the matter was looked into (shoudl have been right away as one of the reasons I chose the hotel was a wifi connection). What felt a little sad to me was the decor in the hotel. Obviously everyone has their taste (so excuse me for opining) but it felt tired and rather than adding a sense of charm and rendering a special character that I could take away with me as a fond memory, it left a tired impression of a place in need of some major love (TLC as the Americans say). As I see the hotel follows its feedback closely, I can only say, if I can make a constructive comment, that I would bring in a decorator and do everything to bring light and a bit of freshness into the hotel (as well as find a way to reduce the size of the reception desk or move it to provide less of a occupying presence in the main seating area). Anyway, just my five cents, but overall a good value for money. Not however the place I would take my wife for a romantic weekend solely because of the decor issues I raise above.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OakBankHotel, Owner at Oak Bank Hotel, responded to this review, July 23, 2010
Thank you 'superlux' for your review of Oak Bank Hotel.

Just to put some of this in perspective for the reader, this review has been written by a gentleman who turned up at the hotel at 9.30 p.m. asking if we had a room. We did and I even gave him a complimentary upgrade – he must have missed that in his review?!

We are a hotel not a b & b and are listed as a hotel on Tripadvisor. I’m not sure any of the hotels could be described as cute! We don’t try to be flash either.

I am very pleased to be called charming it makes a change to what I have been called in a couple of the most recent reviews!

Wi-Fi is free and should work all the time – we do not restrict its use. The gentleman did not comment at night that he was experiencing difficulties; only after breakfast that he felt it wasn’t working correctly. We use our printer wirelessly so we knew it was working fine. It does occasionally have problems but not for these two days. He also came back in the afternoon on the day he had checked out and sat in our lounge to use the Wi-Fi! It was obviously working fine then when really he had no right to be here – he had checked out 3 hours previously!! He says one of the reasons he chose the hotel was that we had Wi-Fi, it seems from earlier in the review the real reason he chose us was because we would accept his dog, we ‘had a room as much else was booked’ and he was tired – better than sleeping in the car me thinks.

As for the decor, yes everyone does have their opinion, but we do not agree with him, it almost sounds like the guest was expecting a modern, minimalistic decor which would not be in keeping with the charm and character of the house. Most guests find the lounges very comfortable and relaxing and with plenty of light flooding in. As for it being tired and in need of TLC with these comments I would start to question if the guest actually stayed here! The lounges and restaurant were decorated 3½ years ago with all new furniture, carpets and curtains, the bedroom he stayed in - room 11 was decorated in 2009, the bathroom was completely changed in 2008. Pictures of the lounges, restaurant and bedroom are all available to view on our website.

We would agree that size of the reception desk is quite large, but as it also doubles as the one & only office, it is there for good reason; however it is not situated in the main seating area - that we would class as the bar lounge adjacent to the dining room & conservatory restaurant.

For the third time in as many management responses we have not been allowed to put what we wanted to say here. So we will leave it there.

Glynis Wood
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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
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Adelaide Australia
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2010

Comfortable standard room with great shower and wifi. Great care taken with food, but some times a bit too fussy and elaborate. Breakfast portions are very controlled which after some weeks of generous buffets and B & Bs, I found a bit annoying.
The owners take great pride in the place but really need to relax a bit and interact more positively with their guests. We spent our week here trying to get smiles out of one of them!

  • Stayed June 2010
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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OakBankHotel, Owner at Oak Bank Hotel, responded to this review, July 6, 2010
Dear Reader

We are bemused and actually a bit angry with this review as the guest that has written it has not even completed their stay with us yet and has used our wifi – provided free of charge; to write not just this review but 3 others as well!!! ‘CarolynScout’ seems to have rated us quite highly considering her comments so thank you for that at least.

Some may class the food as fussy and elaborate, many will not – what we do know is it hasn’t stopped ‘CarolynScout’ from clearing her plates every night!

The breakfast portions are only really controlled by the guests themselves. Guests help themselves from a, if you like, generous buffet, to a choice of eight cereals, prunes and or grapefruit, plain or fruit yoghurts, porridge as a starter or main (which is cooked to order), three choices of fruit juice and chilled water. The guest then chooses from an extensive cooked to order menu, no hot festering congealed breakfast buffet here! From the top, the Oak Bank Grill – 2 rashers of bacon, egg –as you like, Cumberland sausage, grilled tomato, mushrooms, black pudding, beans and fried bread. If you want a couple of eggs or two sausages etc., we will oblige, or if you want egg & bacon only, that's fine too; smoked salmon & scrambled egg; smoked haddock & poached egg; minute steak, caramelized onions & fried egg; eggs any way you would like; a variety of omelettes; freshly baked croissants and then to finish a rack of toast with marmalade or preserves; all accompanied with as much tea or coffee as you would like - essentially breakfast at Oak Bank can be at least three courses. So who is really limiting the breakfast?

We do “take great pride in the place” but as for relaxing, we do that when we go home or are closed, when we are at work and that is more hours than not, we work. However, it is very hard to interact with guests who choose to go straight from their table, up to their rooms after their dinner without having a tea or a coffee in the lounge and chatting with the other guests and/or ourselves and are out all day. We don’t mind at all if guests don’t wish to talk or are not there to talk too, and will always talk to guests if that is what they would like to do but please don’t complain we don’t interact if your not there – what would you like us to do come up to your rooms and say “Pop the kettle on love I’ve come for a good old chinwag?!” Come on!

As for the one who doesn’t smile, I’m going to ask ‘CarolynScout’ at breakfast who it might be, then sack them, especially if it’s Glynis but she’d just love that, mind you, if it is I’m not surprised as her health isn’t great at the moment as she is in extensive pain but battles on regardless, plus her youngest daughter is in hospital with chipped vertabrae in her back but that’s another story.......keep on smiling!

Simon Wood
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Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2010

I wouldn't normally book a two star hotel but having read the reviews here, I was confident in giving this one a try.

The hotel didn't disappoint at all. Well appointed rooms, thoughtful extras (we paid for room upgrade) very comfortable indeed. The decor and furnishings make this hotel feel much higher standard that two star. We had a room with balcony, four poster bed and view over the garden.

The restaurant is fantastic, innovative and imaginative approach to food resulted in a gourmet experience at dinner each night and a good selection of accompanying wines. The flavours and presentation were a total experience and all at very realistic prices. Breakfasts were also superb.

We found the owners to be very hard working and dedicated to providing an enjoyable relaxing experience. Nothing was too much trouble and these folk work really hard doing it all from reception, bar, table service, and I'm sure much more behind the scenes. They appear to put in very long hours, maybe one or two of the previous posters didn't pick up on this, we certainly could find no fault.

We hope to return again and when visiting the lakes again, wouldn't consider staying anywhere else. The three day stay was an experience which we must repeat again.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
North East
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2010

Stayed here for a weekend wife my wife because it was at the number one slot on Trip Advisor. It is only in this postion because there is not many other Hotels in Grasmere and the food is excellent.
If they lost the Chef they would be in trouble as the owner and staff were unfriendly and miserable... we will not be going back!

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
OakBankHotel, Owner at Oak Bank Hotel, responded to this review, June 20, 2010
Dear Reader

We are glad ‘Reg6’ enjoyed the food as you should in our 2 AA rosette awarded restaurant.

We would like to address the other comments in this review as they seem to be flawed:
Without wishing to blow our own trumpet too much, at the time of writing; but maybe not for much longer after this review, we have been in the number one position in Grasmere for almost three years now, since just after we took over from the previous owners, apart from approximately a week when Gold Rill were at the top. That is with a total of nine chefs in that time including the two that are currently here and whilst we are very happy with both of them and would not want them to leave, generally that is their nature, so as for being in trouble if we lost the chef we would do the same as any other business does when someone leaves and replace them and we would hope to employ as good if not better. Both Glynis & Simon – the owners (surprised ‘Reg6’ does not know there are two of us, or our names, as we are both completely hands on!) can cook if need be and have done in the past at Oak Bank.

We back our Chefs with the right equipment and top quality ingredients to produce the dishes that they do with the food cost alone (before anyone has cooked or served it or washed up, or the gas, electric, water etc.) for dinner being as much as some cheap places charge for a couple of courses, if rubbish ingredients are coming in, then rubbish food will be going out; if quality ingredients are coming in only someone messing it up will result in anything less than quality going out.

Contrary to ‘Reg6’ comment that “there is not many other Hotels in Grasmere”, there are many other hotels in Grasmere for the size of the village, two of which serve food at the level ours is rated at and depending on what food you like, the majority will be good, making Grasmere an extremely competitive place to have an hotel.

‘Reg6’ says “we will not be going back!” Our loss? We always check when we take a booking how the guest has heard of us. There are many who say ‘TripAdvisor’. If the number of guests that say that when they book were to write a review we would have literally hundreds of reviews. People are statistically more likely to write a review if they have had a bad experience than if they had a good one so the fact that ‘Reg6’ is only our 67th review (and even then has rated us as average, although being average is not good enough to us,) must mean most of the time we are getting it right, further, he’s right the food is excellent but we have noticed that ‘Reg6’ has only rated us one for service – if we were that bad I think we’d be number 13 of 13 Hotels in Grasmere, no matter how good the food is.

Finally and thank you for still reading this if you are, as for the owner and staff being miserable we’ve had a good laugh about that this morning!! Maybe ‘Reg6’ and wife were miserable and that made us look miserable?! We are not coco the clown! Now I need to go and make some beds ready for a very busy week.

We think the review below this one for a start by DoncasterLakesLovers sums up Oak Bank, where it was and where it is now to a T.

Simon Wood
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Doncaster
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2010

We have been visiting Oak Bank for a number of years. Simon and Glynis have improved the whole experience and continue to do so and still offer exceptional value for money. We have done all the nearby walks and really should find somewhere else to stay in our quest to walk all the Wainwrights, but keep returning as we love the Oak Bank. We get the chance to try food we wouldn't know how to cook and totally unwind in comfortable and friendly surroundings. We can't recommend it highly enough for a relaxing treat! Well done Simon and Glynis!!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2010

Our second stay, this time for five nights. Very comfortable hotel, well furnished and in an ideal location for visiting the Lake District. Simon and his colleagues made us feel very welcome and the food was superb - worth every penny. We'll definitely be visiting again!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
borders
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2010

this is the second time we have stayed at the Oak Bank and he food was as good the second time as it was the first. Simon and Glyniss and their staff do all they can to make you feel welcome. we will certainly return soon.
have already recommended the hotel to several friends.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 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 Oak Bank Hotel

Address: Broadgate, Grasmere LA22 9TA, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Grasmere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Grasmere
#4 Family Hotel in Grasmere
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Oak Bank Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in Grasmere Village in the heart of the English Lake District, Oak Bank Hotel is perfectly placed to explore the surrounding lakes, fells and tarns. Oak Bank has two lounges both with plenty of comfy sofas and armchairs to relax in. The front lounge has a converted range and the bar lounge has a real log/coal fire. Breakfast and dinner are served in our Two AA Rosette awarded beautiful dining room and conservatory. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Oak Bank Grasmere
Oak Bank Hotel Grasmere

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