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“Very polite staff let down by shoddy establishment” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel

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Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   17-19 Horse Fair, Banbury Cross, Banbury OX16 0AN, England (Formerly Mercure Whately Hall Hotel)   |  
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Ranked #9 of 12 Hotels in Banbury
Manchester, United Kingdom
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5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Very polite staff let down by shoddy establishment”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

Being a 'Hall' and looking grand on the outside I expected a grand hotel. Unfortunately this was not the case. The staff were lovely but the hotel itself is in desperate need of a refurb. The carpets were worn, and it is filled with dark matt wood and very dull decor which looks like it needs a clean/ varnish and very tired.

The floor boards were very creaky too which didn't bode well for a decent sleep. (I think that's a trait of Mercure hotels being the 2nd one I've stayed at with this problem).

Also the car part is through a very tight space, fine if you have a car but anything wider than an average family car will struggle to get through the cut out in the building and you may have to pay for the car park at the front of the hotel.

I was here for 2 days on business, and the first morning I was awoken by the fire alarm at 6.30, which I can only presume was a false alarm. There were no staff in sight to direct people to either the assembly point or back to the rooms whichever was appropriate. Myself and the other guests made the assumption that it was a false alarm and went back to the rooms. Other than this, the service was excellent, at the lobby/ reception and in the dining room for lunch in the mornings. We ate out both nights so can't review the food, but I wouldn't stay here again I'm afraid.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this review, January 21, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for reviewing your stay with us and I am very sorry that we did not manage to meet your expectations, however thank you very much for your kind words about our staff.

The main part of the hotel is still very traditional reflecting our 17th Century roots with the wood and panelling. Areas of the hotel are undergoing refurbishment and decoration since November last year with 30 bedrooms completed so far and more to come.
Most vehicles can get into the car park with the exception of lorries or high vans, although sometimes it can be tight we haven't had a car that couldn't get in yet....

Unfortunatly a guest did activate the fire alarm at 6.30am and we did have a full evacuation, I am sorry that we did not see you outside but my Front Office Manager went around the hotel and the assemeby point a few times informing guests when it was safe to return to the hotel, I hope you understand that we have to take the precaution of evacuating for the safety of our guests but am sorry for any inconvienience caused.

Once again thank you for reviewing your stay with us.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager
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535 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Stroud, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 78 cities Reviews in 78 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Whately Hall has so much going for it, that it will not take a lot to achieve even better reviews. We stayed for two nights in the old part of the hotel. Yes, the floors creak, but that adds to the experience. This was a minor downside to a fabulous large room with King Size very comfortable bed, stone fireplace and an old access to the priest's escape staircase. Staying in the modern part of the hotel would change the experience I suspect.
The reception staff are excellent and work hard in an efficient and pleasant manner to enhance guests' experience - Liam is particularly good and went out of his way to provide historical information and other helpful advice and service. The restaurant staff are attentive and charming in their approach - a combination of natural persona and good training which is a credit to the management, and encourages guests to return in future. The food quality at evening dinner was excellent.
The niggles were: no Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot wines two nights running (but another more expensive wine was offered at the same price), no fish on the breakfast menu on Monday morning - but the staff made special effort to procure for the next day, then the muesli ran out at breakfast with no more available! Finally, why in an area of great real ales is John Smith's Extra Smooth the best that can be achieved - probably Mercure company policy! Well in that case if you like real ale, I you will have to stay elsewhere!!
For us, the hotel two night deal was a good one - the receptionist had told us about the Travel Zoo offer when we popped in November, but we couldn't find it on the web and booked direct at great value. There are plenty of reasons for this hotel to be successful in challenging times, witness the limited use of the restaurant: a lot of guests were missing out if they ate elsewhere.

Room Tip: Try to stay in the old part of the hotel, but beware the creaky floors!
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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WhatleyHall, Front Office Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Dear Guest,

I am very happy to read your recent review of the Whately Hall Hotel. I am very proud that all the members of staff especially Liam went above and beyond to make your stay special.

I have spoken to the necessary Managers regarding your restaurant experience as this is not our normal standard of service running out of items

I hope to welcome you to the Whately Hall Hotel in the future

Hayley Smith
Front Office Manager
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Carmarthen, United Kingdom
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Went for a 2 night break, booked through Travel Zoo on between Christmas and New Year. Excellent Staff, nice room in the old part of the hotel, can't comment on the ugly, 70's part of the hotel. Only paid £150 for Bed, Breakfast and Dinner on the first Night with a free bottle of wine, which was excellent value as the buffet breakfast was very good, and our three course evening meal was superb. If we could get the same deal, then we would have no hesitations at staying there again. Oh yes, by the way, the cinema is right next door - perfect for evening entertainment without any effort.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the old part of the hotel, creaky floor boards and wonky floors add character to t...
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  • Stayed December 2012, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your lovely review following your stay with us here at Mercure Whately Hall, Banbury. I am so glad that you enjoyed yourselves, we will try and keep our guests updated of any similar offers and hope that we will be able to welcome you back soon.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager
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Bedford, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We stayed here for one night for my Husbands christmas party.

The hotel is impressive from the front and has a great central location. There is an ample carpark behind the property, yes the entrance to the carpark is a bit tight but drive slow and there is no problem.

When we arrived we were greeted by a very friendly young man, who was very helpful. We were directed to our room, which was situated in the newer part of the hotel the Parkside at the back of the hotel. The interior of the hotel could do with a little bit of srucing up, the parkside definitely has a 70's feel about it, the carpet is very worn and dated. We had a nice view of the hotels extensive garden. The room was an adaquate size, nice temperature setting, bright and clean. A nice size bathroom (but the extractor was broken, we forgot to advise the reception when we left). The bed was one of the most comfortable I have slept in away from home, we both slept very soundly, which is unusual for us in a hotel.

We had a wander around Banbury, which is all a couple of minutes walk across the road. We had lunch at the Church House, a pub next door which was very well priced and great food.

We then had a couple of hours before we met everyone for the evening party so we had a couple of drinks in the bar. The staff could not have been more friendly and helpful, they bought the drinks to our table.

Once we met our group for the party we were shown into the venue room, we had our own dining area and bar, so we did not have to fight with other parties, guests or the general public to get a drink. All the staff were helpful and polite.

The food was arranged a couple of months before, there had been a choice of three options for starter and pudding and a very good quality carvery for main, the meat was cooked to perfection and they had gluten free gravy for my main. My only big disappointment was I had been promised a gluten free christmas pudding but unfortunatley this did not materialise. Whilst everyone else was tucking into a lovely looking chocolate cake or their christmas pudding I was given my pet hate yet again 'tomorrow mornings breakfast fruit' nothing to go with it, just chopped apple, melon, grapes and rasperries. Please, please, please, resturants need to get their acts together, they can accomodate vegeterians and vegans who choose to eat that way but I have no choice, it is an allergy, being palmed off with breakfast fruit is not good enough. Last year I had a christmas party at the Four Pillars in Oxford and they made specially for me a poached pear with raspberry couli and ice cream, it can be done. If you have 2 months notice you should be able to come up with something other than chopped fruit with no accompaniment. Also there was no after dinner coffee, I had to go to the reception to have a pot put on my room.

Other than that, the night was great, the dj was good, the venue was a good size and the room had been dressed beautifully, we had a great night.

After a great nights sleep we went down for breakfast, which had a great choice of food, the room was large enough to spread the food out so there was no need to queue for ages to get to the food. Again all the staff were great.

If you are looking to see Banbury then I would recommend staying here, there are a few rough edges that could be cleaned up like the dated decor but all in all the standard is good and the staff make the hotel feel welcoming.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your review following your party and overnight stay here. I am very glad that, on the whole, you has such a good time, I will certainly pass your comments onto the staff regarding their friendliness and helpfulness. I am so sorry that your gluten free Christmas pudding did not make it to your table, you are right after being ordered in advance it should of been there, I will also address with my Head Chef what other breakfast options we can provide to give a wider choice.

Once again thank you for taking the time to let us know about your stay and I do hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back in the future.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager
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London, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

We stayed at the Whately Hotel for 2 nights for New Years Eve and New Years Day. This was arranged through the Killing Game theatre people. We paid for a superior double room and expected a much higher standard. The bath plug mechanism was broken so it was diiifcult to empty water after a bath. In fact on one attempt came off in my hands.AS part of our package we were entitled toa glass of champagne on our arrival. When we went to the greet table we were told there was no champagne left!! I therefire complained and asked for the mananger to provide what we had paid for. Surpsingly another bottle was then found. The bar was badly staffed and drinks were not available. Guests were told there was no tonic or slim line tonic : ON NEW YEARS EVE?????? surely such a staple basic should have been available. With a bit of initiative someone could have run across the road and bought some, but sadly this did not happen. Then the blackcurrent ran out, then standard coca cola. Crazy mis manangement on such a key evening. The breakfast was ordered to the room : it arrived with incorrect juices ordered, white toast instead of brown no salt and pepper, no sauces, and no sugars or sweeteners for the coffee. I had to telephone reception 4 times. I visited the breakfast room the next morning. Again the order I gave came back incorrect and had to be returned to the kitchen, similarly 2 other tables situated close by had the same problems. The staff at reception did apolojise and offered money off the bill. I would however had preferred our stay to have been a better expriance on such an important date/event of the year. It seems that this hotel is short on funds and good management I would not recommend it

Room Tip: ask to see the room first to ensure all is in order. Also check where TV is positioned as you may no...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Dear Guest,

I cannot apologise enough for the poor stay you has with us, it is certainly not the normal standard of service that we pride ourselves upon offering our guests, and I hope that this will not prevent you again from booking with the Killing Game as your poor experience is purely down to the hotel and not the Killing Game. I can only re itertae the Receptionists apology and can assure you that the matters you have raised have been taken very seriously with the relevant Heads of Department, we did have a delivery issue with our supplier but as you point out some of the items were short of could have been purchased locally.

Once again my most sincere apologies.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager
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Leicester, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

Great location, 2-5mins walk into town, easy to find , very impressive to look at from the front , the car park has a very tight narrow entrance so if you have a big car you would struggle, our room was a long way away from the main reception which didn't bother us in fact with the wedding party noise, it was a blessing in disguise, we didn't eat there in the evening as we were with friends who booked a meal elsewhere, so can't comment on the evening food , bar drinks were very reasonable priced , our biggest let down was breakfast , great selection but they must have cooked it all in one go before 7am , eggs like Frisbees', rubber sausages , bullet beans, cold plates, scrambled egg I suspect was packet , we dined at 9am Sunday as did most guests on a Sunday ,improve the breakfast would be a recommendation,

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 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
    • 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.
whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this review, January 7, 2013
Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to review your stay this weekend. Although narrow we haven't had a car yet that can't get in, although anyone in high vehicles such as a van would be recommened to check the height restrictions. I am glad that you found the bar to your liking but naturally disappointed about your comments regarding breakfast, the food is only served from 7.30 am on a Sunday but I take on board your comments and wish you had mentioned to the restaurant team and we would of happily cooked fresh for you to avoid your disappointment. Once again thank you for taking the time to post your comments and I do hope that this would not deter you from staying with us in the future.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager
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Devizes, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

We spent New Year's Eve at The Whatley Hall Hotel as we did the previous year. The Killing Game put on a Murder Mystery Gala Dinner/ Entertainment and take over the hotel for this period. I can say that it was, as it was last year, an excellent way to spend New Years Eve. Gala dinner, entertainment all evening (and a prize for the winning table who deduces who is the murderer). It was so professionally done and you do not have to "role play" as the actors mingle at the tables all eveniing and you can quiz them with your questions. Of course, there was a theme for the evening - Bet your Life - which was about a .com entrepreneur who sold his business for a vast amount of money and invested in his passion for horse racing. (I won't tell you anymore!). The evening finished with an excellent Disco until 2am. The Killing Game put on Murder Mystery evenings throughout the year in different hotels (brochure from them on 03300 882 851) and we shall certainly be enjoying another Murder Mysteryat one of their many other venues in 2013.

Whately Hall is an excellent setting for such an evening. We stayed for two nights and the hotel is situated very close to the shopping centre, restaurants etc that you can park up the car (large free car park to the rear of the hotel) and walk. The staff are attentive, smile and are willing to please. The food throughout our stay was excellent. One little gripe I would have is that after paying for an upgraded room it still lacked a chest of drawers to unload our cases into and the extractor fan in the bathroom didn't work. Still, paying the small extra cost for an upgrade was well worth it as our room overlooked the garden and it was obvious that it had been repainted recently. Excellent value for money. Well done to the Killing Game and also to Whately Hall.

Room Tip: Worth upgrading to a superior room overlooking the garden.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
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whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this review, January 9, 2013
Dear Guest

Thank you so much for your lovely comments following your stay here over the New Year period , I am pleased that you enjoyed yourselves so much with the Killing Game Murder Mystery. I am sorry though that you did not request any drawers for your room as we are often able to provide some on request. I will be sure to pass on your lovely comments regarding the staff and the food to all concerned and I hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to the hotel in the future.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager
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Additional Information about Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel

Address: 17-19 Horse Fair, Banbury Cross, Banbury OX16 0AN, England (Formerly Mercure Whately Hall Hotel)
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Banbury
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 12 Hotels in Banbury
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
3 star hotel offering 69 ensuite rooms in an idyllic 17th Century setting where Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels in 1723. Ideal as a base for exploring the Cotswolds region, Stratford Upon Avon, Oxford, Woodstcock & Warwick. 10 minutes from Banbury railway and coach stations, 30 miles (50 km)from Birmingham Airport and easily accessible via Junction 11 of the M40. Features 7 meeting rooms accommodating up to 120 delegates, Swifts & Berkeley Restaurants and Hornton Bar. 24hrs room service and free car parking. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Accor Whately Hall Hotel

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