We have stayed at The Royal several times over the last 5 years. Maybe we have been fortunate but we had always had a good room, some with better views than others, but always in the main hotel building. We have also stayed using the Tesco deals and have not felt less valued as guests at all. However, this time, we booked direct with Old English Inns, at a reasonable non-flexible rate which offered the room as 'Best Available'.
When we checked in we were allocated Room 3 which was in the Coach House. To access this we were directed to go up a flight of stairs from the main lobby, along a corridor, through 2 fire doors and down some steps. First impressions didn't bode well, as we descended the final steps, the surroundings looked decidedly shabby. When we reached the room, I was so upset that I could have gone home. It was on the ground floor and was just so dark and dingy,. The low ceiling and awkward angles of the room made it appear very small. It had one high window that I had to stand on a chair to look out of. It looked onto the car park. The bathroom smelt of stale urine. There was also only one chair in the room which suggested it was more suited to single occupancy.
I decided to return to reception and see if there was anything else available. The Receptionist was very helpful, she explained that the hotel was very busy but that she could move us to Room 51 which was in the Buckingham Suit (another extension), but it did have a view of the river. She did warn that it was up several flights of stairs which was fine with me. This room was lovely. Spotlessly clean, it was large; light and airy with a sliding door onto a small balcony. The views were of the gardens, and river. All in all much better. My issue is - If we were to be allocated 'Best Available' as per our booking, why on earth were we given such an inferior room in the first place? The contrast between the rooms was so vast, you wouldn't know you were in the same hotel. I could only liken it to buying a ticket to a football match and being allocated an 'obstructed view' . You are warned of this and can make a decision based on that. Were I aware that I would be allocated this room or indeed any in the Coach House I would most definitely not have made the booking.
That all done and said, once we moved, our stay was perfect. The room was clean, the bed was comfortable, the staff were polite and helpful. Breakfast on both days was great, with no shortages of anything. We were pleasantly surprised to see that there was a Royal Wedding Garden Party being held during our stay. A Jazz band played and we had a delicious picnic board and a good bottle of wine for less than £20. So... if it wasn't for the almost room disaster, I would give the Royal 10 out of 10. Alas the fear of a repeat performance would discourage me from re-booking. I will contact OEI to see how I could avoid this (but I suspect that an upgrade may be the only guarantee of a 'good room'). Another small point is that you used to be able to complete a 'How was your stay' card at OEI, and I did look for one of these in the room and reception area but they don't seem to be available now. A pity, as you could 'complain or compliment' whilst at the hotel.
Alls well that ends well this time! I would recommend this hotel, but would have to warn of the perils of the room lottery.
Lovely location, with free WiFi /Parking
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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We do value all comments good and bad and take great pride in offering the best possible experience for all our guests.
We look forward to welcoming you back to the Royal Hotel or one of other Old English Inns very soon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.