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“A lesson in how not to do wheelchair access!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa

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Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   23 Church Street, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3DF, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Tunbridge Wells
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“A lesson in how not to do wheelchair access!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2009

When I booked I was pleased to hear the hotel had rooms with wheel-in showers so I was not anticipating problems getting in through the front door. There are no dropped curbs so in an electric wheelchair you are faced with waiting for the hotel porter to bring out a ramp. Once on the pavement the same ramp is deployed to get you up the two small steps into the foyer. Unfortunately the ramp is too long so you can't get onto it without falling off the pavement!
The room we were allocated was on the first floor and had a huge wet-room style bathroom. What a shame they did not consider the needs of a wheelchair user. The toilet was tucked up tight to the wall so a wheelchair style shower chair will not go over it. Even on a compact chair there is no room for your legs. The wash basin is a joke. It's too small and set far too low. It has a huge tap. no plug and no overflow. Then there is the wheel-in shower. First you have got to get over a ridge of tiles then you find the flip up seat has been screwed to the floor in the down position. As a result you cannot use the shower properly.
We loved the rest of the hotel and found the staff really helpful, dinner was excellent but breakfast did not represent good value.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,256 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 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 (301)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Oxford, Englan
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2009

I booked a two night trip to the lakes for my mother and I, as this was her first trip to England, and we wanted to do something special for a few days before my wedding. Upon booking the room, I emailed the hotel to specially request a quiet room, and in return received a pleasant email saying they would indeed find us a peaceful room in a tranquil setting. Right. Our room was right above the parking garage, with cars coming and going all night. Right outside the window was a nightclub, from which we could hear dance music until 2am. Next to this was a construction site, where they started working at 7am, though that didn't matter, as we could hear the hotel cleaning staff banging the doors to the storage closet next door from 6am. Needless to say, it was far from peaceful! Add to this a very poorly serviced and limited optioned expensive breakfast buffet, and a waiter in the bar who made us feel completely stupid for asking what something on the menu was. It's a shame, really, as other Macdonald hotels have been good to us before, but we won't be returning to the chain again!

  • Stayed April 2009
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2009

The Old England Hotel looked on paper as the perfect place to saty for a trip to the Lake District and in reality it was that. Location is perfect, Spa, Restuarant, Lounge and our free upgraded room all had views of Lake Windermere. The Spa for a 4* hotel was awesome - brand new, 20m pool, brand new gym, great treaments. The room, was great, the afternoon tea although pricely was execellent and the service superb.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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North or England
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2009

We went here for our honeymoon and had a great time. The hotel is very clean and the staff can't do enough for you. When we first arrived we were checked in very quickly and the concierge helped us to our room (Zibi you were very polite and welcoming thank you for all your help!) Even though a mistake was made where we weren't given the room we were expecting, we were upgraded to the executive suite for no extra cost and were made to feel important and like we weren't putting them out by bringing this up. The continental breakfast was more than enough to fill you up ready for a day of adventures, there was a lot of lovely things to choose from.
On the first night we stayed we had a meal in the vinand restaurant which was very romantic the only downfall was that there just wasn't enough in terms of food, a pre starter was sent courtacy of the chef which was lovely but the main course was quite small for what you pay, the empasis is definitely on quality rather than quantity!
Overall our stay was wonderful (made even better by the spa, which had everything you could need and was very clean) We felt the hotel is a little more pricey than other places but for a special occassion would go back, thank you for making our honeymoon.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ireland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2009

After staying in the beautiful 4-star Waterhead hotel in Ambleside the previous night, we were looking forward to great things from the Old England.
However, on arrival we received an unfriendly and impersonal welcome to the hotel.

While we did not dine in the hotel for our evening meal, the service at breakfast was very poor, with unfriendly and unhelpful staff. The buffet breakfast was basic at best, and a serving of toast for 2 people consisted of 3 small slices. Anything extra, over and above the continential buffet breakfast, was charged as an extra, which does not compare favourably with other 4-star hotels.

On Monday morning, we were woken before 9a.m. by tradesmen hammering and drilling in the room next door, which continued until our checkout.

On the positive side. The view of the lake from our bedroom was beautiful and the swimming pool and leisure facilities were top class.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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UK
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2009

We had a one night stay in the Old England during July. We were allocated room 20, which has a lake view (although really you have to sit on the balcony to make the most of it!). This was a lovely, modern room - comfortable bed and huge pillows. The bathroom is also very well appointed although I did find that the shower wasn't very powerful and I couldn't get the temperature hot enough for my liking. We used the pool and thermal suite both of which were great and very quiet while we were there. The room was lovely and quiet during the night, with thick curtains so no chance of being disturbed by any early morning sunlight. However, even though it wasn't very warm outside, our room was like a sauna during the night and we couldn't find any way of reducing the temperature.
We didn't use the hotel for our evening meal, but did venture down for breakfast. We were fairly late, but didn't expect that this would have much of an impact in a four star hotel. However, there were several tables covered in used crockery (this took the waiters 15 minutes to get round to clearing up). We also thought that the continental buffet wasn't particularly great for £15 a head and that when things ran out, they weren't replaced. We didn't go away hungry, but certainly it wasn't anything special.
Overall, a nice, relaxing hotel, in a good central location, with good facilities. Reception and spa staff were very friendly and helpful, but we thought the breakfast could do with some improvement.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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manchester
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2009

we arrived on saturday, at dinner time. very lucky because our "family room" was ready. check in time is 4 pm!!!!!! the staff at the desk were very courteous and friendly as was ron the consierge, what a funny guy. unfortunately the courtesy and respect stopped there. the family room was basically a bunk bed in a very tired looking tiny room which you couldn't open the wardrobes in. i stayed in this room 20 years ago and my brother and myself were kept awake by the inadequate curtains at the window with a lamp shining outside. next generation, still the same problem!!!! we spent a lovely day around bowness, used the excellent spa facilities. the children are restricted to 12-2 and 4-6 for the pool. this is for respect for the members (gym, i presume) and will be "strictly adhered to" if they don't want children in the pool, don't have family rooms! they do, however, like charging £212 for the said "family room." after this alloted session at the spa we tried to get a drink in the terrace bar. the wind was blowing right through. my dad asked if they could shut the doors and was answered very abruptly that the doors MUST stay open. the barman left us and we sat down. we waited 15 minutes and still no one took our order so we moved to the lounge. the waiter aproached us and took the tablecloth off the table and then walked away. ten minutes later my husband went looking for him to order some drinks. the waiter said he would be over because "that is what i am here for" still waited a further 5 minutes and then took our order. because they had no crisps to buy in the hotel and my children wanted some crisps, i went to the shop across the road to get some for them. the waiter came flying over, the fastest i had seen him move to tell us that it wasn't allowed. i said that i didn't think it was a problem as they didn't sell crisps in the bar and i would have bought them if they had. i was told that this was "NO EXCUSE" and it was still not allowed. He was very insulting in his manner and stance. going off that service, we didn't eat in the hotel and chose to eat out. we then called in at the terrace bar for a drink and again had to wait 20 minutes from arriving to actually getting our drinks! the children had trouble sleeping in the room as previously mentioned. the bed in the main bedroom is no way near a double bed. the breakfast the following morning was a joke. my husband and dad asked for tea. the smallest teapot arrived after 10 minutes which barely filled one cup, never mind two. you couldn't catch any member of staff's eye and when you eventually did, they acted as though you were being unreasonable requesting, perish the thought, a secong pot of tea. turns out that it was in fact a pot for one anyway. the term left hand doesn't know what right hand doing certainly describes this hotel to a t. i'm very disappointed with this hotel and will never return. just one last thing, check out is 11 am. seems a bit early for me since check in isn't till 4pm. looking around the lakes there are plenty of hotels with the same facilities, the wordsworth in grasmere for one at around the same price and we will definately go there next time.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa

Address: 23 Church Street, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3DF, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Bowness-on-Windermere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Luxury Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#9 Family Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#10 Romantic Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 106
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Standing on the shore of Lake Windermere, the historic Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa is an ideal base for exploring the Lake District. The award-winning Restaurant offers unrivaled views over mature lawns to the lake. Four flexible business suites make the Old England a natural favorite as your next meeting or conference venue, while achieving a work-life balance is effortless at our luxury hotel spa. Inquire about exclusive use for weddings and conferences. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Macdonald Old England
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa Bowness-On-Windermere, Lake District

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