I booked afternoon tea for myself and my mother last week. I initially called the manor two days beforehand and asked if it was necessary to make a reservation (for mid week) and was told yes. However, when we arrived, there was only one other table occupied on the large terrace outside and nobody sitting inside at all. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the receptionist who was very pleasant and efficient. She took my name, showed us through to the outside terrace and told us Matthew (the waiter?) would be with us shortly. We then proceeded to sit at the table for more than 10 minutes and during this time, not a member of staff came outside, let alone to offer us menus and to serve us. In the end, I had to return to the reception desk to ask them to send somebody out to us. When the waiter did come to us, before taking our order he asked if either of us had any allergies or had preference for white or brown bread which I felt was a nice touch. Due to a number of wasps being present on the terrace (which is only natural on a lovely summery day and being close to flower beds) and us seeing the other table struggling to keep the wasps away, we decided to move inside to have tea. at which point another waiter came to the table to repeat our order and to make sure it was correct.
Although the room we sat in for afternoon tea (directly off the terrace) did still have many of its original features, I felt that it lacked any real ambiance, warmth or character and actually felt quite depressing and dull as it was ultimately a monotone of faded red/burgundy furniture and heavy oak doors and panels - it would have benefited greatly from a vase of fresh flowers or a splash of alternative colour, even the addition of some quiet classical background music to brighten the atmosphere and provide a more conducive environment for afternoon tea.
We both ordered a cafetiere of fresh coffee which arrived in a large, singular stainless steel 'canteen' style pot. The crockery was more practical and thicker than the delicate china I had imagined would be used. We probably then waited a further 10 minutes for the afternoon tea to arrive, the waiter apologised for it being late and told us it was due to the fact that the chef had been waiting for the shortbread to come out of the oven. Afternoon tea was served on a traditional style cake stand and consisted of a selection of tuna mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise and grated cheese and pickle sandwiches. There were two small sandwiches of each variety per person except for the egg sandwich where they were one short! Although I again had been expecting a more traditional selection, i.e. smoked salmon, cucumber, I have to say, the sandwiches were incredibly fresh and generously filled. The cake stand also held a small chocolate brownie, thin slice of fruit cake, a piece of freshly baked shortbread and scone per person - the shortbread and scone still being warm from the oven. The quality of the food was excellent, but again the overall experience was let down by the execution of and absence of all the little finishing touches. For example, there was no separate plate for the cakes/scones, no knives or spoons to cut the scones and to spread jam and cream. As there was no sign of a waiter, I had to again go back to the reception to let them know we didn't have any cutlery and to ask for some to be brought to us. At the end of the tea, again there was no waiter or member of staff around whom we could ask for the bill - so yet again, I had to go back to reception to ask for the bill and then go to the bar to pay it. Not once during tea did a waiter or indeed anybody come to our table to see how everything was or if indeed we would like further drinks, which would have been nice and to honest, expected . The whole experience somehow just felt very unpolished and flat and lacked the little traditions one associates with taking afternoon tea and I am not sure if this is down to the lack of training or commonsense of the particular waiting staff on duty that day.
After we finished tea, we asked at reception if we could view some of the rooms - the lady that showed us around was most helpful and really pleasant and we did get the opportunity to see other parts of the manor, the main dining room oozed character and I could imagine it would would have a really good buzz and atmosphere for dinner, the grounds were truly magnificent.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Inglewood Manor is a delightful Edwardian country house nestling in the heart of 38 acres of exquisite grounds. Built in 1915, the Grade 2 listed hotel retains all the charm and warmth of a lavish family home, with elegant rooms, spacious terraces and acres of manicured lawns. All twenty nine luxurious en-suite bedrooms have individual charm and offer glorious views of the grounds. Surrounded by fantastic attractions, with fishing, walking and tennis in the grounds we provide an idyllic retreat. A team of award winning chefs display flair and creativity, ensuring every meal is a memorable dining experience, and friendly, responsive staff guarantee the warmest of welcomes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Inglewood Manor Hotel Ledsham
- Inglewood Manor Chester
- Inglewood Manor Hotel Chester