For the 3rd consecutive year, our workplace dined here on 20th December for our Christmas celebrations.
On previous visits, the food has been merely satisfactory and only secondary to the overall experience. The reason for our return, year on year has simply been for the fabulous, festive atmosphere, the historical ambiance and the fact that we were always made to feel very special. With recent changes to the hotel and the addition of a new chef, we were especially excited about our visit this year.
On arrival, we were greeted with a hello but sadly, not the warm welcome we had experienced in previous years. We found our way to the bar to take an aperitif before we dined. A member of staff arrived and took the drinks order for all but 2 of our party of 5. This order consisted of 2 bottles of beer and a glass of cider. I’m not sure this is a complicated process but unfortunately, it took almost 10 minutes for this part of the order to arrive in hand. We then ordered the 2 remaining drinks-Champagne cocktails. After 5 minutes of what we thought was preparation, the barman advised us that he would have to go and seek out the wine waiter for instruction on how to prepare the cocktails. By this time, 2 of the party had been waiting almost 15 minutes for refreshment. (The bar was otherwise completely empty). I confess to being a little ruffled about this and faced with further delay, asked if we could have a complimentary drink whilst the wine waiter was sought and the cocktail prepared. This request was (somewhat unwillingly) fulfilled and he returned behind the bar to split 1 bottle of lager between 2 glasses? Finally though, we were able to at least raise a toast. After preparation by 2 bar staff, the simple Champagne cocktails eventually arrived a full 10 minutes later.
At length, we ordered a few bottles of wine which also took far too long to appear. A taster of wine was poured into each glass by the waiter and the bottles then left on the bar. This would’ve been perfectly acceptable had he then been alert to our subsequent needs but ultimately, we had to retrieve the bottles from the bar to fill our own glasses.
This unusual approach was also mirrored whilst we dined. The degree of attentiveness in an otherwise completely empty dining room was sadly lacking and we had to remove from the table in order to retrieve our bottles from the sideboard. All the wine we ordered was of very good quality and at the right temperature. Unfortunately though, the reds were never decanted and as a result, we experienced unpleasant thrown sediment in the bottom of every glass. With the least expensive bottle being £35, it is disappointing that the fundamental act of decanting was lost on the wine waiter/s.
We had been looking forward to a Gin & Tonic but the charge of £11 for the Gin and then an additional £3 for the tonic rendered the notion rather unpalatable. It should never be a surprise that a hotel has a high drinks tariff but I’m afraid we found the bar prices a little too excessive, especially given the poor level of service thus far. This finding is also compounded by £50+ ‘service’ charge we paid on settlement of the bill.
The total bill at the end of the afternoon was not itemised and was simply shown as, ‘Bar - £ Lounge - £ Restaurant-£.’ We would've preferred more detail but when I requested it, I was advised, ‘This the way we do it here’.
The baron’s hall had been decked with carefully chosen, traditional decorations and looked wonderful as usual. The table had been laid with great care and the glasses/ cutlery were sparkling, the linen was crisp and white.
We didn’t have to wait long for the meals to arrive and the food service was excellent throughout.
The dishes were simply stupendous. The passion and preparation which had clearly gone into every dish was fully evident. Even the simplest of components had an extra special depth of flavour which only comes with a high degree of expertise and attention to detail. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all and we felt we had eaten something really rather special. We were fully content with the cost of this excellent meal and service.
We removed to the sofa in the lounge area (where there was coffee ready and waiting) and commenced with our parlour games and gift opening.
To summarise: A truly wonderful, historic hotel which had been elegantly decorated for Christmas. Luxurious surroundings and most excellent food was relished and savoured by all concerned.
However, the portrayals of a seamless, professional, refined experience reflected in representations of the hotel were unfortunately not evident on this occasion.
Rather sadly, we have to say that too many open opportunities for enhancement to the service and finer details have left us unlikely to return next year.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in 12 tranquil acres of Oxfordshire countryside on the edge of the Cotswolds, offering the perfect environment for a variety of events, leisure breaks, celebrations, weddings, private parties, residential meetings/conference or team building. Country house with award-winning cuisine situated in the Manor Restaurant. Located just 2 miles from Junction 9 of the M40 off the A34, with 25 comfortable bedrooms and attentive service. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Priceline, Booking.com, Orbitz, Despegar.com, Odigeo and TripOnline SA so you can book your The Manor reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Weston Manor Hotel Weston On The Green
- Weston Manor Oxford
- Weston Manor Hotel Oxford
- The Manor Weston On The Green, Oxfordshire, UK