Mellington Hall is a unique hotel, that is difficult to rate comparatively. If you are expecting a five star experience on a par with the romantic splendour of other gothic manor house or castle hotels, then you will be disappointed. Some of the recent reviews here indicate that clearly. However, I would say that it does have charms worth going for: charms that have an enormous amount of potential to grow and develop.
Firstly, its best 'charming' feature is the staff. We were greeted with beaming smiles and a warm welcome. After booking into our room, which I will come to later, we had afternoon tea in the wood panelled dining room. The dining room was charming, but for the cheap pine cottage kitchen chairs covered over with stretchy white chair covers. These do not add to the period romance of the room and could do with being changed for dark wood period chairs that do not need covers. Note to management: please do not change them for those modern leather long backed chairs as so many generic chain hotels are want to do!
The afternoon tea was lovely and I enjoyed the difference of having Welsh scones instead of the usual English ones. The service was great and the waiting staff again were friendly, happy and warm and could not do enough for you. You got the sense that although all the staff were busy and bustling in and out, they were happy, that there was not an atmosphere of stress or job dissatisfaction pervading about the place. You are put at ease that management therefore must be good, fair and caring. So, after a long journey my husband and I had started to feel relaxed, at home and full of delicious cake and tea!
We retired to our enormous room the Mellington Suite, which was done out with cream coloured Greco classical style furniture. This is nice, but again, the odd touch here and there could improve the standard of the suite overall. For instance, the gold painted/sprayed cornice, ceiling stars and curtain pelmet look tacky and brought down the elegance and class of the room. The black and silver wall paper in the bathroom would look more at home in an 80's wine bar in Soho. Note to management: When revamping, go for classic gothic Victorian paper such as a Sanderson, William Morris print or some period tiles and white cornice. Wightwick Manor House is a good example of this interior gothic style.
The view from the triple bay window was beautiful. Yes, there are green trailer caravans to the side, but they are not that noticeable or ugly. What Mellington Hall needs to do is invest more in the gardens. They need to have flower beds and shrubs planted to create and interest of the garden itself. This would deflect from the trailer park and benefit the wedding market as well improving photographic opportunities. At the moment the gardens consist of just neat lawns and paving.
However, the gigantic jacuzzi in the bathroom was a sight for sore eyes and a weary body! For the fact that it did not heat the water itself, it could not be described as a jacuzzi really, but a 6 people hot tub. A tub fit for a rap king and his female entourage, complete with jazzy colour changing mood lights! It did not take much persuasion for us to decide on a grim November afternoon that we were spending it in this thing with chocolate and a bottle of fizz!
At 8:00pm our water-wrinkled, but relaxed bodies headed down to eat dinner. The same wood panelled dining room had been given the addition of some side and wall low lighting together with candle light on the tables. We were assured then that the problem of 'lack of ambiance in the evening' mentioned in an earlier review had now been tackled. Again, the staff and the service was excellent. The food however, is nothing special. It could be described as pretty good acceptable pub style grub.
The large bed in the Mellington Suite was lovely and comfortable and we both slept well. Breakfast the next morning was busy and we did have to wait a bit to get served. However, the smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast was really good and the eggs cooked to perfection, with as much fresh granary bread toast as we could stuff ourselves with. Again, all served with a smile.
Would we come and stay again? Most definitely. The staff, the building and that jacuzzi would make it all worth it.
The rest of this review is purely concerned with the interior design and how to improve it. Period interior design is something I am passionate about and I very much enjoyed seeing the potential that Mellington Hall offers. So, if this is not your bag, then there is no need to read on. Hopefully, this is constructive feedback that the management may find useful:
I agree with Surfinbird, it is true that when you enter the interior of the house, it does not live up to what it could or should be. The entrance foyer/ lounge area needs dark wood tables and not post modern glass ones. Some of the easy chairs are not period style unless the 1980's is a period. However, the open fires, rugs and the dark wood gothic carved staircase provide some of the romantic setting the all important first impression could desire. Literally, all it would take is some new classic sofas, a refresh of the better old ones, some dark wood low tables and it would be perfect. This would amount to a small investment for a vastly improved impression.
The carved staircase is amazing, so it is a pity that the pictures on the high walls going up the stairs are only a collection of small cheaply framed photographs or paintings of the house exterior. This grand stairs need gold framed oils or portraits/landscapes etc. Now, this would be expensive yes, but probably essential if Mellington Hall wants to reach its full potential and class.
I can also strongly suggest to the staff NOT to leave so much marketing paper and leaflets in the foyer, on the coffee tables and low drinking tables and on the reception desk and wall. It is not classy and you would never see high rated period or manor house establishments doing this.
The bar area is similar in its potential. They were in the middle of renovating it during our visit and much to my dismay, they had painted it pale cream. The room has dark wood beams and a dark wood picture rail. It would be lovely to paint the walls below the wooden cornice a cosy and romantic gothic crimson, whilst leaving the area above the rail to the ceiling a pale white/cream to create space, light and height. As it is I think it will now look too stark and airy in a modern way with little period charm. There were some canvas prints of bottles and drinks etc about to go up on the walls, but I think these will just look too modern to really exploit the full charm of this period room. It could look so 'hunting lodge library' with big upholstered chairs, gilt frames, open fires and a crimson glow, but sadly I don’t think that this will happen. The staff informed us that there is new furniture coming as well. I did not ask what type of furniture, but it has to be better than the wicker cane chairs that were already in there, which was again very 80's.
Overall, I think much of any disappointment expressed about Mellington Hall is about the interior design, because the gothic exterior promises so much. I think whoever is in charge of the design of Mellington Hall interiors should consider the actual value of investing in re-creating a period look with newer cheaper furniture if they cannot afford large antiques. It is possible and Coombe Abbey Hotel in Warwickshire is a perfect example of how to achieve this, as is Wightwick Manor in the Midlands.
The suite we stayed in could be amazing if the tacky gold sprayed cornice and pelmet were changed. White cornice looks like period plaster work, whereas gold paint looks like the cornice could be made of cheap polystyrene. The black and silver wallpaper in the bathroom needs changing. The black is too dark and does not create the romantic feel intended unless you go for that cheesy Tom Jones medallion man charm. The Mellington Suite is nearly perfect and does not need a major overhaul. Honestly, just a couple of small inexpensive changes and both the standard and the price for the room could be raised!
Clearly, Mellington Hall has a lot to offer and is a place that is open to improving itself and we look forward to coming back soon and staying in other rooms, so I can cast my period passionate eye over them to.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Mellington Hall