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“dirty, badly maintained and overpriced” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Danesfield House Hotel And Spa

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Danesfield House Hotel And Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Henley Road, Marlow-on-Thames, Medmenham SL7 2EY, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Medmenham
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“dirty, badly maintained and overpriced”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2009

My partner and I both had a very stressful month and were hoping that this weekend at Danesfield would provide us with the relaxation we needed- it didn't. To summarise our problems with this hotel:
1) it was dirty: the carpet in our room was dirty (which was particularly worrying as my partner suffers from asthma), the spa sauna area was not cleaned regularly and had towels lying everywhere and the building was generally dirty (where the actual building was meant to be white, quite alot of it was grey)
2) it was badly maintained: the toilet flush in the bedroom did not work, there were cracks in the ceiling, mold in the corners of the room and the chandelier that we had to look up to was broken.
3) Everything was overpriced but at least we knew what we were paying until we were checking out and received a bill much higher than we imagined. There was no breakdown of this bill. It was clearly miscalculated and to cut a long story short we were asked to wait, which we did, for 40 min before we saw the manager who then reduced the bill. I then recalculated and realised throughout the trip all prices had been advertised without VAT and service charge. We paid these extra costs as we were tired of waiting and just wanted to go home.
4) The rooms were small and dark and ugly and the bed was uncomfortable.
In summary, this place looks much better on the internet than it is in real life. If any or all of the above is acceptable to you than you should go, I certainly wont be going back. What a waste of time and money!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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644 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 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 of 5 stars
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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2009

Had a great time. Got taken here by my partner and everything was wonderful. We had a spa break so had massage etc included and dinner in the restaurant at night. Never ever been treated to a weekend like it before and the hotel was lovely. Room very comfortable, we had our own rooftop balcony overlooking the lake and countryside. Dinner was lovely, barman very attentive and he made me a fab Caipirinha. Open fires in communal rooms, beautiful setting and beautiful rooms. I would definitely come back here again if I ever get the chance.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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High Wycombe, United Kingdom
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2009

This hotel has very high opinions of itself, reflected in the stratospheric prices of almost everything. I so wanted to like it. It has beautifully manicured lawns rolling out high above the Thames at Marlow, Buckinghamshire. The continental breakfast features real figs and poached pears, for instance. It just gets everything else slightly wrong, from the over-attentive restaurant staff laying your starched napkin on your lap, via the obsequious concierge desperate for a gratuity for leading you to your room (unrequested, but he so insisted), to the lofty comments card inviting reactions so that the hotel 'can maintain the high standards for which (they) are renowned'. I'll be the judge of that, thank you. The food in the Orangery is less expensive by a whisker than the hotel's Oak Room ('19th best restaurant in Buckinghamshire, the leaflet comically pronounces) but in such minuscule portions you'd be advised to have had supper before you eat there or you'll starve. It's beautifully cooked, yes, but served on hilariously over-large plates, which make the tiny portions look even smaller. It's not that the Danesfield House Hotel (a former HQ of Carnation Foods, by the way, according to the Pooterish history) isn't trying. It so is you can almost see the beads of sweat. Great hotels seem effortless. This one is all fur coat... Victoria Beckham would love it.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2009

We stayed here for a wedding & although the grounds & setting are pretty amazing, I can't see what extra you are paying for. Our room was distinctly average. We had a hole in the bedsheets & stain on the bathroom towel. Nothing to quibble about but at these prices I feel justified in raising it. I wouldn't rush back here although I did enjoy the continental breakfast - its too much to charge £10-£15 for cooked one on top!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2009

I was in Marlow on business on Saturday and my partner and I decided to make a weekend of it and stay in Danesfield and relax in the spa on Sunday.

The service from the first 'greeting' was amateur and dismissive. We called the hotel during transit and the receptionist was unable to confirm the full address or postcode of the hotel or give us directions. When we checked-in the receptionist mechanically went through the motions, handing us a form and barely looking up except to tell us that one of the main areas of the hotel was closed to guests use all of Saturday because of a wedding - it was by far the nicest part of the hotel.

The room was the next disappointment. My partner and I take a lot of weekend breaks, particularly to spas, in the UK and abroad, so we have an experienced expectation of a room valued at £245. The bathroom curtains were mouldy and the shower curtain on the bath was unclean. The ceiling and DIY patch woodwork was exposed in places with paint peeling off and the floor was cheap lino. The bath, also the shower, had accumulated dark marks on the rubberised surface from where previous guests had stood to use the shower. There was also urine around the base of the toilet. The bedroom itself was okay, but tatty and un-maintained. The television was of the tiny £50 box variety and difficult to see from the bed. Overall it was not worth £245, it would have been okay for £120, if everything was alright with it.

We were surprised to find that we were unable to get a table in either of the hotel restaurants, and were met with rudeness when we asked why. Instead the concierge brought us a list of hotel recommended restaurants. All 3 we tried which were close were booked-up and it was starting to look like Pizza Express. We were confidently directed to an "excellent" restaurant 3 miles down the road that the concierge guaranteed we could get a table. We asked the hotel to get us a cab. We should have been suspicious when they encouraged us to add the fare to the bill rather than pay the driver - a big mistake. When we checked-out we discovered we'd been charged two different and over-priced fares for exactly the same inbound and outbound journeys of £20 and £25. This felt nothing short of scam with the hotel probably having some 'arrangement' from which they extracted a fee.

The restaurant recommended by the concierge was very average and pricey for what it was. If you prefer your female partner to have a menu without prices, you like pink fluorescent bulbs and pre-buttered shop sliced bread with your soup, and find incorrect dishes arriving amusing, this is the place for you! Suffice to say that I was left wondering whether there was any arrangement between the concierge and the restaurant.

However, our bed experience was what finally compelled us to complain to the duty manager. We both woke up tired after a disrupted and restless night’s sleep. Initially we thought it was because of the cheap, un-giving mattress, but it became apparent that the double bed had separated and we had both been sliding into the void in the middle throughout the night. I took off all the bedding to discover that we'd slept on 2 single beds and bed bases merely pushed together - the bed bases or mattresses were not joined and the only thing that prevented them moving more than the foot apart they had were the walls on either side. At this point we decided that we no longer wished to stay in the hotel or visit the spa, we were tired and just wanted to go home.

We went down to breakfast, which served to confirm my growing sense of systemic problems with this hotel. I passed various hotel staff on the way to breakfast and smiled at the ones that weren't looking down at the floor. I was ignored. I did not take this personally; it merely informed me of a level of discontent and under-training that is inevitably impacting guests. The included breakfast consisted of mainly cheap cereals and sweet pastries; however the fruit selection available was excellent. I sat and observed the dynamics between the staff and manager. The staff were young, amateur and visibly un-sure and the manager was rude (to us and staff in front of us) and punitive. There were only two printed breakfast menus on the table in the breakfast room, and staff creatively had to take them off people to give to others. The young woman who served me was clearly swimming against the tide with her attempts to be professional, kindly apologising, and saying they had a "full house" by way of explanation as my menu got removed. I ordered Eggs Benedict at £8; on the bill it was almost £9 because VAT had not been included on the menu. It was cold by the time it reached me and the sauce had set with a skin, and the bacon had been done to a greasy crisp - I was sincerely glad that we had been unable to book either of the hotel restaurants.

On leaving, we complained to the duty manager, mainly about the bed. Fundamentally, I expect a decent night’s sleep, especially at £245 in a 5 AA star rated hotel. The duty manager went through the motions but there was a lack of sincerity or genuine concern. We had to listen to the usual lines; the bed has always been like that and no one has ever complained before etc. As expected despite all the 'concern' being expressed he offered us a token £50 off, which we did not accept. Then he offered to deduct some of the cab fares, which we had only just seen, which suggested that the hotel and cab firm had a nice little earner going. We left with £75 off overall and somewhat aggrieved but glad to drive away.

This hotel represents very poor value and we left feeling financially exploited. The rooms and many of the hotel areas are in desperate need of refurbishment - the hotel terrace restaurant looks like a down-market cafeteria. Overall, it is generally tired and dated, and has not been adequately maintained. There is zero ambience and soul to this hotel. I believe there are management issues that have led to the general low standard of service and interest in the guest. If Tesco's ran a hotel it would feel something like this!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2009

having just returned we had a lovely stay, the food in the Brasserie was very good, and the service was good although the hotel was very quiet so there was alot of staff to customers.

I do think that the english breakfast should be included in the price you pay for the hotel as on booking you are not advised that it is an extra.

One thing to be aware of is any drinks ordered in the bar incur an 12.5% service charge even if you are sitting on the bar stools at the bar.

Overall taking that into account, the grounds are spectacular, spa area relaxing and food very good.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2009

I booked Danesfield house for the Spa relaxation break (2 pers) which included both two spa treatments, room and restaurant of choice and breakfast. Conde Nast reviews, pretty pictures on the internet, the Buckinghamshire country appeal had me convinced. The expectations for somewhat of a degree of luxury was set for my girlfriend and yours truly.

Check-in went relatively smooth then matters turned for the worst. Much to our horror we were gived room 220 with views on a wall (despite the hotels website boasting either grounds or courtyard views). The room felt like a dated, dark dungeon, moreover the walls had damp patches on it's walls accompanied by the musky smell of rot/water damage. The sheets and curtains reeked of pestilence.

Our moods quickly turned for the worst. Obviously the weekend started to feel like a big mistake. After having a look in the overcrowded spa (footballers wifes galore) we decided to reconsider our trip or perhaps wallow in our misery/bad fortune over a drink and perhaps a light meal in the Orangerie brasserie.
Here we were met by the rudest waiter who turned us away as all tables were booked. The first to be available was ''perhaps in two hours time''. As we sat done by the bar we could clearly see there were several unoccupied tables. Halfway through our drinks (+/- 10 to 15 minutes later) the waiter apologised as he did not know we were hotel guests and offered to serve food in the bar. I refused as it felt like an insult still seeing the free tables in the corner of my eye.

Enough was enough. I went straight to reception to politely ask for a room change as the current one was far below par. Not forgetting to mention it's views and damp issues.
The girl at reception panicked and left us standing at reception wihout an apology, Ten minutes later she returned with another member of staff who showed us two other rooms. The difference was astounding. Do ask for room 132 with views on the grounds as advertised. We were very happy the issue was resolved, however not once did we get an apology. Neither did they offer to move our luggage. If only they would have given us the better choice to start with! Why would they choose to put us though a bad experience?

From here onwards the stay was pleasant. As I know Henley we went to the little Angel pub and had a georgious meal. We had a laugh with the pub staff. Our spirits one again uplifted!
Do ask for a local taxi service as the hotels choice of taxi (MK Marlow Private hire) charged 20 pounds for a five to ten minute drive.

As we returned my girlfriend had her prebooked treatments. She loved it. I enjoyed the spa pool and jacuzzi and had the whole area to myself as it was around 18:00.
We had prebooked dinner in the Brasserie around 21:00. Despite finding a hair in my girlfriend main course the food was of great quality. No did not panick as this does happen on occasion. We mentioned the hair and the waiter offered us a free cognac which actually did appear on my itemised bill on check out. Alas, in the end we did have a good time so I chose not mention it.

Resuming I would not particularly recommend this hotel to anyone. Not all is doom and gloom. It does have it's merits however it just lacks the maintenance, attention to detail and professionalism of staff one would expect from a ''luxury'' spa hotel. Danesfield House simply needs an overhaul of interior decor and perhaps a change in management.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Danesfield House Hotel And Spa

Address: Henley Road, Marlow-on-Thames, Medmenham SL7 2EY, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Buckinghamshire > Medmenham
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Medmenham
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Danesfield House Hotel And Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 86
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Danesfield House Hotel and Spa is an award-winning, luxury 4-star country house hotel located between the fashionable boutique shopping towns of Marlow and Henley-on-Thames in beautiful, rural Buckinghamshire. Privately owned, we represent a quintessentially British establishment overlooking acres of manicured gardens and the River Thames. Located near the M25, M4 and M40 motorways, just 45 minutes from the centre of London and 35 minutes from fashionable West London we are the ultimate Buckinghamshire Hotel to escape to. Each of the 86 rooms offers unique charm and character with the most enchanting traditional British interiors exquisitely combined with classical design. Our awards include: One Michelin Star awarded in Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2011AA, 4 Red Rosettes for Culinary Excellence, 12th Top UK Restaurant 2012 awarded by Good Food Guide 2012, Most Relaxing Spa UK 2011 awarded by Natural Health Magazine Spa Awards. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Danesfield House Hotel And Marlow
Danesfield Hotel Marlow

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