We stayed here courtesy of a present given to us via Buy a Gift.com. The house is absolutely stunning and the welcome second to none. We were upgraded to "The Prince of Wales Suite" which was gorgeous. I can understand why people have said that it is a bit shabby, it is but it is quite comforting that its not all new and contemporary - it just wouldn't do in a hotel of this splendour. I found it all very comfortable and full of charm and was thoroughly looking forward to our stay.
On entering the suite, we were greeted by some fruit, chocolate and water and a decanter of port (which was very welcome after dinner) - The suite itself was huge with a good sized living room, hallway, dressing room, bedroom and bathroom with his and hers basins, massive bath and separate shower. The shower was a small cause for concern as it ran hot and cold (or should I say scalding and freezing) on every use but the bath was fabulous and I could have happily stayed in there a lot longer. The views are stunning, over the gardens and towards the Thames, even with the refurbishment work being carried out I could have looked out of the window all day.
We ordered some room service as it was past lunchtime and we didn't think we could wait until our 8.15 dinner reservation. There was no direct dial button on the phone to room service so I called the reception. The lady on the phone was very helpful and rather than put me through room service, took my order and assured me that she would pass it on. She did and 15 minutes later, our lunch arrived. We ordered a couple of sandwiches which came with chunky chips. Now, I may be alone here , but every other hotel I have ever stayed in, when you order room service that happens to have chips, you would automatically get a selection of ketchups, mayonnaise etc. - no such joy here! I am sure that we could have asked for some but our lunch would probably have been cold by the time they arrived. Anyway, sandwiches were OK and chips, whilst a bit dry, hot and crispy.
We readied ourselves for dinner and went to the bar for a drink at 7.40pm. We were seated quickly and order taken we settled in our sofa and waited. And waited. And waited - my goodness, nearly 20 minutes for a glass of champagne and a Gin and Tonic - not sure what they were doing but crikey!
Once drinks were finally received and consumed, we were shown to our table in the Terrace Restaurant. We were given menus and were surprised to see that there was no Tasting Menu - it is shown on the website and frankly, its one of the reasons we booked. However, having picked starters and main courses from the fairly limited menu, we had a look at the wine list. The sommelier came over and we gave him our order. Bread arrived, with only unsalted butter, and with no salt on the table, tasted a bit boring.
With the absence of a Tasting Menu, I was sort of expecting an Amuse Bouche, but no and along came our starters within 10 minutes of ordering. Foie Gras and Ham Hock Terrine and Crab with Mango and Apple. Both presented nicely but both really lacking in flavour with no real "pizazz" to them. Anyway, we ate but as soon as our cutlery was down, plates were whisked away and mains presented! Very quick - starters to mains in under 25 minutes - I though this was fine dining! Anyway, Rabbit was about the tastiest thing throughout the meal so I win there but the Dover Sole - tiny portion with more carrot (yes carrot!) than fish and a very strange pea veloute chucked over it. Terribly disappointing all round really. Pudding was a bit better with the chocolate and raspberry dish being very nice and then cheese, which again looked lovely but all the cheese was cold, especially the Epoisses which should be running out of the room on its own traditionally. When we asked why it was all cold, the waitress simply said that it hadn't come out of the fridge early enough - really! Once finished, we looked around for someone to order coffee from and strangely from loads of people milling around we were left with no-one! couldn't be bothered to wait any longer so skipped that and went to the suite (where we had some of the complimentary port - at least this we could have at our own speed)
However, even though our bed had been "turned down" the plates from lunch were still there - odd!
Slept well but after the dinner fiasco decided to leave without breakfast. Check out was easy although I begrudge paying almost £250 for a dinner that left us so disappointed.
However lovely this hotel is and however accommodating the staff try and be, it isn't somewhere we will heading back to simply because of the food - if they upped their game, it may be worth another go but until then, sadly no return - which is a shame.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
October 1, 2013
My goodness, I have just received your review and just had to jump on straight away to respond.
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Thank you for your kind words about the house and the welcome, but I apologise that dinner was so poor. I am not surprised you begrudged paying as you did not enjoy our food, please do mention any dissatisfaction at the time as we could like to have a chance to remedy any such feelings. I wanted to be able to share with you some exciting news about future moves taking place at Cliveden. On the 7th October we have a new Chef Joining us from the Galvin Brothers restaurant, Windows, at the Hilton Park Lane. His name is Andre Garrett and he held a Michelin Star in London for many years. We wish to aim high with our culinary offering as befits such a magnificent house. We believe Andre is absolutely the chap to do this. All at the same time we are refurbishing our Restaurant and this will re open with Andre's new menus from the 15th November. I hope this news might tempt you to return one day. We sincerely hope so. Kind regards Sue W
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.