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“If only?” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Down Hall Country House Hotel

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Down Hall Country House Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Matching Road | Bishop's Stortford, Hatfield Heath CM22 7AS, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 hotels in Hatfield Heath
Hoddesdon, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“If only?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

Visited Down Hall last night as part of a Murder/Mystery night package. Firstly, the entertainment section of the evening was wonderful, with a professional company playing out a great murder/mystery. It was let down by the food & the accommodation. It was a set menu, which was not advised in advance with only vegetarians being offered an alternative. In addition, there was not enough staff and we waited quite a while for the food. But what was probably most disappointing is the tiredness of the magnificent rooms in this country house set in wonderful surroundings. It may have been said before on this forum, but a major overhaul of the accommodation & public areas is well overdue.
Swimming pool shut down & currently being converted into a Spa centre.

Room Tip: Rooms numbered 300-320 are ground floor with French windows onto the extensive lawns. Pets allowed!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
DownHallManagement, General Manager at Down Hall Country House Hotel, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Thank you for your review, the actors for the murder mystery are very good and great fun. I have recently taken over as the General Manager and am in the process of reviewing some of our current policies including quality of food for all of our functions, this is part of a much bigger development which includes refurbishment to the West Wing bedrooms and public areas and a new Spa facility which opens in March 2014. I hope that we can welcome you back to Down Hall in the future and thank you for taking the time to write your review
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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903 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (230)
Date | Rating
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English first
Somerset, England
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

My wife and I attended a wedding in Essex and stayed for two nights B & B at this hotel. The building is impressive and the grounds nice to walk in. The breakfast was very good and fresh on both mornings. We had a ground floor room as requested looking out onto woodland and we saw deer wandering amongst the trees and bushes. It would have been an enjoyable stay except for one thing. The hotel allows guests to have their dogs with them in the rooms and we had one both sides of us and they barked at everything keeping as awake. I complained to the night porter and the matter was resolved but we had no warning of this possibility and thus will not stay there again. To add insult to injury my wife lost a sapphire from a ring whilst we were there.

Room Tip: One away from where dogs are likely to be with guests.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
DownHallManagement, General Manager at Down Hall Country House Hotel, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Thank you for your review. I have recently taken over as the General Manager and am in the process of reviewing some of our current policies including continuing to allow Dogs in bed rooms.This is part of a much bigger review process as we are refurbishing the West Wing bedrooms and public areas. I hope that we can welcome you back to Down Hall in the future and thank you for taking the time to write your review
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North of London
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

Had a set menu lunch with friends recently and we were all pleasantly surprised with this country house situated in a quiet backwater of the Essex countryside. The menu was good with adequate choices and a reasonable price. The weather was superb and we ate outside but there were lots of wasps around wishing to share our meal! The waiter eventually put a small pot of honey on an adjacent table where they enjoyed themselves even more especially after my wife had dispatched a couple. Not the hotel's fault of course. Grounds of many acres are wonderful and there are walks galore and even a large scale chess game in the open. Would happily revisit this characterful house even if it is a little tired in places.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DownHallManagement, General Manager at Down Hall Country House Hotel, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Thank you for your review. I have recently taken over as the General Manager and am delighted to hear that you had an enjoyable stay with us. I hope we can welcome you back in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pulborough, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

It would be hard to beat the value of our one night Travelzoo stay. Spacious room, huge TV, friendly staff and good food. Dinner was included in our package. If not, the Grill room food would have been overpriced at £32 for 3 courses and there are huge supplements on some items. Wine was rather expensive but considering the deal we had we have no complaints and would be happy to return. Breakfast was excellent. The building is very attractive and set in lovely grounds.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DownHallManagement, General Manager at Down Hall Country House Hotel, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review your time with us on your Travelzoo deal. I have recently taken over as the General Manager and am in the process of reviewing our current restaurant policies including pricing and seasonal variations. I do hope that we can welcome you back to Down Hall in the future and thank you once again for write your review
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Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

A grand old manor house ,we were given a very large room . With a large bathroom,with two sinks.
We had tea and coffee making facilities.
The only downside was the supplement charges in the restaurant.
The staff were very helpfull,the grounds are nice to walk around,
Near by attractions the Henry Moore foundation and Hatfield forest near by

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DownHallManagement, General Manager at Down Hall Country House Hotel, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review your time with us and I pleased to hear you had a nice large room. I have recently taken over as the General Manager and am in the process of reviewing our current restaurant policies including pricing. I do hope that we can welcome you back to Down Hall in the future and thank you once again for write your review.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

We went on an overnight last minute Secret Hotel Hotel deal.

This is an elegant looking hotel from the outside. The grounds are picturesque, which includes a touch of quirkiness with the oversized chess board. The interior has been decorated akin with the Italian Renaissance, to give a feeling of it being older than it is. It is clearly a place for big events, weddings mainly, training courses and conferences. There was a wedding going on when we stayed. The main hall was elegant, more for show than relaxing in.

The room was clean and quiet. Bed comfortable. Only downside was the tea/coffee tray, which was tucked away in the wardrobe, had to be set down on the floor to be near a socket, as the flex from the kettle wouldn't reach the socket when set down on the bureau.

The breakfast was of good quality and the service was good. I wouldn't stay there again for a quiet break at a weekend. However, it would be nice for a midweek break at a bargain rate as I couldn't afford to pay the full price. Overall it was good value for money, at short notice for a one off stay.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DownHallManagement, General Manager at Down Hall Country House Hotel, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Thank you for your kind review, you may be aware that the Halls history dates back to 1322, and is an Italianate mansion. Yes we are lucky that we are popular with all kinds of events. We are always very happy to welcome individual travellers to the Hall. I have recently taken over as General Manager and would hope that you will visit us again in the future as we undergo our refurbishment of the West Wing bedrooms which will mean no more Trays in wardrobes. Thank you once again.
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Birmingham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
163 reviews 163 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

A two night stay at Down Hall as part of a 'Great Escapes' package turned out to be something of a mixed bag of experience, some good and some bad. More about the ugly later. The package was certainly good value at £65 per night per room including a bottle of wine with each dinner, and so I did expect to be accommodated in one of the peripheral (hard to fill) rooms overlooking the kitchen roof and its extraction units. And we were (#207). My wife described it as 'quaint'. I would describe it as 'dated'. Nevertheless, the bathroom had been refurbished and was spacious, clean and fresh, with a shower(very slippery with no shower mat) and a bath. Tea and coffee facilities could be found in the wardrobe.

Upon arrival at 4.30pm, we were told that the restaurant was fully booked and the options were a bar meal or a recommended local eatery. Having driven for four hours, we opted for a
the bar meal. The manager agreed the complimentary wine could accompany us to the bar. Surprisingly, our bar meals were very tasty and quite generous. My wife's tuna salad proved a great success, despite the fish being slightly overcooked.

Our bed proved to be very comfortable and our room was relatively quiet, despite the hotel catering for three weddings alongside various events such as murder mystery and 60th birthdays. The hotel certainly packs in its 'special events'.

On our second day, we returned from a long day in London at 7.30pm, ready for a well earned restaurant meal booked for 8.30pm, only to discover that our room had not been attended to - looking just as we had left it 10 hours earlier. An apology from the reception and a maid sent quickly to attend to the room. She did a quick job that's all one could say!

Although our dinner in the grill room was faultless, the menu was messy in its preoccupation with 'supplements'. Two of five starters and two of five mains had supplementary charges to the standard £32 for three courses, while all steak dishes had extra charges of around £20 each steak. Nevertheless, our food was exquisitely presented and tasted delicious. Although my main dish of chicken with beetroot risotto was quite loud in colour, the rice was expertly cooked and the chicken tender and tasty. My wife's sea bass was equally successful - one of the best pieces of fish in a long time, she said!

So what about the ugly? Our room was in need of an overhaul but what was that ugly looking trouser press doing propping up the TV? The last time I used a trouser press like this was in 1983 in the Railway Hotel in Chester and appropriately I ended up with tram lines down each leg. Who uses these ugly devices these days? No one at Down Hall this weekend, I checked! Jeans, tracksuit bottoms, slacks, shorts, cords were all devoid of cycle tracks or even tram lines. Lets ditch these ugly devices that still inhabit outdated hotel rooms.

As for the 'Great Escapes' package, I suppose that you get what you pay for. But for a 60% saving on normal hotel costs, you have to expect a 60% reduction in quality. I don't think we will use Great Escapes again, but as for Down Hall, we might return and pay for a not so 'quaint' room next time.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
DownHallManagement, General Manager at Down Hall Country House Hotel, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Thank you for your review I am disappointed that we did not meet your expectation during your stay. I have recently taken over as the General Manager and am in the process of reviewing some of our current policies including our restaurant service standards and housekeeping performance to mention but a few, this is part of a much bigger development which includes refurbishment to the West Wing bedrooms (no more trouser presses) and public areas and a new Spa facility which opens in March 2014. I hope that we can welcome you back to Down Hall in the future and thank you for taking the time to write your review
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Down Hall Country House Hotel

Address: Matching Road | Bishop's Stortford, Hatfield Heath CM22 7AS, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Hertfordshire > Hatfield Heath
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 hotels in Hatfield Heath
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Down Hall Country House Hotel 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Down Hall Hotel is one of England's most established country house hotels. Located in Hatfield Heath, near Bishop's Stortford on the Hertfordshire and Essex border, Down Hall Hotel is 45 minutes from central London and also ideally located near London Stansted Airport. Dating back to 1322, this impressive Italianate mansion is an historic setting. The hotel's grand interiors, ornate ceilings and abundance of natural daylight combine to make Down Hall Country House Hotel an experience like no other. Down Hall has recently completed the refurbishment of 54 West Wing Executive bedrooms and added a brand new gym, sauna and steam room facility. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Down Hall Country Hotel
Down Hall Hotel
Hotel Down Hall Country
Down Hall Country House Hotel Hatfield Heath, Hertfordshire

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