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“Not as good as it thinks it is” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Bell Hotel

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The Bell Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   The Quay, Sandwich CT13 9EF , England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sandwich
Deal
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Not as good as it thinks it is”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2009

The good - in an area of the UK devoid of good hotels, The Bell Hotel is at least making an effort to be modern and stylish and the food is excellent.

The bad - the rooms are small and ours (room 38) had no view, looking straight at the roof of the hotel 2 metres away, more importantly the room stank of food as we were obviously above the kitchen or next to an extractor. The fittings are cheap, especially the bathrooms. Once turned on our shower wouldn't turn off agan. But worst of all was the attitude of the senior staff whose default position seems to be that the customer is always wrong.

In conclusion, this could be a nice hotel, if they charged appropriately for sub-standard rooms, f they upgraded their fittings and, most importantly, trained their staff in how to deal with upset customers. We have stayed in hotels around the world. Sometimes things go wrong, its inevitable. The mark of a good hotel be it a 3 star or 5 star deluxe is that if you complain about something you come away feeling that the staff have done their utmost to help you. And done it with a smile!

PS Bring ear plugs - the sound proofng isn't great between rooms, and the pigeons and church bells can give you a rather early wake up call.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BellHotel, General Manager at The Bell Hotel, responded to this review, September 3, 2009
Thank you for your comments. I am sorry and disappointed to hear that you were not entirely satisfied with your stay with us last weekend.

We try to ensure all of our guests are satisfied and on the occasion we do not get this right, we do our up most to solve the problem, unfortunately the Hotel was full through out the Bank Holiday weekend and we were unable to move you to an alternative Room. As soon as we were made aware of the problem with the shower on Saturday morning, we arranged for a plumber to come on site and change the unit. I take on board your comments regarding the fittings but have had very little problems since they were installed. I will investigate the sound proofing issues and look at ways of improving upon this and thank you for raising this with me.

I am pleased that you enjoyed the Food and appreciated the design and refurbishment we have carried out over recent years.

If I can be of any further help or if you would like to discuss this further please feel free to email or phone me direct.

Many Thanks

Matt Collins
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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330 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    150
    113
    49
    13
    5
See reviews for
37
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kent
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2009

Renovations continuing. Dinner was good. Lots of stairs to bedrooms without a lift but this will be reflected in its star rating. Bedroom window difficult to open and obscured glass giving claustraphobic feel to an otherwise nice room. Bed and linens excellent. Parking difficult.

Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2009

Nice hotel, had a really cheap rate for a double room with breakfast but bed in room 20 certainly wasn't 5 ft, i think not as advertised and was a 4ft single ?

Would go back but be choosy about room

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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United Kingdom
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2009

Wonderful hotel, good food/wine and delightful rooms, all individually decorated with extremely comfortable beds. Try and get a room overlooking the river. Nothing was too much trouble for the charming staff. Sandwich is an easy town to explore on foot and there are a number of longer, well signposted walks around the area. We only stayed for a weekend but will definitley return and we can certainly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Warwickshire
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
68 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2009

This was very nearly a great hotel, but unfortunately was let down poor management. Individually all the staff were pleasant and helpful, but nobody seemed to know quite what their role was. For example, at breakfast either everybody tried to take your order or you were left to your own devices until you intercepted one of them, that was of course after they all tried to show you to a table. That confusion was also evident in the kitchen because some elements of the breakfast came out piping hot whilst others were merely warm and nobody seemed to be allocated to replenishing the contents of the buffet.
On the hotel website their is a promotional video and one scene is of the owner proudly showing off the new carpet in the corridor. She has obviously not been down that corridor, or any other of the newly carpeted areas recently because it is badly in need of cleaning. As this is the carpet you use to get to your room for the first time it does make you wonder what you will find when you open the door. Fortunately, that was a very clean and pleasant room, well equipped but much smaller than expected.
The one dinner we had there was good enopugh but we felt it did not represent good value for money, being overpriced compared to similar meals elsewhere.
The lack of attention to detail took the edge of what could have been a really good stay. What is needed is for management to actually manage.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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BellHotel, Manager at The Bell Hotel, responded to this review, June 22, 2009
Thank you for your comments.

I am disappointed to hear that you felt the service at Breakfast in our Restaurant was not up to our usual high standard during your stay with us and I will ensure this is addressed immediately.

The Carpet leading up the stairs and on the Landing was replaced earlier this year and is cleaned on a regular basis.
Unfortunately the carpet on the stairs and through out the bedroom corridors has not been as hard wearing and more susceptible to staining than we had hoped. We will be replacing some of the more heavily walked areas shortly.

If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Matt Collins
General Manager
01304 613388
mcollins@bellhotelsandwich.co.uk
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Tunbridge Wells
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2009

I have just returned from a 2 night stay at the Bell with my parents. They had stayed before 2 years ago and were a little fearful about the food in particular. I had attended a School in Sandwich and wondered how the place itself might have changed over 30 years.
Fortunately, change was major on one front and minor on the other.
Sandwich is an unspoilt Gem- not just in Kent, but compared to anywhere in the UK. I even noticed a sprightly man whose recession-proof job was to clean the brass door furniture around the town, his customer-base a lesson to us all.The Hotel Food was so good (all sourced from within 30 miles we were told) that we ended up eating there both nights such was the beauty of the menu with a sufficent number of dishes to choose from each course (not too many which raises alarm bells) but so well constructed- compliments to the Chef! The rooms were clean, tasteful and very comfortable (Note to Hotel :feather pillow option would be good) though you may want a slightly bigger room than the basic if two are sharing. My Parents had a four poster room overlooking the River They loved the boats sailing past their window in the early morning viewed from their balcony (or bed!).
Little things count - DAB radio's in the rooms (my parents had bought their Roberts with them in case) - a profuse apology from the a young and enthusiastic member of staff who had forgotten to get the (home made) crisps we asked for before dinner - Excellent kentish wine from Chapel Down so reasonably priced - Well furnished communal areas.
We were blessed with perfect weather which may create a little hindsight bias, but having travelled extensively and paid far more for far less, I'll be going back with my wife next time.
I understand the hotel is now a stand-alone entity. If it is , it is an example to all who want to break away from bigger Companies whose 'management from the centre' methods often reduce opportunity for local creativity and dull initiative and pride. I hope these levels can be maintained- That, unfortunately, is often the issue..........

  • Stayed April 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Brighton, UK
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2009

Went on their 'winter blues' offer for £180 for two people for two nights including breakfast and dinner on one night. I think this was fab value!

The hotel is a nice old red brick building down by the river - it's been extended and modernised a little but in the main this has been done very sympathetically and the decor inside gives a simple but traditional and cosy feel. As you go through the wooden revolving doors you enter a charming lounge which reflects the history of the place while still being quite contemporary.

We asked for a room with a bath and shower which we were duly given (very large bathroom!), and even though we had a 'standard' room it still felt spacious. Lovely colour scheme in the room, very tranquil and clean. Housekeeping was good and arranged our room after we went out on the first day, even though we were a bit slow to get going and didn't go out until the early afternoon.

Our meal in the restaurant was just great - had the local Rye bay scallops to start and sumptuously tender Romney Marsh lamb as a main course, followed by cheeses and lemon tart. All wonderful and fresh tasting. Given the quality of the food and the focus on local produce, this is probably one of the nicest places to eat in Sandwich, which did seem to suffer from a few pubs charging over the odds for actually not very good food! My only gripe was that the bar area was a little soulless and uncomfortable for eating from their reasonably priced bar menu, a shame considering the rest of the building had been updated in a more fitting style.

Breakfast was also very good with lots of options freshly cooked to order including full english, local kippers and smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. The continental buffet breakfast - pastries/hams/cheeses/bread - seemed to disappear quite fast (we normally got down for the last hour between 9 and 10) and it didn't appear to be restocked although I think you could ask if you wanted more of it. However, we are probably just being greedy (!) because as I've said the freshly cooked items, as well as cereals, were plentiful and readily available.

Finally, the hotel is in a great location, right in the middle of Sandwich by the river, just right for an explore round the town. Parking is limited (about 5-6 spaces outside the hotel), but the pay and display by the river close by is about £5 for all day and you can pay the evening before for the next day which saves getting up early!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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Additional Information about The Bell Hotel

Address: The Quay, Sandwich CT13 9EF , England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Kent > Sandwich
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sandwich
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Bell Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 37
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A traditional hotel with a chic modern twist. Thirty-seven individually decorated ensuite bedrooms, a restaurant menu which varies with seasonal availability and a choice of two beautifully refurbished function rooms. The Bell Hotel Sandwich is the ideal choice as a leisure destination or as a venue for weddings, conferences and private events.Throughout the year, the Bell Hotel holds events and exhibitions to: support the local arts, to promote the produce of local and regional farmers and growers and to participate in Sandwich festivals and celebrations ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bell Hotel Sandwich
The Bell Hotel Sandwich, Kent

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