We stayed here for a wedding last weekend. We took advantage of the NORTHUMBERLAND WINE AND DINE offer directly from the hotel's web site of £170 for 2 nights in a standard double room with breakfasts, a three course meal for two in the Boyson Restaurant and a free bottle of wine on our first night.
I am going to give an account of my stay, in the hopes that you will identify those aspects that may concern you. I strongly believe that depending upon your expectations you could really enjoy a stay here, equally you could be extremely disappointed.
From the outside the hotel looks beautiful - lovely grounds, beautiful old country house. However as soon as you step inside it immediately becomes clear that this is a huge, impersonal, conference / events venue where the staff are struggling to meet the demands of running such a place.
In the two days I was there I heard staff say "I'm so sorry about that" and " I do apologise" over 50 times (and I only started counting after I realised that it was being said over and over again!)
If you are travelling for business be aware that the WIFI connection does not work. The connection is so weak that even the login page does not load up. Also we could not get a signal on our phones or 3G (vodaphone, t-mobile/orange, and three). Perfect if you want to escape, but problematic if you have work to do.
Our evening meal in the Boyson Restaurant was pretty good. Food had good flavour and was nicely presented, but small things made us feel it just wasn't "that special" - the seat of my chair was torn, the menus were in a rather sticky plastic cover, the waiter was friendly but inexperienced - he looked about 12 years old and, as an example of his inexperience, he served our wine by just dumping the bottle on the table for us to deal with ourselves. While I am perfectly capable of pouring my own wine, I do think that in a restaurant you should be asked if you want to taste it, and the waiter should pour the first glass. We weren't offered any water and had to request it several times. There were optional extras (over and above the set menu) - we opted for vegetables which were wonderful - plain, steamed mixed veg, cooked to perfection and a great completemt to the rich main course. Also the full cheeseboard was very good - it would have been nice to see a glass of port on the menu (or better still included with the most expensive cheeseboard option)
Our room 474 was small, old fashioned and lacked style, but it was very clean and everything functioned as it should ( TV, Kettle, Iron, Trouser press, toilet, shower, radiator, all worked well ).
The wedding ceremony in the Grand Hall was lovely - the bride descended the sweeping staircase like a Hollywood star! the space felt intimate and personal. The restaurant was niceky decorated for the wedding breakfast, the food was OK and the waiting staff managed to get food out table by table fairly efficiently. The evening disco was loud and we had a lot of fun, but if you are looking for a quiet weekend you need to be aware that weddings are this hotel's main business at weekends, and so there will be lots of noisy drunk people around!
Breakfast on both days was a disaster. On the Sunday we arrived for breakfast at 9:15 and were still there at 10:50 because it took so long to get served. The staff were extremely apologetic, but clearly the Food and Beverage Manager needs to better manage the breakfast process. Neither the waiting staff nor the kitchen could cope with demand, and the resaturant wasnt even half full!
First we waited ages for a menu, then for tea/coffee, then for our orders to be taken. When the food eventually arrived it was not what we had ordered. I watched 3 staff failing miserably to clear 1 table, another staff member standing around looking lost around the cereals staion, and yet another ataff member hoverring around the entrance doing nothing, while people at tables were clamouring for attention and simply being ignored. I don't know why they don't just run breakfast as a buffet so that you can help yourself, rather than have to suffer such terrible service.
I genuinely felt extremely sorry for the staff at Longhirst. They are mostly very young, friendly, and well intentioned, but they need to be better managed, better trained, and given the tools and resources to do the best job they can. I couldn't help but think how demotivating it would be to work in a place like this where you genuinely try your best, but your best just isn't good enough, and most of your clients seem to be unhappy - so all you can do is appologise! I don't imagine anyone can enjoy working in that kind of environment, and as the previous reviewer said, I suspect turnover is high. It's such a shame because the staff appeared to have a lot of potential, and with a bit more resource, and much better management Longhirst could tap into this and become a really good hotel.
The hotel is very spread out, rooms are down a rabbit warren of corridors. If it is important to yo...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.