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“Fawlty Towers” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Bignell Park Hotel

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Bignell Park Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   near Bicester, Chesterton OX26 1UE, England   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Chesterton
Brighton, England
Top Contributor
139 reviews 139 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
134 helpful votes 134 helpful votes
“Fawlty Towers”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2013

Had Living Social deal booked for 2 nights with my best friend. Arrived to friendly reception from Lindsay (she turned out to be a real gem). There was a young Scottish man also there, who had guided us in by phone when we had trouble finding the place. He stood and watched as two women, one of a certain age (me) heaved our luggage up the stairs to our room, nice! There was only one set of towels in the bathroom and one bedside lamp in our twin bedded room. This was reported and rectified later, although we were handed the items rather than have them placed in the room. The attic room was pleasant enough, tired and bad paintwork, but the beds were very comfortable. At dinner, the Fawlty Towers experience really kicked in. My friend enquired of the very young Spanish (I think) waitress what were the summer vegetables served with the lamb rump.She left, looking puzzled, then returned from the kitchen and happily informed us, "yes, they are vegetables". Trying again, we asked her which vegetables. Another trip and she came back with the info. We had the scallops starter to share - these were three very large king scallops, slightly undercooked but very nice all the same. The only other diner in the restaurant then had a trio of desserts in shot glasses delivered to the table only for them all to be overturned on delivery! The lamb was duly ordered alongside my wild mushroom risotto. The lamb was cooked pink just as desired and very flavoursome; my risotto was rather over garlicky and too cheesy but pleasant enough. In the middle of eating our main courses at approximately 8.45pm the same waitress returned and informed us that if we wanted dessert we had to order now or not at all. The chef was leaving. As last orders for dinner were supposed to be 9.30pm we were rather bewildered, and the lack of English speaking skills from our waitress didn't help. We promptly lost interest in desserts. On requesting to speak to the manager, we were told that there was no-one available present. I believe there are supposed to be three managers here, so we were puzzled and unimpressed to say the least. Lindsay, the lovely receptionist came to speak to us and apologized profusely, offered us another bottle of chardonnay which we'd had to accompany the dinner and she promised she would inform the manager who would be there the next morning. Subsequently, with other diners in the room, whilst we were again in the middle of eating (Full English breakfast for her, overcooked kippers for me) the manager appeared and apologized for the previous night. He informed us why the chef had left so abruptly - he had received sad personal news. We said that had that been explained properly to us the night before, we would have been more understanding about it. He then went on to share his own personal sad news which we didn't particularly wish to know and was none of our business. There was an eleven year old girl helping to serve us both days at breakfast, the manager's relative apparently, and although she was polite and charming I don't think it promotes a professional approach. This hotel obeys the unwritten rule of most establishments by the way. It doesn't matter how much you request well done toast, you will get slices of bread that may have been toasted one side if you're lucky, and the butter is served on a saucer, two teeny slivers at a time.
We spent an amazing day in Oxford (wonderful city) and arrived home very tired and footsore. Sitting in the bar area we were chatting pleasantly to four other guests (two of which had almost decided on packing up and going home early after a disastrous dinner in the hotel restaurant). We were sipping more chardonnay and decided to order some bar food. From a fairly limited menu, I decided on the prawn sandwich with marie rose sauce having asked and been answered that it came in brown bread. My companion ordered a cheese ploughmans. The waitress (different from dinner) asked if I wanted marie rose sauce with the prawns. She explained that unless she wrote down exactly what to order, the chef would not work off the menu! For example, there was a ham & cheese omelette listed, but as she had only put omelette on a previous order, that's exactly what he cooked, a plain omelette! So, after sorting that out, we were served our food. A prawn and marie rose sauce in white bread and a hunk of stale bread with two mean slivers of cheese, a couple of slices of apple, and bizarrely a small tub of apple sauce. Incidentally, this came at the princely sum of £5.50 for the sandwich and £7.50 for the ploughmans! When I mentioned that I'd been told that it would be a brown bread sandwich, the waitress said she thought it would be and that was the last of the prawns. My friend pointed out that her bread was stale and hard, and we both refused the food. After a little while, the chef burst into the room with two plates, a brown bread prawn sandwich (presumably the other white one had been scraped out) and the cheese ploughmans with a warm hunk of bread which strongly resembled the original. He thrust the ploughmans at my companion stating loudly and aggressively that he made the bread daily and it wasn't stale. She pointed out to him that the first chunk had been stale and he simply repeated himself then flounced out. The bread was probably the same chunk moistened and then warmed through, as it was rock hard within minutes. We asked for the manager and was again told that there was no-one available. Lindsay came to the rescue (she must work incredible hours!) apologized, and asked if the manager had dealt satisfactorily with our original complaint, to which we had to say, not really. She said that we had to wait until the next morning to speak to the manager, quelle surprise. This time, at breakfast, the same manager as before, stuck his head in the dining room, saw us, glared and left! After eating, we looked in his office, but no luck. Going outside, there he was. My friend then asked if he had been informed of the previous night's event. He replied in the affirmative, said that he had spoken to the chef and then went silent. Our response was "and?" He then went into complete waffle politician speak, that he wasn't going to prejudge, he had to speak to his MD and then do this and that. We looked at each other astonished. When we pointed out to him that again that there had been no manager available the previous evening, that we were forced to seek him out, we were not interested in the internal affairs of his hotel and had not even received an apology he stopped making eye contact. He said that he didn't want to speak to us in front of other diners, and my friend promptly reminded him that he'd had no such compunction the previous morning. He rambled on again, apologized but kept wittering on about following Company rules and that he had apologized several times and that was sufficient. When I pointed out that both myself and friend had our own businesses and that our customers were not the slightest bit interested in our personal problems, they just wanted the service they had paid for he had no reply. This man is completely ineffectual and has no idea how to deal with disgruntled guests. With more staff like Lindsay, a proper management system and some TLC to the building, this could be a cracking little hotel. What a shame!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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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276 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

Bit disappointing expected a bit better, room average smelt a bit musty. Helpful friendly staff bit of a venue for meetings and weddings. Breakfast ok didn`t dine so cannot comment, I booked this on a deal b&b with massage for two nights as a anniversary treat for my wife she enjoyed the massage glad I didn`t pay full price.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2013

Stayed here for one night in July and had a very pleasant stay. Very warm and friendly staff in the hotel on arrival which started off the visit nicely. The room itself was average for the room rate of £81, the bed was comfortable but the windows in the room didn't shut and there was also a snail stuck to the inside of the window. En suite was adequate but again for £81, I would have expected a little better.

The breakfast was very good with a wide selection of food to choose from.

I would have expected to pay around £60-£70 for this room so at £81 I felt it was a overpriced for what it was. However, I still had a pleasant stay and would visit again if the rates were reduced or the hotel had a bit of an upgrade.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solihull, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2013

Pretty country hotel. Standards of hotel good for a 3*. Hotel staff pleasant and welcoming. The rooms are lovely.
However the bar/ restaurant are a different matter. Planned a drink in the bar before dinner, the bar staff/ waitresses were i think Spanish. Explained we would like to sit and have a drink before dinner. They gave us menus. After being interrupted 3 times we gave our order but explained we would like to finish our drinks before going to the restaurant. Less than 5 mins later we were summoned to the restaurant as our starters were on the table! Throughout the meal though polite and very pleasant they struggled to understand us. The meal was of poor quality. We both ordered whole plaice which were pale slimy and small. Breakfast was ok but limited. Having stayed here before we could see corners had been cut. In fact when we stayed last Autumn the restaurant was superb which was the reason we came back! It was really disappointing to see how the standards had dropped. Don't think I will be staying here again.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Southsea, Hants
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

My friend and I stayed at Bignell Park for a Saturday and Sunday night. It was blisteringly hot but the room was air conditioned room and comfortable. We did notice a strange smell,we didn't work out what it was but you do get used to it! Our room was on the ground floor ,we were relieved to find there was no wedding that weekend as the marquee was next door. The bathroom needed updating.
The highlight of the hotel is the food, the dinner on Saturday night was really good. We found the breakfast fine too, lovely selection of fresh fruit and a good cooked breakfast ( could do with some vegetarian options though) Have to agree with another reviewer that the choice and volume of music in the restaurant needs addressing. All the staff were all very friendly and helpful.
Hotel is in quiet location, we went into Oxford twice... wouldn't bother with Bicester Outlet village
again, it was horrible,

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 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.
Midlands
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
114 helpful votes 114 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

Worst Service I have Ever Experienced

My wife booked this hotel as she said the pictures on the internet looked lovely.

Unfortunately, the whole weekend was spoilt by the poor service and facilities at this supposedly 3 star hotel.

The arrived at the hotel around 15:00 after spending a wonderful morning shopping at the Bicester Village outlet. The hotel is set in beautiful grounds. There was ample parking when we arrived though parking would be a problem is there was a wedding or some other function being held.

On arrival, there was no one in reception and no one around to be seen. Eventually, a lady arrived with a badge which stated she was the ‘Reception Manager’. Check-in was smooth and we were on the ground floor. The room was baking as the temperature outside was around 27 degrees. The bed was comfortable and the room was pleasantly laid out. There was a large LCD TV. The furniture in the room was something that my Mum would have had – back in the 1970’s! We looked around but couldn’t find the switch to turn the air conditioning on.

We went back to reception and asked about the air conditioning – only to be told that there wasn’t any. When I pointed out that the temperature in the room was sweltering, we were told that we would have to just leave our windows open at night – I wonder how many ladies on their own or families with children would have felt like, sleeping in a ground floor room with their windows open at night. So we decided to put up with that and asked if we could order some food. To our amazement, we were told that there was no food on until 17:00 as that was the time the Chef came back. When we asked what guests usually did for food, we told to find a local pub.

We searched high and low for a local pub as we were starving. In the end, we gave up and drove back to Bicester where we found a Sainsburys Store. Here we bought sandwiches and bottles of water. We went back to the hotel and asked if we could get a drink. We were told where we could find the bar. The bar area was so small that the hotel could only fit 5 sofas in it. We waited for nearly 5 minutes for someone to come and serve us. Eventually, we got so fed up and bumped into a cleaner and asked here where the bar waiter / waitress was. They said that they would send someone. After another five minutes, the girls who was the ‘Reception Manager’ now became the ‘Bar Manager’ and started to serve us. In the middle of serving us, she disappeared. After 5 minutes I went hunting for her and found her on reception signing in new guests – she had her ‘Reception Manager’ badge back on . Eventually, she came back and finished serving us.

I ordered a pint of lager and it smelt off. I told them that and they offered me another draft beer. This one didn’t smell but the temperature of this was around 25 degrees and was not being chilled. They apologised to me again and offered me a choice of canned Guinness or Cider – both of which I am not fond off. As beggars can’t be choosers, I drank canned Guinness for the rest of the evening.

We had a kip for a few hours in a room which felt like a sauna.

We went back to the bar area in the evening. There were more people on but still not draught beer. My wife wanted some pineapple with the drink and was told that she had to have ice in it as the juices were warm – they had not been kept in the fridge. On the plus side we had our drinks in the garden which was lovely laid out and made you feel as though you were out in the countryside.

The restaurant had quite a number of staff on. The menu choice was good but the portions on offer were miserly. For my starter I ordered quall and I was served one piece which was approximately 2 inches long. For my main I ordered the pork and got 4 cubes (yes cubes) of pork each no wider than an inch and a half. For the accompanying potatoes I got of potatoes again this time it was around 2 inches wide by around 2 inches in height. I have seen bigger portions being served to school children. What irritated me about the portions was that had I walked off the street and ordered these items, I would have paid around £22 for them. In the end I ended up ordering an additional side dish of fries.

The room was very warm at night. My wife refused to sleep with the ground floor windows open and so didn’t really have much of a choice but to put up with the heat.

For my cooked breakfast in the morning the portions were miserly and certainly inadequate for someone with a healthy appetite like mine.

We just couldn’t wait to have our breakfast and leave. What should have been a wonderful weekend was spoilt by the poor level of service and amenities at this hotel.

Room Tip: Try another hotel :)
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.

Travelers are raving about these Chesterton hotels

Derby, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

Spent the weekend of 6-7th July at Bignell Park for my husband's birthday, got a good deal on Groupon. The hotel is out in the countryside near Biscester and seems to be geared up for the wedding/ conference market, neither of those going on when we were there though the hotel seemed pretty full. We had a lovely room on the first floor which was big, quite individual and not the usual "bog standard" hotel room layout. Hotel was well looked after and clean, all the staff i came into contact with were extremely friendly and helpful. We didn't dine in the restaurant as we had other plans in Oxford, but the breakfast was certainly fine, with a good choice. The hotel has lovely gardens and areas to sit outside for a drink which we were certainly able to take advantage of with the nice weather. The hotel is a great place for exploring Oxfordshire - and nice and close to the Biscester Retail Outlet (!!) I would certainly stay there again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bignell Park Hotel

Address: near Bicester, Chesterton OX26 1UE, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Chesterton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Chesterton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Bignell Park Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel: A charming Oxfordshire country hotel, a wedding venue and award-winning restaurant. Our twenty-two bedrooms are all individually styled, Bignell Park Hotel combines charm and character with first-class facilities. Situated in the peaceful village of Chesterton, just minutes from the M40 motorway yet with unbroken views across the countryside, you could not be further from hustle and bustle. Catering for both the corporate and leisure markets, our service is unobtrusive yet always attentive... For both business and pleasure, Bignell Park is the ideal location as a hotel. Only 2 miles from Bicester Village Outlet Centre, the perfect location for relaxing with a glass of wine after a hard days shopping. At Caparo Hotels, we believe that business should be a pleasure and peaceful pleasure is the best regeneration. English heritage: Situated in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside and enjoying magnificent views, the Bignell Park Hotel offers quality hotel accommodation and is the perfect location for exploring the very best of English heritage and beauty. So whether you join us for business or pleasure, we think you will want to stay at the Bignell Park Hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bignell Park Chesterton
Bignell Park Hotel Chesterton, England, UK

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