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“Lovely Weekend Away” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Black Swan Hotel

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The Black Swan Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Market Place, Helmsley YO62 5BJ, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Helmsley
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Lovely Weekend Away”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

The Black Swan is a lovely Hotel and Restaurant set in the beautiful village of Helmsley. Real picture postcard country.

The room, 35, was well appointed and clean and the atmosphere was relaxed yet of a high standard.

The food was excellent, high quality local ingredients prepared to very high standard and presented in imaginative ways. The price of the dinner menu at £36 did not reflect the high quality food and presented real value for money.

We were concerned when we arrived as a wedding reception was also at the Black Swan. The staff coped well with this and it didn't impact on our stay or service in any way.

Thoroughly enjoyed our stay and we would come back again without hesitation.

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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795 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (193)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Wakefield, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2013

We booked the one night 10 course signature menu deal for my husbands birthday. I dealt with Nicola for the booking of the night and she was so helpful and went well beyond the call of duty!
We had a beautiful room over looking the square which was spotlessly clean. Bedding, towels, toiletries all first class and much appreciated.
The gallery signature meal was an experience!! So glad we did it but were left thinking we may have enjoyed the fish and chips from bar menu more - really sorry Paul!! One comment I would make though is charging £4.95 for a bottle of water with dinner felt too much. For what we were paying, a nice jug of tap water should have been made available.
After a really comfortable night sleep we enjoyed a first class breakfast and efficient and friendly check out from James.
Quite an expensive one night stay but worth is for a special occasion. First class service throughout our stay and a quality experience. Thank you.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2013

After much debate and research into hotels that promised luxury, comfort and gastronomic delights, I finally chose this hotel as the place to be for the celebration weekend of my mum's 60th birthday. I booked 5 rooms for 10 people, for two nights, which included a two course dinner from the Market Menu, bed and breakfast at £218 per night.
When we arrived we were checked in politley and swiftly if a little cooly, not the warm welcome one would expect. Whilst making our way to the room we were a bit taken a back by the dated and tatty appearance of the corridors, cold and musty with creaking, uneven floors, something I would of course expect from the original, old side of the building but not the extension. The 'ye olde' scripture on the signs directing you to the rooms, clearly added in the 70's when the extentsion appears to have been built, need to be updated along with the stair cases which split the top floor rooms from the bottom floor rooms.
Once in our room we were very disappointed. The decor again was dated and the room was not what we had seen pitures of when booking. The bathroom was incredibly dated with a sink that was too low with a horrible surround, taps with missing hot and cold covers/caps which also only dispensed cold water, tiles that were grubby, brown stains in the corners of the floor and a bin that looked dirty/stained. The curtains smelt of stale smoke, which is either because guests still smoke in the room, choosing to hang out of the window or it used to be a smoking room and they haven't been cleaned since the smoking ban. Or maybe its because the windows are so poor and drafty that they let in the smoke of the various people sat smoking on the bench below (others were also singing/skyping on a laptop/playing music on their phones/dancing/screeching - at all hours to the point of having to call reception to ask them to be quiet after my requests had gone ignored! Not sure if they were guests, staff or random people as there is no security stopping people just entering and wandering around the hotel grounds). Based solely the decor I had asked at reception if we could be moved to a refurbished room once we learnt that others in our party had lovely new rooms, but unfortunately these were fully booked.
The bed. Hard mattress, hard pillows, creaking bed and to top it off a wooden head board with a frame and internal panel which wasn't attached to the frame properly meaning whenever we turned over it tapped against the frame, very annoying when trying to sleep. So much so we had to get up and pull the bed a good foot away from the wall to stop it happening. This teamed with noisy people outside did not make for a good nights sleep! To really stick the knife in, or should I say nail, we were sat up in bed having a cup of tea the next morning and my husband leaned his head back but shot forward immediately as there was a nail sticking out of the frame section of the wooden headboard, which had jabbed the back of his head! Not good at all!
The next morning we found the shower to be ok, but the head needs to be cleaned as some of the holes were blocked stopping water from flowing properly. After calling to check the room had a hairdryer before setting off, so I didn't have to pack one, I was disappointed the one in the room didn't work properly. It had a faulty flex that was intermitantly working which in actual fact is a health and safety/fire risk. I rang down to reception to inform them, who quickly attended with another one, great, but the alternative was a travel hair dryer which had very little air flow and only heat, which would have taken an age to dry my hair, so I end up borrowing my mum's.
When we were heading out to look around Helmsley, around 10:30/10:45am I informed reception of the issues with the headboard, also requesting alternative pillows and a spare duvet to sleep upon to soften the hard mattress. They advised they would take care of it. Once back in the room at around 2pm we had the extra duvet which had already added to the bed and the spare pillow, great, but the headboard remained the same, annoying/disappointing. After getting ready for dinner I returned to reception to raise the problem again, explaining that it hadn't been fixed. Rather than an any kind of apology for the oversight, I just got 'yes, yes, yes turn down is at 7:30 and I will get them to look at it', in a rather dismissive manner. When we returned to the room later that night, the turndown service had been however the headboard was exactly the same. Again we pulled the bed out in order to sleep/not get impaled as at it was to late to start having anyone in the room trying to fix it.
Both evenings the food was lovely, if a little inconsisent in terms of presetation. For example when eating the same dish from one night to the next, the portions sizes differed. We were booked to choose from the market menu, but could choose from another, paying the supplement, as some of our party did. I do think there should be more than 3 options for starter, main or dessert especially when this is our allocated menu, as some didn't want to pay any more for what was already an expensive 2 night break, particulalry as the bar is so pricey, and the amuse bouche should be different as the same each night is so boring! We have local gastro pubs who change it daily to offer something more to their guests.
The service in the restaurant was inconsistent. The team had made the effort to put out the table confetti and 3 balloons I had provided which I appreciated and they and the chef accomodated the lactose free dietry requirements of one of our guests very well indeed. Our waiters for the first evening did a great job providing bottles of water, getting drinks from the bar and engaging in chit chat and light banter. Wine pouring was a little slow, and if we hadn't have been a table of ten with an ice buket at the wrong end of the table to those drinking the wine it wouldn't have been an issue and I only mention it as they clearly like to offer to pour the wine as whenever we were seen asking a memeber of our party to pass the wine for us to pour, the maitre d pounced on his team to come and pour it which they did with apologies, but then didn't return the next time glasses were empty.
One the second night the balloons were back out, as requested, but orders were slower to be taken. We were offered water which we accepted but this time the waitress brought bottled water which was chargeable. A cheeky trick! We had expected the same bottles of tap water we had the first night. The waitress had already opened one and placed a second on the table, as she began to pour the opened bottle I stopped her and asked if they were chargeable which she confirmed they would be and I asked her to bring the bottles of tap water explaining this was what we had the previous night which was just fine. She replaced the unopened bottle but returned and continued to pour the bottle she had opened. I again had to stop her and ask why she was continuing with this bottle and would we be expected to pay for the one she opened and used, which she said yes. At this point I refused to accept any more of this water and explained she hadn't said she was providing chargeable water and that we would not be paying for the water she had already served. This didn't go down well with the waitress, not a word said but her glare and a roll of the eyes said it all! She did return with the bottles of tap but this then put a bit of a dampener on the evening. The food was good, with the exception of confit duck servered to my mum, which was dry and hard, odd as 6 other people, including my husband and myself ordered it and theirs were fine. My husband tried my mum's duck and agreed it was dry, but at this point it was too late to really bring it up.
Breakfasts were nice, but not awesome. Lacking in butter for the table on both days, having to ask for more twice as there were 10 people, lots of toast but not enough butter. On the second day both my husband's and my own breakfast order was wrong and had to be sent back, my husband's twice.
On checking out we explained the headboard again and our disappointment that it hadn't been fixed, a short polite apology was made but nothing more and we weren't even asked if we enjoyed our stay, perhaps they feared the worst, which would be correct given the above!
Some of the nice touches however were the chocolates and happy birthday message in my mum's room upon their arrival, along with the happy birthday slate and petit fours served after dinner on the first night. The gentleman who served drinks at our table in the bar and the Tudor room was lovely and helpful.
Other guests in our party found their rooms to be good as they had the refurbished ones, with the exception of one who had no hot water on the second evening/morning. I would suggest to anyone still thinking of booking after reading my review, to ensure they request the new rooms and if you get room 31 watch out for the nail sticking out of the headboard as who knows if it has been fixed or not!
If only one issues had occurred it would have been fine but all together left us bitter at paying the £500+ bill. I would not choose to stay here again. We have had better service and breakfasts at a Premier Inn!

Room Tip: Request a refurnished room.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2013

We booked the 2 night Dining experience and were treated to a truly divine gastronomic event. So glad we spent 2 nights rather than one so that we weren't hurried to move out. Helmsley is a lovely little town and draws in plenty of tourists with the castle, walled garden, art gallery and Duncombe Park attractions. The Black Swan also has a tea room that pulls in the discerning traveller and we started off with a sweet taster in the afternoon - gorgeous. Our evening meal was the 6 course taster menu (a 10 course option is available). The attentive and professional crew took us through 3 hours of fantastic food that had us cooing at the exquisite tastes. Our package also included afternoon tea the next day and 3 course evening meal. Now for the diet...
The rooms are spacious although the bathroom on the small side. We took a walk over to Rievaulx Abbey to help the food digest on day 2.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
County Durham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013

We did the one night 10 course taster menu and overnight stay.
Very nice welcome, a welcome cup of tea and lovely pastries although we did buy an extra couple of cakes which were OK (Carrot cake and Almond tart) but not brilliant - so choose carefully!

Room was lovely, in the old part overlooking Helmsley square. Good quality extra (Rombouts coffee, Molton and Brown, lovely bathrobes, plenty of towels, superb powerful shower, amazingly comfy bed - just al good stuff.

10 course taster - loved it but it was perhaps TOO MUCH AND TOOK TOO LONG, even for us. And we've done a few taster menus at lots of good places. Highlights - pork, puddings, scallops. Low,lights, frozen salad! You can go for the £40 wine pairing but thought this would be too much, so instead chose single glasses which were reasonable priced and very nice (Reisling and Malbec). But OH DEAR BLACK SWAN. Tap water not available, bill next day for a bottle was £4.95. Not enough to move it from 5 blobs to 4, but very marginal although breakfast made up for it.

Breakfast was fab, proper tea, whitby kippers, plump sausages, perfectly poached eggs, really the works.

Overall we paid about £250 for the night all inclusive - yes it's on the pricey side bit we had the works - a great place, great service, great quality.

Room Tip: More expensive rooms are in the old bit, quirky and nice. Cheaper rooms are modern and built out th...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Black_Swan_Hotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, November 14, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review your recent visit, we are really pleased you enjoyed yourselves and loved your room and the food. Still or sparkling water is offered at dinner, but tap water is available on request. We really do appreciate it when a guest takes the time to provide us with feedback, and your comments have been noted and passed onto Management. We hope you will choose to visit us again, and look forward to seeing you in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Yorkshire
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2013

Our fifth visit to the Black Swan and although we have always enjoyed our stay, this time it was even more fabulous! Attentive staff, beautiful newly-decorated room, amazing six-course taster menu with wine - everything was first class. So much so, we've booked to go back again for our anniversary in December. For that special night away, or just for a treat, the Black Swan is wonderful! Highly recommended!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Black_Swan_Hotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, November 12, 2013
Thank you for your lovely comments following your stay at The Black Swan. We are delighted to read that you had such a fabulous time, and enjoyed all aspects of the hotel from the service that you received, to your room, to the food. We look forward to welcoming you both back again next month for your anniversary.
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Leeds, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary here, we've stayed many times before but this time we stayed in the junior sweet, which was cosy and nicely decorated and well kitted out. We took our little border terrier with us, and the hotel had placed 2 treats in the room for him, I know they usually do this but I always think it's such a nice touch.

The Ten ten course tasting menu is very good and had some very good courses, the turbot was delicious, the pork belly very tasty. The salad course was a surprise and again delicious All the food was beautifully presented and the service is faultless.

All the staff are very friendly and make you feel very welcome. It's worth mentioning The charming (older) gentleman who works in the bar as his service and friendly manner is "old school" and rare to find now a days. He is a great asset to the hotel.

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Black_Swan_Hotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, November 12, 2013
Following your visit to the hotel for your wedding anniversary, we are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and that you found your room to be lovely and cosy and the ten course Signature Menu to be delicious. Thank you for your lovely comments regarding all of the staff and we look forward to seeing you again in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Black Swan Hotel

Address: Market Place, Helmsley YO62 5BJ, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Yorkshire > North Yorkshire > Helmsley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Helmsley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Black Swan Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in one of Yorkshire's prettiest market towns, The Black Swan in Helmsley is a superb historic inn, turned boutique hotel. Dating back to the C15th the hotel, rich in history and charm, blends antiques with classic contemporary design creating the perfect place for a relaxing break. With its own 3 AA rosette restaurant and award winning tearoom, The Black Swan Hotel provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway and a chance to escape the everyday stresses and strains. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Black Swan Helmsley
Black Swan Hotel
The Black Swan Hotel Helmsley, England

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