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“Saracens Head revisited” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Saracens Head Inn

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The Saracens Head Inn
4.0 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   Symonds Yat East, Symonds Yat, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6JL, England   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 6 Symonds Yat B&B and Inns
Bedfordshire
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Saracens Head revisited”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2010

After visiting so many times we are often asked by family and friends what make "The Saracens Head" so special for us to keep returning so the following may be of interest to you.

We have now stayed at The Saracens Head in Symonds Yat 4 years in a row, a week each time. "Sad" I hear you say, but no, we return because we know we could not find better if we went else where. Don't get me wrong, we do go else where too!

Our first time there was 27 years ago when my husband and I first met and we chose to return, 2006, once our children were old enough to fend for themselves at home for a week whilst we were away. Our first holiday, just the two of us, in 20 years.

Don't get me wrong, errors can be made (I still say my husbands error though, booking a twin rather than a double room!!) When we arrived we were given a twin room, and not a double. I was very upset and a double room for a week was not available! We were offered a transfer to the sister hotel up the lane but even though very nice as well, we wanted to stay at the Saracens Head. Eventually we were told if we could handle the inconvenience of living out of our suitcase we could have a double room after our first night (delightful twin room) but would need to change each day, the staff would move our bags on our behalf. We stayed in most rooms (all facing the river, bright and airy) so can more than most people recommend many of the rooms instead of just the one. We like to stay in the room we were in 27 years ago but with a few more pennies to spend or a special occasion you could do no better than stay in the boat house, a suite with jacuzzi bath, satellite TV, dining area and seating area, balcony etc. Jacuzzi bath in 2 suites, satellite TV in all rooms.

It is a family run hotel and the staff are all great, polite, courteous, helpful. From the cleaners, rooms spotless and towels changed regularly, ample supply of biscuits, tea, coffee, sachets etc. Bar staff, even at rush time they find the time to be polite and on hot days they are BUSY but not too busy for you. Breakfasts are fantastic, plenty to choose from (made for the individual requests) and PLENTY for everyone. We find we don't need, or rarely need, to eat at lunch time as we are so full. (Great bar food/ snacks available at lunch time). A good walk is recommended and the staff, all the staff, are always helpful with recommendations on things to do, places to visit etc. We choose to eat here in the evenings too. We love the food- either outside on the verandah, in the bar but best in the dining room. The quality of the food/ wine and service is always outstanding. Many times we have heard other dinners say that their meal was the best they have had anywhere. My husband says the beer from the "Wye Valley Brewery" is excellent.

We have recommended a stay or just to eat to so many of our friends, neighbours, family.

YOU COULD NOT ASK FOR BETTER...

  • Stayed August 2009, 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
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229 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (58)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2009

We really liked the Saracen's head. It's not fancy or pretentious - a simple pub with rooms. The food was excellent - local produce - well prepared and tasty. The service was great. The staff were helpful and friendly - giving lots of tips on things to do and places to see nearby.
The room was small but it had a lovely view of the river and was very clean.
The location is really good we were there on a cold and wet November weekend but we were able to fill our time with short local walks and time by the fire with the papers in the pub/restaurant.
Would love to go back in the summer.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Oxford
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2009

I guess I should say, by way of disclaimer before I start writing this review, that I love the Saracens Head Inn and it has been a favourite of mine ever since I first visited four years ago. That's not to say it's perfect, but I've always thought it was uniquely, almost magically, lovely.

At £79-89 for a room, it's not the cheapest stay. The rooms themselves are pleasant but not amazing - furnished in simple pine/oak, carpeted, etc. It's all tasteful and comfortable but not showy and the rooms are definitely on the small side. But the amazing thing that you are really paying for is the location and the beautiful view out over the Wye Valley! It is just so beautiful to look out at in the evening or when you wake up in the morning. It is the most romantic place to stay - just magic to wake up and lie in bed looking out over the misty river with the 'ancient hand ferry' (I am sure it is but this description always makes me laugh) being pulled across. We've stayed in rooms 7 (very small), 8 and 10 - all with lovely views - and this is a firm favourite for a romantic outdoor weekend.

The negatives? Parking is not easy, especially in the summer when Symonds Yat East is crammed full of people. This is a real restriction of the location, so if you are coming in a group I'd advise you to share a car if possible! We have always found somewhere to park but it can be a bit tight.

I'm genuinely very surprised by the recent negative comments about food. In all of the times we have visited the Saracens Head we have always enjoyed the standard of the food - this stay was no exception. I'm a vegetarian and my partner is very much a carnivore so we see both types of food. We eat out at nice restaurants quite a lot and definitely feel that the Saracens Head punches well above its weight. On this occasion I had the very best risotto I have ever had - goat's cheese, vegetables, lemon truffle dressing. Really lovely, moist and flavourful. Delicious olives and bread to start. My partner had bangers and mash, which he raved about, and we shared a very taste dessert of rose petal jelly with lemon cream and raspberries. Breakfast was also very good.

All in all, one of my favourite places to stay and I will definitely be back. Great walks nearby, whether along the river or up to the scenic views from Yat Rock. Good opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, or other outdoor activities. Provided you are realistic about what to expect (it is just above a pub, in a remote riverside location with limited space) then I think it is an absolutely brilliant place to stay.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
gloucs
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2009

We stayed in one of the other guest houses nearby to the saracen's head - we were put off staying here by the high prices of the rather mediocre-looking rooms. we had dinner here (in fact i'm using their wifi to write this review, we've just finished eating) and although the restaurant seems very popular I would not recommend it. I was looking forward to tasty local produce, great ambience and so on that they advertise, to complement the absolutely fantastic location. unfortunately we were extremely disappointed. the place is a little like Hollyoaks - lots of yoof running the show and no obvious adults in sight. Consequently a lot of things seem to be allowed to slide - just details, but the things that make a difference.

We ordered and paid (you have to pay before you eat) only to be told once we sat down by staff member 367 that the table was reserved but that they hadn't had enough 'reserved' signs! Or presumably, enough biros and bits of card. I explained that since I'd paid I'd be keen to have my meal - we were thankfully reseated around the corner.

Unfortunately when my 10 oz Herefordshire sirloin arrived, and my partner's Moules Marinière, they were both totally tasteless. How can you go wrong with such simple things? The chips were frozen oven chips too. The ambience was nothing to write home about, with a lot of noise. Also - if you want a napkin and a place mat, it seems you have to make a reservation, for some reason.

The prices were not cheap either. I'd look elsewhere if you want real quality, or real value.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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.
Southampton
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2009

We visited the Saracens Head for an evening meal. The Fish and Chips were priced at £15.95. Bearing in mind we were sitting on a patio that did not look like it had been swept all day and with wasps flying around the bins, despite the wonderful views I thought they were taking the mick! We ended up having sea bass with a crab tagliatelle which had little flavour. The children had fish and chips £5. (to be fair portions were generous so would recommend ordering a childs meal!) We requested Ketchup but had to collect it ourselves! Disappointing meal. Great location though and staff friendly enough.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
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Staffordshire
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2009

Went for a birthday celebration and we were disappointed. Firstly at around £80 per night it felt somewhat expensive for the small room. There was some noise from pub goers below and there were thin wooden blinds on the windows meaning that the sun streams in and wakes you up early in the morning. Also parking is difficult. I would not have minded so much if the place was cheaper. Worst of all was the meal which was very salty. However we did manage to negotiate a partial refund for the meal. We understand that the usual chef was away that night. The advertised free WiFi did not work! On the plus side, the inn is set in a a wonderful location by the river.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2009

We have been visiting the Saracens Head for at least ten years, it's our favourite 'chill out place', everything from food to rooms is brilliant, and the staff/owners we regard as friends.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Saracens Head Inn

Address: Symonds Yat East, Symonds Yat, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6JL, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Herefordshire > Ross-on-Wye > Symonds Yat
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 B&Bs / Inns in Symonds Yat
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Saracens Head Inn 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Saracens Head Inn has stood for centuries in its spectacular position on the east bank of the River Wye where the river flows into a steep wooded gorge, on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Popular with walkers, cyclists, canoeists, fishermen and fans of good food and real ales, the Inn has a relaxed ambiance throughout, from the flagstone bar to the cozy lounge and stylish dining room. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Saracens Head Hotel Symonds Yat
The Saracens Head Inn Symonds Yat, England

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