My boyfriend and I (25 and 31) have just returned from Barnsdale Hall for a friend's wedding so I will split the review into 2 parts, the first for the venue as a wedding reception and secondly as a hotel.
Wedding Venue: I can honestly say that this was a gorgeous setting for a wedding, the reception venue (The Edith Western Suite) had a lovely outdoor area with comfy seats and umbrellas for shade to chill out and wait for the wedding breakfast and stunning views out over Rutland Water. Getting gorgeous photos was not a problem! The inside of the venue was beautifully decorated and sufficiently spacious to accommodate the wedding party and to allow for a good sized dance floor. The groom organised a surprise firework display which we viewed from the venue which was spectacular. The entire venue is picturesque and lovely to stroll round. I would thoroughly recommend this as a venue for a wedding without hesitation- for this section 5* is well deserved.
Hotel: The journey to the wedding was about 3 hours each way so we inquired about the cost of a room quoting the wedding party name- we were offered a standard double room that the wedding party had set aside and they were full price at £125- I was surprised that a discount was not offered for wedding guests (even just a small token discount) and very reluctant to pay that much, but given the drive and the fact that the hotel accommodation looked superb we decided what the hell and booked, thinking it would be a treat and a nice weekend away.
We are from the outer London area and regularly stay in hotels across the country for work so for £125 outside of London we were expecting 5* accommodation (a hotel where I live costing over £100 will get you something pretty fancy!). The accommodation looked incredible as we were walking through the grounds- little holiday chalets and rooms with balcony's, really posh. We stayed in the Oakley Suite of the hotel (it's a large complex with different sections, some uphill so be mindful if you have mobility issues) and I was really surprised by the room which was really small, no balcony, no air con just a small window so quite stuffy, shower pressure was minimal and to be honest the room was nothing special at all. (There are small double rooms advertised on the website as well- these must be really tiny....) We were a little disappointed but we aren't really the type to moan and the wedding day was going fantastic and we didn't want to put a downer on it so just accepted it. We did hear a few other wedding guests express disappointment at their rooms and the size of them and I think we were all allocated rooms in the same part of the hotel.
The bed was pretty hard but not too bad, pillows were lumpy and pretty awful but in isolation this wouldn't have been an issue. We left the reception at about 12.30am (DJ finished at 12 but bar remained open until 1am). Unfortunately just as we got into bed around 1am, the guests in the room that adjoined to ours (my sister and her friend) arrived back- because our room was separated only by a joining wall we could hear everything that was being said. After about 20 minutes I went and had a word with them and they said they would try to whisper- their room was small like ours and their bed was positioned directly the other side of the wall to our bed. I must stress that they were not being loud, they were literally just having a conversation and getting ready for bed but it was very audible from our room, so much so that there was no way that i could sleep through it. I was lucky that they were friends and I could ask them to be quieter - if this was random people I didn't know then this would have been really awkward. Had the rooms been arranged a little differently (with the beds at opposite ends) then this wouldn't have been as much of an issue. Even though they tried to be quiet after this our sleep was dreadful, I ended up shoving my ipod headphones into my ears (not at all comfy when your head is on a pillow) and laying with my head at the foot end of the bed to try to put some distance between myself and the neighbours! Plumbing was also very noisy in the morning -my partner thought it was a drill outside.
I have stayed in lots of hotels and a bit of noise from the next room (slamming doors etc) is totally normal but i have never been in a hotel that I have literally been able to recount entire conversations from the room next door. I have backpacked round Australia and I am used to noisy hostels but I would absolutely not expect this in a £125 room. It was meant to be a nice treat but instead we were totally shattered for the whole day and decided just to go home rather than staying to explore the local area and use the facilities as we had intended. My parents had talked about getting a room once they saw how nice the place was but I am so glad they didn't as they would have been really upset at being kept awake that late (they would have gone to bed earlier).
Breakfast was average, selection was somewhat limited but ok. Fire alarm going off halfway through seemed to be a sign that our run of bad luck was not over! As I said, I didn't check out the facilities in the end so I can't comment but they looked nice.
I really am gutted to have to write this review because as a wedding venue this place is absolutely superb and had I not had such a terrible night sleep I would have definitely rated as 5* for the wedding venue and 4* for the room. Maybe it just feels more disappointing because you have to walk past so many amazing looking rooms to find yours is distinctly average and I definitely felt robbed of my £125! For a £60 premier inn room this would have been absolutely fine but not for a luxury hotel. I value a good night sleep and so that is why I have given a 3. Please bear in mind that my experience was in a specific part of the hotel and the chalets and some of the other rooms looked fantastic from the outside. I am gutted that I paid out so much money for a hotel room as a treat and I honestly would have expected to be able to sleep. We did mention this to the receptionist when she asked how our stay was, she apologized but no concession was offered, we would not have pushed this given members of the bridal party were in reception and I would not have wanted to offend anyone, given they chose this venue and it is special to them. If I hadn't mentioned that I was going to the wedding, perhaps I would have been allocated a better room.....
If you are going to a wedding here and want to stay over, I would suggest asking where the rooms are located, if its the Oakley complex then I wouldn't recommend parting with £125. I would advise paying more for a better room instead. Would I recommend this hotel for a wedding? Absolutely! But would I risk booking a hotel room here again, I am really sad to say that I wouldn't :(
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With this unique setting, personal charm, character, and friendly but attentive personnel, Barnsdale Hall Hotel is the perfect venue whatever your occasion may be. Extensive spa and leisure facilities makes it a haven in which to retreat, relax and unwind. With its breathtaking views of the natural splendours of Rutland Water where better to hold your wedding reception, corporate event, or a romantic getaway for two?Set in conservation parkland on the slopes overlooking Rutland Water, Barnsdale Hall Hotel is one of the most unusual and comprehensive hotel complexes in the United Kingdom. This makes it an ideal location for corporate business, conference and leisure pastimes. With a rich and varied range of things to do on and off site there is, we believe, no better position in which to be located in this country. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Barnsdale Hall Oakham
- Hotel Barnsdale Hall
- Barnsdale Hall Hotel Rutland