We stayed at the hotel for three nights from the 5th August, to attend a family function. We booked one of the newly refurbished 'executive rooms'.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff, who gave us the keys for the room. We were staying in room 3. This is a massive room, at the front of the pub. It overlooks Church Street. It has been very tastefully refurbished, with a large bed, fireplace, separate seating area by the window a 42'' plasma tv, and a massive bathroom, with a huge bath, separate shower cubicle, sink and toilet. It was as nice as many 5 star hotels that I have stayed in.
Breakfast was a great selection, while I agree with previous reviewers that there was no menu, I personally don't think one is necessary, as pretty much they'll make whatever you want. I had the Full English, which consisted of whatever type of eggs I wanted, sausage, bacon, mushrooms and tomato. One morning I had the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs with was equally excellent. There was a wide range of cereals and yoghurts, as much toast and preserves as we could eat, what tasted like fresh orange juice and the usual hot drinks. There's also the option on hot days, such as this morning, to eat on the terrace outside. My partner, who is vegetarian, was also well catered for, with nothing appearing too much trouble. The service was impeccable on all three days
We dined on one evening, and sampled the Chicken Supreme, with Jersey Royals seasoned with mint from the hotels garden, and gardens peas with chorizo, as well as the vegetarian risotto, which had peas, radishes, and parmesan in it. They were delicious. Other options that seemed pretty popular were the fish pie, the locally butchered steaks, and fish and chips. A suggestion might be to have a couple of daily specials to vary the menu, especially a vegetarian one, as it might be a struggle to find an alternative to the risotto - that being said am confident with the service offered that this wouldn't be an issue. The bar also had an interesting and varied wine list, as well as a number of home made desserts, and cheese plate.
I've read the bad reviews with interest on here, and personally didn't recognize the place from the description some of the negative reviewers have given it.
Put into context, we've been coming to this hotel, once or twice a year for the past 5 years, and have never experienced any of the problems detailed on here, even during the period of the mixed reviews. I always found the previous manager helpful, approachable and friendly, and never experienced any bad service at all. The pub is under new management, I believe since the Spring. Lidia appears to be the General Manager, is very approachable, and ensures great service, little touches like 'Enjoy your Breakfast' make a difference. Her husband, I believe, is the chef, and had maintained, if not improved, what was already an excellent food offering.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Bell this year, and have made it a resolution to return more often - assuming we can get in of course, as if our trip is anything to go by, if they maintain the standards, its going to become even more popular.
- Also Known As:
- Bell Hotel Charlbury