Let me start this review by stating I 2009 I brought my husband to stay a few nights here. He loved it including the eggs benedict, and had fond memories of coming back.
This time around with our trip to the UK coming up, I made sure we had two nights' stay. I couldn't wait for a repeat performance. The comfy beds, the great food and atmosphere.
It started out well. The staff were very accommodating and the first morning when we went down for breakfast the food and service was excellent. From there it went down hill very rapidly. The next night/morning, we awoke to the sound of alarms going off. Thinking it was a fire alarm we shuffled outside, along with the other guests staying there. We all soon found out however, that this was no fire alarm. The fire alarm panel wasn't even switched on. We waited and waited, but no member of staff showed up. One of the other guests called the emergency number which was written on the side of the building but was just put through to voicemail. I suggested as we had no other choice but to call the police, who further questioned the guest for about 14 minutes as to why the alarm was going off, why was there no member of staff on the premises. Finally he was told that someone would be dispatched soon. Eventually a young man that lived down the road (I recognized him to be one of the bar tenders) arrived and apologized, turning off the alarm. Apparently it was a malfunction. He said in the morning something would be figured out. I told him that the police said they would be on their way, to which he replied that they had been able to contact him. The whole episode was 45 minutes to an hour. Some guests had to be let into their rooms because their keys were still inside.
In the morning, we came down for breakfast. Disgruntled about the previous night's events, we hoped a good breakfast would help lift our moods. Our waitress practically ignored us, and eventually my husband had to go up to the bar to order our breakfast. He ordered eggs Benedict, I ordered the poached eggs with salmon. He returned to our table stating that we couldn't have what we ordered. When I asked him why, he said they didn't do poached eggs with salmon as they haven't done that for three months (even though it was clearly on the menu) and that they had run out of muffins for poached eggs anyway and that was it. Understandably, I was irate at this point due to the previous night's events. I walked up to the waitress at the bar and asked her what substitutions we could have instead. I explained that my husband really wanted the eggs Benedict and couldn't believe that he was given a flat out no and not given any other alternative. She asked if we wanted the full English breakfast instead. I said no. We didn't want a large breakfast. She finally submitted to giving us poached eggs on buns after asking if this was 'OK' with chef. She then went on to say it would cost us extra. I said no it will not. I have already paid for our stay and breakfasts. I couldn't believe my ears! She conceded. We received no apology for the previous night's events or anything like that.
We went on to gather our belongings. At this point we were the last people to check out. The other guests had left as soon as they could, I reckoned, and I don't blame them. Upon making it back downstairs, we were met by the manager. He told us he was extremely sorry about the previous night's events and that we would be refunded one night's stay. My husband and I told him that there should be a member of staff there at all times, that we were shocked that there wasn't. He said there was usually but the lady had to go away on a family emergency. Which though these things may happen is not a valid excuse. There should have been someone there to replace her. He said that he would clear one of the rooms to stay there personally to man the premises. Which I personally feel should have happened as soon as the other member of staff went on 'family emergency', though later we discovered she was actually on holiday. He had stated that as soon as he had learned if the previous night's events that he had wanted to make sure he was there as soon as possible. But we didn't even know that there was someone there who cared to be honest as he was catching us upon checking out. He said he had no idea why the alarm had gone off and that he was investigating it right away. I also pointed out a design flaw with the security in the inn itself I had discovered earlier. Basically, you are supposed to swipe your key to open a security door that leads to the rooms. However this can be bypassed simply by pushing or lightly kicking the door. This, coupled with the fact that there was no one at all on site the night before is not good for safety at all. The fact that it's Southborough, a village that probably hasn't witnessed anything awful ever, shouldn't enter the equation. He said he would investigate immediately, that he had only taken over the place six months ago. The refund was a start, but as my husband rightly pointed out, we aren't sure that it has restored our faith in the place. Such a terrible shame, I used to love this place. So sad to see it go downhill like this. Will I stay there again? I really really don't know. Unless the security measures, menu, service of waiting staff is improved upon, I can't ever see myself staying there again. The bar tenders were exceptionally great, so at least they have a few things right, I suppose.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled amongst some of the prettiest villages in Kent, Innkeeper's Lodge Southborough offers characterful yet convenient accommodation in the Royal Tunbridge Wells area.Dating back to 1728, this beautifully restored lodge is a lovely place to unwind - whether you're attending a conference at the Camden Centre or simply enjoying the best of what the Garden of England has to offer. Grab a seat on the pub's terrace and you might even catch a game of cricket on the picturesque Southborough green.Inside, you'll find both period charm and modern luxury aplenty. There are 14 comfy rooms a cosy, stylish pub serving fresh, seasonal food and top-drawer drinks.Southborough, a bustling little town with a 75-acre common, is a perfect base for exploring nearby attractions. There's Groombridge Place, a moated manor house with a secret garden, and museum devoted to the works of Sherlock Holmes creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. Equally worth exploring are the 125 acres of beautiful gardens around Hever Castle, or the English wines at Lamberhurst Vineyards. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Hand And Sceptre, Innkeeper`s Lodge
- The Hand & Sceptre, Innkeeper`s Hotel Southborough
- Innkeeper's Lodge Tunbridge Wells, Southborough Kent, England