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“Almost perfect”

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Old Swan & Minster Mill
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Minster Lovell
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Almost perfect”
Reviewed December 2, 2013

This is the first review I have written on Tripadvisor. The reason I have felt compelled to write one is it was very much a stay of 2 halves:

Good half: Beautiful place to stay - gorgeous setting and good service in the accommodation department. Lovely room - had requested an upgrade as special occasion which was kindly given. Lots of snugs with gorgeous fires to relax and read the papers by. Beautiful walks from the pub.

Not so good half: However, the food in the evening was really poor. Lacked flavour and really crudely served. Maybe they was a different chef on this weekend as other reviews are very positive about the food. But it was a great disappointment as expecting high quality gastro pub food, and having read such great things about it. I'm sorry to say it wasn't even good pub grub.

Sadly, this would prevent me recommending The Old Swan & Minster Mill as an overall weekend break, unless you're happy to drive to surrounding pubs for your evening meal.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank SusieMcFarland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOldSwanMinsterMill, General Manager at Old Swan & Minster Mill, responded to this review, December 9, 2013
Thank you for writing your first review on Tripadvisor and we clearly need to work that little bit harder to move from "almost" to "truly perfect". We aim to do so and in order to achieve this, we will listen to the comments our guests make about our food, accommodation and service.

It is very disappointing that you were unimpressed with the food during your stay. So much work goes into sourcing high quality local ingredients and I can assure you we have the skilled chefs here to make fantastic meals. Our aim is not to produce "fancy" food, nor to compete with those of a more pretentious nature but simply to provide simple, well cooked, classically English quality dishes. For the most part, we achieve this and how much busier we've become demonstrates this success. However, what takes time to build up can be easily destroyed and so we will review your comments and learn from them to refocus the team on our core objectives, as well as delivering our service with an air of finesse and professional efficiency.

Your comments will help us to do this and I thank you for writing them. I do hope, also that you will return to the Old Swan & Minster Mill to see improvements we will constantly make.

With best wishes

Patrick Jones
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (503)
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English first
Tamworth, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed December 2, 2013

I first saw an advert for the Old Swan in GQ magazine over 12 months ago which the review highlighted the 'old world charm' and idyllic location next to the River Windrush. I booked an Old Swan Cosy for 2 nights as a surprise for my wife's birthday. Prior to the stay, Clare on reception was extremely helpful, helping to book the room, dinner reservations and time in the Spa. The use of space in the room was excellent and extremely comfortable. Underfloor heating in the Bathroom is great touch!. The location is isolated, but to relax, enjoy nice walks, great food, it hits every mark. We would definitely go back and I suppose this says it all.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank fellowsmj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013 via mobile

I literally can't fault 'Old Swan' hotel, the staff and it's setting. I will always feel fortunate a friend recommended this hotel in an absolutely beautiful historic village. Our room was small but immaculate with fresh white linen, tasteful modern bathroom and ceilings with original wooden beams. The restaurant is traditional with a wonderful open fire and the staff could not do enough for us. Perfect.

Stayed October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Lynde255060
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
oxford
Level Contributor
62 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013

We stayed at The Old Swan & Minster Mill last night for our anniversary in one of the rooms in the Old Swan. The greeting at reception couldn't have been better and the staff couldn't have done any more to help us during our stay, they were amazing.

We were taken over to the Old Swan and shown to our amazing room, four poster bed and all! The staff at The Old Swan had taken the time to write a card for wishing us a happy anniversary, they had given us some homemade sloe gin and berries, a lovely touch.

We then left to eat at the Plough at Kingham and had a marvellous meal, had a drink in the bar when we got back, very nice vend.

In the morning after a wonderful sleep in a huge bed - when we returned there was a hot water bottle in our bed! again a great personal touch... we were woken by a requested wake up call and went down for breakfast, which was good.

not in-expensive! but a really good stay in a lovely hotel...

Room Tip: we stayed in the Countryman room in the Old Swan, it's the older of the two properties and I per...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank laurencejdavies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2013

We stayed at the start of November on a 2 night break through secret escapes to celebrate my birthday. It happened to be over the Old Swan's bonfire night weekend and Sunday jazz which was great!

First impressions were wonderful - the staff had been thoughtful enough to email us beforehand to tell us about a temporary diversion and provide a map, much appreciated. Check in was welcoming and efficient and we were very happy to hear we had been upgraded to an old swan room, Dovecote which was beautiful.

The setting was better than we could have imagined - even with all the reviews raving about the beauty of the area it really has to be seen to be believed.

We loved: the log fires, board games, river windrush,lovely food (especially the generous cheese board), friendly staff and gorgeous room, sloe gin and hot water bottle..

I also really appreciated all the efforts the staff made on account of my birthday - a handwritten card in the room and champagne at dinner, I was really touched and will always remember that.


Things that stopped it from being perfect;
- Service on Saturday was painfully slow - we were told they were at full capacity and we waited an hour and 15 minutes for our main courses to arrive, which I found quite stressful and does somewhat take away from the point of a relaxing dinner. I think more staff are definitely required on busy nights like this as it was difficult to get anyone's attention.
Sunday breakfast was one of the most chaotic I have ever come across ! No one to seat us - staff were manically running in and out the kitchen replenishing the buffet, queues forming around the buffet bar and they had totally run out of baked beans which was a shame.
We never got the coffee or tea we asked twice for either - as this was my birthday morning my boyfriend was a bit annoyed at this frantic start to the day.

However to counter this the food was delicious and service the next morning was better as the staff were less stretched - again a problem that could be solved with more staff (and baked beans!)
Dinner on our second night was also much better service which has left us to conclude we will always try to return on less busy weekends or on Sunday nights instead.

Spa treatments were fine although I imagine this will become much more of an 'experience' once the renovations are completed!
And this is just my personal preference but for the prices of the treatments I am not a fan of the Yon-ka range they use, the best spas I've been to have used REN, dermalogica and dr hauschka. It would also be very nice if they offered an express/ mini facial treatment service as an option.

Don't let any of the slight niggles put you off from staying - it is just meant to be constructive criticism so that our next visit (which we have just booked) will hopefully be perfect !
It is such a special place and we really had a wonderful weekend which is why we are returning in December, only 6 weeks later! We are so excited to see the Old swan in its Christmas glory!


Thanks again to all the staff for a lovely weekend.

  • Stayed November 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank May815
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
122 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2013

This is very good. We had a 2 night stay - the staff are extremely friendly, the food is excellent and the hotel is good. we had an issue at dinner on Friday when we waited an hour for our main course - my wife noted that various other tables had been served before us and we believe our order had been overlooked. This highlighted that there was no maitre-d patrolling the restaurant to spot that we were waiting without food. When it arrived the food was excellent. Saturday dinner was faultless. Breakfasts are very good - I noted a reviewer complaining that it was a buffet but that is simply not an issue. It s a country hotel so don't expect the urban niceties of a 5* city centre hotel. overall a very nice stay, our room was good but the bed was far too large for the room - a simple double or king would have afforded more space.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank pshampshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 29, 2013

We decide to have a couple of nights in The Cotswolds and on a friends recommendation chose The Old Swan & Minster Mill. The warm reception we got and friendliness of all the staff was perfect. Nothing was too much trouble. Would definitely pass our experience on and would revisit next time we wanted to stay in that part of the country.

Room Tip: Rooms with the their own terrace overlooking the river Windrush are lovely.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Barbara N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Old Swan & Minster Mill

Property: Old Swan & Minster Mill
Address: Minster Lovell Mill Old Minster Lovell | Cotswolds, Minster Lovell, Witney OX29 0RN, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Witney > Minster Lovell
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Minster Lovell
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Old Swan & Minster Mill 5*
Number of rooms: 54
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An historic Cotswold inn and boutique hotel, the Old Swan & Minster Mill is privately owned by Andrew Brownsword Hotels. Set is the picturesque village of Old Minster alongside the River Windrush, the 15 bedroom inn is stunningly romantic. A further 37 contemporary guest rooms and suites are available in Minster Mill. Family rooms and dog friendly rooms are available. For those looking for more privacy and space, the adjoining newly restored Swan Cottage offers three ensuite bathrooms and a private garden. Dining in the 600-year-old inn feels like stepping back in time with stone floors, beamed ceilings, roaring log fires and delicious gastro-pub food based on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients with a modern twist. Over 65 acres of gardens and 2 miles of fly-fishing on over a mile of the River Windrush ensure a tranquil and picturesque setting. Children have a wealth of activities. There is a tennis court, badminton, gym, croquet, petanque and spa treatments available. Located between the medieval town of Burford and historic market town of Witney, the inn is a short drive from Blenheim Palace and Bicester Designer Shopping Village. Oxford is 20 minutes drive. Nearest train station Charlbury is 15 minutes by taxi. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Old Swan & Minster Mill Hotel Witney
Old Swan And Minster Mill
Old Swan & Minster Mill Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire

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