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The Elms
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Reviews (725)
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All reviewsafternoon teahigh teafamily friendly hotelhalf termmain restaurantsconesspa facilitiesa la carte menulovely groundscream teacoach housecountry housesteam roomold housethe main housegreat facilitiesrelaxation room
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555 - 560 of 726 reviews
Reviewed April 15, 2013

So much thought has gone into activities for the kids, from the creche to the older children's den, the small playground and trampoline to the games room, the croquet, swing ball, football and tennis, as well as the fairy trail in the beautiful grounds. We actually spent most of our time in the pool with our 2 and 3 year olds, as unfortunately they didn't settle that well in the creche but that was not due to the staff who were lovely nor the facilities as there was lots on offer. The food was great, as was the room. The only thing I would say is that we seemed to have the worlds softest mattress which was not good for my back so I awoke with back ache the next day. We took advantage of the baby listening service which worked well so we could enjoy a nice adult meal. I also had a lovely facial but think it was pricey even with the 30% off on the spa nights package but it was a lovely treat. Very relaxed atmosphere in quite a grand country house hotel with fantastic staff. Would definitely go again.

Room Tip: 'Emblem'- room2- has bunkbeds in a little beroom within the room which the kids loved.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank clare n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheElmsAbberley, General Manager at The Elms, responded to this reviewResponded April 16, 2013

Dear Clare N

Thank you for your lovely review of the Elms. I am so glad that you and your family enjoyed your stay and sorry about the very soft mattress. They all have thick toppers on which aren't to everyone's taste and can be removed if need be.
Thanks for the top tip as well. Emblem is a great room with the bunk beds in the annex.
I will be sure to pass on the review to the team to read.

Thanks again and I look forward to welcoming you through the doors again in the near future!

Best Regards
Hayley Kirton
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

This is my fifth visit to The Elms in the last seven years and it is a shadow of its former self; now a "Butlins plus" rather than a "Savoy minus".
In fairness the original operators Von Essence went bust so their business model, although great for the consumer clearly did not work for the banks.
The pricing is now more affordable but in reality poorer value.
The gardens have been "cut back" for ease of maintenance, the general areas are tired, the Den (kids nursery) is dirty (cobwebs in the lights/roof area), the Executive Chef is long gone (although the food is not bad), the staff uniforms lack the polish of old and the external area of the pool is now weather beaten.
The staff continue to be friendly, are committed to making the experience as good as possible, and the basic concept still works for families but the hotel has clearly been repositioned to attract a broader more mass market audience.
Children in football strips can now be seen, something that would have been frowned upon before.
The owners are currently refurbishing so perhaps this capital investment will make a positive difference.
Our family has a huge soft spot for The Elms, it has the potential to return to the magic of old; we really hope it does.
Upon arriving the drive way is now "pot holed", the borders overgrown and the expanse of lawn no longer precisely clipped. First impression so often tell the reality.......

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Anonymous1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheElmsAbberley, General Manager at The Elms, responded to this reviewResponded April 16, 2013

Dear anonymous1966

Thank you for your review of the Elms. You are right , The place has changed in company, name and philosphy and I am sorry that the new, totally family friendly and relaxed atmosphere isn't to your taste. We really are aiming for a home from home where children can run around in foot ball kits or any other attire and parents are happy to let them do it. We are aiming for total peace of mind and happy parents are as important as happy children.
I will need to correct some minor points, while the gardens may appear different to usual we have not cut back here at all, this is just a sign of the desperately long and cold winter which I believe only finished last weekend. Lawns have been hard to mow due to excessive rain but will be done as soon as the sun comes out , in fact I heard the mower today I know so the gardeners are already on it. The drive way has been patched up twice already and the new pot hole that is near the end of the drive will be done in the near future.
I still have a 2 rosette quality chef (Dave Hammond) though the menus have been changed to reflect a less formal way of dining and the staff uniforms are all from the clothing line Boden - a new order of which are being embroidered with the company logo as we speak. Again a different philosphy to the old style black formal shirts.
We are having significant investment in the property over the course of time. Lots has been done already , the front hall, restaurant and Garden cafe have been updated and we are starting with the room refurbishments this year - it will be in stages but eventually the whole house will get the TLC it needs.

I am sorry if you feel that it isn't the place you once knew. My team and I firmly believe in what we are doing here and I hope the testimonials from happy guests support that we have a formula that works , even if it still needs a little refining.

Best Regards

Hayley Kirton
General Manager

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Reviewed April 12, 2013

Going away with little children (especially our 4 year old twin boys) has never been relaxing.... until we came to The Elms Hotel. It's exactly what you need with small kids in tow for an experience which is hard to find outside the Luxury Family Hotel Group. The Elms is a smart country house with lovely grounds containing a nursery building, a spa/swimming pool addition (nicely designed wooden framed building with large indoor pool and professional spa facilities) and outdoor climbing frame/trampoline area. The furnishings and décor were authentic and in keeping with a country house hotel and car parking immediately adjacent to the building. The reception staff were lovely and are based in the large stone-floored hallway near the stairs where they have created a small informal play area in the open under-stairs area. Wellies can be borrowed, a cat is there to be stroked and a bespoke map on the wall shows all the decent local family day out locations in the area. Winning ideas include the 2 hours of child-care a day, the fact that everyone else has little kids at breakfast so there are no evil stares as your kids stand on the chairs and make guns out of toast fingers whilst loudly asking why mummy shouts so much. The idea of giving the kids high tea at between 5 and 7 (at modest extra cost) is great. By 8pm they will be exhausted, fed, washed and in bed, in-room listening device switched on and you can drop down to the bar for cocktails and a very decent dinner. I would recommend the a la carte menu if you stay for a few days (we stayed for 6) as there are only 10 choices (although good) on the set menu. The food was excellent generally particularly the plaice, sole and steak. The cheese boards were also excellent. I didn't want to leave at the end and can thoroughly recommend the Elms. We booked one of the other group (Ickworth) for a week before we left which is not something I do very often. There are so many local attractions and the area is very beautiful, my top 3 were Ludlow castle, the local safari park/fun park and a farm where everyone had a go at feeding/holding lambs, chicks, guinea pigs etc. Try and book a big room (we had colwall) if poss. We had to move to a smaller room towards the end and really felt the change (the big rooms are in particular demand and wasn't available for all our stay when we booked). Don't hesitate to book if you want a break where everyone including the little ones get what they need and want. A big thank you to all the lovely staff!

Room Tip: Book early, get a room in the hotel rather than the coach house
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank twodocs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheElmsAbberley, Front Office Manager at The Elms, responded to this reviewResponded April 13, 2013

Dear twodocs,

Thank you very much for posting this lovely review after your recent stay with us. It was an absolute pleasure having you spend a week here and we all really enjoyed looking after your family. I will be sure to pass on your feedback to the rest of the team.

We wish you a very enjoyable stay at The Ickworth and look forward to seeing you again at The Elms in the not so distant future.

Thank you again!

Kind regards
Fern Stewart
Front of House Manager

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Reviewed April 9, 2013

I searched long and hard on the web for a family hotel that I thought would suit our family. I wanted a hotel with a pool which welcomed small children (18 mths & 4 yrs) The Elms appeared to cater for all our wishes. The buildings and grounds are lovely and the facilities for children are good, although we didn't use The Bears Den as we wanted a purely family weekend and that meant spending time with our little ones. The reception staff were very helpful as were Spa staff and our room in The Coach House (ground floor) was very pleasant, clean and childrens beds were as promised. The noise from the family above was terrible at times, we could hear everything they said, especially raised voices and every single footstep and they took a lot of them! The big disasppointment was the family dining, the room was soul less, we felt forgotten and pushed out the back. The portions were very random for the age groups ordered for and the adult meal we ordered was very average. Unfortunately the service in there was very slow. We did enjoy our weekend away as the sun shone and we visited Ludlow and had a lovely day there. We ate out on Saturday evening at The Talbot Inn 5 minute drive away and had a superb meal, great welcoming atomosphere, lovely food and very reasonably priced. In my opinion if The Elms is promoting itself as 'a family hotel' it has got to improve its dining facilities and service as all parents know there is nothing worse than poor service when you have hungry children.

Room Tip: The Coach House room we had was small but fine as small children, was considering taking dog glad we didn't as room not big enough. Ground floor room noisy.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Simone W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheElmsAbberley, General Manager at The Elms, responded to this reviewResponded April 16, 2013

Dear SimoneW
Thank you for taking the time to write a review about your stay.
I am sorry that some aspects of the stay did not live up to your expectations. With regard to the dining options, we always try to get dining times for our guests especially when family dining is so busy. By doing this we can ensure that there is a table for everyone and we don't have a free for tables at the popular times. We are always happy to reserve specific tables for people upon request.

I was glad to read that you still enjoyed your stay at the Elms and I do hope we have the pleasure of welcoming you back in the near future.

Best regards
Hayley Kirton
General Manager

Best wi

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Reviewed March 29, 2013

The Elms used to be the place to go and was an award winning hotel and restaurant in the area. My sister got married here several years ago and it was amazing. Since then I believe it has changed owners and our last 2 visits to the spa / restaurant just havent lived up to previous experiences. The buildings and grounds are beautiful, the spa is very good. The service in the hotel is not as good as it was and the once award winning restaurant is now very average at a high price. Come on The Elms, you used to be a favourite venue and real quality.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Andy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheElmsAbberley, General Manager at The Elms, responded to this reviewResponded April 7, 2013

Dear AndyP
Thank you for your review of the Elms. It seems that now that we are focussed on being completely family friendly we are in a totally different market to before and perhaps not appealing to the same demographicas the old Von Essen Hotel that you remember. We always aim to give a high level of service and I'm glad to say that our food quality scores are always excellent. I am sorry that your visit didn't live up to your expecations this time.
Best regards
Hayley Kirton
General Manager

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