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“Great family facilities but needs more attention to detail”
Review of The Elms

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The Elms
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Abberley
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 14, 2009

We wanted a really relaxing two days away in luxury surroundings and for the most part it was great. Our room was enormous, with a great bathroom, an amazingly comfortable canopied bed and huge sash windows. The creche was brilliant - great staff. Our children are coeliac and so can't eat gluten - the chef was amazing and cooked platters especially for them. Even though it was half term the pool was empty - fab. Now the downsides - first night dinner was good but on the second night the service in the bar was non-existent and the food poor - I asked if the chef was away and he was - shame. The menu was also exactly the same both nights so not that much choice. Also, there was no hot water for 4 hours on the first night and they kept saying it would be fine in a minute. In the end we had to boil the kettle 10 times to bath the kids! Not what you expect. BUT, they did acknowledge their failings refunding us a bit for the lack of hot water and for the poor meal. Overall we had a great time and the creche and friendly staff made up for almost everything.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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Thank Saskibel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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661 - 667 of 686 reviews

Reviewed January 13, 2009

My family and 2 children (age 7 and 20 months) stayed here on their Christmas package. It is impossible to fault the stay in any material way.

We were welcomed warmly on arrival. Our room was not overly large but we booked late and were told exactly what we would get when we booked, and it was pretty much all that was available.

The Christmas package was not cheap but everything was included (including, subject to unwritten "fair use" policy, alcohol - by that I mean nobody was seen drunk in corners of the hotel and given that most if not all of us had children asleep upstairs in the evening, it was not something which would have been expected).

Nothing was ever too much trouble. The staff were friendly and attentive and the food and service in the main restaurant were both excellent. A visit was organised by Santa Claus (with reindeer!) on Christmas Eve with presents (for kids and adults) and there was no impression (experienced in some hotels) of staff having been press-ganged into working over Christmas and treating guests accordingly.

The indoor pool and sauna etc are all very new and well thought out. The Bears Den (creche) was well used and enjoyed by the kids and the listening service up to the (good) standard of other hotels we have stayed at in the Von Essen group.

The spa was one of the best we have ever experienced in the UK or abroad and available throughout Christmas without prices being inflated over the holidays.

It did not take us very long to book for next Christmas.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank AdamT13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2008

We decided to book a one night stay at The Elms after being attracted to the 'luxury family hotel' brand promise.

What they did well...

* Nice decor
* Great location
* Excellent outdoor play facilities
* Lovely food
* Great facilities for kids at dinner (highchairs, sippy cups etc)
* Check in experience was good
* The head waiter / barman was excellent

What went wrong...

* Very warm room, too hot for our toddler even with radiators off and windows open
* Hoovering at 11pm then 1am outside the hotel room! They knew we had a toddler. We complained and it then stopped after 1am.
* When we played with the bath toys, a lot of black grimy dirt came out of them when we squeezed them, we had to get our son out of the bath and shower him instead!
* It took over 5 minutes to get served in the restaurant even though we were the only customers there
* IMPORTANT SECURITY ISSUE : We went to play in the children's play area which also doubles as a part time creche, it wasn't staffed and we saw that they had left out personal details of children who had stayed there, their addresses and contact details!!!
* We ordered milk for our son but it didn't arrive and we had to chase them up twice for it
* After all this, they didn't ask us how our stay was on check out and didn't offer to take anything off the bill

It could be a great hotel but the service isn't quite up to 4 star yet. They need to think about their customers, anticipate their needs and care more about whether customers have had a positive experience with them.

They really need to act on the data protection issues and should take their customers data very seriously.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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Thank Frequent_Flyer_No1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2008

Let me start with the good things because it was nearly all good.
The room was great, not at all as pokey as it looked in the photographs on the web site. Really comfy beds and lovely squishy mattresses. The staff where fantastic, professional and very accommodating. The childrens facilities where great, trained professional staff (no just got out of college teenagers). My little one wanted to spend more time there than with us! The spa facilities where also fantastic and the 'experience' shower made me laugh out loud with surprise. The lounge areas where comfortable and there was lots of space and open fireplaces.
Now the not so good. The food was not good, the menu was uninspired with braised cuts of meat and a few fish selections, and whatever meal you chose it seemed to have the same brown soy based sauce on it - they even put it on the caesar salad! It was also expensive because you have to have the full 4 courses at £50 per person plus wine (this isn't explained to you until you are sat down with the menu in front of you). We were told that it was a no children zone, however we were sat next to a lady with two children, one of whom whinged through his whole meal. We also ate in the other restaurant which again had a limited and expensive menu but at least we could pay by the course. The changing rooms in the spa where not cleaned for the 3 days we were there, the same empty bottles and bits of hair bobbles where on the floor each day and there was no shower gel in either the mens or the womens (I did mention this the day before). The robe I was given had rubbish in the pocket!
This is not a place for those who like modern style living and dining, the clientelle are the sports jackets and pearls types with children who have names like Percy and Arabella. But still I have to say that the good points made for a very very relaxing couple of days and you really do get to escape the children ! Would I go back? No, but only because of the food, I really like nice food and I really hate paying a lot of money for bad food. Would I try another in the chain? Maybe, with some food reviews.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank Joanne W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2008

Of all the hotels that I have stayed in the most similar one to the Elms is the Best Western in Bristol. The decor and the quality of food/service are similar.

We were hoping for a weekend with good food and service with the added bonus of creche and spa facitilies, and we were prepared to pay for the privilege.

I have to say that because the food is ordinary and the service rather poor the style of the hotel loses any glamour that it might have had and simply becomes tired and over priced. The only thing that could have made it worthwhile was the creche.

We have a 17 month old, who regularly goes to a childminder, and is pretty gregarious and generally easy to distract. However, she only stayed in the creche for 20 minutes at first and cried incessantly. The creche staff asked us to come and get her, which was fine.

The next day I thought that I would try again. The creche called me in the gym after ten minutes to say she was crying. I returned to collect her again. When my wife, who is better at settling our daughter, gave it another shot later in the day, it was patently obvious that the staff were not pleased to see her. They refused to acknowledge her presence. Even while she was in the creche with her, our daughter was tugging at the door handle and asking to be let out. After this we really got the feeling that the creche staff did not want to look after younger children, only lower maintenance 10 year olds.

So, contrary to our hopes, the only break we got was when we had finally settled our daughter in our (stifling - no airconditioning - only window was a fire-escape) room.

At dinner on the first night the staff cleared our plates less than 30 seconds after we had finished our courses (they weren't quite so bad on the second night). They were very nice and friendly but the service was more appropriate to a chain pub in the city than the hotel that this hotel purports to be.

We left after two days with a bill for £675 (not including spa treatments). Although dinner and breakfast was included you are better off looking elsewhere if you want a really comfortable break with your children. They are not the only option.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank HolidayHopeful08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2008

First this is not a luxury hotel. It's at best shabby chic and at worst just shabby.

The hotel has an official 3 star rating.

This hotel caters for all of us who have little ones and need a hotel where they are catered for looked after and where they can have a great time. This is one significant niche market and this hotel plays to this niche and knows how to rip you off.

One night, for my partner and our 2 little ones aged 5 and 6 in one of their smaller rooms, (admittedly including treatments of £110) cost us nearly £600.

The bad things included despite a dinner bed and breakfast rate being offered they still charged for the children’s dinner in the room (macaroni cheese - the boys did not eat it as the cheese sauce was almost non existent and powdery) and their breakfast (£7.50 for a child’s breakfast of OJ and cereal).

Also the outdoor Jacuzzi is separated from the internal Jacuzzi by a heavy metal door whose latch is broken. The hinge is unprotected and is just waiting to break someone’s hand or little fingers.

We ate in the restaurant and had our boys monitored from reception. When we were about to have a nightcap we noticed that reception was unmanned.

The furniture in the room was shabby and no air conditioning resulted in a sleepless night.

No ironing board or was available although they did bring us an iron?????

There could be an awful lot to like about this hotel, if they advertised honestly and charged accordingly. But this is nothing more than a cynical business extracting money from all of us who want our kids to have a holiday where they get as much fun as the adults.

I like nice hotels and am quite happy to pay the prices, however my family will never return to thishotel, they just are charging way too much.

Really, my tip... take your family to Italy where they know how to treat children and don't over charge you for the privilege... after all it would probably including flights cost you less than staying at this place!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank BernieandSarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2008

We booked this hotel so that we could visit our family who live in the area, and also to celebrate a family birthday with dinner in the restaurant.

Our journey to the hotel was terrible as we were stuck in several traffic jams on the motorway, however upon arrival we were warmly welcomed at reception and our numerous bags and birthday gifts were whisked to our room by two porters whilst a third member of staff showed us the way and explained the rooms facilities.

Once in our executive room that looked out over the gardens we kicked off our shoes and enjoyed a relaxing shower in the well appointed bathroom, making full use of the toiletries and fluffy bathrobes provided. A few minutes later we were telephoned by reception to check if everything was to our satisfaction and to ask if an alarm call was required in the morning and also if we would like a turndown service.

Feeling totally refreshed we made our way to the bar to have a drink whilst waiting for our dinner guests, service once again was very slick as I did not mention my name or room but the maitre d brought out two menus for my wife and I to read and two extras were left on the table for when our guests arrived - a nice touch.
Dinner was superb and the chef made good use of many local ingredients, this was complemented by an extensive and varied wine list which I feel would have something to suit everyones taste. The service from the staff in the restaurant and the presentation of the food was of exactly the right standard to make a birthday dinner feel special without being stuffy or overbearing, something which a lot of restaurants fail to achieve.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and will certainly visit again soon and perhaps find some time to make use of the spa.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GastroGrazer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Elms

Address: 1 Stockton Road, Abberley WR6 6AT, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Worcestershire > Malvern Hills > Abberley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Abberley
Price Range: $121 - $185 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Elms 4*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Elms Hotel, part of Luxury Family Hotels, is much loved by children and parents alike. Located in beautiful rural Worcestershire, this Queen Anne mansion boasts a family friendly spa, a fine dining restaurant and complimentary crèche.At The Elms Hotel and Spa, our aim is to ensure your family feels completely at home so that you can relax, have fun with the kids and enjoy grown-up time for yourselves. You’ll find locally sourced food, a family spa, gorgeous grounds and superb children’s facilities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Elms Hotel Abberley
The Elms Hotel And Spa
Elms Hotel Abberley
The Elms Abberley, Worcestershire

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