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The Elms
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Reviews (736)
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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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710 - 715 of 736 reviews
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.
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.
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