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“Nice Hotel, Service Somewhat Lacking”

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The Belfry at Yarcombe
Ranked #1 of 2 Yarcombe B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 21, 2012

This is a lovely hotel in a converted church on the border between Dorset & Somerset. There are beautiful views through stained glass windows over both counties from the well-furnished rooms, each of which is themed around a different English poet.

The hotel has a small restaurant with one evening sitting. We didn't eat there in the evening, but breakfasts were superb, offering a range of locally sourced food and smoked salmon, haddock & kippers from a Cornish smokehouse.

One of the owners, Neil, provided a friendly welcome and excellent service. However, one strange event overshadowed our stay.

We had a large bouquet of flowers in our room, including several beautiful lilies. I bought these for my wife to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

While we were out, one of the hotel staff cut all the stamens off the lilies. This seemed like a very odd and quite intrusive thing for someone to have done. My wife was very upset that her flowers had been vandalised like this.

Later, when we were checking out, the other owner asked if everything had been OK, so I mentioned the damage to the lilies.

Instead of apologising, she became very confrontational, and said we shouldn't have brought lilies into the hotel because the pollen might stain the hotel's fabrics. She seemed to think it was perfectly OK to take a pair of scissors to someone else's bouquet of flowers.

Of course we're aware of the staining risk from lilies, so we'd taken extra care to position the flowers well away from any fabrics.

Then, out of nowhere, she accused us of "trashing the room". All we had done in the room the previous evening was share a tray of cheese & biscuits & a bottle of wine. There was no mess or damage and the room wasn't even untidy.

We were very disappointed that our stay was marred by this incident, and the owner's attitude. She didn't seem to care about our experience at all.

If you do stay at the hotel, be sure to visit the pub over the road, the Yarcombe Inn. It's a community pub, run by volunteers from the village. Any profits are re-invested in community activities. The service there is a little slow, but the food and beer is first rate, and they have a good selection of under-priced wine.

There are also several beautiful walks which start & finish in the village, and a leaflet describing the walks is available from the hotel.

The location is very convenient for visiting the coast, Seaton, Sidmouth and Lyme Regis are all within easy reach. The beautiful Dart Valley is half an hour away, and Exeter is a similar distance.

Overall, it's a nice hotel in a lovely location with plenty to do and see, provided you stay on the right side of the owners. If being treated well as a hotel guest is important to you, you might want to look elsewhere in this beautiful area.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank spud-digger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelownerresponse, Owner at The Belfry at Yarcombe, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2013

Ooooh where to start.....black hair dye in the bath which our housekeeper had to scrub with bleach to remove, fresh fruit trodden into the carpet, wine stains all over the duvet cover, fresh food in the bottom of the wardrobe (there is a fridge at the bottom of the stairs...) plus general mess everywhere - "This is the Worst room I have seen in over 20 years" were our Housekeepers words.

It was more than apparent from the above, that no matter what we could have done to protect our furniture from the stamens in the lilies, the total dis-regard you had shown for the room and lack of respect to protect our furniture from damage, we were and still are, adamant you would have allowed pollen to drop on everything without a care in the world.

We tried to explain why we felt we had no alternative but to remove the pollen when you were checking out but you knew my reason was the above and you clearly didn't want to be told. You would not allow me to get a word in edgeways - not even your wife could.

At no point did we tell you not to bring flowers into the hotel - indeed we wholly encourage it and use a wonderful florist in Honiton who make the most amazing and contemporary arrangements....including with lilies ;-)

I am sure you would have preferred us to have taken this pro-active stance to protect the room rather than produced to you a bill for the damage?

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138 - 144 of 252 reviews

Reviewed September 20, 2012

We stayed 2 nights in the Wordsworth Room, all was superb ! Bed was comfy, we were a bit concerned about some of the reports of road noise but we never had a problem.
We ate at the hotel 1 night, food was fantastic even better than River Cottage, we had scallops & fish and they were cooked to perfection and the desserts were to die for. Breakfast each morning was generous and well cooked. Sarah-Jane & Neil were excellent hosts.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank KagsandMildew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2012

I had high hopes of the Belfry based on other travellers' reviews and photographs on the website. Our expectations were raised by reading about bathrobes, L'Occitane products, flat-screen TV's, free Wi-Fi, and good views. Surely anywhere that offered all these goodies must be just that cut above the rest? Well.... We accept that an old building with restrictions has its own special character, but we felt badly let down by the Byron room. Having read other reviews and seen rebuttals by the owners, I will let my photographs stand as testimony. We felt the room to be dark and oppresive, despite the dual aspect. We arrived after dusk, but in the morning were really surprised to see that contrary to our expectations the room was not actually a semi-basement. The windows are set high into the walls, giving this subterranean effect, not alleviated by the dark blue wallpaper on the feature wall. A curious technique had been employed when wallpapering the bathroom - the woodchip paper underneath was cleary visible! The shower room was cramped and very tired. It was clear that the paintwork had been freshened up some time in the past, but where it was chipped and flaking the underlying colour could plainly be seen. All these comments must be set against the fact that we considered the price just too high for accommodation of this standard. We are seasoned travellers and have stayed in many low-budget venues where shortcomings of this nature are to be expected and therefore not so upsetting but at £92 per night we felt overcharged. A number of small things, but the overall impression just wasn't good and I wouldn't recomment the Belfry to a friend.

There were some positives:Service at breakfast was quick and efficient, and despite the closeness of the road, noise disturbance was minimal.

I am sure that the satisfied customers had a room other than the Byron - this is the only explanation that we can come to. It would be interesting to correlate the unhappy reviews with the rooms in which the reviewers stayed.

Room Tip: Not Byron!
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Hotelsinspectorate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2012 via mobile

This was our third vist in the last twelve months. My wife and I love this place. (my wife completed a previous review on Booking.com). Upon arrival we are always made to feel so welcome and their hospitality is exceptional. The hotel is full of character and I would definitely descibe this as being a 'boutique hotel' with history. Yes some of the walls may not be insulated to the required standard of a five star hotel but the rooms are very well presented. They are very clean and tidy with bath robes, a good selection of tea, coffee and mineral waters. The complimentary toiletries are very nice and  plentiful. The beds have always been very comfortable with stylish bed linen. 

Whilst working in London  I have been fortunate to eat at some vary exclusive restaurants, those run by celebrity chiefs and Michelin Starred. Every meal my wife and I have ordered at the Belfry is without any hesitation, superb. I would gladly make the four hour return drive from my home just to have dinner there. I have had far worse meals at restaurants that actually do hold a Michelin Star. The Belfry menu is very well priced and the quality of food and presentation is excellent. I like the fact that they use local produce and have an extensive wine list. Breakfast is just as delightful and again they use fresh local produce and offer a good choice.

The owners are some of the nicest people you could possibly meet and we will be back very soon to enjoy their hospitality and the surrounding countryside. 

  • Stayed: September 2012
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Thank Dcl1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2012

A last minute booking and so glad I did.A really beautiful spot and received a real hearty and warm welcome from Sarah Jane and Neil - lots of chat and gave me a good local overview.My room (Tennyson) was spot on - lovely comfortable bed,lots of light,so many thoughtful extras,and the idea of a half bottle of wine for purchase,was creditable!
It was a beautiful evening so I walked to Howley to The Tavern,had a delicious meal and a couple of jars and walked back.Lovely rolling countryside and passed by only one car there and back!!!
Slept like a log.Breakfast was one of the best anywhere - scrummy local produce and wonderful home-made jams...recommend the rhubarb & ginger! Next time i would like to sample the restaurant.There are so many thoughful additions here...fridge at the bottom of the stairs with juices and selection of teas.The lounge is comfy and relaxing.
You have it nailed.Will certainly return and wish you every success in the future!

Room Tip: Any room would not disappoint!
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled on business
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Thank morchwestport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

We've just returned from out 4th visit to the Belfry and i never fails to disappoint. It is next to a main road (but this is a country main road - not the M4!) but in a beautiful setting in th Blackdown HIlls. Neil and Sara-Jane are fabulous hosts and provide a welcoming rleaxed atmosphere. We love Coleridge which has a fantastic bed and amazing feature window. Don't just stay for B & B: Sara-Jane is an extremely clever chef with great attention to detail and a great menu sourced from local fresh produce. A lot of highly rated hotels would be proud to have her in their kitchens! We are real foodies and going to the Belfry is always a treat. Also no far from lots of great places to visit.

Room Tip: Coleridge is on the quieter side but we have never been disturbed by the road.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank adelaide_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

I think most of the reviews have covered all the great bits of the place. I always feel like my holiday is starting when I reach The Belfry. I love all the little touch's - a friendly welcome when you arrive, tea/coffee as you sink into the sofa and homemade cakes or biscuits. The beds are great, the showers have plenty of pressure and the breakfasts are to die for.

Any complaints - only one - too many people are getting to know about this gem and I might not get a room one of these days!!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Steve T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Belfry at Yarcombe

Address: Main Street, Yarcombe, Honiton EX14 9BD, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Honiton > Yarcombe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Yarcombe
Price Range: $106 - $121 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Belfry at Yarcombe 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Relax and unwind in our beautiful boutique 4* Restaurant and Rooms hotel set within an historic grade II listed old school built in 1870. With stone mullioned & leaded stained glass windows, fabulous individually designed decor and L’Occitane bathroom products, The Belfry provides the quality & level of service you would normally expect from a much larger hotel. Just off the A303 & close to the dramatic Jurassic Coast and Antiques Galore in Honiton. ... more   less 
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