I'll start by explaining that I've been going to Runswick Bay for circa 20 years. It's a place that I hold dear to me. It's such a pity then that the Cliffemount Hotel despite having new ownership / management for over a year still delivers an experience akin to being wiped about the face with a piece of Whitby Haddock.
The previous owner was also aloof so It must be in the title deeds that the place has to be run by a snooty "school matron". I'd put my first experience of the new owners down to teething problems. I have to now come to the conclusion that the current "matron", Carol Rae, simply enjoys being snooty and stuck up.
We'd popped in for a drink in the afternoon as we were staying near by and had been reliably informed by the barmaid that we could reserve a table in the bar for dinner. When we arrived that evening we were told by Ms Rae (as she looked over her spectacles and down her nose at us) that they do not take bookings at the bar. Most welcoming - I think not! Strike one for poor comunication and management between her and her employees.
We decided to stick around and wait for a table and had the pleasure of hearing waitresses being criticised whilst in full view of customers. Someone else was also sacked over the phone. This was not pleasant to witness. Strike two for failing to keep management problems in the back room and for a terrible management style.
A gentleman with his young daughter enetered the bar and asked if the place served children's food. I have never encountered such a patronising reply..."we pride ourselves in the fact that we don't do scampi in a basket food here". This is not what the gentleman had asked for?! Ms Rae should not attempt to judge people by the beachwear that they dress in. I saw the man and his family drive off in a rather expensive vehicle. Strike three for being too judgemental.
If the food is what Ms Rae prides herself in then she must have a low self esteem. My starter failed to be served with the pear and grape chutney as described on the specials board and my halibut was over cooked. Strike four for simply average food at above average prices.
I had been thinking of staying at the Cliffemount again for our wedding anniversary this year. After the below average food, snooty management and a general all around unwelcoming experience (the waitresses were not very friendly either), I will be choosing somewhere else. Its a shame because the location of the place is ideal.
p.s. Terrible spelling on the specials / drinks boards!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Great views of Runswick Bay harbour with a large open garden and a sea view restaurant. Great value, quality and service offered to all our guests. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cliffemount Hotel Runswick, England