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“A really disappointing experience”
Review of The Bulstone Hotel

The Bulstone Hotel
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The Bulstone Hotel
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Branscombe
Somerset
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A really disappointing experience”
Reviewed August 24, 2009

My main motivation for posting a negative review is my fear that some family might book this for their main holiday of the year, spending loads of money (it's not cheap - £110 a night) only to be very disappointed.

The outside of the building is very grubby and inside feels a bit tatty and unloved. We wanted somewhere child friendly and although the kids liked having toys to play with, I have to say the playroom was grubby and dingy and the toys had a bric a brac/car boot sale feel. I even found a slug making it's way across the playroom floor, having earlier seen tiny pre-crawling babies mouthing the carpet - yuk!

When you've got kids it is really good to have a 'suite' with two separate bedrooms, so this was the hotel's real plus point. The decor of the room was fine - 2 star standard - and the bed linen nice. TV with freeview another good thing so the kids could watch cBeebies. HOWEVER the bathroom was really not clean. Grubby, gritty surfaces on the bath and sink, and I found at least eight hairs in the bath and on the towels. I definitely did not want to walk in there with bare feet.

Breakfast was a basic selection, and what we had was fine, but we didn't want to risk any of the cooked food as we worried a little about hygiene.

We've never met hoteliers like the owners of Bulstone. I'm sure they're nice people but they just didn't seem very friendly or open, and came across as a bit abrasive. This hotel is such a missed opportunity. The position is good, near various attractions, and the concept - family suites, a playroom, a kitchen to do your own baby milk, etc. - is one that we and other families are always looking for. It would take a lot of money to lift it from its current state, but it could be great. I don't mind hotels of a basic standard but I cannot bear to stay somewhere dirty, especially with young children. Thank goodness we were only staying one night.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
14 Thank SomersetSparrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BULSTONE, Owner at The Bulstone Hotel, responded to this review, August 27, 2011
A late response to this review but it needs to be on line and viewed The Hotel is constantly being updated inside and out . in the last 6 months in excess of £ 4000 . 00 If the guest had complained at once issues especially bathrooms are dealt with immediately . Breakfast offers cereal fruit yogurt croissants as well as cooked breakfast comments on hygiene wrong we hold a 5 star hygiene certificate and all our food is cooked to order. The AA are happy with our levels of service and when guests are only with us for 1 night it is difficult to become aquainted especially at breakfast when everyone is wanting to chat about their day. We do clean daily and guests must bear in mind they are not the only ones present. The playroom is well used and new toys are constantly being bought, but parents seem not to care and toys are destroyed or damaged within days or sometimes even hours .
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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45 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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English first
The Lakes
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2009

On arrival the hotel does look run downand is a rated at two star qulaity, rooms are disapointing. Granny and I stood looking worriedly at each other in the car park whilst the men braved first encounter.

What makes it so family friendly though is the baby monitoring, large play room and early childrens tea (and high tea for adults). The children enjoyed being surrounded by different children of different agas on a daily basis.

If you can get past to tired setting without being too snooty you will be rewarded with excellent adult meals and happy children. They also made a big effort to feed the children well and made special trips to fishmongers etc.

We stayed for five nights and ate too much daily - but hey we were on holiday.

The proprieters are as you find them, individuals, no flannel and enthusiastic about food. How boring life would be if we were all the same.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank TheDukeofShap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burphamboy
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2009

This is a wonderful hotel which in my opinion is ideal for families as it specialises in having families with children. This takes the presure off you worrying about your child crying and disrupting people who are also in the hotel as everyone else also has children. So you don't have to worry if the child is slightly noisy. The food for both the childrens tea and the adults dinner is lovely. The food is freshly prepared every day and the menu changes daily (and included duck, fish pie and rack of lamb) but the list is endless.The wine list has also been carefully chosen and contains a good range of world wines including a couple of nice English whites.
The toy room and the garden enable the children to play and explore in a safe environment and to interact with any other children staying at the hotel. This of course also means that the kids have somewhere to play whatever the British weather throws at us.
This is not a stuffy 4 or 5 star hotel where children are not allowed to be seen or heard. It is a small family run hotel where the owners will endeavour to ensure that your stay is as good as it can be.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Burphamboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northants
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2009

As parents of two young children we were very relieved to find a hotel which didn't compromise on smoking. Some hotels we've stayed at seemed to allow the selfish and the ignorant to flout regulations which are aimed at protecting the health and environment of other guests. We were pleased to discover that this isn't one of them.

The sea isn't far - we found driving halfway, parking and walking the rest of the way was a very pleasant post breakfast ritual which was rewarded with a lovely, atmospheric stretch of beach. Being set out of a main village, far from being a problem, added to the tranquility for us and enhanced our stay. It probably would for you unless your'e the sort who has to drive absolutely everywhere.

The food is perhaps the principal pleasure of a stay here.The atmosphere in the dining room being highly conducive to the enjoyment of a relaxing and pleasurable meal. ( The minted pea soup and bakewell tart were chief amongst the pleasures to be sampled, the quality of which would be difficult to equal elsewhere- though you could always ask for the recipe and try yourself. We did and it wasn't the same!). The main courses were various, generous and flavoursome and there was an eclectic range of wines on offer with which to complement your choice.( advice from knowledgeable host on request).

On hearing we had received less than satisfactory service from a local attraction, Mr Moynahan generously devoted his own time in a (successful) attempt to sort out the problem. The owners plainly have an eye for the important details and, in our view, have their priorities right.On the basis of our stay we can say that these are proprietors who believe in the personal touch and who make the effort. A breath of fresh air in our increasingly bland and corporate times.

No casino or helipad I'm afraid, but I'm sure the proprietor would paint a large H for you if you asked him nicely...

Finally, children are probably the best arbiters of a family holiday, and deserve the last word."When are we going back to Kevin and Judith's? " has become something of a refrain for our two.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Shevad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2009

my family and i enjoyed our stay at this hotel and couldn't fault it in any way. Kevin and Judith provide such a wonderful service. What other hotel do you stay at where you have the use of a kitchen with two microwaves and a fridge freezer to make your picnic for the next day. The Garden is lovely and big so the children can stretch their legs after a long drive. The play room has lego and various childrens games such as Guess who in it. The childrens tea is marvellous it is a time when the children get to eat their dinner my children liked Judith's chicken casserole the best and there's not a chip in sight which is very welcoming these days. Then adults tea is at 8.pm were you are treated to the most wonderful food that is homecooked and very fresh our favorites were the duck and the chicken with peppers and pineapple for main course and for the starter the fish cakes are just devine. The puddings are out of this world you really need to try judiths dorset apple cake and her rice pudding they are both great joys to eat. Tea and coffee is served in the adults lounge were you are able to interact with the other parents to discuss where you have been were you recommend and just have a general chat something that doesn't happen uninterrupted now that you have children. What a treat.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank NorthumberlandTigger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 6, 2009

Repeat business tells its own story. We and our two sons have stayed several times. We commonly meet fellow guests who are on their second, third, fourth or more visit. We find Kevin and Judith are friendly and work hard to ensure their guests needs are met.

Some of our (adult) evening meals have been of the highest quality - quality meat, al dente vegetables and good wines. Sometimes we join other parents for post dinner chat and coffee, sometimes we don't.

The hotel building is not a work of art , the garden is large but fairly wild, and any view is obscured by trees. But we don't go for the architecture or the view. The hotel is set back from a very quiet road, which makes it a peaceful and very safe place for our children.

A few places to take your children
1 Pecoroma
2 Crealy adventure park
3 Country life
4 Exmouth (best sandy beach in the area)
5 Walk up Hay Tor on Dartmoor

We make sure to get back from a day out for the children's tea at 5pm. The boys then have free time until we put them to bed (sometimes before dinner, sometimes after). We love not having to worry about where the children are or what they are doing.

Our son Jamie says: "I like the breakfast, and the bed, and the stock of videos in the children's TV room, not to forget the play room."

Some others' comments on this web site seem to us very small minded and prissy. Go with the flow - get out and about Devon from 10am to 5pm - and you will enjoy it.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Surreyors
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South East
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed August 1, 2009

We arrived in pouring rain, looking for somewhere to warm our hearts and entertain the kids on our anniversary weekend. As soon as we pulled into the car park with its cracked concrete, caravan on stilts and general reclamation site, our hearts sank. Reception was an automated phone which beckoned a nervous looking man dressed as a boy scout (the proprietor). Our room was grotty but thankfully the bath was hot.
The website advertised kids tea at 5 and romantic adult meal at 8pm, but we rapidly cancelled our booking for dinner, seemingly to the relief of scout leader. The website also advertised a well stocked childrens play area which turned out to be more like a bric-a-brac sale of grubby toddlers toys and moth eaten books. The next day we braced ourselves for breakfast and rightly so: the poached eggs were still swimming in water as we ate to the sound of uplifting hymns on the radio - the whole thing reminiscent of a youth hostel meal. The only way to deal with the experience was to laugh, or else cry at the £110 spent to be on a set from the League of Gentlemen; or to marvel at the 1970s interiors as a backdrop to the quite surreal proprietors.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
22 Thank daphnescoobs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Bulstone Hotel

Property: The Bulstone Hotel
Address: Higher Bulstone, Branscombe EX12 3BL, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Branscombe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Branscombe
Hotel Class:2 star — The Bulstone Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 7
Also Known As:
Bulstone Hotel Sidmouth
The Bulstone Hotel Branscombe, Devon, England

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