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Oak Bank Hotel
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Reviews (753)
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255 - 260 of 753 reviews
Reviewed May 26, 2014

We have just return home after a great holiday in this friendly and comfortable hotel in the centre of Grasmere. This is our forth stay here having been highly recommended by a friend who use the hotel frequently.

Our room was very comfortable and the facilities of an extremely high standard, the beds are firm [I slept this holiday so well which is unusual for me in hotels!]

The hosts provide simple but kind additions such as a Thermos of cold milk for your coffee/tea, with home-made shortbread biscuits also being provided-which hotel also provide a small sherry for the guests?

The dinner menu is a delight with cuisine of such interest means you start the evening with anticipation making your final decision quite difficult .The wine list is extensive with Simon always on hand to make suggestions, the prices were very reasonable.

We did enjoy the selection of home-made breads with three butters accompanying, greedily we usual devoured the four breads! Hang the weight gain!!

The various courses were a surprise not knowing what you would be offered next coming between the main courses, we found the 'pre-sweet' course a surprise. The sweets were superb, I managed during the week to sample them all in turn.

All in all I can unreservedly recommend this hotel to the discerning holiday-maker, as I wrote in the guest book – SIMPLY THE BEST.

Room Tip: If you have been at this hotel previously I recommend that you ask the owners to see the other rooms, we did and found the ideal room for our requirements.
  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank jim17downie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2014

This hotel has a superb restaurant but very disappointing accommodation. For a review of the restaurant, please see a separate review.
What is it about British hoteliers? They never seem to invest in a recurrent programmes of redecoration, rather they leave decorating until it becomes a major capital expense. A regular programme would mean a contract with a local tradesman could be negotiated at reasonable rates. The public areas of the hotel were fine, well decorated with carpet in good condition. The residential areas were, in contrast, tired and in need of attention. The carpets looked like they had been fitted many years ago and now looked grubby and in need of replacement.
We had booked a superior room. For that we enjoyed a very comfortable super king size bed, bathrobes and a bath as well as a shower. Sadly that was all that was superior about the room. Mediocre would have been a better description. The bathrobes were hanging in the wardrobe, because the hook had come off the back of the bathroom door; not a very useful location really! The paintwork in the bathroom was flaking away from the wall round the sink. The sealant round the bath was to a great extent missing and the bath panel had moved to expose bare wall. The heated towel rail was precarious, being repaired with electrical tape. There was no toilet roll holder, rather toilet roles were on a shelf behind the loo; not easy.
The hook on the back of the door was about to join its companion in the bathroom as it was hanging by a thread. The furniture in the bedroom was in a fairly ropey state. The carpet looked so grubby that my wife took a photograph of it. The throw on the bed was stained with ... I don't know what. The wall by the window was soiled as a result of damp, but while it was now dry nothing had been done to cover the mess.The LCD TV was rather small.
Over the four nights we stayed at the hotel the restaurant menu remained substantially the same. A choice of four starters, mains and deserts where the starters and deserts remained the same each night, while even the mains changed only slightly. As Glynis Wood herself explained when asked by another guest if the menu ever changed, she replied, it was "tweaked" occasionally. When I asked Simon Wood if the menu changed, he replied that it did "seasonally". A beautiful piece of music, superbly played is a joy and a wonder to behold, but if it is played over and over again with little variation it soon palls.
The breakfast was superb with as wide a range of cooked options as I have ever seen. A full "English", smoked haddock, scrambled egg and smoked salmon, eggs Benedict and omelettes were some of the choices, all freshly prepared. Only the cereals, fruit salad, juices etc. were on a buffet ... wonderful!
Simon and Glynis Wood seem a little too reserved and taciturn to run a hotel. Maybe they were having a bad week, but getting a smile or a reasonable conversation was hard work. On one evening Glynis was talking to Simon over the bar and she did not even turn round to exchange a greeting with her guests as we entered the restaurant. I recognise that being a hotelier today is stressful and challenging, but a certain level of hospitality should surely be expected.
It is a great shame. This hotel is potentially a little gem, but it falls a long way short of expectations. If some of the attention expended on the food was applied to the rooms and if the owners were as welcoming as their bubbly receptionist, then this could be one of the best small hotels in the country. If things change for the better, we might return, otherwise there are plenty of other establishments from which to choose.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank thesquirrels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OakBankHotel, Owner at Oak Bank Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 8, 2014

Thesquirrels say we have a ‘superb restaurant’, they ‘enjoyed a very comfortable super king size bed, bathrobes and a bath as well as a shower.’ ‘The breakfast was superb with as wide a range of cooked options’ they had ever seen. ‘Wonderful!’ so what is their problem? We believe the TripAdvisor community will look at his two reviews for us and wonder just that, certainly compared to the majority. He has submitted this review three times – it is almost the same as the first review but with its content swapped around. The restaurant review has been submitted twice. He is trying to have a personal vendetta against us, it is very sad.

To answer the points in the review; are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin:
The comment about British Hoteliers is unfair. We purchased Oak Bank and soon entered the worst recession (so they tell us) that this country has ever seen, so some of that time it has been hard just to keep our head above the water. We are hopeful that we are finally starting to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. We do use local tradesman/craftsmen to carry out renovation/repairs. We do have regular programs. The carpet on the ground floor is a quality 10 row bespoke and should be in good condition it had only been laid 2 months at the time of thesquirrels visit, with a quality underlay of rubber and felt with fitting this cost £11,500. The flooring in the kitchen was replaced mid March with a cost of £3,400. The purple edged cover plates that are on the tables along with other crockery cost £3,000 at the end of December last year. The corridor leading to different areas of the hotel was re-boarded and or re-skimmed and redecorated with new lighting installed with a cost of £2,200. So not including regular repairs and renewals we have spent £20,100 in three months.

From the 2 emails that have been exchanged Mr Squirrel accepts that their room carpet was not ‘grubby’ it is worn and unfortunately for us that wear makes the carpet not look its best. We have never stayed anywhere that the bathrobes are not either in the wardrobe or on the bed when you first enter the room. How hard would it have been for thesquirrels to say ‘Did you know the hook was missing off the bathroom door?’ The answer would have been no, we didn’t. That was replaced as soon as we read the review. We ask guests normally both verbally but certainly in the conclusion of the guest information to let us know if anything is wrong as it gives us a chance to put it right, that normally means whilst you are here so that you hopefully leave happy. We don’t scratch paint so it is flaking, nor remove silicone from the bath or move bath panels to expose bare wall, but these will be remedied. The comment about the toilet roll holder is true, but no good place to put a toilet roll holder in there – we do intend to move the towel rail that some guests use as a handle to get up and down off the toilet, hence the repair there and we may then be able to mount a toilet roll holder. Could they not have mentioned about the hook on the back of the bedroom door? The furniture in the bedroom may be old but it is not ropey. It all functions just as it should, we’ve checked. We are sorry about the throw on the bed, again, could it not have been mentioned in conversation? We think it was either coffee from the colouring or oil, it certainly wasn’t blood or other bodily fluids and has been cleaned. The wall by the window is dry from the reasonably good weather we had been enjoying, we haven’t managed to find the cause of the damp, which sometimes can just be very strong wind with rain were the water gets through the gaps in the Lakeland stone which is just down to the way these building are built. The TV is a 22” flat screen. We know there are much bigger (and smaller,) but not a bad size for our standard of hotel charging the tariff we do. Which leads us to question why they believe we are only worth a poor for value? At the time of their Dinner Bed & Breakfast stay they paid £75.50 per person per night. The Dinner had a value of £35 per person, £37.95 if you have coffee and petit four but it is all included and breakfast has a value of £15. This leaves £22.55 per person as the charge for the room and as they say they enjoyed a very comfortable super king size bed, bathrobes and a bath as well as a shower. Don’t forget that 20% of all those figures goes straight to the taxman in VAT! (£12.58 per person per night) That room is in the Lake District probably only second to London for the cost of running a business although food costs are higher here. Contractors are more expensive here. (Incidentally these following scores have changed over the three reviews that the squirrels have submitted for the worse.) Poor for value? Poor for service? Average for cleanliness? Poor for the rooms? Really??? The good thing about TripAdvisor normally is that people score relatively by the cost of the stay against their experience. We offer incredible value particularly when you stay with us on Dinner, Bed and Breakfast terms. I’ll speak on behalf of any hotelier who is good at what they do, If there is something wrong tell us – it gives us a chance to put it right. Incidentally that is what it says in the guest information, if no one tells us, unless we see it ourselves, we are not to know. thesquirrels did not mention one, not one and not once the things they have faulted us on in conversation as they ‘weren’t sure what our reaction would be’. We would have taken note and resolved them, some whilst they were here. We are the ones that can’t have a reasonable conversation but they didn’t mention any of the faults??? We still cannot get over that they didn’t even mention about the hooks!

Food: We offer a different menu to any vegetarians staying or dining with us.
We are not really sure what the music reference is referring to whether it is the orchestra/band or the audience, the musicians would play the same piece over and over, over many years. The audience can choose whether to listen/be there or not. There are reasons that we wouldn’t really like to go into with guests and wouldn’t really want to put on TripAdvisor in our Management Response why there was little change in the menu, thesquirrels are aware of those reasons from our emails. However, they stayed with us for four days, if they like food as most of our guests do, irrespective of whether the menu changed at all it would still allow them to eat a different starter, main and dessert each dinner. Would you visit your favourite neighbourhood restaurant 4 nights in a row? or even the best restaurant in the world if you could?

We are offended by the personal comments. It’s like having your job appraisal published worldwide would either of thesquirrels like that? Anybody else? To say we are “a little too reserved and taciturn to run a hotel just shows they do not know us and have no understanding of where Oak Bank was when we took it over seven years ago, where we are now and where we are heading over the next seven years of our tenure. We have even had regular guests contact us by email and phone as they cannot understand how they have formed their impression and come to their conclusion. Their snub: Glynis may have been talking to Simon over the bar one evening, it certainly would not have been about what to watch on TV or her next pair of shoes it would have been about that nights dinner service. So they would certainly not have been ‘ignored’ as they seem to think, we would probably have been talking about arranging guests drinks or wine or about a problem and solving it. We are a little bemused that they felt they could not get a reasonable conversation, we try to ‘read’ our guests, some guests like to be left alone, to the other extent where guests like a conversation any time you see them, to guests who will interject with conversations that are being held with others. If we read them wrongly then we are sorry.

thesquirrels say ‘they might return, if things change for the better’. We know the first time they would be able to return to Oak Bank and The Dining Room is when we are no longer here. We are very sure about that.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2014

What a find this hotel proved to be; excellent location in the centre of Grasmere, a warm, friendly and helpful reception, relaxing lounges and a very comfortable bedroom (room 6 single occupancy). The food is out of this world (master chef plus!) I intend to return in the autumn (if not before!)

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank Coral P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2014

Visits over a number of years has seen this establishment grow from strength to strength. It was difficult to get a booking on this occasion but the restaurant experience was not to be missed. The use of local produce influenced the menu with the Herdwick Lamb being a robustly flavoured dish. Seasonal influences did not prevent the chef from presenting well accompanied dishes when vegetables, salads and fruits are in limited supply during early spring. Amuse-bouche, palate cleanser and petit fours give a taste of what may be included in future menus and a chance for the diner to try something they might not otherwise have ordered. The service throughout the meal was attentive with the opportunity to discuss the dishes. We look forward to the next visit and will be spreading the word about the superb time we had, thanks Glynis and Simon.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank StaffsLottie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2014

Three visits to comment on because we stayed between Christmas and New Year, end of March and last weekend - Oak Bank is becoming legendary outside of Grasmere and deserves every plaudit it receives. Don't just read these reviews go and experience it for yourself, you will not be disappointed in the warmth of the welcome, the Dining Room and the individuality of the rooms. Our booking is made again for New Year and hoping for a visit before then.

Room Tip: All rooms are excellent value, just remember to switch on the electric showers before stepping in - bit of a 'blonde moment' and I had a cold shower!
  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jolydaan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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