I stay at the Newbury Manor for business. It's certainly leagues better than the Mercure Elcot Park which is a country house hotel which fails to deliver on many levels and which comes across as very poorly managed.
So the good things about The Newbury Manor:
• Setting: next to a river with a weir and some lovely gardens - very picturesque
• Food: evening meals and breakfast are of good quality and plenty of choice. Food is cooked to order, none of the hideous heat-lamp buffets and pathetic toasting machines which so many hotels think is acceptable.
• Large sittings for group dinners (20+ people) really well organised with name-cards which have the 3 courses written underneath so that the staff can see what you pre-ordered and don't have to constantly interrupt your conversations to check.
• Flexibility: one of my colleagues has specific dietary requirements, they managed to accommodate her needs really well.
The things which could be improved:
• Rooms: these are now looking very tired and things don't work. For example on my first stay the shower screen was useless and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't avoid flooding the bathroom floor. The 2nd time I stayed the remote for the TV didn't function at all, there was a constant noise of water tanks re-filling throughout the night (it was an attic room). The complimentary cookie jar with home-made cookies (nice homely touch) fastener was broken so all the cookies were soft and inedible. My colleagues room the distance from the toilet to the loo roll holder was so far she has to stand to get it!! All these things would/should be noted by housekeeping and flagged for maintenance to repair. I wonder why this hasn't happened? Why are the team not "thinking customer" as they perform their duties, they must know these rooms intimately?
• Decor: is really old-fashioned and not in a good way. My 2nd stay was in a room which I nicknamed the Kon-Tiki Suite, as it contained 70/80"s bamboo bed and furniture which was so wrong for the country house setting. Wall decorations are generally confused throughout the property. It's a country house hotel, decorate it as one or do as many have - blend the decoration with uber-nodern contemporary designs which offer an interesting relief.
• Bathroom layout: in my recent stay the mirror is positioned over the toilet, some 4 feet from the sink. I'm assuming this room wasn't designed by a man who has to shave! A barber's circular hinged mirror would solve the problem here and would be a minor investment. The sink which is narrow has a glass shelf positioned just at the right height to hit your forehead as you wash!
• Service in the restaurant was painfully slow on the evening we ate there and dishes were served luke warm which means food is plated up and then left sitting in the kitchen. It look us nearly 2 hours to have 3 courses and we're not slow eaters.
• Staff: some greet you, some don't. The best example of this is when you pass reception first thing in the morning on your way to the restaurant. I have had a very energetic "good morning sir!" from one member of staff and been watched and verbally ignored by others on different stays.
So, in conclusion this is an OK hotel which with a few tweaks and some investment (not just financial) could be so much better and be raved about by every single guest; guests who feel they've enjoyed a beautiful setting and a product/service to match the setting.
I hope they take the challenge as it has so much potential to be better.
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- Also Known As:
- Newbury Manor Hotel England