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Reviewed December 13, 2012

Booked with travelzoo on a first night dinner, bed and breakfast deal. We arrived on the sunday afternoon and had no trouble parking in the free private car park at the rear of the hotel, yes the entrance is a bit tight but we had a people carrier and got through just take it a bit slow. Llittle walk to reception but well signposted. The receptionist was very polite and pleasent and booked us in in a very short time. We where in room 79 on the first floor and where pleasently surprised that this was The Franklin Suite. (we had booked a standard deal and had been upgraded at no extra cost)
The room comprised a living area with seating ,desk and a tv plus all the usaul tea,coffee plus a fruit bowl. I would guess it was recently refurbished as was looking like new, off the lounge was the bedroom c/w massive bed built in wardrobes and another tv plus seating at the end of the bed. The unsuite I would say was not part of the refurb but exceptionally clean with a big selection of bath/shower items and extremelly hot running water, no chance of a cold shower here. The only small down side was the room was very very hot but you can easily open the windows for a bit of fresh air. The view across the grounds was lovely. We had booked a 1st night dinner deal and we had the steak off the menu at a supplement of £6.00 but with a free bottle of wine included in the deal had no complaints. We where travelling with our young baby son and the old lift was big enough for his pushchair. The public areas are funny enough quite chilly but the building is very very old and made of stone so heating it during the winter must be a big job. It was comfortable enough just a little chillly her and there. The staff during our stay in all areas of the hotel are a absolute credit to the company and the hotel as it made a pleasent change to see every member of the team going over and above the norm and so polite and happy it makes a big difference. Breakfast is served in the same area as dinner a nice big oak panelled room. Breakfast is like most previous reviews of a good wide cold and hot selection, the coffee is pretty strong but helps wake you up. Banbury town is basically acroos the main road so walking to the shops and restaurants is very close to hand. Would stay again and the price we paid was unbelivable value.

Room Tip: If you are lucky to get a suite or can upgrade its well worth it.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Beanie1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 14, 2012

Dear Guest,

On behalf of all the team and myself, thank you so much for your extremely great review following your stay with us here at Mercure Whately Hall Hotel, Banbury. I am especially pleased that we managed to suprise you almost straight away with an free upgrade to the Franklin Suite, which has just been refurbished. I am really glad that you enjoyed both the food and the surroudings so much. I am truly proud of the team here at Mercure Whately Hall and it is great when they are recognised by guests with such positive comments.

I hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you again to Mercure Whately Hall Hotel in the future.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2012

Enjoyed a pre - christmas night away with friends at a discounted rate, including evening meal.
Food choice was good and quality excellent. When two of us commented that part of the main course was not quite warm enough the waitress immediately sorted it out and gave us a complimentary bottle of house wine by way of an apology. Incredible service.
All of the staff were courteous, friendly and efficient, making for a great atmosphere.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the old part
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank David D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 14, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for your review of our hotel following your stay with us. I am sorry that the food was not warm enough first time but very glad the the team managed to resolve the issue to your satisfaction. I will be sure to pass your comments to the staff regarding how courteous and friendly you said they are.

I do hope that we will be able to welcome you back to Mercure Whately Hall in the future.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2012

For my birthday, my wife treated me to a visit to Bletchley Park with two nights stay at a hotel. As I have MS, my wife spent a great deal of time finding hotel that had a fully level shower room. Her initial choice, close to Bletchley Park, did not offer an accessible room, but the central bookings administrator agreed to find a hotel that did provide a fully accessible, level shower room. My wife was recommended the Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel and was assured that, if we upgraded to a small suite, this would provide the level shower room and would be accessible for me. The hotel was some 45 minutes from Bletchley Park, but owing to their recommendation regards its accessible nature, my wife upgraded and booked the room for two nights.

On arrival, we discovered that the room was a very long way from reception and there was no lift in the reception area. We were informed there was a lift, but to access this, we had to make our way back to the car park. This involves stairs and slopes, so not suitable for a full-time wheelchair user and very difficult for me. We found our room and, discovered that we had obviously been allocated the wrong room – there was a bath, with just a shower head over the bath. No sign of teh promised level shower room. On returning to reception - a long walk for someone who is disabled, my wife explained their mistake. The receptionist, although very polite and helpful, said that they had no rooms with a separate shower. I asked if they had a disabled hotel room we could be transferred to. We were informed that they did, but that this too had a shower ‘OVER’ the bath! We obviously had no option but to make the best of things and so returned to our original room. It was grubby, the furniture was worn and the bath surround covered in mould & mildew. The settee in the lounge was so old and tired that we eventually put cushions, under the sofa cushions to get comfortable. The wall was covered in black marks and scuffs and the outlook was over their rather dismal car park. Normally, we would have asked to be moved, but by then I was so tired from trekking backwards and forwards we gave up.

We read that we had been provided with an upgraded welcome tray, but the only thing we could find was two small bottles of water. When we asked if our upgraded welcome tray had been overlooked, we were informed that this was it. Despite staying there for two nights, the water was not replaced.

The staff are all delightful, they smile and try to be helpful. We eventually made our way back to reception to have a coffee where we sat in view of reception and waited .. and waited. The table had menus offering all sorts of coffee, but no one came to take our order, or even to ask if they could bring us anything. Eventually my wife went to reception and asked if we could order some coffees.

We ate out the first evening and in the dining room the second evening. The food, after our experiences so far, was a very pleasant surprise, well-presented, well-prepared and surprisingly reasonable. The staff were attentive, and pleasant, but as another guest has commented, we were asked a little too often if everything was alright. In the cold light of the day, at breakfast, you can see how exceedingly tired this hotel really is. The table surfaces are worn and lifting and the floor is scuffed and scratched and, a pet-hate, a fork with bent tines. Perhaps the saddest part was looking over the attractive gardens knowing that a number of rooms all enjoy that view whilst we had the car park.

We had to ask several times if we could have some more milk and coffee for our room. This was always provided, but the chamber maids have obviously been trained to leave as few coffees, teas & milks in the room as possible.

I found staying there very difficult and the room we had been allocated was about the furthest you could get from the dining room & bar. Being that my wife had phoned specifically to discuss the availability of a level shower room, this was not only a disappointment but, had my health been poor on those two days, I simply would not have managed as my wheelchair, which was in the car, would not have been suitable for this hotel.

On checking-out, my wife was asked if everything had been OK, so she showed the receptionist the memo she had received where she had stipulated that we must have a level shower room and it must be disabled-friendly. She was receptive and asked if my wife would ‘leave it to her’ to sort it out and get back to her. No one asked if we needed a hand to take our bags to the car despite me being disabled a having to use two sticks, meaning I am unable to assist my wife.

On the 8th December, my wife received an email from the Hotel below. The spelling and grammar is as received.

Dear Mrs Tucker,

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your stay at the Mercure Banbury Whately Hall, but I was very disappointed to hear that your experience did not meet your expectations. Please allow me to express my sincerest apologies.

At Mercure, we strive to provide a superior service experience for every guest and your feedback is very important to us. I am afriad it was absolutley one of the teams fault in allocating the incorrect room number that resulted in you not having the room with the shower and I am so sorry, I belive you spoke to my Front Office Manager upon check out and she has addressed this with individuals concerend. The black marks on the silicone are discolouration and I am hpoing that this will be addressed in our ongoing refurbishment program along with the comments you made about the furniture. Thank you very much for taking the time to tell me about your comments as it is invaluable when trying to get more investement for the hotel.
We appreciate your feedback, and I hope that you will give us the opportunity to welcome you back to the Mercure Banbury Whately Hall and provide you with a genuine hassle-free experience.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Williams
General Manager

Mecure claim that they 'Committ to':
Unrivalled quality of service during your stay at a Mercure hotel; in particular, it will:
Take special care looking after your booking, whether you make it by telephone, at the hotel or over the Internet
Make your stay in the city as easy as possible
Offer you a pleasant environment, suitable for both work and relaxation
Ensure that your room contains the highest-quality facilities
Make sure that all your needs are satisfied during your entire trip, even after you have checked out

If the email we received from teh general manager is an example of the Mecures commitment - then it says it all.

We didn’t expect much, but being we had beeen informed that we needed to upgrade to an expensive room in order to get a shower and considering the exceedingly poor quality and condition of our room, it would only have taken a simple gesture such as a complimentary meal or even a bottke of wine to leave us feeling that they really did care and were sorry. Perhaps the influence of Tripadvisor may cause Mr Sheard to respond.

I was going to write to Jonathan Sheard, managing director, but Mecure make it so difficult to find an address that I eventually gave up, deciding that to objectively share my findings on Tripadvisor about this hotel would be more helpful to others.

For £120 a night excluding dinner, you can do better elsewhere.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank StocklinchTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2012

Dear Mr Tucker,

I am really sorry to read about your dissatisfaction following your stay with us.
At Mercure we really do care about trying to make everyone’s stay as enjoyable and comfortable as possible and I am sorry that the room with the walk-in shower was not the room that you received and that the service you received was not up to our usual high standards.

I have taken the liberty of passing your details onto my Area General Manager who will be in touch with you.

Once again Mr. Tucker my sincere apologies.


Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2012

Whately Hall is an impressive building in the town centre. Its first impressions were great because it was done up for Christmas and looked just like a Christmas card inside and out. The rooms were very nice though lacking in drawer space for our three night stay. The oak paneled dining room was smart and the food excellent though the service was a bit haphazard and needed a bit better management.
No problems with evening entertainment because the Odeon cinema was next door and the town centre with pubs and restaurants just a few yards away.
Only major flaw is the lack of accessible lifts for the upstairs rooms. The only lift needed a climb of a flight of stairs or a drag of your case the length of the building. Upside was that there was no sign of the hotel's ghost.

Room Tip: Try to get a room overlooking the garden at the rear. Much quieter
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Brian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 13, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for taking the time to review your recent stay with us and I am really happy that you enjoyed our festive decorations. I am glad that you enjoyed the food but am very sorry about the service you received. It is true that the lift is not in the most convienient location. Should you choose to stay with us again please do not hesitate to contact us and we will endeavour to get you a more convieniently located bedroom.

Once again thank you very much for your comments.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2012

It was like stepping back 30 years to the hay days of Trust House Forte in the provinces. Oak panelling in every main room, comfortable rooms, friendly staff and post rationing food. Unfortunately my bed was very soft but that may be to some peoples taste. I have rarely had such a shocking cooked breakfast. Inadequately cooked fried eggs sitting on a hot plate, skinless sausages that tasted of paper and bacon that had never had a chance to know crispness. I would happily stay there again but stick to a continental breakfast!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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Thank michael a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
whately, General Manager at Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 12, 2012

Dear Guest,

First of all thank you for your kind words about the hotel and the staff, it is much appreciated. I am very sorry about your experience at breakfast it is certainly not the norm here and will address this with the relevent people.

Once again thank you for your comments and I do hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you again to Mercure Whately Hall Hotel.

Kind Regards

Michael Williams
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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