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“Would Stay Again”

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Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel
Ranked #4 of 10 Hotels in Banbury
East Sussex, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Would Stay Again”
Reviewed September 18, 2008

Stayed for one night and thought the hotel excellent, if a little tired. Great room, v. clean with an excellent bathroom and two comfortable chairs (important this - how many double bedded rooms just have one decent chair?). Did not eat there as the dinner and breakfast both seemed expensive.

V. friendly staff, especially the chamber maids who wished us a safe journey, hoped we had enjoyed our stay, etc.

Would stay again as Banbury is an interesting town with lots of places to eat and drink.

  • Liked — Large room
  • Disliked — Bit tired
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank TravellersA58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Birmingham, England
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2008

I booked two feature rooms through Superbreak.com for a Bank holiday weekend getaway . One double room (No. 53) for me and my husband and a twin room (No. 56) for my sister and 11 year old niece. We wanted a good base to visit Banbury, Oxford and surrounding villages.

The hotel was easy to find, parking was free and readily available despite our arrival on the Saturday coinciding with a wedding party. We were quickly and politely checked in without a hitch by a pleasant and attentive Paul on reception.

Our rooms were on the second floor (no lift / elevator!) in the 'old' part of this lovely former manor house. The rooms were large, very clean with spacious, modern bathrooms. Our room overlooked the garden which was very attractive. My sister's room was at the front of the hotel overlooking the beautiful "St Mary the Virgin" church opposite. The church bells chimed regularly, which could prove a disturbance during the night but during daylight added greatly to the charm and atmosphere.

Whilst we had a wonderfully peaceful night's sleep after the wedding party celebrations ended, soon after midnight - there was the occasional disturbance by guests walking past our door on very creaky floorboards! At least we THINK it was guests and not Fr Bernard (more later!)

The guests were not rowdy or anything like that - it was just the creaky floorboards - something which could not be avoided. Any period building of great age suffers some form of 'structural arthritis' and if that is likely to cause a problem to prospective guests then perhaps choosing a modern hotel will eliminate that particular issue. However, we felt it was a mild irritation worth accepting for the charm and character it gave the whole experience. It could be argued that one could stay at a modern hotel with no such structural quirks - but be disturbed by noisy, inconsiderate guests or loud music / functions...

It has to be said though that rooms overlooking the street were blighted by the noise of passing revellers. My sister reported the noise (which died off after about 2.00am) was sufficient to warrant her closing the lovely leaded light windows - and on a warm August night, this made the room uncomfortably stuffy and hot for the rest of the night (there is a fan provided in the cupboard but my sister was unaware of it until the next morning).

Up bright and early on a wonderful sunny Sunday morning and the garden view was delightful. We could hear the faint peal of church bells (much louder in the street facing rooms, of course) but a delight nonetheless.

Down to breakfast...we appeared at the sweet, oak panelled dining room and were quickly seated. Breakfast was buffet style and everything one expected was provided. Tea and toast served promptly and a good range of breakfast fare...the hot food (eggs, bacon etc.,) was replenished regularly so there was none of the usual heaps of congealed, lukewarm cooked food left to swim in grease that one often encounters with buffet style breakfasts elsewhere...it was hot, fresh and plentiful and the staff were helpful and attentive - a delightful end to a wonderful stay.

We were able to take our time as check out is a very loose and generous "before 12 noon" - though we left at 11.00am to get on the road for our trip to Oxford. Some of the wedding guests were also checking out but a cheery wave from Paul as we placed the room keys on the desk was all that was required. A final look around the quaint lobby before setting off to freeze the moment and commit it to memory - and we were off.

Oh....and No.52 (appropriately, the Honeymoon Suite!) is the haunted room - Father Bernard inhabits it on occasion - (perhaps the fact that the occupants keep HIM awake all night prompts him to throw things around the room in protest!) Seriously though, there is a wealth of history attached to the Hall as regards the hiding of priests during the period when Catholics were persecuted...

We had a lovely time and found the hotel and its staff to be utterly enchanting - highly recommended from a family who have stayed in leading 5* hotels both here and around the world!

  • Liked — History, quirkiness. Friendly staff, large, clean room and modern bathroom. great breakfast!
  • Disliked — Creaky floorboards & stairs (to be expected!) Small double bed? Creaky knees! (no lift)
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3 Thank Carolangelus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2008

Although beautiful from the outside and some nice interiors this hotel is in desperate need of a refurb. We stayed for a friends wedding as the wedding party were at the hotel (although the wedding wasn't held here thank goodness!). The wedding started at 3 and the hotel check in was 2 so we were on a tight schedule. When we got there at 5 past 2, there was a long queue, there were 2 wedding parties staying in the hotel and lots of guests were trying to check in at the same time, none of the rooms were ready, people were having to change in the toilets, the FoH staff were understably stressed but all it needed was a bit of preparation. If you have a full hotel of wedding guests checking in at the same time surely it would be an idea to have 2 FoH staff and extra chamber maids (this was not the case at Whatley Hall Hotel). The room was ok, but the bathroom had black round the windows from mould, and paint was falling off the ceiling. We also had no water in our room and only 1 bath towel so had to ask for an extra one. (Not what you would expect when paying £95 for a double room).
In the morning we were rudely awoken at 7.30 by the chamber maids rowing (their cleaning store was right next to our room) about who was cleaning what rooms. The breakfast wasn't much to write home about, processed sausages, grey looking bacon and watery eggs. There also wasn't a great selection of cereals and pastries. Other guests also complained that they hadn't got the rooms they required, one family were sposed to have a family room but they forgot to put the extra bed in so one of them had to sleep in the chair!
All in all, I would not stay here again, go to a B and B as Banbury is beautiful and well worth a visit!

  • Liked — Nice building
  • Disliked — Not very good Value
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2 Thank ConchitaLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Banbury hotels

Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2008

My girlfriend and I stayed here for one night while visiting friends in Banbury. Overall, the place is fine, but badly in need of a lick of paint.

Best bits:
The hotel looks stunning from the outside. A beautiful old building that dominates the road, with a huge garden in the rear. It is also in a great location for the surprisingly good Banbury town centre. Our room was huge - it was more of a US style suite, with 2 bathrooms, separate bedroom and lounge area. The bathrooms looked very new, clean and were well equipped.

The service from front desk was good. Efficient, friendly service on check-in and check-out.

Worst bits:
The whole place is very tatty. The room was clean, but very badly kitted out, with cupboard doors falling off their hinges and old nasty curtains.

The lobby and stairways are equally tatty. The whole hotel smells as though it was filled with cigarette smoke until the ban came into force, and hasn't really been aired out since!

In conclusion, the place is fine for a short stay. I get the impression Mercure have just taken ownership (and replaced the bathrooms?). Hopefully they spend a bit more money on the place and bring it up to a higher spec, as the building is beautiful and deserves to be a proper "hotel and spa".

  • Liked — The size of the rooms
  • Disliked — The smell!
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank Hardstu81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2008

I booked this hotel for a party of 7 for a small family get together. Generally, the hotel was excellent. The staff were friendly and extremely helpful although it was clear they were short staffed due to a large Wedding party. The rooms were comfortable and clean, although no consideration seemed to be made on room allocation, our single party member was allocated a king size room where as the twin room was a small double, but it did not detract from the experience.

We had dinner in the restaurant and the quality of the food was fantastic. We dined as part of a package and so the price was very reasonable.

Stayed July 2008
2 Thank Macca79Coventry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
90 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2008

We decided to stay in Banbury for a night to break a long journey and as Banbury is just off the M40 it was an ideal choice.

Hotel is in a fantastic location next to 'Banbury' cross in the centre of town. Hotel has it's own free car prak which is also a bonus.

Staff were excellent, friendly and nothing seemed to be a problem. We stayed in a room in the new part of the hotel and it was large and clean with a lovely view of the garden.

We did not use the hotel restaurant as opted to eat in one of the many restaurants around town. We also made use of 'Weatherspoons' round the corner for breakfast instead of paying 15pound each at the hotel.

The hotel itself is quite historic, but being in the newer part of the hotel this was lost, altho the reception and bar areas have some original features.

I wouldn't hesitate staying again and as it was Sunday we got a very good rate via laterooms - so shop around for a good deal.

Stayed June 2008
2 Thank SJBerkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bishop Auckland
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed June 27, 2008

Checked in late at 10.30pm but had phoned ahead to ensure the hotel knew. Reception received on arrival compared favourably to a watered down version of Basil Fawlty. Explained I had been disappointed that I had not managed to book a promotional room (better value) was met with a blank expression and ignored. Bar service was appallingly, a queue had formed of eight people and then was down to one (me), the others had left to get a drink elsewhere. Did not receive apology when barman finally turned up but did give a good shrug of the shoulders. Breakfast at £30 for two, for tea and toast, was ridiculous!

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank DurhamStu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel

Property: Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel
Address: Banbury Cross 17-19 Horse Fair, Banbury OX16 0AN, England (Formerly Mercure Whately Hall Hotel)
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Banbury
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 10 Hotels in Banbury
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
3 star hotel offering 69 ensuite rooms in an idyllic 17th Century setting where Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels in 1723. Ideal as a base for exploring the Cotswolds region, Stratford Upon Avon, Oxford, Woodstcock & Warwick. 10 minutes from Banbury railway and coach stations, 30 miles (50 km)from Birmingham Airport and easily accessible via Junction 11 of the M40. Features 7 meeting rooms accommodating up to 120 delegates, Swifts & Berkeley Restaurants and Hornton Bar. 24hrs room service and free car parking. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Accor Whately Hall Hotel

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