When we called Orles Barn to book our room for two nights we were told by the manager that they’d take a deposit about two weeks before our arrival. However, a month later, when we got our credit card statement, we discovered they had taken the full amount (£360) for dinner, bed & breakfast on the day we made the booking. Not happy with this we called for an explanation and were told that the manager and chef had suddenly left after only two months and that the new management were unable to refund us any money as our arrangement had been with the previous management team. They would, however, honour our booking. So, to cut a long story short, we went.
We had booked the ground-floor suite, Siddington Russett, but on arrival we opted for the upstairs suite, D’Arcy Spice. If you looked closely at the room you could see it was crudely and cheaply put together. The bedroom and sitting room were cramped and the bathroom was fairly basic. Yet the room had every possible amenity you need in a good hotel, the decor was cheerful if not exactly luxurious and you came to enjoy its quirks. However, the entrance to the room was via a grotty fenced-in area and in the hallway was a filing cabinet which seemed to contain the archive of the hotel’s accounts. There was also a kitchen full of junk. The view from the rear sitting room was frankly ugly and, worst of all, was the traffic noise - you got the A40 in your room every minute of the day so we had two rather restless nights.
The public areas are beautifully designed - bright contemporary decor and quite spacious. We had a drink in the bar and then went into the restaurant for dinner. Now, we had paid in advance for two dinners and the amount we paid was more than the cost of the current chef’s menu. Choices were very limited. Our starters were OK - one little fish cake for me, one thin slice of chicken liver parfait for my wife. But then disaster - frazzled salmon for my wife and a chicken dish for me which was quite the worst I have been served in a very long time. The chicken was desiccated, as dry as sawdust. The ‘spring vegetables’ were in fact two sticks of undercooked carrot. The ‘fondant potato’ was a soggy mess. It was inedible so I left all of it and we didn’t risk the desserts. Obviously we ate out the next evening and forfeited a dinner for which we had already paid.
This is an operation trying to recover from a management upheaval in challenging economic times. The place looked a bit empty and abandoned yet the new staff seemed keen and obliging, hoping to fix the damage and recover the reputation the hotel seems to have enjoyed. I wish them well and wanted to do so in person when we checked out. But on that last morning there wasn’t anyone there apart from the chef. And when we needed to formally check out and get some sort of paperwork the main door was locked. So we drove away.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Accomodation ideal for everything from a romantic weekend away to a bolt hole from business. Our Grill & Restaurant serves Modern British Local Food in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Orles Barn has links back to the 14th & 17th Centuries and the first floor rooms have exposed beams and character features. The south facing garden stretches over an acre and is ideal for wedding receptions. Enjoy Walking? Around the hoterl area are plenty of walks to hand. after you have finihsed you can relax in our cosy bar/lounge with a local drink or maybe just a fresh coffee. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Orles Barn Hotel Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire