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“Warm Welcome as always”
Review of The Hill House

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The Hill House
Ranked #12 of 43 Ross-on-Wye B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 23, 2011

We re-visited Hill House after a period of about 5 years and its still the same now as it was then - Duncan even remembered us. We stayed for our wedding anniversary, knowing we could escape to this beautiful spot and just totally relax and enjoy the surroundings. Hill House is not your usual Guest House - its an interesting, quirky place with fab unusual rooms and fantastic food, all home cooked by Duncan with local/organic produce. You will not be disappointed with this place at all - we were again made to feel very welcome and relaxed instantly. The North Suite is a beautiful room, bed very comfy, lovely bathroom and decked balcony outside from where you can see for miles - as far as the Black Mountains? in Wales on a clear day. The bar has a lovely cosy feel to it with an open fire and a giant Jenga game to play which is more fun after a couple of glasses of 'Druid Fluid' available from the bar, along with other fruit wines again, all locally produced. You have to admire and respect what Duncan and Alex have acheived at this beautiful place and continually strive to maintain - something the Hotel Inspector didnt seem to grasp or maybe fully understand.Thanks again for a lovely stay - nowhere else will you find this hospitality and value for money

Room Tip: The Dryad Suite has huge 8ft fourposter bed with an additional double bed through the adjoining door...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank D G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 - 139 of 192 reviews

Reviewed October 21, 2011

we stayed with duncan and alex on the weekend of oct 14th for 2 nights, we were going to a wedding in cheltenham but had seen hill house on hotel inspector and wanted to sample duncans food and warm welcome, well we wasnt dissapointed it was amazing.
the house had so many nooks and crannys that 2 nights was just not enough we must go back for longer next time. the hospitality that this couple give you is fantastic nothing is to much trouble you feel like your staying in a friends house no rules just relax and enjoy.im only sorry we didnt have time for the hot tub.
duncan you are an amazing cook and host and when i saw your mother it warmed my heart you are a kind and generous family please dont change a thing because its all just right.

Room Tip: mrs thomas room the bed is so comfy
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank cassiesouthwales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2011

Booked at quite short notice for a late break. Very warm welcome from Duncan who gave us a grand tour of the house. We stayed in the 'White Lady' room but weren't given a visit by the eponymous ghost.VERY comfortable bed with huge duvet-plus-quilt. The only disappointment in the whole experience was that the hot water ran out for the bath before we were able to use it. There was a shower in the basement, but this was hardly en-suite.
The room came with what Duncan described as 'emegency supplies' of wine, and chocolate and biscuits from local suppliers. Very different from the chain hotels' mini-bars!
We didn't have a huge appetite for an evening meal and ate out. Our fault, as the other guests described the amazing food ( smelt lovely as we passed the kitchen) and gargantuan portions. We did manage- an appropriate term- the breakfast, but only by ordering one-and-a-half breakfasts between two.Fantastic food, locally sourced. Don't know whether Duncan regards it as a challenge to actually finish one of his breakfasts, but neither we nor any of the other guests succeeded. Forget cereals and toast. Unless you have a vast appetite, you won't manage them. Or lunch. Much to my delight as a caffeine addict, the coffee was strong too.The juice comes from a local supplier.
We did try out the hot tub. Quite an experience lying in the bubbles sipping cold cider from the bar and watching the stars.
If you are here for a long visit, there are a huge number of DVDs to watch in the cinema room, and the number of books wouldn't disgrace a small town library. We didn't make it to the Sauna. Maybe next time.
And there is very likely to be a next time.
If you come here wanting a Hilton experience you will probably hate it. If you want genuine hospitality from delightful hosts, comfort, relaxation, excellent food with a soupcon of eccentricity you will more than likely have a great time.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank GeeTy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2011

The Hill House had been on my 'places to go' list for a few years when I finally made it up there with my mother and brother (all adults) for a friday and saturday night two weeks ago.

We stayed in the beautiful North Suite. The attic room is fantastic with its star-gazing skylight and downstairs the raised double bed is the comfiest bed I have ever slept in! The balcony outside was the perfect place for drinks, smokes, and stargazing. As an astronomer who lives in London, I usually have to go to foreign telescopes to see a sky as clear and dark as the one at the Hill House. If you let your eyes adjust for a couple of minutes, you can see the Milky Way passing overhead in a great arc - magnificent.

It was a tough call between stargazing and going down to enjoy the crackling fire down in the bar, but of course, we could have just fired up the log stove in our room!

Aside from the top marks from the room and rural location (you drive up to the Hill House itself via a long, tree-canopied driveway), the ethos of owners Duncan & his wife Alex is what makes this place so special.

The Hill House will appeal to a certain type of person. It is not the typical clean-cut, white-washed, soul-less B&B that many people want to book into just to have somewhere to sleep between venturing our and about. Staying at the Hill House is not just a business affair; it's a home away from home. No set of rules or formalities imprinted upon you as you walk in - instead just friendly smiles and naughty jokes from the lovely Duncan as he tells you to make yourself comfortable and you are welcome to do whatever you fancy during your stay, whether it's making use of the sauna and showers downstairs, the hot tub outside, or getting into your comfies to enjoy the soundproofed cinema room with a huge projector screen and filled with super comfy sofas to curl up on/hide behind. And the row upon row of DVDs, helpfully categorised into kids, horror, comedy, etc, gives you an extremely generous selection.

Otherwise, pull up an armchair and stick your nose into one of the equally many books on offer.

Duncan is sure to offer you tea and coffee should you fancy it, otherwise the cute little bar has a wee selection of beers and lager, and plenty of local wines, including the very sweet blackberry wine, and the flavoursome elderberry wine. But the most popular by far is a mixture of the two; a fantastic-tasting and excellently-named "Druid Fluid" - priced at a very reasonable £10 a bottle! We bought some home for presents (unless it gets drunk first...)
You're free to have your drinks in the bar, with Duncan keeping you company, outside or whilst in your room playing games as my family and I did.

Duncan is very flexible on breakfast times (and places - breakfast in bed, anyone?) and if you tell him the rough time the night before, he will have everything ready for your hungry tummy when you wake up: freshly brewed tea and coffee, plenty of cereals, and of course an enormous fry up of local and organic produce. Simply delicious and it will keep you going for hours on end! It took us an hour just to eat it all!

We had dinner on the friday night and Duncan cooked what I have since heard is his famous "dragon breath" chicken, with baked potatoes, broccoli and asparagus, again all locally sourced and beautifully cooked. He's a great chef! And how could I forget - massive portions of unbelieveably delicious homemade ice cream after. YUM. Finally, if you have any room left, try some cheese: watch out for the Stinking Bishop, you have been warned!!

Animal lovers will enjoy this place with its resident pig out in the yard, a host of chickens, and four friendly cats (or more, that's just the ones we counted!)

The local area is fantastic and there's plenty to do, including walks in the forest, canoeing down the river nearby, or visiting Goodrich castle (which, by the way, you can see from the North Suite!). This is what we did and it's a fantastically preserved and fascinating castle - a must-see!!!

Duncan is the busiest person I have ever met in my life and I have found him to be a great inspiration - he effectively runs the place himself, doing all the cooking and cleaning as his wife works elsewhere, they have (three?) kids, all the animals, and as if that wasn't enough, Duncan is also caring for a very elderly relative. I don't think he even sleeps! And despite all that, he'll happily drink with you in the bar until late and night, still be up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed serving you breakfast when you wake up, and still with his huge smile and jokey self. Amazing. I can definitely forgive him that the Hill House has a 'lived-in' look and is not the perfectly tidied and dusted specimen some other places offer. But that is exactly why I love it - it's an honest, friendly, homely place with no airs or graces. I've never felt so comfortable in any hotel or B&B.

It's worth pointing out that because the Hill House has a small but loyal clientele, they are not what one might call a thriving business, so expect to pay a pound or two here and there for items like soap, shower gel, and bags of local biscuits and sweets in your room. You will also have to buy your own logs for the stove (around a fiver). I'm positive this just allows Duncan to make ends meet. But, if you'd prefer, just bring your own soap/shampoo.

So go to Hill House, be yourself, and bask in the company of some fantastic people and a beautiful part of the country, all the while in the knowledge that you are helping to support the local economy and the environment. I myself can't wait to go back.

P.S.: No ghosts seen........yet. But from the guestbook (ghostbook?) which records all the sightings and experiences, the Dryad Suite is the one to watch out for.

Room Tip: If you're looking for some bumps in the night, try the Dryad Suite. The White Lady Room and Old...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Ash H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2011

Having just returned home from a weekend at The Hill House, it's just not long enough and we can't wait to go back again. This is the place where you can really find yourself but lose yourself at the same time....it's a truly beautiful place. We'll be going back just as soon as we can, if not sooner :)

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Louise O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2011

We stayed in the North Suite - beautifully clean, lots of space, marvellous views from our very own balcony. These lovely people looked after us very well. The breakfasts are amazing, with local apple juice (tangy and delicious), wonderful sausage and bacon, black pudding, mushrooms, eggs...think that's it! Fresh raspberries with the muesli, lovely. We stayed for three nights and had two "pot luck" meals prepared by Duncan - lovely cooking and top quality ingredients. Delicious homemade icecream, marvellous local cheeses served with "Druid Fluid" - a port-like (but local soft fruits) wine - we liked it so much we bought bottles for Christmas presents! We were amazed to find a home cinema (and astounding choice of DVDs), sauna and hot-tub available. Plenty to read as well. Duncan does do all of this on his own with help only from his wife and family - so occasionally he may be missing - feeding the pigs or the chickens or something. There is a little wood which makes a nice walk, fabulous views all round. Such a beautiful area. This is an interesting house, peaceful and welcoming - fascinating and nurturing! A unique experience. Best of all, Duncan doesn't charge enough! (Really!) But that is okay....you can always make up the difference! We will definitely be going back (we didn't really want to leave) if Duncan will have us.

Room Tip: North Suite has a balcony.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jane W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2011

Just returned home from our second visit to the fabulous Hill House. A real gem of a B&B located just outside Ross on Howle Hill, a magical place surrounded by woodland with it's own little walks, free roaming chickens and hens and 3 rather large but friendly pigs (you must pay them a visit).

There are 5 individually styled rooms at the Hill house, two of which are Suites (The North Suite and The Dryad Suite), there is even a Dragon's Den. The house is home to a few ghosts, though we didn't feel nor see any activity during our stay, but you can read all about the investigations that have gone on there before. Glad to see the skeleton is still in the closet though!

We stayed again in the Dryad Suite, which has a charm and real warmth to it, not to mention the huge bed with red drapes and ostrich feathers, and wood burning stove. The bathroom is huge with a lovely roll top bath and Velux windows, perfect for star gazing and fab at night with a few candles aglow. Bespoke sourced toiletries are provided, honey soap, herb shampoo and conditioner and our favourite "Magical Foaming Bath Oil".

There were two other lovely couples staying this weekend, and we all spent a relaxed evening in the bar with the amazing hosts Duncan and Alex, just chatting, drinking wine and whiskey and warming by the log fire with their pet cats.

Duncan and Alex really try to make you feel at home, and Duncan is always working like crazy on something around the house, don't know where he gets the energy from. His breakfasts are legendary and are of the best quality using locally sourced produce and eggs from the chickens. I opted for cereal this morning after two days of full English- Duncan did however twist my arm for bacon and black pudding, which is the best ever.

Dinner is home cooked fayre and Dragon's breath chicken and asparagus divine, ice cream and cheeses and the "moorish" Druid's Fluid, makes for a good night's sleep.

We tried the hot tub this time, so good we went in twice, even with the storm brewing on the horizon (no herds of wilderbeast, but a majestic view all the same).

Plenty to do locally, tried canoeing at Symmonds Yat, and followed Duncan's recommendations for other trips out. You get 10% off at the local pub 'Mill Race" when staying here, you need to book in advance as it's very popular and like the Hill House, locally sourced food, and portions generous (must be something in the water in this part of the world)

If you want a home from home, where you can relax, here is the place, warm welcome, cosy, huge book and dvd library, cinema room, great food and great hosts.

You only have to read the wall of words to know why people keep returning, we certainly will!

Thank you Duncan, Alex and family once again for your wonderful hospitality and great sense of humour.

Caroline and George
xxx

Room Tip: Dryad Suite, tranquil and huge! Outdoor hot tub is a real must!
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CarolineandGeorge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Hill House

Address: The Hill House Howle Hill, Ross-on-Wye HR9 5ST, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Herefordshire > Ross-on-Wye
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 43 B&Bs / Inns in Ross-on-Wye
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
The Hill House Hotel Ross-On-Wye
The Hill House Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire

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