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“Okay if your a boy”
Review of Harben House Hotel

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Harben House Hotel
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Newport Pagnell
Reviewed April 26, 2009

Just stayed here with family and it was a great hotel in a good location for the things we wanted to do. The rooms were clean and the staff were very friendly and for the most part helpful. The breakfast was okay and any problems with the rooms were very soon rectified. However on two occasions we were actually ignored by staff as they assumed that any men were to be served first. This happened for no reason we can think of. It was only a minor flaw on an otherwise good stay but perhaps its my mistake and the world hasn't changed in the last 50 years at all! On the second night there was a weeding on and if we wanted a drink from the bar we had to join the wedding room which was a little embarrassing.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Thank helstravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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398 - 404 of 415 reviews

Reviewed April 26, 2009

This review is for a two night stay on arriving Good Friday and leaving Easter Sunday 2009.

I had no problem finding the hotel. The first vehicle "entrace" turned out to be clearly an exit only, with the proper entrance a short distance round one corner. I did see one "guest" drive right up to the exit barrier, but there's no accounting for people that don't read signs.

Check-in was straight forward and the lady behind the reception desk very pleasant.

Having booked on-line with De Vere I already new it was a single room and having subsequently checked here did not expect much. The room however turned out to be perfectly adequate for a solo traveller, whether for business or leisure. Using my room as an example (Room 208, second floor) would suggest some of the earlier remarks about the inadequacy of the rooms are nit-picking.

As happens with these "executive singles", they have put a double bed into what was probably a single bed gap. Nonetheless there was plenty of space to ove around and workout my daily travel agenda at the desk. I am 5' 10" and "portly" and because of a medical condition spend a lot of my night sleeping un my back. I didn't find the bed to be short.

The small tv was more than adequate in a single room and I had not problems seeing the screen from the bed. Five channels is more than enough. If you want more, buy a laptop - the broadband was quick and free.

Bathroom was fine. Full size bath with a good shower. Bath, floor, toilet and shower curtain all checked and found to be clean. Towels clean.

Some marks on the carpet, wall and bed frame. Linen checked and clean.

The seond floor doesn't have an ant problem and while I didn't see any ants at all, there were ant boxes in the stairwell at ground floor level.

The bar area is spacious and well presented for a hotel of this type. I didn't try the beer as they didn't have any real ale. For those that like an excellent pint, The Cannon, on the High Street is worthy of its entry in this years CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Leave the hotel, walking towards Newport Pagnell town centre; cross over the bridge and it is straight ahead - distance from hotel about 500m.

I didn't try the restaurant. The hotel seemed very very quite, which, if they're managing the place properly, should have been the head chef's night off.

Stay here. Especially if they're doing an on-line offer and like me you only pay £10 per night. At that price, this stay was a veritable bargain.

If you have the time and can negotiate the edge of the Milton Keynes road system, go to Bletchley Park. Home of the World War 2 Code Breakers. £10 per adult for a years entrance. You can have a full day out here (I went back Sunday morning to see bits I didn't have time for). Car parking a very reasonable £3 per visit for a charity location.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
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Thank dogtired1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2009

I have used a number of DeVere Hotels and Venues for both business and pleasure purposes. Over the years I have come to expect a certain standard from that organisation and have rarely been disappointed.

I had an appointment in Milton Keynes at 8PM on Friday 6 March 2009 and my family wanted a day shopping in the shopping centre. An overnight stay at DeVere Harben House on 6th March seemed ideal. I booked four single rooms which included a disabled room. There was a promotional rate of £10 per room per night - an offer not to be missed.

Being used to using DeVere properties I did not check Tripadvisor until after the reservations had been made. When I did see several unfavourable reviews I hoped that these were just sour grapes from a few disgruntled customers.

Upon arrival we were assigned rooms 4 (disabled) 5, 11 and 12. Things did not bode well when I was handed my residents card and room ‘key’ only to puncture my index finger on the staple holding them together, which had not bent over properly. Before she arrived at her room my Daughter had also stabbed her finger on a similar staple on her paperwork. Both incidents drew blood.

Walking to our rooms the numerous ant bait traps in the corridors throughout the ground floor were a warning of what was to come.

I found several dead ants floating in my room’s wash basin (room 12). The plug had been left in the plug hole and waste water had pooled in it.

My Daughter felt that she could not sleep in room 5 as the floor was covered in live ants.

I complained to reception staff who confirmed that the whole ground floor is infested with ants. I was not offered a change of rooms but was given a can of Raid insect killer. I emptied this in an attempt to eradicate the live ants in rooms 11, 12 and 5. The disabled room, while having a few ants, was not so badly affected.

When I finally occupied my room, (12), I found that the litter bin had not been emptied. It contained an old pair of socks and a used paper coffee cup. The telephone in that room was dead, as was the one in room 5. There was no teaspoon, for making a drink, in room 12.

In rooms 5, 11 and 12 the ‘bathroom’ floors were wet where the shower had sprayed the floor and toilet. This was all upon our arrival so it showed that supervision of the housekeeping staff, and examination of the serviced rooms, is sloppy prior to guests arriving.

Having an important appointment in Central Milton Keynes at 8PM that evening we debated which would be the quickest; waiting for the restaurant to open at 6:30PM, or have a bar meal. We opted for the latter. At 5:40PM we all went to the bar. It was deserted of customers. We ordered two fish & chip meals and two chicken Caesar salads. The barman took our food order and dispensed drinks. We had been sitting in the bar about fifteen minutes when several dozen ladies from a conference, being held elsewhere in the hotel, arrived. Many of them ordered food from the bar.

We waited and waited for our food. After fifty-five minutes, with no sign of our food, and hearing murmurings from the conference delegates on neighbouring tables, I joined a queue of customers complaining to the barman about the long wait. The manager was summoned. I can only assume that the Asian gentleman who attended, at about 6:55PM, was the duty manager. His attitude was dismissive to say the least. I heard his conversation with other customers. To me he said “While I’m down here talking to you I cannot find out what’s gone wrong”. I appreciate his point of view but the delivery was less than diplomatic.

By now it was after 7PM. We were concerned that we would be late for our appointment. At 7:04PM a trolley appeared in reception, loaded with food. It was quite comedic to see three members of staff trying to bring the trolley to the bar via the disabled lift, which they could not operate.

The staff then went to each table asking what they had ordered and seeing if those dishes were on the trolley. Luckily fish & chips and chicken Caesar salad were included but several waiting customers did not get their orders fulfilled correctly. Our wait had totalled some 1 hour 25 minutes.

As we left the bar we saw a group in reception eating takeaway food. I spoke with them and was told that they had stayed at Harben House last year and experienced the same problems while waiting for food orders. In the time we had been waiting they had arrived, queued waiting for an order to be taken, given up, gone out and located a local takeaway restaurant, had their food cooked and returned to eat it. Better service than the hotel could offer. Possibly a cheaper option as well.

While exploring the hotel with my Daughter we found that the lifts apparently delivered customers to the wrong floors. It took some time to realise that the floors listed inside the lift cabins did not correspond with the lists on the outside of the lifts. I was not the only resident confused by this miss-information.

We returned to the hotel at around midnight on Friday 6th. My Wife, in room 5, was awoken very early on Saturday morning by loud talking. She found that the housekeeper’s staff room was next door to her room. There was a warning notice asking staff to keep talking to a low level, but their raucous conversation prevented her returning to her slumbers.

I had to loan my Daughter, in room 11, the hairdryer from room 12, as her room lacked one.

One good point about my room was the design of an exhilarating shower. However the force of the water, from multiple jets, soaked the floor of the tiny bathroom despite correct positioning of the shower curtain.

Three of our party had breakfast in the restaurant. I can only describe the selection as basic. The food could not be called hot, only tepid. I was offered one cup of coffee but the staff were too busy laying up tables for lunch to return with the coffee pot. I even had to locate sufficient cutlery, from other tables, as there was only one knife per person on our table setting.

I would normally speak with a manager if I experience a problem but, having encountered the duty manager’s attitude on Friday, and seen the comments on Tripadvisor, I felt that this would be fruitless.

If you can get a £10 per night rate and don't mind a minscule room or ant infestations, then stay at this hotel. If not steer clear. On the surface it looks OK but lets down the normally good reputation of the DeVere chain.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank plod715
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2009

I have stayed at Harben house many times over the years; it is really a conference centre, not a hotel, but it has been steadily improving and was cleaner and smarter on my last visit than I can previously remember, with better (but basic) food. I would have given it 3 or 4 stars based on what it is and the fact that it is very cheap, were it not for having a disco pumping out music at an unacceptable level until late in the night below my room. I would expect any hotel to manage such noise from its own internal bar especially when it had nothing to do with anyone in my group. This has only happened on my latest trip (otherwise I would have given it one star), but even once is unacceptable.

  • Stayed: February 2009
    • Value
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Thank Francisthetraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2008

I have just returned from an overnight stay at the Devere Venue Hotel Harben at Newport Pagnell, which is a short hop from the M1 near Milton Keynes.
I was there with work on a conference delegate package. I did note that there were also couples staying at the venue, so it is not exclusive to delegates, but a mixed use hotel.
The parking was complicated and we went past the entrance twice before we finally made it it. Having said that there was plenty of parking spaces once in.
Reception was bright and pleasant and we were pleasantly and quickly greeted and booked in.
I was sent off in one direction and my colleague another to find our rooms, but strangely we all ended up on the same floor, just a corridor away from each other.
There was a wasp problem on my corridor as I followed a trail of dead and dying wasps towards my room. There were so many in the windows I wasn't sure if the windows were shut to prevent more getting in or if the corridor had been treated and it was to prevent them getting out? Having said that there were none in my room.
I walked into the room and to be honest laughed out loud at its size. A small corridor with tiny bathroom to the left and hanging space to the right (space not wardrobe) led into an alcove where a double bed had been snuggly fitted, to the point that it was only accessible to one side. The far side was against the wall and the bottom was against the window. There was a table to the right where the tiny tv and coffee facilities were located with a chair tucked in. The phrase to swing a cat came to mind as there was insufficient space to do so. The view was over a warden controlled old peoples complex, but it had huge windows along the length of the wall, which at least meant it was light and airy.
Clean towels and soap/body shampoo were on the bed. There were coffee and tea facilities, but the coffee was cheap and stale. The tea was twinnings, but only 3 pots of milk to the 4 drinks provided and sadly no frinking chocolate or biscuits.
Basic 4 chanel tv and a few radio stations
The bath was a half bath in length and the shower, although looking weak and pathetic, proved to pack a reasonable punch. I did however find a small curly black hair in both the bath and on the far side of the bed, and the carpet was stained..... I leave it to you to judge the cleaning standards. Oh and the walls are paper thin, so not suitable for Romantic trysts, although to judge from the damage to the headboard in a colleagues room, this may well have been attempted.
I am 5ft 2 and my toes poked out the bottom, probably due to the headboard, however talking to much taller colleagues the next morning, many appeared to sleep with their feet wedged on the wall, or diagonally accross the bed.
A similar peek into 3 other rooms confirmed the fact that the rooms, on the second floor at least, are identical in layout.
The bar on the ground floor was spacious and there was a giant connect 4 and a pool table located in it as well as a large tv. The bar menu was comparable to usual hotel bar prices.
The restaurant was located on the 1st floor and tricky to find. I had the Duck Pate which was lovely, followed by Lamb which was beautifully cooked but let down by the crushed potatoes and the gravy which had so much salt in it, it was inedible. Fresh vegetables not frozen so a plus there. I had the cheese and biscuits to finish,but the desserts all looked pleasant and were well received, despite having to wait half an hour for.
Sleep proved difficult as bed was hard and lumpy
Breakfast was a fair selection of hot and cold, but yoghurts were not replenished and there were no pastries, or continental foods, and the toaster only worked in some slots.
The Conference room was nice, good screen size, comfy chairs, plenty of free coffee, tea, soft drinks and biscuits
The buffet was varied, with a good selection of hot and cold savouries. Fruit was on offer, but there were no desserts offered which was a minus.
No swimming pool I am afraid, although there was a steam and sauna and a mini gym, but I never checked the facilities out.
2 pubs in walking distance, but in a residential rather than commercial area.
There was also free internet access in all rooms and an internet cafe on the 1st floor
The staff were pleasant and helpful, the conference facilities were excellent, but the rooms let it down. Overall cheap and cheerful.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank crystalsinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2008

Toilet pan! Thats the first thing you see in this small open plan room. No privacy if you are a couple. A bed so small that anyone over 5" 8" has to sleep diagonally in it. The shower is not enclosed so when you wash the water flows out round the base of the pan.
I was glad the company picked up the tab because I would neither stay there again nor recommend it to anyone.
As for the cold scrambled egg in the tired breakfast buffet. It had been nowhere near a hen. Who knows what it was made of.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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1  Thank HenrikLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2008

The first thing to say is that I would expect better from a De vere hotel & the website is very misleading.

I attended a 2 day confrence and the confrence room was ok but the carpets covered in stains,
Water on the table was in dirty jugs with plastic cups, when we arrived on day 2 these hadn't been changed or refilled, I am not sure if anyone had even been in the room after we left on day 1.

Food in the hotel was ok but bland.

The rooms were very small with a small double bed (4ft) shoved in a corner with only 1 side accessable, good thing i wasn't sharing.
There were stains on the sheets & pilowcases and on the carpet.
The room itself was very hot with no aircon and despite turning the radiatior off i was woken at 5.30 as the heating came on with lots of gurgling and banging.

Not somewhere I would recommend.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank Safetybird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Harben House Hotel

Address: Tickford Street, Milton Keynes MK16 9EY, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Buckinghamshire > Milton Keynes > Newport Pagnell
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Newport Pagnell
Price Range: $40 - $166 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Harben House Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 139
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Harben House is a great place to come and stay if you are either working or visiting the Milton Keynes area. Why not try one of our new Cosy bedrooms which are all open plan, if you are looking for something slightly more special then why not book a Classic or Executive bedroom. All bedrooms have a great extra comfy bed with great linen, large television with multiple channels, desk for late night working, free WIFI & free tea and coffee. If your feel peckish then the Newport Bar and Bistro offers a great choice of meals including firm favorites like Fish & Chips, Toad in the hole or why not go for our special Harben Burger. Dont forget we have FREE CAR PARKING which will save you up to £20.00 every night. So come and give Harben House a try I am sure you will love it............... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
De Vere Harben House Hotel Newport Pagnell
De Vere Harben Hotel

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