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“Almost perfect”

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Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
107 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Almost perfect”
Reviewed April 11, 2010

Beautiful Georgian hotel with rather odd 1960s looking extension. Quite an old fashioned Miss Marple feel but that is definitely part of its charm. Reception and catering staff very friendly. Lovely spa with decent sized pool. Many of the rooms, and the restaurant, have the lake as a spectacular backdrop. Expensive but not really a surprise. Dinner was good quality but small portions - if you had been hiking all day, would not suffice.

I agree with previous reviewers that a little more attention to detail could move this hotel from "nice" to "amazing". Our room needed a little TLC - a little mould on the sink, watermark on the chest of drawers, very old rather useless hairdryer, main light bulb didn't work. Breakfast was rather chaotic and the staff were rather slow to top up the buffet and to get people seated. We stayed on a deal but had we paid full price for the hotel and restaurant, I would have expected a little more.

Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank MartsAndMarts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Manchester
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 10, 2010

The hotel was beautiful in a great location right on the lake.The rooms were clean and had great views of the lake.The general feel of the hotel was very upmarket and could feel slightly uncomfatable if you are not used to this.The restaurant menu featured pigeon and vennison which was just not for us and if you wanted a cooked breakfast you had to pay an extra £6.50 per person which I have never come across before staying in a 4 star hotel.
Overall the hotel was lovely and had a fantastic spa but in future I will stay at the Belsfield up the road which is not as beautiful but has great food and no airs and graces!

Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank chloe95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lancashire
Level Contributor
15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2010

The location, room and its view of the lake, lounge areas, free parking, and leisure facilities all top drawer and whilst we secured an excellent price ivo midweek and booking in advance would hopefully be able to stay again and enjoy the luxury the hotel has to offer. Only downside was very slow bar service in the evening but given prices perhaps not a bad thing.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank roughguideLancashire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancaster
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2010

My fiance and I stayed for a 2 night break during a very cold February! I had some reviews about the hotel which seemed a bit mixed, but we had a wonderful stay.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were warmly welcomed by the reception staff. We arrived almost 2 hours before check-in (hoping we could leave our bags) but the receptionist informed us that our room was ready and we could go straight down!

What a room! The room was booked as a suprise by my fiance. It was a stunning lake view room, and what a view! If you jumped out of the window, two paces and you would of had your feet wet by the lake, we were that close! The weather outside was freezing, but the room was warm, clean and cosy.

There was everything in the room which you would expect. Tea and coffee making facilities, trousers press, TV, mineral water, telephone, toiletries and the most huge comfortable bed I've slept on! I was very impressed by the room!

The Lounge area is very nice to sit and have a coffee, which we did. The staff are always about and very friendly and helpful.

We used the Thermal Suite from the spa facilities which was wonderful! Very clean and quiet. We also enjoyed just chilling by the side of the pool.

We had a continental breakfast included in our stay. They were serving it until 10am (which is better than some places which we've stayed in, not so much of a rush in the morning!). We were quickly seated with more amazing views of the lake. Drinks and toasts are ordered at the table and any hot breakfast, for an additional supplement. We didn't have a cooked breakfast as the continental style was ample for us and to be honest, I wasn't convinced that the cooked options were really value for money. Again, the staff were very friendly and helpful during breakfast. There is a wide range of juices, cereals, fruits and pastries....but don't get there too late! We got there around 9.30am the first morning and found that the selection wasn't as good as going a bit earlier on the second morning! Going back up for 2nds and 3rds was wonderful!

All in all we had an amazing time and we're sad to leave!

A good clean hotel, with friendly and helpful staff. We hope to return again soon.

Thank you Old England!!

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lancastrian-Lass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northumberland
Level Contributor
26 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2010

This is a hotel that is worth the money, especially in the lake district. Having stayed in other hotels locally and paid far more, we were very impressed at the Macdonald. The room was huge as was the bathroom. Nothing was a trouble for any of the staff and the breakfast , which we had in our room was lovely. We paid extra and ordered cooked, but in reality the continental is sufficient. We ate in the restaurant on the night time and just wore smart clothes and that was sufficient. The staff, especially the bar staff were very knowledgeable and all courteous. The hotel is central and the views from the back of the hotel and restaurant are lovely.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank vankaiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pontefract, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2010

We discovered this hotel while staying at the Windermere Boutique Hotel where guests had free use of the spa facilities at the Old England.

As soon as we walked in we wondered why we hadn't booked here! I checked the rates and it was cheaper than where we were staying. Gutted! After our 2 night stay at our hotel was up we walked down the road to the Old England and booked in for an extra night. I'm so glad we did!

I booked a room at reception at 11.30am and was immediately given the keys even though check-in isn't until 2pm. I was also upgraded to a lake view room at no extra charge.

The room itself was very nice and what you'd expect. We ended up with a twin room instead of the double I asked for but the beds were pushed together anyway so it didn't really matter. There's the usual tea making facilities and also bottled water and glasses. A nice touch I thought. There's also an ice bucket provided with ice available on request as is fresh milk. The bathrobes provided also added a touch of luxury.

There's so many places to explore around the hotel, the lounge is very relaxing with daily papers provided, there's a cosy bar area with views over the lake, library and other sitting areas dotted about the place. We didn't dine there or have breakfast so I can't comment on that. Drinks and snacks in the lounge and bar are overpriced but its such a lovely atmosphere I really didn't mind paying a bit more, plus free nibbles were provided with our drinks which I thought was a nice touch.

The spa and pool are fantastic. There's a steam room, sauna and ice room as well as a state of the art gym. The only thing missing is a jacuzzi. Everything except spa treatments are free to guests.

The staff were very helpful and friendly and we always asked if we needed any help if we were wondering around aimlessly.

I can't fault this hotel at all and I'm thrilled to have found a 50% off code for mid-week breaks and I'm planning on going back to celebrate my birthday in style!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank juliasuzanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warrington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2010

We paid £200 for two nights and got room 101 with a lake view. This was a special offer including one evening meal for two (no drinks) and an afternoon tea. Without the offer, this package would have cost £370.

The hotel is in an ideal location on the banks of Windermere in the centre of Bowness. Having stayed at (and been disappointed by) The Swan at Grasmere, expectations were not high. As soon as you enter, you realise Old England is a different class of hotel to its local sibling. The features and decor are subtle and elegant, the staff are friendly but professional and the whole feel is of luxury. The room was well fitted with a table and chairs overlooking the lake. The bed was a little small, soft and too bouncy (one partner moving always disturbed the other) but this is a small criticism of a well furnished room. There was no mini-bar; a surprise but a plus point from my perspective.

It was mentioned more than once that the restaurant had a dress policy - jackets in the evening for men. Despite this, I didn't see anyone wearing one. Like other Macdonalds, the restaurant is very formal and aims to appear high class. Smartly dressed waiters, white gloves and butler-like manner. I don't mind that - but there were little niggles with the operation. e.g. after the meal, we asked for decaff coffee and were left for over half an hour before they admitted they had none. So we went to the bar - to be told they'd run out of ingredients for any of the cocktails we wanted.

Breakfast (identical to The Swan in Grasmere) was a little disappointing. Continental was included but hot food could be ordered from the kitchen at extra cost. We waited quite a while for someone to take the order before giving up. We were just finishing when someone came over. Hmmm. The cooked option has no consideration for vegetarians. I really don't understand this - no other 4-star hotel I've stayed in has such poor choice. It's because the hotel is so good that these things are irritating.

For the money we paid, the stay can't be faulted and at that price, I'd recommend it to anyone and gladly stay again. But this is a promotion to show-case the hotel and tempt us to pay £170 more for a return visit. In that regard it failed. There's lots of shine, and lots of polish in a very good hotel - but it's basic stuff which lets it down.

One final note. £1 was added to the bill - without asking - as a contribution to their charity. This is blagging, plain and simple. It may be for charity - and it may be only £1 (so no-one will complain) - but a hotel like this should be above such practices.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JerryFXD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa

Property: Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
Address: 23 Church Street, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3DF, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Bowness-on-Windermere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#3 Business Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#7 Luxury Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#8 Family Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
#8 Romantic Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 106
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa is one of the finest 4-star Lake District hotels. Set on the shores of Lake Windermere - England's largest lake - our hotel offers the best of breathtaking scenery and exceptional facilities. From unrivalled views over our mature lawns, to private jetties and moorings on the lake - our hotel proves a popular choice for family holidays. Our hotel in Cumbria is perfect for country adventures - hire a private jetty on our lake and marvel in the glorious scenery we have on offer. And once you've finished exploring, we recommend a visit to our spa and thermal suite for a relaxing steam before you dine in our award-winning Restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Macdonald Old England
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa Bowness-On-Windermere, Lake District

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