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The White Swan Inn
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Reviews (723)
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Reviewed March 16, 2014 via mobile

Perfect weekend away we would return in a heartbeat situated for whitby, Scarborough and other beautiful villages .
Room 21 hideaway room perfectly situated if you have dogs and they are made very welcome lots of little extras that didn't go un noticed
Restaurant was excellent very good wine list and excellent food choice
Breakfast was of quality bacon and sausage as they should taste
Pickering has a lot of lovely tea rooms and good variety of small shops no empty shops in the high street and bustling little village reminded me of days gone by very nostalgic beautiful

Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank Keetalilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
replyman, Owner at The White Swan Inn, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2014

Thank you for your lovely review. Hope that you and the dogs can come back soon.

Regards

Victor Buchanan victorb@white-swan.co.uk

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2014

It is inevitable that in its lifetime an hotel will have to deal with unhappy paying guests. Savvy owners see this as an opportunity to increase business by resolving these issues in as deft a manner as possible; it is the sort of thing that creates genuine customer loyalty, repeat business and even turning those people into brand ambassadors.

The owner of the White Swan in Pickering is not particularly savvy in this respect as his visceral responses to perceived criticisms from other reviewers on this site demonstrates. Our own recent encounter has led to us never wanting to return to what was otherwise a pleasant inn and restaurant.

An error in our hotel bill given to us by the White Swan staff, (who, we must say are absolute charmers: witty, articulate, personable, etc), had resulted in us being under charged for a meal. More oddly the White Swan did not appear to realise that we had eaten there at all the previous evening. We telephoned them on our way home, reported their honest mistake, and wishing to pay, asked how much we owed them. This seemed to cause them some consternation but eventually the brief answer came by email with a brief 'sorry' for not calling back: the bill was just over £100.00. No word of thanks for our efforts in getting in touch or integrity. We asked for a bill breakdown and simply a word of thanks and no more.

the owner's, Mr Buchanan, responses have been churlish. He says it happens all the time, (whether he meant people aren't charged for eating or that people pay up later when they discover the hotel's mistake, wasn't clear) and that we should be grateful that we had been offered a third night. In fact this was part of his hotel's 'free third night' deal as advertised on this very site.

He seemed unable to comprehend that we had prevented him from being over £100.00 out of pocket and an apology appears to be anathema to him. Of course we sent the cheque - with sincere pity for the lovely staff there.

This review of the hotel must include the manner in which guests are treated by the owner. It deserves four stars but Mr Buchanan's unorthodox method of conflict resolution has, single handedly, managed to reduce it to two.

The Good
These were many - gorgeous real fires, cosy underfloor heating in the room, the attractive residents' lounge, 'The Bothy' (not always available admittedly) and, above all, the very friendly staff we chatted with including Ryan, Adeline, Catherine, Fiona and George. The room was spacious and thoughtfully designed and the bathroom was fabulous.

The Bad
The service could be erratic but was so charming and friendly that it was of little consequence. The bedroom was very dark - the lighting, although atmospheric, was certainly too dark to apply make-up (I was so pleased when I saw the generous mirror and Ghost chair as an area for this is all too often forgotten) or to read comfortably. The large window didn't allow for any privacy so best make use of the robes if you don't want to have an intimate encounter with your fellow guests passing by! I did find that they made the rooms up rather early and we had to hurry to leave one day but there's plenty to do in the area so as long as you're aware that you need to be gone shortly after 10am, that's fine.

The Food
We ate here twice. We had one of the most delicious steaks ever - the charcoal grill they use imparts bags of extra flavour to the already excellent Ginger Pig meat. Their bread was also delicious and it was lovely to have a different flavour of bread every night - I particularly enjoyed the beetroot one despite not liking beetroot! My halibut was rather tough and bland but the heritage potatoes that accompanied it were wonderful and I really liked a celeriac remoulade which accompanied a potted crab. I only had one pudding - a rather disappointing rhubarb Eaton mess. Breakfasts were good - with the emphasis on the very traditional including the ever-superior Ginger Pig sausage and good yoghurt and coffee.

As I said, I really couldn't recommend anyone stay here though - you'd be fine unless anything went wrong but then, from our experience, it would all degenerate into unpleasant and needless aggression. If you do have anything go wrong, just shut up and pay up seems to be the ethos. 'Sorry' really is the hardest word.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank RedPeridot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
replyman, Owner at The White Swan Inn, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2014

So you finally manage to get your review published at the umpteenth attempt, readers can guess why TripAdvisor removed your initial attempts.

You are making the assumption that all custom is good custom. It is - so long as it maintains a respect for the people working in the business. A customer can change from being an asset of the business to a liability (running the risk of upsetting the equilibrium of the team for instance). You are clearly an expert in customer service so I am baffled as to why you couldn't have made your genuine complaint - that wasn't even really a complaint - in a pleasant rather than an aggressive, and impatient manner - you were after all trying to do us a favour by putting the bill right after having had a really pleasant stay - I won't tolerate any abuse of my staff because in actual fact their well being is more important than any single's customers issue. The relationship is two way and we, the provider have just the same choice as you the customer.

That is the secret of great customer service - the team is more important to any business than its customers. Tell who you like. I'm happy to share it now after 30 years at The White Swan. May be the next time you have an issue with people who cared for you, you might conduct yourself differently.


Regards

Victor Buchanan

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2014

Stay at this hotel on business and all I can say is that one day I would love to return. Its a gorgeous quaint hotel that has all the wonderful features of an old inn, yet modern and clean.
The food was gorgeous and deserving of that Rosette. The Bar was lovely and cosy at night with a roaring log fire, a perfect place to cuddle up and sip on a glass of wine.
The staff were wonderful, very polite, friendly and professional.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled on business
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Thank Kellyb0708
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2014

My wife and I stayed in The White Swan for a long weekend and it was one of the best hotel experiences we have had in the UK for a long long time. All the staff were particularly happy and helpful and very professional in a very relaxed way. We were made to feel like valued friends. The rooms are great, the snug has a great Old Yorkshire feel to it with the ever present log fire, dark wood interior and brilliant service. The Bothy was unique, with an honesty bar !! , log fire again, televisions and luxurious suites to relax on. Your own personal space. The restaurant was quietly understated and the service and food were absolutely top notch with a really good menu. Great selection of wines and great local beers. Modern en suite in our spacious bedroom and although the hotel is right in the middle of the town there was no noise at all during the nights we were there. I can't recommend this hotel highly enough and I am looking forward to returning in the near future

Room Tip: We stayed in an outside annex with a private courtyard and its own relaxing lounge shared between 3 rooms ( The Bothy )
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank David M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2014

This is a perfect place for cosy and comfortable Yorkshire charm: we felt like we had hit upon a real gem.

There is a bar and snug at the front of the hotel, with a roaring log fire, and traditionally but comfortably furnished: floor boards and beams and classic windsor chairs. The restaurant is a bit more 'decorated', and serves really excellent food. We had the jar of pork which was sort of a loose terrine, much like the inside of a fresh pork pie. We also had the hake, the rump steak, and one of the vegetarian dishes. The food was all fresh, hearty, and interesting with good, seasonal ingredients and good presentation. Couldn't fault the staff, super professional, friendly and knowledgeable.

The restaurant prices were quite high for the area, but the dinner, bed and breakfast price is really good considering what you get for dinner, so I would recommend taking that route. Basically, much cheaper than getting B&B and then deciding to eat in the restaurant. The drink is reasonably priced though. We had a Vintage Superior room, which is sweet for couples. It has that properly furnished feel: like a really well-dressed guest bedroom: ceramic lamps, blue and white urns, carved, ornate bed and a comfortable sofa. They got all the details right too: good stereo and radio, warm, good shower, foot bolster on the bed (which I love after a day walking).

I had a look at their outside 'bothy', which looks great for weddings and gatherings. It's basically a little private lodge with sofas, throws, TV, music and private bar. I think providing no one has booked it out, you can just use it as a hotel guest. Then opposite are lots of converted stables, we both thought that booking the lot for an event would be really fun.

The breakfast was delicious: I had the whitby haddock and poached egg and my partner had the Full English. Both were generous, delicious and immaculately served. There were plenty of more local options: haddock, mackerel, etc.

For me it strikes the right balance: they haven't killed the character, but they have made sure that is furnished, warm, comfortable and clean, with a high standard of food, which many of the properly rustic pubs can fall short on!

Room Tip: We peeped in when cleaners were around and the less expensive rooms were just as nicely decorated and appointed. So I suppose you just pay for a bigger room, although the price difference between different rooms is quite small to reflect this.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ruth S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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