Along with a 2 night stay we had our wedding at Oulton Hall and can only say we left feeling quite short changed. Given that Oulton Hall boasted to be the only five star hotel in Yorkshire at the time and taking into consideration the amount we paid to hold our relatively small wedding at Oulton Hall it was fair to say we had high (but fair) expectations for our big day.
THE HOTEL - The communal areas of the hotel are decorated to a high standard although I have to agree with some reviews that the standard does drop a little once you get to the actual bedrooms. Saying this there is nothing essentially wrong with them but for a 5 star I have seen better. The standard rooms are particularly boxy and have about as much character as your usual budget hotel chain room, we had one of the suites which we found spacious and grand although if I had to grumble I would perhaps say the room looked a little tired looking to warrant the full room rate price.
Our experience of the hotel staff was very mixed. We found some of the staff very friendly, chatty and helpful although others came across as a little snooty, uninterested and could have done with trying a smile once in a while.
The food away from the wedding was fine but pricey given the quality and the service in both the restaurant and bar was painfully slow.
THE WEDDING - The service we received from Oulton Hall in relation to the actual wedding was far from the expected given the price we paid for the privileged of holding it at Oulton Hall. It was more a build up of little things than one big thing...
In one instance where we were required to book a pre wedding appointment a member of staff actually called an hour before the appointment was due to start to actually tell us they would be cancelling the appointment and we would need to rearrange. On this note I should also add there was no apology and the member of staff also added that the wedding co-ordinator was very busy therefore it would be required to rearrange the appointment for a weekday to fit in with limited spaces in the wedding co-ordinators diary. Considering they actually cancelled the appointment I thought it was a cheek to expect us to book time off work to fit in with them!
Our events manager was a rare sighting. Like others was told we would be contacted a week before the wedding by the events manager to discuss any details (table plan, layout, decorations, ceremony music etc) and hand over any items they would need for setting up on the day. The events manager never did contact us despite me trying to chase him up 2 days before the wedding, it did turn out that the events manager was around as we arrived the eve of the wedding although he was too busy to spare us any significant time so merely said he would come to see us the morning of the wedding to go through everything. He materialised the morning of the wedding an hour and a half before the ceremony to go through these details. Thinking nothing of his late arrival I was left with little choice but to stand there (hair half done and make-up barely there) walking him through the ins and outs of every last detail as he'd also "misplaced" the pre wedding notes. As a result of all this we lost a lot of time in the morning, the photographer was unable to do a lot of the getting ready photo's he would normally do with the bride and bridesmaids and perhaps as the bride I'm biased but did anyone else have visions of more glamorous and enjoyable things to do the morning of their wedding than go through detailed conversations of table plans etc with the events manager or is that just me?! I almost feel they took advantage of the fact we paid nearly £300 to stop at the hotel the night before the wedding as I can't help but think when exactly they'd have sorted all this out if we hadn't have stayed over.
We'd also confirmed in the pre wedding appointment that the hotel would be able to offer us storage space for the wedding items although again was let down on this too. When we arrived staff basically told us we would have to keep everything in our room. This was everything including the flowers and the cake that we were originally told could be kept safely in the kitchen but instead ended up in the wardrobe of our suite the day before the wedding. I wasn't exactly happy with this as I was really worried the icing on the cake was going to melt in our hot room and due to the temperature the flowers did wilt a little although I was even less happy about it when I bumped into the other bride for the day who told me she got offered plenty of storage space for her items and they were all taken off her the day before the wedding so she obviously got a far more relaxing build up to her big day than I did!
We hired a number of chairs direct through Oulton Hall for the day at a cost of over £100 although nearly a quarter of the chairs we ordered were not delivered. As a result hotel staff just left guests to stand at the back of the room for the ceremony. It also meant we had a load of odd chairs for the wedding breakfast too, not quite the look I was going for and needless to say we are still to this day waiting on any kind of refund for the chairs we never received.
The service for the wedding breakfast was a bit of a embarrassment. For a start parts of the meal were actually different from the one's we had sampled and chosen for the wedding breakfast. Whilst serving the wedding breakfast I overheard one of the staff clearly saying how understaffed they were for our wedding and commenting on how they couldn't believe they were getting away with it - I wouldn't exactly say they were getting away with it, the lack of service clearly showed at various points and given that we had paid £90 per person for the meal alone couldn't believe they didn't even supply enough staff to cater for our wedding. Even though I had clearly marked the vegetarian guest on the plan given to the events manager that morning they attempted to serve her three times with a meat meal before finally serving her the correct vegetarian option, this had taken so long that the rest of her table had practically finished their meal by the time she started hers. To add insult to injury the guests that had beef for main found themselves being asked if they would like horseradish sauce to accompany their meal after they had actually finished the meal. Most of the kids ended up eating the adult meal despite arranging a kids menu with the wedding co-ordinator in advance of the day.
The table arrangements I had for the evening never did make it to the tables and staff were clueless as to where they were despite me handing them over to the events manager that morning.
We had a lovely card along with chocolates left for us in the room from what I assume was the manager at Oulton Hall. On the surface this seemed a nice touch until I started reading the card and realised it was actually addressed to another couple congratulating them on their anniversary, at the very least I thought they'd be able to get our names and room number right, is it really too much to ask when you're folking out a small mortgage for the event?! Needless to say I ate the chocolates anyway so apologise to anyone reading this who may still be awaiting their chocolates... There was also a number of small things from the wedding package that were missing on the day such as the red carpet which admittedly not the end of the world although it was promised and would have been nice for the photo's.
We were charged £1000 for a room hire fee on the day although had hotel guests and guests from the other wedding constantly popping in. We felt like the guests from the other wedding were almost popping in to compare notes and thought this was a little unreasonable when we had paid so much for the space which we had understood to be for the use of our guests only not anyone who just fancied popping in!
I should just mention that a lot of these issues were actually forwarded to Oulton Hall after the wedding and although it was promised that they would look into them six months have passed since and I have yet to hear anything back...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The sweeping driveway leads up to one of the grandest entrances in Yorkshire, where you’re met by a very warm welcome from our concierge. This unique 18th century former family home has beautiful landscaped gardens and lawns. Inside you’ll find grand staircases, 152 bedrooms, a state-of-the-art spa & fitness club and private function rooms. Dining at Oulton is a treat for the senses. From the classic Yorkshire afternoon tea served by the butler in the Drawing Room, to Champagne on the terrace, or a steak from the Calverley Grill.If you’re interested in the outdoors there are many activities that can be arranged. Or golfers of any level will find challenge in the 27 holes that are the meandering fairways and perfect greens of The Calverley and Hall Courses. Raise your game even further with the North’s leading golf facility in the Nike Academy. As well as custom fitting, the Academy uses the latest technology to significantly improve your game. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- De Vere Oulton Hall Hotel Oulton
- De Vere Oulton Hall Leeds
- Oulton Hall Leeds
- Oulton Hall & Spa Yorkshire