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“Not the Lovely Place it Once Was”

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Macdonald Compleat Angler
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Marlow
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed September 30, 2010

My husband and I had wonderful memories of several stays at the Compleat Angler around 20 years ago, and were eagerly anticipating our return.

Sadly, it is not the lovely place it once was. The location is timeless, and as beautiful as ever. There is not a more pleasant spot to enjoy breakfast than overlooking the Thames in the sunny restaurant.

The rooms, however, are showing their age. The first room we were given, in the ground floor of the annex, was large. But the carpet was stained and patched, and there were spider webs in the corners. Worst, there was a busy path right next to our window on the ground floor, with many people coming and going early in the morning. This was completely unacceptable, and we requested a different room.

The second room was smaller, but cleaner and more pleasant than the first. But it still looked aged and dated (not in a charming way) and there were three long flights of stairs to climb to reach it. The advertised high speed Internet was unbearably slow,
and the cell phone service non-existent. Even the TV was old and there was a very limited selection of channels.

We stayed three nights, and had planned to stay another night later in our visit. But we were glad to leave, and cancelled the final night. I will still remember the old Compleat Angler fondly, but would no longer recommend it.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank susanu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,047 - 2,053 of 2,133 reviews

Reviewed September 13, 2010

I stayed at this hotel for two nights as part of a business offsite meeting. The location of the hotel is terrific, not too far from Heathrow but not in the flight path, and just over the bridge from the town of Marlow. The town is quite charming with many shops and cafes to choose from, which is practical since the restaurants in the hotel are very average but extremely expensive. My first evening there I arrived late and ordered a sandwich in the lounge, which was exactly like my kids would make - plain white Tesco bread with packaged ham slices and butter, with a few stale potato chips on the side - at a cost of 7 pounds 50! The dinner the next night was very plain, with an "appetizer" consisting of a block of pressed ham with peach chutney from a jar. Main course was a chicken breast perched sadly on top of a mountain of greenery steeped in some sort of bland wine sauce. Dessert was a lump of panna cotta alongside yet another block, this time of strawberry-flavoured mousse. Very disappointing. With these experiences behind me I skipped the breakfast in the hotel and went to the Starbucks in the village.

The room itself was clean and tidy, comfortable bed and furnishings. The toilet is mounted very low to the floor for some reason, however, and the fan is very loud. Staff is courteous (maybe a bit too courteous, every time I walked through the halls I was greeted by 5 or 6 people....good morning, good morning, good morning...) but better friendly than surly! The grounds of the hotel are nice with a well-kept garden next to the river with many tables. All in all, the location is the selling point - but the hotel amenities and restaurant are fairly average, therefore the hotel (at 190 GBP per night for a single) is very overpriced in my estimation.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled on business
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Thank MikeJameson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2010

Thanks so much to all the Team at The Compleat Angler for making our anniversary stay at the hotel so special!
The service we experienced was excellent - from the moment we arrived all the Staff we encountered were friendly, courteous and professional.

We had a wonderful uninterrupted nights sleep – which makes a big change from the usual 6am wake-up call from our daughter! And the breakfast was superb!

We hope to see you all again soon!
Cheers
Nick and Anne-Marie

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank NickHerts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2010

My husband booked a package which included breakfast and dinner to celebrate my birthday. When we arrived, there was a wedding taking place but the man working on reception assured us that this shouldn’t cause us any problems. He then pointed out the entrance to what looked like some sort of annexe and left us to it. We had no assistance with our luggage and the room was located up many stairs and through many scruffy corridors with peeling wallpaper and worn carpet. When we entered room 104 I was overpowered by an unpleasant smell, which I initially thought might be a cigarette smell but on hindsight was probably just a stale smell. The room itself was a real disappointment, lacking the touch of luxury you would expect from a hotel of this standard, even the bedsheet had a hole in it! There was no mini bar which we have since found out is located in the lounge area which was blocked off to us.

We then went to the cocktail bar for a drink and when I had finished I went back to the room ahead of my husband to get ready for dinner. My husband followed me back to the room and imagine his surprise when he found a member of staff pottering around in the room rearranging the water etc when I was in the bath oblivious to this visitor! I would have expected once the member of staff realised someone was in the bath they would have left the room to avoid any embarassment.

Going back to our room after dinner we realised that the wedding party did indeed affect us as we were at the entrance to the carpark and everyone was outside our bedroom window waiting for taxis.

The following morning I expressed my disappointment with our room (104) to the receptionist on duty and she explained that all the other rooms were lovely and this one was waiting to be refurbished. I was very upset to hear that we had drawn the short straw and despite spending around £300 for a night (with dinner and drinks) we had been left with one of the worst rooms in the hotel. I have since read previous reviews on Trip Advisor and have seen that others have turned down this room because it was in need of a refurbisment. I only wish I had taken note before we got there!

I have since complained to MacDonald Hotels who asked the hotel to respond to us directly. However, their solution was for us to come again and throw more money at them and for that they would upgrade our room, something that Trip Advisor is offering free at the moment anyway. They also stated that the room had been recently refurbished and the receptionist had misinformed us - I think not! Unfortunately, I am not in a position to risk spending another £300 on the off chance that they make my second visit a more pleasant experience. Sadly it will probably be my next birthday before we are in a position to go away for the night without the children so I will just ensure that we chose far more carefully next time.

The location of this hotel is fabulous and this is what I believe brings people here. I would recommend visiting for dinner or a drink, although extremely expensive, but stay elsewhere as the Compleat Angler really cannot justify the sort of prices that they charge.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SarahGermany
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2010

Lovely site and a classic hotel - totally unprepared for busy weekend - no Air conditioning. We checked out of the misery and moved on.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank SophieSand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2010

This is a lovely hotel in a great location on the Thames

We stayed here as our friends were getting married and I would like to start by saying that the hotel is a lovely place to stay, very peaceful and wherever you walk you feel at peace. Our room was no72 and it overlooked the river and specifically the weir that is outside the hotel. The room had a balcony, bath, separate shower, 2 basins, wc, a lovely 4 poster bed, flat screen tv, coffee making facilities, ironing facilities plus trouser press and probably much more besides. The room was well decorated, clean and the service to the room could not be faulted.

The wedding venue we visited was cosy with enough space for a reasonable sized wedding and the wedding party had taken over a few different areas where the food, drink could be served etc. the evening went well and there was space for a band. I could not comment on the price of the drink because it was paid for by the bride and groom. The only thing I would say was that the evening food was a little greasy, but overall an excellent experience.

The breakfast in the morning was superb, a great choice of food and all well cooked plus the waiting staff were very attentive and nothing was too much trouble. Again could not fault anything about breakfast and we got down there late but did not feel as though the staff were trying to get us out of the dining area they happily worked around us which was a bonus.

After saying so many good things I suppose in summary I cannot fault what the hotel has, however when a hotel is charging this much money I would expect a few other facilities on site. There is no spa which I was hoping to use, there is a service that visits the rooms but this is not quite the same. There is also no pool or gym and again I would expect a hotel chargin this much for a room to contain these facilities. In fairness this would only knock this down to a 4 1/2 but trip advisor don't allow this so a 4 it will have to be. This hotel does everything it has really well but it is just what it doesn't have which lets it down, that said I would go back again and I would recommend it as I could sit outside and look at the weir all day and the grounds are lovely as is Marlow.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Wildsnoopster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2010

The location is absolutely lovely, the staff are very polite and helpful. Breakfast was very good indeed and rooms were good. I would recommend this hotel and a visit to Henley which is 7 miles away. We ate in Brasserie Gerrard in the town which was excellent and the next night in Aubergine at the hotel which was really good but a bottle of sparkling water was £9!!! which was the most I have ever paid. Drinks at the hotel were really expensive £25 for three drinks which is why I think the bar was so quiet.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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Thank SuzieGloucestershire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Macdonald Compleat Angler

Address: Marlow Bridge, Marlow SL7 1RG, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Buckinghamshire > Marlow
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Marlow
Price Range: $176 - $328 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Macdonald Compleat Angler 4*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Named after Izaak Walton's famous book on angling, the beautiful four-red star Macdonald Compleat Angler is idyllically located on the banks of the River Thames. The hotel is just a short walk from the Georgian town of Marlow, 10 minutes drive from the M4 and just over an hour away from Central London by train. Beautiful both inside and out, enjoy mouthwatering meals from the recently refurbished, three AA rosette-awarded Riverside Restaurant overlooking Marlow Weir or delicious afternoon tea on the terrace. Alternatively, dine in Sindhu by Michelin-starred Indian Chef, Atul Kochhar. For meetings, strategy days or conferences, our meeting facilities are ideal and our 2 brand new SMART board technology board rooms perfect for inspiring great ideas. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Macdonald Compleat Angler Marlow
Macdonald Compleat Angler Hotel Marlow

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