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“Second visits never the same.....”
Review of The Bell Inn

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The Bell Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Brook
Reviewed April 8, 2013

This was our second Travel Zoo visit to the Bell Inn at Brook. Having had such a good experience last year, we went as a party of 6 with 4 friends having told them of our great first experience. On arrival, the staff were welcoming and our rooms excellent so we were full of anticipation for the weekend. First impressions are important and sadly the cream tea did not live up to our previous experience with only one small scone per person and artificial cream - not the real stuff! - to accompany. Disappointing to say the least. Having asked for another scone, it was explained that this could be provided at an additional charge.

We were asked to provide advance menu choices for the evening which we were happy to comply with. However, nibbles of olives & bread were an additional £3 per head as were extra veggies @ £3 per portion. On questioning, the waiter assured us that veggies were provided with the meal and that this was for those requiring additional portions.

At dinner, the starter of duck confit terrine was not accompanied either with bread/toast/salad garni which made it heavy to eat and detracted from enjoyment. The main courses although delicious, were somewhat meagre with the meat carefully arranged on the plate and the 'veggies' consisting of an artful smear of mashed potato and one of spinach, leaving even those of us with smaller appetites feeling a little cheated. This was a pity as, with a party of 6, we would have expected to linger over dinner enjoying a couple of bottles of plonk and coffees and had intended to eat in again the next evening. Instead, we retired early for the night and the next night dined in the pub down the road where the food was excellent and much cheaper!

Breakfast on both days was a chaotic affair with only one hard pressed waitress to look after a busy dining room, and service the hot breakfast buffet. It also seemed as if she might be doing the cooking as well (!) because on both days, the buffet was not kept stocked and guests were unable to make a complete breakfast without waiting for more food to come. On our first morning, there was a queue of 8 guests who waited at least 10 minutes for bacon/sausages & eggs to all be present at the same time! A very poor show! On politely raising this with reception, we were assured that this must have been a one-off and was not the norm. Sadly, this did not prove to be the case with a repetition of the previous morning and we left the Bell after our two day stay feeling that having had a successful first foray into the world of Travelzoo in 2012, it appeared that they had either had a change of management or simply jumped on the bandwagon by sacrificing quality & customer satisfaction to increase profit. All in all, we had a very pleasant weekend in the New Forest but felt responsible for encouraging friends to join us at a venue which fell short of our previous expectations.

Room Tip: Rooms 15 & 16 are large and comfortable.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier C, Manager at The Bell Inn, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2013

Dear Carol B,

First of all I would like to let you know that I am sorry that despite your generous four star review we failed to match the good experience you had with us last year. We always aim to delight our guests. The cream tea offering when you came last month I must agree was not as good as people were expecting and this has now been rectified with every one getting two scones and clotted cream.
Regarding dinner, we constantly look at what we offer, aiming to strike the right balance between classics such as sausage and mash and more intricate dishes. Our menu evolves constantly, in the few weeks since your visit the duck confit terrine has disappeared, replaced by a chicken liver parfait, served with toasted brioche.
I must also admit that yes we have had some breakfasts when the service was chaotic. We have now put measures in place to ensure the buffet is replenished more efficiently and enough members of the team are there to look after our guests.
I hope you still choose to stay with us on your next visit to the New Forest and that you see that customer satisfaction is still our most important priority.

Regards,

Didier

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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577 - 583 of 744 reviews

Reviewed April 6, 2013

Nice country retreat with calm, quiet atmosphere.
Room was average appointed, lovely large bathroom. Dinner & breakfast were very good quality, even considering we were using a voucher. The only disappointment was the cream tea. Only one small scone each and not real cream! Come on, not a lot to ask. I had expected a bit more and have had much better elsewhere, it didn't spoil my stay but it definitely have made the difference.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MaureenB365
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier C, General Manager at The Bell Inn, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2013

Dear MaureenB365,

First of all I would like to thank you for having taken the time to write a review of your recent stay with us. Your compliments regarding the room, dinner and breakfast are very much appreciated.
Since your visit our cream tea offering is something we have looked at and improved. It now includes 2 scones and the traditional clotted cream. I hope we get the opportunity to welcome you again in the near future.

Regards,

Didier

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We pulled in to the car park over the Easter weekend at 9pm and hoped they had a room free for us as we didn't book. The staff at reception were lovely, they really made us feel welcome.

We were told that the restaurant usually stops serving food at 9.30 but the reception spoke to the restaurant to ensure we'd get fed as we were starving!

The room was decent - quite large with a good size bathroom. We could hear the music from the bar but it wasn't loud. We ate at the restaurant and were impressed with the standard of the food which was very good. We went back to the room at midnight and the music was still playing but it was at a low level. The bed was very comfortable and we slept very well.

Breakfast in the morning was a little chaotic but we managed to eat as much as we wanted, even if it meant waiting for some of the hotplates to be refilled.

All in all a nice place to stay for a night or two.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank faceman01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

This was a great value night away with breakfast.. This hotel is well worth it's 3 stars. The rooms were of a very good standard, good spec, lovely spotless bathroom, tea and coffee, hairdryer, big comfortable beds. We had a room overlooking the car park and golf club. We stayed in a room overlooking the car park and golf club. This was no problem for us, I am a light sleeper and there was no extra noise. Breakfast was a very high standard and fresh. It was more than adequate with cereals fruit, toast along, pastries and full english. Service was great from the Spanish waiter. Staff were helpful and polite. We ate in the restaurant in the evening, however the menu looked amazing but didn't live up to it's expectations. The main meal was disappointing but the desert was lovely. Our friends brought their dog which was welcomed at the hotel and bar restaurant. The shortish lad with the brown hair served us in the bar restaurant impeccably, he is wasted there and should be snapped up by a fine dining restaurant. We would recommend it here.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LeeBKHerts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

My husband and I stumbled across this lovely looking pub that has been converted in to a trendy looking bar, lovely decor and a warm welcome. They were happy to supply us with a high chair too for our baby. We ordered the roast beef which sounded delicious being it came with red wine jus. Upon being served up we couldn't have been more disappointed. Two slices of beef, three potatoes the size of ping pong balls and a kidney shape dish half full of vegetables, that were very tasty, but we had to order another portion which was slightly embarrassing, but that's what a roast dinner is all about right? Anyway, being it was £17 each we felt within our rights to express how we felt the portion was way too small and when I asked the manageress if she thought it was a generous portion, she said she couldn't comment. Another staff member came over and informed us the chef was new and that they would take on board our comments and review their portions. We think they should review their prices too! £10 would be enough! We were given a complimentary pudding to compensate which was delicious also, but again neuvo cuisine! So basically, don't go there if you're hungry!!

  • Stayed: March 2013
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2  Thank photographer_007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

Very pleasant stay at the Bell Inn. Would have scored it as excellent save for a few things. Breakfast buffet both days was very hit and miss. Plates of eggs, sausages, etc arriving randomly so never able to get what you want on a plate at the same time. Very disorganised. We ate in the restaurant one night and in the bar area the next night. The bar was better. The restaurant service was a bit pretentious for what is after all a pub - albeit a very nice pub. Bedroom was good - nicely furnished and a comfortable bed.

Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank loobyloo2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

We had booked about 6 weeks ahead, using a travelzoo voucher. The hotel changed the time of our booking for dinner, without any consultation; and put us at a table in the corner of the bar (see photos). When quizzed, it seems that they maintain there is no difference between the bar and the dining room - which is fatuous. We were in a corner by a peeling windowframe, and had to ask to have the carpet hoovered before we sat down, as it was covered with food spilled by a child, more than 3 hours earlier.

Like many other reviewers, we found the food quantities disappointing. The one tiny scone and ersatz cream are given to voucher holders - "real" customers still get two scones - how scrimping this seems. The dinner and breakfast were of good quality, but the starters were tiny.

Our room was on the second floor, no lift, no offer to help with bags. (The older receptionist who checked us in, was the only member of staff who was not pleasant, but was curt and seemed to regard Travelzoo customers as a nuisance.)

Our room was small but OK; we requested a second chair, as only one was provided in a double room - this was treated as an odd request, but was provided quite quickly. The bathroom was really poor - functionally OK but spartan, with very old and tarnished fittings. (See photos).

We will not be returning.

Room Tip: Avoid room 31
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Ursosarctos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Bell Inn

Address: Roger Penny Way, Brook, New Forest National Park Hampshire SO43 7HE, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Hampshire > New Forest National Park Hampshire > Brook
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Brook
Price Range: $126 - $221 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Bell Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to The Bell Inn, which has been part of my family since 1782. Inside we have made stylish updates to our historic New Forest hotel without spoiling any of its traditional and rustic charm. With open fireplaces, flagstone floors, elegant reception rooms and two superb 18-hole golf courses we are unlike other hotels in Hampshire. With nature’s larder on the doorstep our team of talented chefs create seasonal specials, mouth-watering menus, and have unique access to game from our family’s New Forest estate – a true ‘Estate to Plate’ dining experience. Whether staying in one of our 28 tasteful rooms, enjoying local ale whilst relaxing on comfortable sofas in our dog friendly bar, dining with us exploring the flavours of the New Forest or playing a round of golf on our New Forest Hotel's oldest course, we look forward to welcoming you to this timeless and magical place. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Bell Hotel New Forest

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