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The Priest House by the River
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Reviews (838)
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All reviewsthe cottagesmain buildingcottage roomhand picked hotelsthe fine dining restaurantbanks of the riverafternoon teasecret escapesscallopsbride and groomwedding venuewedding breakfastrelaxing breakwedding receptionevening mealtwo night stayshort break
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752 - 757 of 838 reviews
Reviewed June 19, 2011

I stayed here with my partner in may to have a nice relaxing weekend, well which we thought it would be.
When arriving at the hotel it was a lovely building from the outside. When checking in we received fast but not very frindly service from the receptionist who seemed more interested in her phone then serving people if im honest.
The room was lovely but for the amount of money we paid would of at least expected more!!!!
We decided to eat in the restaurant that evening as it has 2 aa rousette restaurant!!! The menu had a great choice to pick from and the food was amazing!! On the other hand the service from staff and managers (if thats what they call them these days) was awful! All staff were young and didnt seem intererested or trained in what they doing!! No one seemed like they wanted to be there and where forced to work!!
A smile wouldnt go a miss from them!!!!!

Overall the food was amazing but service from staff was awful!!!
Would not stay here again but would defintly be interested in having the chefs cook again!!

  • Stayed: May 2011
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1  Thank MissS50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PriestHouse, Manager at The Priest House by the River, responded to this reviewResponded July 4, 2011

Dear Guest
Thank you so much for reviewing The Priest House and for your kind remarks regarding the selection and quality of our food. I have noted all your feedback regarding our service, which I am very grateful for, and would very much welcome the opportunity to discuss your comments in more detail. I can be contacted on my email mburn@handpicked.co.uk.
Yours sincerely Michael.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2011

We stayed at the Herron Suite (one of the best rooms at the hotel) after a friend's wedding reception. From the outside, the hotel looked fantastic. Great looking heritge building by the river in a nice old English town. Once we stepped inside the room we were bitterley disappointed. Although suite had a nice living room and 2 TVs, there was no fridge. The worst part was the bizarre layout of the room. Lights to the living room was turned off from the bedroom, there were no obvious power points for the tea making facility (so the tea pot was plugged into a PowerPoint of the floor). The bathroom was small compared to other suites we have stayed in. On top of this there was no WIFI connection at our suite. This is poor value for money given the rate of £232 a night.

To finish with a positive note the breakfast and the service was great the next morning.

  • Stayed: May 2011
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2  Thank ProfDrPaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2011

I booked a night here with my wife as I liked the quiet river front location and knew the Hand Picked Hotels group to which this belongs to be a good chain I had used before. The front desk were very helpful and friendly on arrival and our first floor room (No 37) was a decent size, clean and fresh (no mini bar) and it all looked and felt very much as I had expected.

But when we decided to stay in and eat we ran into poor service and other problems you don't really expect in a hotel of this class. It was explained when we arrived that due to low occupancy levels the main restaurant was closed and only the brasserie was open that evening. Fair enough and there was still a reasonable choice on the brasserie menu but the wine list was clearly from the main restaurant and had very little under £30 a bottle. We were given a table adjacent to a noisy group who were planning a wedding along with the hotel staff. They were not even eating a meal so it was not exactly a great ambience to enjoy our meal, why weren't this group seated in the bar area? No other table was available we were told although we were eventually moved after an hour. We also had to ask for a replacement side plate as the one set out had not been properly washed.

Service was generally very slow and our first dish arrived 50 minutes after we were seated, the two staff on duty were sevicing other tables as well as consulting with the wedding group. Some bread would have been a nice touch to fill the time and accompany the bottle of wine we had almost finished before the food arrived. It was clearly under staffed that night.

The food when it did arrive was very good so compliments to the kitchen here. At the end of the meal we ordered two Irish coffees but the bar staff had not been trained to make these and had to Google for instructions. It wasn't their fault but what we got had no sugar, no napkin and no little biscuit and at £17 for the two you expect a little better than that, my local curry house could teach them a thing or two!

At breakfast we were made to feel uncomfotable for arriving at 9:15, apparently breakfast finishes at 9:30 but we hadn't been told and not everyone reads the in room manual from cover to cover when they arrive after a long day. Oh and no yogurt of any type at breakfast, yes really.

The management duly apologised when I raised all these issues on checking out and the coffees were deducted from our bill when I asked them to. But I got the distinct impression nothing would be done to address the issues which were surely not just unique to us. If the management wish to contact me I'll be more than happy to suggest how they can ensure future guests don't experience the same poor level of service.

Room Tip: Consider eating out for better value & service
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BitterSweetKicker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2011

Its a strange one this. Everything about this place makes you think its going to be great. the location, the gardens are kept looking fabulous, the building and the interior of all parts of the hotel are great.
My room was clean and modern and very well decorated. The stylish bathroom added to the quality of the room.
The room had nice bath products, free water and a good tea and coffeee making selection.

So all this should make it good or excellent shouldn't it? Yes it should but it is spoilt for me in too big ways.

1. The evening meal menu excites until you see what is delivered against what you pay.Portions were small and food not cooked well. The food and wine was expensive which would be fine if the quality lived up to the price but it just didn't.

2. The service in almost all parts of my stay was lacking. There seemed to be a lot of young inexperieinced staff that seriously needed better training and supervision. Managers seemed to be hidden away somewhere and unaware of the problems resulting in slow service and lots of mistakes or inappropreate comments.
The evening meal spoilt by incorrect order taking, missing items from the courses which were asked for and failed to arrive, incorrect serving of drinks and lack of knowledge of the food and wine.
Breakfast and lunch wasn't much better, less mistakes but a lack of appropreate interaction with the guests and checking that things were right.

Check in and check out were very efficient but again would benifit from friendly interaction and a run down of the hotel which didn't happen. On colleage being told that the resturant being out of their budget on arrival didn't set his stay off in the right way and seemed totally inappropreate. We probably spent more than anyone staying that day so their assumptions were unwise!

This is a big wedding venue and I can see why. I think I would want to be given the upmost assurance from the manager the the day would match the expectations and price or else the service we experience could seriously spoil your day.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled on business
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1  Thank docscooter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2011

Stayed here for one night on a business trip to the area. Unfortunately there was a large work group staying there so we were put in the "cottages" across the lane. Nice modern look but very small room. Would have been extremely tight for two and more than one night (as it's a wedding venue I wouldn't want to be getting ready at the same time as a partner!)
The shower room looked great but again very small.
We ate in the restaurant and were the only diners but the waiting staff couldn't have been nicer. The same at breakfast.
Being next to BMI HQ it looks like the hotel is used by airline staff on stopovers so guess this in the week and weddings at weekends are the hotel's main markets.

  • Stayed: March 2011
    • Value
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Thank Whitby1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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