Farrington Lodge was built in the 1830s and is a solid late Georgian pile near to the industrial sites of north Lancashire. It was owned by a succession of bigwigs, who all put JP after their names, before becoming a guest house for the Leyland motor company. It became a hotel only quite recently after the financial collapse of that business. Inside, it has rather large featureless spaces, that seem faintly outsized, including a massive bar and lounge. The dining room typifies some of the incongruities. It's a large high-ceiling space with a stone fireplace. The wallpaper is pale and plain, the sconces undersized, the carpet deep burgundy. But there are lovely mouldings high on the walls, and the cream and red curtains hanging in splendid swags in front of the massive windows are beautifully designed and sewn. We were a party of five business-people. There seemed to be just one person to take our dinner orders in the bar, and he disappeared shortly after giving us our menus. It took a visit to the receptionist to arrange to have our orders taken. The table d'hote menu was pretty dull, with secondary cuts of meat: rump steak or confit of duck leg, and a standard array of starters and desserts. The wine list was positively dismal; the best red was a Spanish rioja, and most were ordinary vintages from the southern hemisphere. I chose gravadlax which came without the promised dill sauce, followed by cauliflower gratin, as the vegetarian alternative seemed preferable to the other choices, and an over sweet and not very lemony lemon posset. It was decent fare, but nothing to excite the senses. Nor was breakfast the following morning quite what business travellers are looking for. Rather soggy toast, one teapot for four tea drinkers, necessitating constant searches for attentive staff to replenish the supply, rather soggy toast, only one small pot of butter for the five of us, and simple cooked breakfasts of kippers and eggs that took nearly half an hour to emerge from the kitchen. My ground-floor bedroom was not easy to locate, because the corridors had been blocked by intermittent firedoors and there were no signs showing the locations of the various numbered rooms. My room was spacious, the mattress extremely comfortable and the duvet fresh, but the decorations were extraordinary: plain on three sides, but behind the bed a wall of large and ghastly green and silver swirls, rather like an Indian restaurant gone wrong. The bathroom was very nicely done, by contrast, with white modern sanitaryware, and both a bath and a corner shower. But the shower had with an overcomplex integrated knob for turning on the water and adjusting the temperature, not the safest contraption, and the washbasin was set so high on the floor that a woman of average height would have difficulty in making proper use of it. And I couldn't get a connection for my mobile phone, so as to ring, text or email home and say I had arrived safely. In short, although Farington Lodge has some admirable details, the overall impression I had was a lack of flair and care. Why were the walls so bare and unwelcoming, when a few more attractive pictures could have done the trick? Why were there no flowers to be seen anywhere to add life, brightness and colour to this unnecessarily dingy pile? Why were the meals and the service so obsessively ordinary? I'm told the hotel does a great job for weddings and charity events, but as a business visitor it's not a place I would recommend.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Farington Lodge Hotel is a charming Georgian house with 27 en-suite bedrooms,nine bedrooms in the original house including two four poster suites, and eighteen opulent executive bedrooms. Hosting one wedding a day, up to 150 guests in the exclusive Jubilee Suite, we offer the complete package, licensed for civil ceremonies, including the new garden wedding pavilion, sited in three acres of magnificent landscaped gardens, this unique venue is conveniently located for guests traveling by road, rail or air. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Farington Hotel Farington