We recently visited the hotel for a wedding reception (all day) and I have to say how disappointed we were. We have visited the hotel on several occasions in the past (this was our first wedding here though) and we've always had only good things to say, however we really saw a different side to the hotel this time.
The wedding breakfast was utterly disappointing. Not at all Judges standard food. The meal was very bland and poor quality. We have eaten at Judges before and the food is normally exceptional. I just can never understand why a place would not want to put their best foot forward when catering a wedding. All those people who have never eaten a proper meal at the hotel have now gone away thinking that it ain't so great. Such a shame.
The wine with dinner was absolutely disgusting. We had to buy a separate glass of lemonade just to make it palatable. I had the white and my husband had the red and both were equally poor. Very cheap and nasty. What made it worse was that they were charging £4.50 for a glass in the evening!
We had higher hopes for the evening barbecue, but this was equally poor. The burgers were dry and tasteless, the kofta kebab was the same, the salads/pastas were uninspiring and the chicken was substandard. The sausages were nice, but this didn't compensate for the rest of the food being so poor. For what they paid for this food, I would've expected a lot better quality.
We stayed at the hotel, paying £160 for the night. Our room was small, dingy and the bed was appallingly uncomfortable. It was like they hadn't bothered with a mattress and had just wrapped a lump of wood in a few old duvets. Terrible! For the price we paid (and note that this was the reduced wedding rate!) we expected a lot more. On the plus side, the room was clean and it did have some character but it still did not live up to the price tag. We have stayed at the hotel before, in a superior room, and we would definitely advise paying the extra for this. We wanted a superior room for our stay this time, but they wouldn't guarantee us one for a wedding booking. Very odd. Don't really know why. Guess they didn't want to see them at a reduced rate when they could extort some other poor unsuspecting guest...
We had breakfast in the morning and this was only ok. We were in the conservatory, which is stunning. There were a lot of options on the menu, but after a few drinks the night before we just wanted a good old full English. The breakfast was nice, but nothing out of the ordinary.
The wedding celebration itself was really nice. The bride and groom had a lovely day and the grounds of the hotel make a lovely back drop for the wedding photographs. I do think it's a real shame that only small weddings can take place in the main house, as the courtyard suite just isn't the same.
The staff on the whole were good. They didn't seem particularly well trained, but they were friendly which is the main thing.
I feel really disappointed in having to write a poor review. Perhaps my expectations were too high having had better experiences here in the past. I certainly wouldn't recommend this place for a couple looking to get married here. My past experiences of the food in the restaurant have all been very good, so I'd recommend it to someone looking for a special meal. It is very expensive, but a nice place for a treat.
Overall, I feel that the hotel is incredibly overpriced and as a guest at this wedding I felt quite let down unfortunately.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An AA's Inspector's Choice Hotel since 2003, Judges Country House Hotel continues to be an AA 3 Red Star Country House Hotel as well as boasting 3 AA Rosettes, first awarded in 2003, and is also particularly recommended by the Michelin Guide 2014. Consistently rated by "The Good Hotel Guide" and praised by both "The Times", "The Sunday Times" and "The Telegraph" newspapers Judges is one of the finest hotels and restaurants not only in the Middlesbrough area but also in the United Kingdom as a whole. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Judges Country Hotel