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“Fantastic value family break” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Manor House Hotel

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Manor House Hotel
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Fowley Cross
Certificate of Excellence
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Fantastic value family break”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2013

We stayed here for three days/four nights in July, having seen the TV advert and decided that it would be a good start to our Summer holiday and provide plenty of things to keep our children entertained (two boys aged 8 and 1).

The good points. The staff are very friendly and efficient. The range of activities on offer is exceptional and all included in the price, which we thought was superb value for money, and the facilities are all maintained to a very high standard. The food was delicious - my initial reservations about it being stodgy mass catered food were quickly dispelled as there was plenty of choice and it was really tasty. They even provide a (very limited) high tea for young children which suited our toddler perfectly. The hotel and grounds were spotlessly clean and really beautifully kept (although the décor was rather tired and very outdated in places). The crazy golf was a fantastic addition and kept us entertained in between activities. The two soft play areas were also amazing with tons of play equipment - our boys spent hours in there and it was where our youngest learnt to walk which was really special. Our boys also LOVED the bug show!

The bad points. The rooms are desperately in need of a make over and are very dated - chipped wood, artex walls and ceilings, very sad looking bathroom. Our 'family' room was tiny - an extra single bed and a cot had been squeezed into what was essentially a double room, along with a wardrobe, two bedside tables and a chest of drawers. There was literally no room to move between the beds and the cot and nowhere to store our bags. We were tripping over them all week and it felt very cluttered. Furthermore we had been allocated a room on the first floor and there was no lift or buggy park at the foot of the staircase, meaning we had to lift the pushchair up the stairs each time (and store it in our cramped room) or keep it in the car and go back to fetch it every time we wanted to leave the room. This might seem like a really small and petty detail but we found it very frustrating. Surely when you book a family room with a one-year-old it wouldn't be too much to ask to be on the ground floor? Even the maid cleaning our room commented on how inconvenient it must have been for us.

Whilst the range of activities was good, we found that many of the specialist activities (go karting, archery, shooting, craft activities etc) were already fully booked when we arrived. Sign up sheets are posted three days in advance and people are quick to sign up first thing in the morning, so if you are not quick off the mark, or only staying a few days like we were, you are likely to lose out. When we arrived at tea time on Monday we found that many of the activities for the following two days were booked up. I particularly wanted to do glass painting but it was only available on one of the days we were staying and the slots were already filled. Booking of courts for tennis and badminton etc was readily available though so we made full use of those and the swimming pool (the flumes are great). Lastly, I learnt from the website that you can book treatments at the spa in advance of your stay, but having called twice and left messages, and then having spoken to someone who said they would pass on a message, no-one called me back so I missed out on that too. Goodness only knows what it must be like in the height of summer and the school holidays!

Despite the negative aspects mentioned above, we did enjoy our stay and our eldest son in particular was non-stop with sports and thought it was brilliant. We thought that it represented fantastic value for money given that it is full board and inclusive of all activities. If you want a luxury hotel break then this is not for you. If you want a good value family break with plenty on offer and you are not fussed about staying in accommodation which swings towards holiday camp style then this is for you.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the ground floor if you have young children using a pushchair.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Emma W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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619 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (177)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bristol
Level Contributor
22 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2013

Went in March with a review headed 'Will be back' and that is exactly what we did! Another fantastic break, this time as 2 families, each of one adult and one child, all girls so a really girly break for us all :) The sun was shining and the little ladies enjoyed playing crazy golf and running around on the grass whilst us 2 mums lounged around in deck chairs.

We booked a B category family room (number 145) and it was huge! - seemed like 2 rooms with a curtain separating the areas and with 2 bathrooms. As we were 2 families, the bedding set up was not ideal. However, the next morning we had a chat with housekeeping and they immediately arranged for the beds to be changed and when we returned in the afternoon to the room we found that even the child beds had been changed to full size twin beds at no extra cost - fantastic customer service!

We tried different activities to our last visit and still couldn't try everything we wanted to. The new spa is bliss - I really made the most of my 1.5 hour child-free relaxation time :)

OK the food and restaurant is still canteen-esque but again none of us ever went hungry and we are all pretty hard core foodies.

My only niggle (and it is really a niggle but it's why I have marked the property as very good and not excellent) is that for the amount of money we paid being the school holidays, it would be nice to see the rooms updated - with the artexed walls and patterned carpets removed and more modern furnishings both in the bedrooms and bathroom. Having said that, the room once again was spotless and you don't go the Manor House to stay all day in your room.

Will I be returning? Well, we've been back home one day and my daughter is already asking when we will be going back. So, I guess I don't have a choice lol :)

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Annie_Rach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sidcup, null, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2013

i was just about to book the manor house yet again, as im not very organised and never pre book anything! however im disappointed at some of their reviews; this is the most fantastic holiday any family can have. there is ample food, i dont know what other reviewers eat, but to me it is absolutely lovely. there are non stop activities all day and night- those moaning that that there is nothing- try using the tennis cannon or going in pool during main food times, bowling, gym, petanque etc. we have been with toddlers to teenagers and theres never a moment that cant be filled. The rooms are fine, who goes to a hotel like this to look at the wallpaper? it has a creche so if you want a dartmoor walk you can go. its the best holiday anywhere around. look up holiday homes, as i have, and you will pay much the same price for accommodation with no food or activities. i give it the 11 out of 10 thumbs up! best best place anywhere. i cant fault anything and love it and its the only place ive ever been where everyone has been many times before.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Diane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2013 via mobile

This is not like any other 'Hotel' , it's individual , good value, friendly and there is so much to do. All those things you have wanted to have a go at but never see to have the time. Tai chi, pottery, silk painting, yoga etc. the hydro pool is the besti have ever had the pleasure to visit and the therapist sessions are excellent, with experienced people and very good value. Don't take my words. Come and see for your self

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Crazyjayne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LONDON
Level Contributor
262 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 288 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2013

Two people mananged to kill off any goodwill review I could write about my £600 3 day break at Manor House Hotel which WOULD have got a three star average (never a five) but is downgraded to a one.

So what went wrong.

Evening Meal. Teenagers serving as "waiters" and "Drinks Waiters" OK so no worries they have to start somewhere and its not an issue. The drinks waiter asks our drink orders. I order bottles of wine for the adults and our 3 year old wants a fruit shoot. (Its a kids squash drink in a bottle).

Ten minutes later up comes the wine. Sorry I cant get the fruit shoot.

Why?

"The closest bar ran out and hotel bar is too far to go and get one"

So what will she drink then?

"Not sure I will go find out"

Another ten mins goes by and he is back in the room.

"Did you get her a drink?"

Walks off.

So I get up and carry her over to the other bar to buy her a fruit shoot. On the way we pass by reception and I ask to see the manager. My dinner is getting cold of course!

Manger out. Whats the problem?

Your drinks waiter wont get my 3 year old daughter a drink because the restaurant bar ran out of fruit shoot and its too far for him to go to the other bar...

Manger: Let her drink water then.
-------------------------

Now what part of HOSPITALITY and SERVICE are you thinking is missing here... Yes those two IDIOTS managed to get the hotel a zero rating. Well done Mike the Manager. You really know how to treat your £600 for three nights paying guests like royalty dont you...

For the benefit of doubt the second bar is no more than 30 feet away from the restaurant. And yet the "Drinks Waiter" working in a hotel that prides iteself on sport found it too much of a drag to go there and according the management thats all right.

Prior to this I had to keep reminding myself that we were NOT there for the rotten rooms and the standard food fare. But we were there so the 3yr old could have a blast on all the activities.

So now I have changed my tune.
1) Your rooms are awful. They are so out of date that crossroads called and they want their set back.
2) Avacodo suites went out in 1970 and so did the chinz curtains and stippled ceilings and blown vinyl painted wall paper.
3) For £600 I could go to PREMIER INN for THREE nights, Eat there like a king for a total of £150 and then spend the balance of £450 going swimming, playing tennis, in fact any other activity you put on. And I would have change to buy ice cream, and as much fruit shoot as a three year old can handle. You are POOR value for money.
4) In the 21st centry we want WiFi. Not have to huddle round a router in reception.

Overall this was a below average experience. The world has moved on from the 1970's You might have got away with it if your customer service was top notch.

My take away memory of this place: "Let her drink water..."

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
31 Thank 365drills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2013

We stayed for 4 nights during the May bank holiday. Although we arrived at midday we were told the room wouldn't be ready until 3pm however we could use all of the facilities but there would be a small charge for lunch.
Our first impressions were that the hotel was in dire need of a makeover, the artexed/rough plastered magnolia walls were definitely past their best along with the general decor throughout, our room when we got it was also very dated.This, however, should not put you off what is a very good place to go on holiday. There is more than enough to keep anybody occupied here right through the day. Our son (7 years old) did just about every sport available whilst our daughter (8 years old) did some sports and some crafts, we often found it difficult to fit everything in. Away from sport and crafts there was also the visit of the birds of prey and the insect man which the children really enjoyed.
I also liked the snooker room which included a couple of 3/4 size tables, very good for my son to play and learn on which we did after dinner each night.
Both myself and my wife had massages while there which were very good and very reasonably priced (£12.50 for half hour).
Among the activities we all enjoyed whilst there were, snooker, ten pin bowling, the children's activity room, badminton, tennis, short tennis, table tennis, handball, rounders, 5 a side football, basketball, jewelry making, fabric painting, go karting, air pistol and air rifle shooting, archery plus many more.
While we found the food plentiful we did think it was some what repetitive and would of benefited from more variety. Overall though I would not let this detract from what was a very enjoyably break.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MrWycker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2013

I have just returned from a 5 night stay at the Manor House Hotel in Okehampton. I have previously visited this establishment a few years ago. When arriving my friends and I were shown to a 'small' three bed room which we asked if we could change as there was no room to move around at all. The receptionist consulted the bookings book and told us that they were fully booked but she then proceeded to speak to her manager who found us a large family room for one night and then a very spacious 3 bedroom groundfloor room for the rest of our stay. The changeover was completed with the minimum of fuss and the staff could not have been more accommodating. Whilst we were waiting for our 'new' room we took advantage of the great new Hydro Spa which has only been open for 4 weeks and relaxed in a most tranquil setting. All in all a fantastic stay and I and my friends will definitely be returning!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank pasains
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Manor House Hotel

Property: Manor House Hotel
Address: 30 A 386, approximately 2 miles north of the junction with the A, Fowley Cross EX20 4NA, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Fowley Cross
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Fowley Cross
Hotel Class:3 star — Manor House Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 203
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Manor House and Ashbury Hotels are situated on the foothills of the Dartmoor National Park in West Devon. Set in over 600 acres of beautiful countryside, we believe the hotels have the highest level of facilities in the UK. With all our breaks exclusively FULL BOARD you are guaranteed great value. Golf is included FREE on 99 holes, giving the option of 7 eighteen hole golf courses which vary in length from Kigbeare at 6528 yards Par 72 to the Willows Par3 course at 1939 yards. Some of the other facilities available FREE of charge to all residents include 8 indoor and 5 outdoor Tennis courts, 13 indoor Bowls rinks, 8 Badminton courts, 3 Swimming pools with spa facilities, 10 lanes of 10 pin bowling, 20 Snooker tables, and Target ranges featuring Archery, Air Pistols and Air Rifles. Our "Fun House" is a fantastic 300 sq metre soft adventure play area set over 3 levels with astra slide, tube slides, ball pool and much more! Our Gameszone offers hours of entertainment for the kids with Xbox / Playstations, pool tables, air hockey, dance stage and more! PLUS 4 FLUME WATER SLIDE COMPLEX! Our unique Craft Centres offer 17 tutored crafts including Pottery, Glass Engraving, Enameling, Hot Press Printing and Woodwork. All of these crafts feature expert tuition with minimal cost prices applied. With the huge choice of sport, craft and leisure facilities available, you will have a truly amazing break that won't be easily forgotten. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Manor Hotel Fowley Cross
Manor House Hotel Fowley Cross, Devon, England

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