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“This Hotel would give Fawlty Towers Hotel a run for its'money??”

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The Woolacombe Bay Hotel
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Woolacombe
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“This Hotel would give Fawlty Towers Hotel a run for its'money??”
Reviewed November 12, 2013

If this hotel was half the price and didn’t claim to be an AA 4 star, then I probably wouldn’t be writing this. I can only say that Fawlty Towers springs to mind!
The Woolacombe Bay Hotel entrance is quite grand when you walk in, but that is where it stops!
We requested a sea view room, which we were given, though a tad on the small side. As for the sea view ……… well yes and no. The view depends entirely on how you stand, either bent over or standing on tip toes….. why? Well some bright spark designed the upvc windows with the sash at eye level, so as you enter your hotel room the beach and sea are not visible, unless you are either very short or very tall. I guess if one squatted this would be good for toning the thighs and also standing on tip toes would be good for the calves, so maybe I’m being a little hasty here!
As for the most memorable part of the stay and not in a good way…. We had booked the 4 course dinner in Doyle’s dining room the night of arrival, though I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to manage four course, how wrong was I? Each course was bordering on nouveau cuisine, the second course being a sorbet and that won’t fill you. I might add at this point that before we booked at the Woolacombe Bay hotel, we had narrowed our choice of hotels down to two. The deciding factor when we looked at each hotel’s menu was that I am an avid soufflé fan, whether savoury or sweet. The Woolacome hotel were offering a smoked cheese soufflé, with a coulis so that did it for me. I was really looking forward to this. We sat in the dining room in anticipation of the smoked cheese soufflé and suddenly there it was in front of me, well I nearly fell off my chair! I had been presented with what looked like a flattened omelette which wasn’t even in a dish and dried coulis (I think) on the side. My jaw dropped and I think the expression on my face said it all. The waitress apologised and said that it had looked fine 30 seconds before!!!! Faulty towers could not have beaten this. She offered to take it back but I was so shocked and couldn’t be bothered to wait again I numbly said, no it’s fine ( I can’t believe I said that). I continued to sit there, staring from my flattened omelette then to my husband and back to my omelette. Never in all my omelette, I mean soufflé days have I ever been presented with an excuse of an soufflé masquerading as an omelette. The waitress then returned, again apologising profusely and asked for me to choose something else. This time I did and chose a fish dish. It arrived almost immediately, so I can only gather that some poor guest was having to wait for his fish dish. This leads me onto portion size, all I can say is that we left the dining room still hungry! During our dinner (if you can call it that) that waitress returned again, still apologizing and said that the manager was very sorry about the omelette, oops I mean soufflé and would like to offer us a cheese board….. what? We declined. A little later the waitress returned again and this time the manager had said there would be no charge for our bottle of wine. We felt very sorry for the waitress as she had been left to deal with the omelette fiasco, at no time did the manager or the chef come out to us and apologize themselves. The soufflé/omelette should never, ever have left the kitchen! What is laughable is that in the menu there is a piece written by the chef who has supposedly worked there for 10 years, so it’s not like he doesn’t have the experience. So sadly the dinner we had been looking forward to was a huge disappointment, though we do laugh about it now, as you couldn’t have made this up if you tried. We have nicknamed this ‘soufflegate’ and has become quite a joke amongst our friends!
Breakfast was a reasonable choice. sadly the eggs are precooked and left to turn hard in a tray under a lamp, though kippers, smoked haddock, poached or boiled eggs can be ordered separately, but this is not offered by the waitresses and we only realized when we looked through the menu. In fact the second morning when realizing there are other choices I ordered the smoked haddock and although good, was 3 times the size of the fish I’d had at dinner the previous evening!
The dining room which is used for evening dinner and breakfast was not full of guests by any means, yet each time we were all herded and crammed to one end of the room. This was particularly annoying at breakfast, as clearly this is done for ease of staff and not paying guests. In between serving guests they are getting the empty tables ready for lunch. So what is written in their menu, that the hotel want their guest’s breakfast to be ‘a relaxed affair’, couldn’t be further from the truth, when guests have to put up with the rattling of crockery and cutlery when staff laying the other tables.
Bathrobes are not in the room but are available on request. This took two requests before I could get one.
The second most memorable fiasco was trying to find the swimming pool and lack of towels, soap and shampoo in the changing rooms. The corridors are poorly sign posted and trying to find the indoor swimming pool was certainly a challenge! Found other guests also trying to find the pool. After a number of aborted attempts the pool was eventually found. Upon finding the said swimming pool, there weren’t any towels and found that I needed a coin for the locker, neither of which I had, as I thought leaving money in my room would be the most sensible decision so off back to the room I went, trying to retrace steps and at least the room numbers were signposted. I decided to get changed in our room, this meant I had to walk through the hotel corridors in my hotel bathrobe trying to find the pool again. By the way bathrobes are not in the room, you have to ask for one, so after two attempts at calling housekeeping, two eventually arrived, better late than never I guess. Yet again trying to find the pool I went the wrong way and nearly gave up, then recognized some stairs and carried on. Eventually made it to the pool….. realized I had forgotten my towel, but couldn’t be bothered to go back to the room for a third time, so resigned myself to going back wet in my bathrobe, once showered in the changingroom, I looked in the shower, no toiletries, no shower gel, shampoo, soap, nothing! I thought of giving up on the idea of having a swim, but then thought that it had taken so much effort to get this far, I would just have to shower back in the room. Not ideal, but I was having to go back wet either way, so swim I did. I must say at this point, that the photo of the pool on their website makes the pool much larger than it actually is. I counted 15 strokes from one end to the other (length ways). I then spotted a therapist from the spa walking along the poolside and asked if she knew where I could get a towel from and also shower gel/shampoo. She came back with a towel and a sachet of something, so I carried on swimming. Thought I would finish off the swim with a session in the jacuzzi. Didn’t realize that they closed the Jacuzzi at 8pm and found it to be covered. However I had started my swim before then and didn’t see anyone closing the Jacuzzi, so clearly had been covered over much earlier! Thinking I might get my shower in the changing room after all, I then looked at the satchet the therapist had given me and it was body polish, so that wasn’t going to do anything for my hair, so back to my room for a shower, dripping all the way back to our room – delightful!
Other irritating points are - mobile phone and wi-fi signals inconsistent, very poor. Took ages to find a spot, sitting outside on the balcony, was the best. Apparently the best spot is next to reception, now what a surprise!! Irritating omissions….. no shower cap in room, thankfully I had taken my own, only a conditioning shampoo, no conditioner.
Radiator didn’t work in the bathroom. I reported this and was told they would send someone to fix it, this didn’t happen.
The first night we were there we went to the Information desk which is adjacent to the Reception desk, asked if they had any local information of things to see and do. We were told they only 3 leaflets but were not local to the area and would cost £1 each! What!! We had wanted to plan our next day that evening but couldn’t, as the Information desk doesn’t hold any useful information whatsoever. So we had to visit the Tourist Information the following morning, who I might add, were absolutely delightful and so very helpful.
The TV is a good size, but only 10 channels! There was a decent sized mirror which was opposite the pseudo ‘sea/beach view’ (if you duck) window. However, as the sun goes with the reflection from the mirror you get blinded both ways, so best to wear sunglasses in the room, or close the curtains, which defeats the object of the sea/beach view (if you duck) when squatting or standing on tip toes, or face the walls at right angles to the beach/sea view window or mirrored wall.
On the plus side, there were tea/coffee making supplies, hairdryer, iron, small ironing board and small safe at least. However would we stay at the Woolacombe Bay Hotel again? Well that’s a resounding - NEVER!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Christopher B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WoolacombeBayHotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel, responded to this review, November 18, 2013
It is a shame that you have not returned our call since you wrote this damaging review so we could have discussed it personally.
We agree that your souffle should never have left the kitchen.
We do not agree that the pool is hard to find - had you asked at reception, one of our porters would have shown you the way.
We do have bathrobes in our luxury rooms.
We do not charge £1 for leaflets.
We absolutely agree with your final sentence.......
Good luck in finding a better sea view than we have here!
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (240)
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English first
Pershore
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2013

Stayed at the bay for 3nights for the other halfs 50th birthday ,had a sea view room with balcony,which was superb with great views.breakfast was faultless and service was just the same.As a family of 3 the hotel had everything we needed!!!!really is a lovely hotel which woolacombe should be proud of.As been coming to woolacombe for years and never stayed here,does not disappoint.!!---andy f...worcestershire

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jackie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WoolacombeBayHotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel, responded to this review, November 18, 2013
Dear Andy F, thank you for taking the time to write a review. We are very pleased that you enjoyed your stay and that your wife's birthday celebrations went well. Thank you also for pointing out our sea view balcony rooms have great views! We will look forward to welcoming you again soon at the hotel.
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Plymouth, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 30, 2013

We stayed at the Woolacombe bay hotel for two nights to celebrate our wedding with our two young children! The service, the detail, the friendliness of the staff and the child friendliness of the hotel led to the best possible wedding we could have ever wished for! Initially thinking we would not be able to afford a hotel like this as our venue, the staff were happy to work with us to accommodate our budget but still delivered 100% on quality. Every member of staff could not do enough for us, helping to make our special day perfect in every way! The details for the children were second to none and having a play area available whilst eating our wedding breakfast was an absolute treat! The bistro food was delicious and the accommodation was beautiful with stunning views across the bay! Thank you so much xxx

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LeahPlant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WoolacombeBayHotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel, responded to this review, November 18, 2013
Dear Leah, we are so pleased that you had a fabulous wedding with us and that you enjoyed the day just as much as you should have. We are always happy to work to budgets, and provide the best entertainment for the children we can so that you can enjoy some well deserved adult time! We will look forward to seeing you next year on your anniversary!
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Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2013 via mobile

We went as a family of 5 and had a double room with connecting triple room for the children, sharing the same bathroom.
The best features of the hotel are the staff, who were helpful and excellent throughout our stay, and the breakfast buffet, which was superb.
There are a few areas where this hotel does not live up to its' 4* rating:
The free wifi is very poor and worked in only very limited areas of the hotel, the Bistro was overpriced for the standard of food and the rooms were comfortable but rather characterless.
Overall, a good hotel in a great location but with a few improvements could be a fantastic hotel!

Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Spike S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WoolacombeBayHotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel, responded to this review, November 18, 2013
Dear Spike, thank you for writing a review on all areas of our hotel. We are pleased that you found the staff friendly and the breakfast good, and this has been passed on to the team. With regards to the bedrooms, we have 68 ranging from Luxury Sea Views to Classics, the latter being neutral in colour in order to appeal to the majority of guests. When you return please ensure you ask for our individually designed rooms in order to meet your expectations!
The good news is that we have spent a lot of time recently looking into improving our wifi connection, and have several solutions in place for the New Year.
We will very much look forward to welcoming you again soon at the hotel.
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Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 27, 2013

We stayed in the Pickwick ground floor flat, opposite the woolacombe bay hotel in October. We have stayed in the hotel several times previously and decided to stay in the self catering flat this time so we could bring our dog along. Unfortunately, the level of comfort and attention to detail given to the hotel rooms is sadly lacking in the self catering accommodation. The decor was stark eg. no pictures on the walls, the lighting was awful, the furniture was shabby, only 1 television in a 3 bedroomed apartment, no clock radios DVD's etc., no WIFI access, several radiators didn't work and the bedding, in particular the duvets, were very basic and nothing like what is provided in the hotel. In addition to all this the accommodation smelt of cigarette smoke! As self catering guests we had access to all hotel facilities, (except if we wanted to play snooker and then we were charged an extra £5 per session) although there was no information about the facilities left in the accommodation or general details about the hotel etc. Overall, we were disappointed and will not be booking this accommodation again. I don't understand how the hotel managment can justify their high rates (we paid £1100 for the week) for such basic accommodation.

Room Tip: Avoid the self catering apartments, they are nothing like the hotel and not much cheaper than the ro...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank golden47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WoolacombeBayHotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel, responded to this review, October 29, 2013
Dear Golden, you are indeed correct that our self catering apartments are not luxurious like our hotel. It quite clearly states on our website that they are not to the same four star standard as the hotel, and we are sorry that your expectations were not met on this occasion.
We are aware that the decor in the apartments is in need of updating, and we do have plans in place which are already underway. Many people (please see review below) are happy with the standard of the self-catering apartments, and we justify the cost (from £475 in low season) by the fact that they are consistently let for ten months of the year. Next time you come to Woolacombe we strongly suggest booking the hotel and can recommend some very good doggie kennels!
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Fareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed October 27, 2013

Stayed here for 2 nights in October on a dinner, bed & breakfast deal which I think is excellent value.

We at in Doyle's Restaurant on both nights and enjoyed the variety and quality of food on offer. All of the hotel staff were very friendly and helpful and breakfast was 1st class.

One niggle only - the restaurant seemed very warm at times.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 194Peter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WoolacombeBayHotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel, responded to this review, October 29, 2013
Thank you for writing such a lovely review, we are very pleased that you took advantage of one of our current dinner, bed and breakfast packages and that you enjoyed the food in Doyle's.
Apologies for the restaurant being warm, we do have air conditioning in there and it must have been very low on the nights you stayed. We will very much look forward to seeing you again soon at the hotel.
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London
Level Contributor
40 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2013

I paid £560 for 2 nights B&B in August and to be honest it wasn't worth it. The pretty small room had a sea view with a balcony which was nice. But - it was as hot as hell in the room which did not have air conditioning. This is the 21st century and supposedly a 5 star hotel. Overall I thought it was poor value for money.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank North_Beach_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WoolacombeBayHotel, Guest Relations Manager at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel, responded to this review, October 29, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. Our Victorian building does indeed retain heat which works well in the winter months but not so well in the summer, especially when we have a welcome and overdue heatwave! We have looked at the possibility of installing air conditioning in our bedrooms, but feel that for a few weeks of the year it is simply not justified.
We are actually a four star hotel and therefore feel that we offer very good value for money to our guests, most of whom are very satisfied, thoroughly enjoy their time with us, and return year on year. We wish you all the best and hope to see you again at the hotel in the hope that we can change your views.
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Additional Information about The Woolacombe Bay Hotel

Property: The Woolacombe Bay Hotel
Address: South Street, Woolacombe EX34 7BN, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Woolacombe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach 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
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Woolacombe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Woolacombe Bay Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Much of the Hotel has been lovingly restored from the mid 1800's, creating it's unique and tranquil atmosphere. High ceilings, chandeliers and comfortable, quiet lounges are a testament to that era, and where first class modern amenities are required, they have been skilfully incorporated into the existing Woolacombe accommodation. We place high value on our staff. Trained to be attentive yet unobtrusive and to provide the kind of personal service that is so often hard to find. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Woolacombe Bay Hotel
Bay Woolacombe
The Woolacombe Bay Hotel Devon

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