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“Mostly very good but badly let down by food ...”

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The Black Swan Hotel
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Helmsley
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Mostly very good but badly let down by food ...”
Reviewed March 27, 2011

Very friendly, professional staff. Very clean, nice decor, peaceful and quiet. Great location and service - but ... the stay was badly let down by the evening meal, whilst the service was very good the food itself was of very poor quality, main course arrived cold, and the price was UNBELIEVABLY high for what we actually ate and drank - we have eaten in some very good quality hotels and restaurants around the country, and don't mind paying top prices for top quality, but i can honestly say that i would rather have had a cornish pasty from Thomas the bakers in the square !.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Bob_Lord
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Guest Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, April 21, 2011
Thank you for your comments regarding your recent stay at the Black Swan Hotel.

I am very pleased to read that you did find the staff to be very friendly and professional, and that the service that you received was good. I am also pleased that you liked the location of the hotel and found it to be peaceful and quiet. We are very lucky to be situated in such a lovely area and Helmsley is a beautiful market town.

I am however saddened to read your comments regarding the food that you received. Our food is something that we do pride ourselves on and we receive many positive comments from our guests through our customer comment cards and our guest book in the hotel. I can only assume that this was a one off situation and on behalf of the whole management team here at the hotel we would like to express our sincere apologies. I would like to ask if you mentioned this to any of the team at the hotel as your comments through Trip Advisor are the first that we have heard of this? Obviously we would have preferred to deal with this whilst you were still at the hotel.
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Cheshire
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2011

Great location with a warm welcoming feel, however sadly let down by shower not working. Reception appeared disinterested and made no attempt to rectify. Advised again when we checked out , no apology. Bar area very inviting before meal but o dear that menu. Far too many supplements, and we found what we did order to be extremely bland. Menu/food needs a complete makeover. Good breakfast.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Buzz56Cheshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Guest Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, April 21, 2011
Thank you for your comments regarding your recent stay at the Black Swan Hotel, and for raising your comments regarding the dinner menu. Your feedback is very important to us and after reviewing your comments we have now made some changes to our dinner menu. We have now added more dishes onto the menu which are included within the dinner, bed and breakfast allocation and have reduced the number of dishes on the menu that do carry additional supplements. We do hope that this now appears to be more balanced to our guests, but still allows choice for the guests who would like to upgrade to a la carte dishes. If you would like to view a copy of our revised dinner menu, please visit our website.

I am also sorry to read that the response that you received from Reception regarding your shower was poor. We do recognise that customer service is of upmost importance, and our newly appointed Front Office Manager is currently taking the team through a training programme to ensure that the service that all our customers receive is of a very high standard and situations such as this do not happen again.
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Kendal, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed March 11, 2011

We understand the Daily Mirror has placed The Black Swan at number one in its list of Top Ten Cosy Hotels, and the Tea Guild have ranked their Tearoom as Tea Place of the Year 2010. This hotel really deserves these awards. The drinks prices are a bit steep, and, like other reviewers, we find it irritating to be shown a Table d'Hote menu with options at extra cost, but you cannot help enjoy your stay here. You will feel "at home." We should know - we've been coming for twenty years.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ComfortCouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Guest Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, April 21, 2011
Thank you for your lovely comments. We are really pleased to read that you enjoy staying at the Black Swan – we must be doing something right otherwise you wouldn’t have been coming here for 20 years!

The Tearoom continues to go from strength to strength and just last week was awarded the Tea Guild’s Award of Excellence for 2011.

We are currently addressing the comments that you have raised regarding the balance of supplementary dishes on the menu which will hopefully provide more choice to guests on a dinner inclusive rate but also still provide guests with the choice to upgrade to a la carte dishes if they wish.

We look forward to hopefully welcoming you back to the Black Swan Hotel in the near future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sjapplet
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2011

We stayed on a special deal which was 140 pounds for Dinner, Bed & Breakfast with a pre-dinner glass of blush champagne.

The Black Swan is ideally situated in Helmsley, overlooking the market square. You are surrounded by shops and cafes and only a short walk to Reveaulx Abbey.

On arrival, we were met by the receptionist, Anna-Jayne. Anna-Jayne was singularly the worst member of staff at the Black Swan by a country mile. She was disinterested, unfriendly and plainly doesn't understand the concept of customer service. A smile is not difficult to give, but at no time during our stay did the barest hint of a smile appear.

The room was well-equipped, although a little tired. It was on the corner of the building and a bit chilly, but the hotel provided an oil-filled radiator immediately upon request, which was more than enough to make the room comfortable. The bed was huge and very comfortable, although whenever the residents of the room above ours moved around, the ceiling creaked and cracked, which woke me up.

The lounge downstairs was very comfortable with a couple of open fires burning away all day. The tea we had on the first afternoon was lovely and the pot dispensed 3 generous cups, which made up for the high price tag.

The evening meal was very nice and the waiting staff were incredibly attentive. With our deal, we had an allowance of 33 pounds per head which was supposedly enough to cover 3 courses, although out of the selection of 6 meals for each course, 3 of each carried a price supplement.

We found the drinks to be expensive. The cheapest bottle of wine I saw on the wine list was 26 pounds. We also enquired about a glass of whisky and found that a 25ml measure of Lagavulin was 7.50 - the equivalent of 210 pounds for a full bottle that costs 25 pounds retail. We didn't partake as we felt they were taking the mickey.

There were excellent aspects to the stay (the vast majority of the service received and the food); more average aspects (the room); and quite poor aspects (Anna-Jayne and the excessive pricing) so I think overall the Black Swan deserves 3 stars.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank sjapplet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Guest Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, April 21, 2011
On behalf of the whole management team at the Black Swan, we are very disappointed to read your comments, particularly regarding a member of staff here at the hotel.

The member of staff who you have singled out and made an example of is regarded by her peers as extremely hardworking, dedicated and committed to the hotel. Nothing is ever too much trouble for her and she is always delighted to help out and assist both customers and other members of staff. She has been at the hotel for many years now and we have never had any issues with her attitude or behaviour.

On behalf of the management team we do feel that it was completely inappropriate to use Trip Advisor as a tool to “name and shame” someone particularly as you never brought this to the attention of her line manager, the Operations Manager or the General Manager of the hotel.

In spite of the knock to her confidence which was a result of your needless public humiliation, this member of staff continues to “shine” throughout the hotel and is a very valued member of our team.
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York
Level Contributor
34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2011

Stayed here for one night with my mum on the sunday dinner bed and breakfast offer.
The black swan is located in the centre of the lovely village shops so top marks for location. The room we were in matched the hotel in that it looked a bit tired, the tv was about 15 years old, no digital/ fussy picture,and the pillows looked like they had seen a few too many nights. However it was clean and quiet. The food which was the main attraction for me was fantastic, we had the 6 course tasting menu every course had been carefully thought out and delivered with care and perfection. The waiters were lovely and there were a lot of them which was good.
The breakfast was not so much of a joy, the cooked breakfast was good and I was pleased to see Doreens black pud on the menu but the "continental" breakfast was very poor and there was no juice or water for you to help yourself to but brought round (warm) by the waitress.
I would definately eat here again, and stay for a night if I could get it on a deal again. The main good points about this hotel are the effort from the staff and the lovely evening meal.

  • Stayed February 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Elphierose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Public Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, February 20, 2011
Thank you for your comments following your recent stay at the Black Swan Hotel. I am really pleased to read that you enjoyed your dinner at the hotel and that you found the waiters to be good. I've mentioned your comments regarding the continential breakfast to the Chef and Restaurant Manager and we will look into this. Likewise thank you for your comments regarding the bedrooms. We are about the start the refurbishment of a number of the bedrooms in the hotel which will address these issues. We hope to see you again soon.
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Sheffield
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2011

First Tripadvisor review so hope it helps somebody!

We decided on the Black Swan as a last minute getaway as we were attracted by the rural location and the good reports about the food that we'd read here and elsewhere.

The hotel is in an attractive location in the main square of this small, rural town. There is plenty of parking space either at the front of the hotel or around the block at the rear where there is a rear entrance into the hotel.

On arrival and throughout our stay we found the staff to be polite, friendly and helpful and have no complaints whatsoever on this front.

Our room was pleasant and comfortable but with a tiny TV and the tea and coffee making facilities promised on the website were not there. There was an Iron and Ironing board which could be handy and the en-suite bathroom facilities were clean and attractive. I was disappointed that there was no WIFI internet facilities which I would have expected at a hotel in this price range. The room-guide did mention internet-access via the phone line but who uses dial-up these days?

My other main complaint about the room was that all through the night there was quite a loud humming noise emanating from somewhere nearby in the building - it was like an air conditioning unit or a large fan. It didn't stop me sleeping altogether but I found it quite annoying once the normal daytime background noise had subsided.

Back in the main hotel there is a comfortable bar area with quite a few other lounge areas dotted around, all of which were attractive and relaxing and some with real fires.

On to the food - we had paid for an inclusive Bed, Breakfast and Dinner rate so we were a little miffed to find that the majority of items on the menu required a supplement - I would normally expect this for steak, lobster, etc but should you really expect to pay a supplement for a scallop starter or a lamb main course? I felt that this was a slight mis-selling of the inclusive dinner deal.

However, that said that is my only complaint because the food was first rate and the restaurant had a lovely cosy, intimate atmosphere.

Both our starters and mains were extremely well cooked, beautifully presented and were interesting combinations neither of us had tried elsewhere.

The food did take a long time to arrive (around an hour after we first ordered in the bar) and I could see that this would annoy some people but I actually like eating at a relaxed pace so this suited me fine.

The wine we chose complemented the meal perfectly and was reasonably priced as well, which was pleasant surprise.

Next morning the breakfast was excellent with cereals, fruit and cheese available on the buffet with a good choice of cooked menu items from the menu.

On leaving the hotel the next morning, the reception area was a little chaotic. We were overcharged on our bill by around £40 (wrong wine/incorrect inclusive rate/etc), the bill was confusing and it seemed that pretty much everyone else checking out was having some sort of similar issues with their bill.

I suspect that this was due to issues with the hotel's billing/computer systems rather than being any bad will on the hotel's part and all errors were graciously corrected.

So, to wrap it up I think the charges for B&B were a little over-priced for the standard of accommodation but the food was excellent.

Given that we just had the normal dinner menu, I would really love to go back to sample the A La Carte and Tasting menus as I suspect they would be a real treat.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Borquer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Public Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, February 20, 2011
Thank you for your comments. I am really pleased to read that you enjoyed your dinner in the Rutland Restaurant. Our menu does offer a selection of dishes which are included in the dinner, bed and breakfast package and these dishes do change on a daily basis. Alongside this we offer our a la carte menu which do incur additional supplements. All our dishes use fresh, local, seasonal produce where possible. I am also pleased to read that you found our staff to be friendly and polite. The first phase of the bedroom refurbishment is due to start soon and this will address some of the points that you have raised in your review. I do apologies if your bill was unclear on departure. We have had a few issues with our new computer system which we have been working hard on to resolve. I do hope that we will see you again sometime soon.
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Great Britain
Level Contributor
318 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2011

Nice country feel hotel – open fires and quaint Pleasantly furnished period furniture . Good service in the dining room with a good menu. Ample Free parking. Good prompt room service.Friendly, efficient & helpful reception. Well worth a stay

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank FromtheEast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Public Relations Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, February 20, 2011
Thank you for your kind comments. We hope to see you again soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Black Swan Hotel

Property: The Black Swan Hotel
Address: Market Place, Helmsley YO62 5BJ, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Yorkshire > North Yorkshire > Helmsley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Helmsley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Black Swan Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in one of Yorkshire's prettiest market towns, The Black Swan in Helmsley is a superb historic inn, turned boutique hotel. Dating back to the C15th the hotel, rich in history and charm, blends antiques with classic contemporary design creating the perfect place for a relaxing break. With its own 3 AA rosette restaurant and award winning tearoom, The Black Swan Hotel provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway and a chance to escape the everyday stresses and strains. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Black Swan Helmsley
Black Swan Hotel
The Black Swan Hotel Helmsley, England

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