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“A stay to remember!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Black Swan Hotel

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The Black Swan Hotel
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Helmsley
Certificate of Excellence
Norwich, Norfolk
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A stay to remember!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 27, 2008

If you like staying away in country hotels, with excellent food, comfortable bedrooms and super friendly staff then my recent weekend at the Swan ticked all the boxes! The Hotel is a mixture of Tudor, Elizabethan and Georgian and is perfectly situated in the charming small town of Helmsley. A short walk takes you to the market square with a collection of shops to satisfy the most choosy shopper. The ruined Helmsley castle (EH) and Duncombe Park are nearby and there is plenty to see and do.

I have been coming to this little gem for many years and have always had a wonderful stay. However, the Hotel had recently changed owners (they own The Feversham Arms, also in Helmsley) and I was concerned that it may have lost that individuality that distinguishes a good hotel,to a hotel you want to go back to again and again.

I need not have worried! There are definate improvements to report - from comfy chairs and sofas with log fires in beamed lounges with local magazines and newspapers handy to read to a tasteful and charming re-design and refurbishment of the Restaurant. The food was of a very high standard, beautifully presented by attentive staff with ingredients sourced locally, cooked and presented with care. Despite being busy the staff were eager to serve you and I saw guests treated with courtesy. There is no Bar so a pre-dinner drink in one of the Lounge's is recommended!

My bedroom was comfortable, clean and tastefully furnished. Complimentary robes, magazines and T&C. Try and stay in the main part of the Hotel which overlooks the square, the rooms are more traditional and have character. There is a modern extension which is at the back of the Hotel and overlooks a small garden.

What makes a Hotel exceed expectations? for me it is the staff. Nothing was too much trouble, for example my hairdryer broke and James the receptionist lent me his own. Everyone I met had a genuine interest in making my stay as enjoyable as possible.

Some tips: Try the Tea room with is tempting cakes; take a walk to Rievalux Abbey over the hills (not too hard walking!) Tea shop at the end! The Duncombe Park Shop has some lovely gifts and a delightful tea room at the back!

The Verbena Spa looked tempting but I was here to get some fresh air and walk the dog!

  • Liked — Comfortable and welcoming
  • Disliked — Needs refurbishment in some areas
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank BelleBaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,415 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (303)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Skating in Bucks.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2008

At the weekend we stayed at the Black Swan, it’s the first time with the new owners and we were very happy to see things have improved very much over the last time we were there.
The Tea Room was really good. Love the fact it's real tea, and the cakes were to die for! The room was ok ,bit tired, but I was told there are plans to refurbish them. It does need it, but it didn’t spoil my stay. The best bit for me was the restaurant. The food was wonderful; modern style I would say but so tasty. The service was really friendly ,the Restaurant Manager, a
French Chap (sorry forgot your name!) was smart, efficient and very helpful. The wine choice was excellent but I thought the list was a little muddled up. Look forward to going back.

  • Liked — Food, service
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gretzsky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beaumaris Anglesey
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2008

I have always wanted to stay at the Black Swan since I was in my early 20's. Often when I would drive past on my way to the East Coast I would think what a wonderful looking hotel it was. For my birthday in March this year my boyfriend treated me to a night at the Black Swan. On arrival we were met by 2 miserable receptionists who were to be perfectly honest rude. When we checked in and paid cash upfront for our room the receptionist said 'you will still have to give us your credit card' made my fella feel like a criminal. When they gave us the room key I questioned where in the hotel it was and she said up the stairs....she forgot to add about 2 miles at the back of the hotel in the modern part when I had specified a room at the front of the hotel in my emails and telephone conversations and was told this would not be a problem in March. My boyfriend has terrible back problems and we had to lug our suitcase a long way down cold corridors.....when we got into our room what a disappointment....cold...dirty......no view.....dated decor....bathroom floor dirty....I immediately went to reception and asked why we had been given such a room again the rude receptionist said it was all they had and if I wanted to change I could but it would cost extra and the only room left in the old part did not have a view (i looked at the room available and it was not worth the extra £50 I was quoted). Dinner in the evening was quite nice as was breakfast the next morning. The new tea room was lovely for coffee. On a visit to Whitby this weekend with my family we thought we would have lunch in the new tea rooms.....my fella could not eat his beef sandwich...it was tough and the dog ends from a joint had been used....we compalined and the pleasant lady serving did take the sandwich off our bill.

  • Liked — Nothing
  • Disliked — Staff/room quality
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank beaumarisgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2008

The Black Swan is in a fantastic location and is full of character. We have already stayed at this hotel three times before our recent stay. Over the years we have always considered that part of its charm was in the way you were made to feel truly welcome. The hotel was a warm and friendly place where you could truly relax - cozy lounges, attentive staff and the general feel to the place made up for the lack of facilities that you would normally expect from a hotel in this price range. The rooms were always extremely clean and comfortable, the food excellent and the sort of place where you didn't have to ask for more coffee after dinner.
Oh dear, what a different experience we had this time. We arrived at 2:15pm and the receptionist had to see whether our room was ready - the room was, but surely when you have pre booked and check in at 2:00pm it should be a given that your room is ready. However, on the way to our room we had to pick our way through mounds of dirty sheets in the narrow corridor - as several rooms were still being serviced. Not what guests should expect and not experienced before. Our room was number 26, which was smaller than the other rooms we had stayed in and rather dark. As this had been the only one available when we booked, we would have accepted this had it been clean. There was about a weeks worth of dust on the table, a hair in the sink and the bathroom floor was dirty. In addition, the toilet seat was broken and the bath had a rusty enamel chip near the plug.
We had booked for dinner and I agree with many of the comments already made - the food was good, if rather fancy and the choice was limited. At £30 per head it was good value for money, but the wine was EXTORTIONATE.
The morning of our departure we switched the lights on and they all blew, so we had to dress in darkness! When we checked out we reported all of these problems to the manager, but as he was the manager of the restaurant he assured us he would pass our complaints on to the general manager and that he would be in touch. No-one has been in touch and sadly I think this now reflects the decline in standards of the Black Swan. Our one night stay cost £280 and I'm sorry to say on this trip it really wasn't worth it.The hotel seems to have lost so much in such a short time.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — The cleanliness and ignoring our complaints
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank OctoberTyke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HowCome99, General Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, October 22, 2008
I have had an oppportunity to speak with the gentleman and discuss the issues he raised from recent visit. We are aware that some of our rooms are now in need of refurbishment and this is planned for early next year. Our wine list offers over 50 wines between £19.50 to £30.00 however we are looking to redesign the list to make it more user friendly. The Black Swan is busier than it has been for a long time and we are constantly looking to improve our service and offering. I am pleased that we will have the opportunity to welcome back these guests in the near future to demonstrate that we can and do deliver what we promise our customers.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Yorkshire coast
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2008

Bedroom adequate although housekeeping standards should be better.

Staff in restaurant poorly led, for the price the service should be much better. Food was excellent although the choice of starters on the inclusive 3 rossette menu was all fish, tough if you do not like fish.

Wine list extensive although of poor value as the service of wine was poor, no flare - nothing.

Overall attention to detail was slack, fires left to go out or not even lit when it was freezing outside. My wife and I were so looking forward to this hotel having dreiven past it a 1000 times, I wanted it to be good, it should have been better. Please raise your game.

  • Liked — The welcome
  • Disliked — lack of attention to detail
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 18HOLES
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HowCome99, General Manager at The Black Swan Hotel, responded to this review, October 22, 2008
Unfortunately I have no way of contacting this customer to discuss the points they raise. We accept that from time to time we are not as slick and polished as we want to be. As with any hospitality business we do have new team members who take a little while to settle in and to undertand the finer points of our service which is something we are currently addressing. Our daily menus offer what is best on the market each day however we are more than happy to offer suitable alternatives. Our wine list has been chosen to offer wines from smaller less well known growers and producers. This allows us to offer excellent quality wines.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2008

This is expensive

Met the owner as we were involved in anothe rcouples disput with their food - mistake really and spoilled some others meals possibly - sorry.

Owner introdueced himself expecting me to bowled over that he had spent £4m on the place etc....takes more than money to impress me

My question is .... does North Yorkshire need a place with michelin stars (that it is obviously trying for with its frothy food!) or does it need something of quality and substance?

The Innat Whitewell allows you an option - go there folks if you want quality and perhaps quantity.

Room fine although (room 42) shower and sink for a dwarf - i have nothing against short people.

Pillows excellent.

Poached eggs rather nice. Bacon yummy.

Restaurant staff - will grow into the job.
Chris - restaurant manager - diplomatic to t he extreme and doing well to keep owner in check - well done Chris

  • Liked — Pillows
  • Disliked — Price
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank baldyteacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sheffield
Level Contributor
87 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 17, 2008

A well situated hotel, some rooms overlooking the market square, others onto the well kept gardens.

Some signs of investment, following the change of owners - but the hotel rooms in the garden extension are not special (other than nice and quiet). Other rooms are in the older part of the building (and they may have more character). The hot water in our ensuite bathroom basin slowed to a trickle on the first morning, but was fixed quickly. The light fitting had come adrift from the ceiling too. So perhaps a little expensive in the circumstances.

Food in the restaurant is good - they recently got 3 rosettes. Perhaps a little fussy, and the decor in the restaurant and some of the service need upgrading to match the food. It took a long time to get to our table, and the post meal coffees didn't arrive (and when they did, the order was incorrect). They seemed too keen to push their combined food and room packages, which is a shame, since there is good food (and service) to experience elsewhere too (The Star at Harome is nearby).

Jean on breakfast service was lovely, the rest of the staff lacked warmth and character.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — service
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank keitharrowsmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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