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“A hotel with potential”

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The Black Swan Hotel
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Helmsley
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A hotel with potential”
Reviewed March 6, 2009

I was recommended the Black Swan Hotel by a friend who had a very nice experience last year and I decided to go up to Helmlsey with my wife to refresh ourselves. On arriving at the hotel we were met by a slighlty rude receptionist who didn't really make our first impression of the hotel a pleasent one, undeterred we went up to our room which was located towards the back of the hotel. Eventhough we are relatively young, the receptionist did not offer to have our bags taken up for us, which we felt was slightly poor customer service.

Our room was nice and spacious despite the fact we had to go past dirty glases and breakfast trays to get there, which is not acceptable at all in my opinion. Is it really difficult for staff to remove them?

We ate in the hotel at night, and the food was fantastic with the team of chefs quite clearly a talented bunch. The service in the restaurant was mediocre, the staff didn't really make you feel welcome though it was busy. We felt the french restaurant manager could have been more of a host, and made tthe effort to speak to the guests, but instead was a bit arrogant.

After the meal we retired to the hotels lounges - all of which are lovely - and were served and looked after by a lovely Englishman called Mark who offered a high level of customer care and made the effort to speak to all the guests - despite the fact he clearly worked a lot of hours in his role of barman and night manager. However he was clearly proud to work there which was evident in the service he provided. It was disappointng the hotel didn't have a proper bar however the Black Sheep was fantastic and the service made up for our initial disappointment.

Breakfast the next day was excellent with a good selection to choose from, and the service much better than the night before. We were looked after by a lovely old lady who had been at the hotel for over 50 years, which is rather remarkable. She told us that the hotel was in the process of a refurbishment which was evident from what we saw and if the carry on with what they have done already then i'm sure the owners will make the hotel look very nice indeed.

On the whole we were pleased with that we saw and experienced. The food is of very high quality though the service did at times leave a lot to be desired. It weould be really nice if the hotel could invest in English staff as those who we met had excellent customer skills especially Mark who is a really asset to the hotel and its desire to become a really good hotel in Yorkshire. We will go back.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Jimmyfantastic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (323)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2009

Just got back from a 1 night stay at the Black Swan and I have to say that my partner and I had a great stay. We arrived into Helmsley around 3pm and as we entered the sunny market square we were greeted by the hotel, slap bang in the centre of it all. We managed to get parked (FREE) in the overflow car park at the rear of the buliding. From the outside the hotel looks very small and cosy, then inside it's surprisingly large and quirky.. Checking in was great and James on reception was very helpful. We stayed in room 34 Nettledale. The room itself was an acceptable size with plenty of wardrobe space and nice decor. Very traditional inside, so don't expect lcd tv's and contemporary bath suites etc. The bed was very comfortable and the window looked out onto the immaculate gardens. We took the dinner bed and breakfast option, which was £150 for the one night which I think is great value for money. Pre dinner, we went across the square to the Feathers for a couple of nice drinks and the locals seemed very friendly. Back to the hotel for our dinner reservation at 8pm. We were sat down by our waiter Piotr who was at the top of his game and nothing was a trouble. The restaurant is very modern in comparison with the rest of the hotel, but doeasn't feel contrived or out of place. I had roast wood pigeon for starters and my wife had the scallops. Main course for me was braised beef and fillet steak for the wife, topped off with a vanilla panna cotta and fresh liquer cherries to finish. I can honestly say that the food was possibly the best we've ever tasted and we've stayed and eaten at some lovely places. The wine list is very extensive and caters for all tastes. In our opinion, some of the reveiews seem a little unjust as we couldn't fault anything from beginning to end and rest assured we shall be back. To top the trip off, we visited the much heralded Star Inn ay Harome which is approximately 3 miles from Helmsley. We arrived at 11.45 and there was a queue formed outside..! We ate and drank in the bar as the restaurant is booked months in advance. We both had the Whitby crab for main course which was beautiful and very well presented. I had a banana tarte tatin and my wife had a dark chocolate pudding for dessert, both of which were lovely. I had 2 pints of black sheep and the wife had 2 glasses of wine and the bill... a cool £80 but so glad we can say we've been there. Overall, Helmsley and it's surrounding areas are the perfect place to sample great food, wine and accommodation..!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank audiman7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, England
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2009

We stayed at the Black Swan for our honeymoon night and I have to say I was a bit worried after reading a lot of mediocre or poor reviews on this site - however, I was really pleasantly surprised. We paid £87.50 for champers on arrival, a lovely room, and the 6 course tasting menu with wines, and of course breakfast (in bed for no extra charge!). I thought it may be a little pricey but I can honestly say I have nbever had such great value for money in a hotel.

We were in room 14 in the old part of the hotel overlooking the market place (made even more romantic by the fact that it snowed!!) and the bed was the most comfortable I have ever slept in. It was instantly warm and cosy and snuggly and unfortunately sent us to sleep super early! The meal was superb and I tried a lot of things I have never had before but always wanted, like scallops (AWESOME). The food was good local fayre on the whole and more than enough to satisfy. The service was also exceptional. The wine... well what can I say - I love my rioja but the one served with the duck course was also the nicest I have ever had!

I don;t mean to sound gushing but we really had a lovely time and the log fires were so cosy they sent us rather dozy after all that wine! The toiletries in the room were great, as was the bath, but I couldn;t seem to get the shower anything other than warm. ROom service was great and overall I have to stay this was one of the most lovely and friendly hotels I have ever stayed in.

We hope to return soon!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Bluestoops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2009

In other words, good in parts. The good part was the excellent restaurant, both at dinner and breakfast. The quality of food was very good indeed and the service outstanding. The breakfast was the highest quality I have ever had including the very meaty sausage, the fatless bacon, homemade granola, the light and crispy croissants and the mature cheeses. The fine dining dinner was worth every penny.

The rooms were lovely – full of character and spotless although the radiators didn’t come on in the morning until 9.00 so it was a bit chilly when we got up. The bathroom was very luxurious.

The disappointing part was the service outside the restaurant. Like other reviewers, we found the reception staff were very unwelcoming and off hand and their information sheet about what was open was wrong, resulting to a lot of frustration and wasted journeys. We sat in the lounges a great deal and if it hadn’t been for the Polish restaurant manager who kept coming into the lounges we would have had a miserable time. We, along with others, were ignored by the staff but she brought us coffee, built up the log fire so it was a roaring success, chatted to us, made sure we had everything we needed and made us feel very welcome.

However the best bit is that they are very dog friendly. Not only was she allowed in the bedrooms but also in the lounges where she was welcomed by staff and other guests. If for that reason alone, I'll be back!

  • Liked — The restaurant food and service
  • Disliked — The reception staff
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank goldeng1rl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2008

Hotel seems to finding it difficult to find staff who know how to smile and service over the weekend was offhand and slow. When I asked at Reception if I could make a reservation for a forthcoming visit in the summer I was told by the receptionist that she was having her tea. Very interesting but not really my problem.

The highlight was the hen party which disturbed everybody who had the misfortune to have a room above the reception room in which they were drinking, screaming and laughing until 3am.

Although afternoon tea is delicious with proper tea and excellent scones, portions of clotted cream and jam are minuscule and when we asked for more, our request was accepted with a 'huh-huh' from the member of staff who finally brought it 10 minutes later. The fires were lit on the Saturday, but not on the Sunday when the hotel was quieter (and colder).

I was planning to return in May for a weekend but, considering the price and the poor service, am having second thoughts.

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Carlton5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2008

I was concerned since the hotel had changed hands since my last visit that its charm may have been ruined by the new owners trying to make too many changes - I need not have worried.
There is a new manager who seems to have introduced subtle, as oppose to wholesale, changes - and we had a lovely stay.
Certain areas have been refurbished - the lounges, the dining room and the amazing new tea room. Hopefully the rooms will get modernised next - but this did not affect our stay.
The staff are always warm and friendly and its location in the market place overlooking Helmsley is amazing.
Compared to our last stay the biggest improvement is in the food - it was fantastic.

  • Liked — food
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank latvianladylondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 3, 2008

When we arrived the receptionist was impersonal and offhand.We were told to park at the back and had to let ourselves in the back door and negotiate a maze of narrow cold corridors to find our room.The room was clean, but the lighting in the bathroom was awful and generally the room needed an update.

There is no bar in the hotel and the wine is ridiculously overpriced, with the cheapest bottle being about £35.The restaurant was chilly on a freezing October night, and the service was similarly cold and unwelcoming.The style of service is overly formal for a country hotel and lacked any warmth or friendliness whatsoever.The food was variable, some of it very good, but one of the main courses was a very salty fish dish and the lamb was served with no vegetables whatsoever.Breakfast was much better but the same chilly formality prevailed.
This is the first time I have written a review of this type, but having looked forward to a stay at this hotel, we felt let down.The Black Swan is not good value for money, if our experience is typical.

  • Liked — Convenient location in pleasant town
  • Disliked — Unwelcoming atmosphere
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HillwalkerUk
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 5 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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