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“OK B&B in nice village”

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The Black Swan Hotel
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Helmsley
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 3, 2009

The Black Swan sits on the Market Square in the pretty Yorkshire village of Helmsley. The exterior of the hotel is attractive - however it is pretty dark inside (I guess that's par for the course in what seems a very old building). The room was fine although the decor was a bit dated. Staff seemed very laid back and friendly.
Breakfast was very good with generous portions.
Helmsley Castle etc a stone's throw away.
Overall not a bad place to stay, although would probably try somewhere else next time.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Vinpin77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,622 - 1,628 of 1,672 reviews

Reviewed October 11, 2009

I booked a 2 night stay as a surprise for my very hardworking husband's birthday.

We were impressed as we pulled up outside, this is a lovely looking building in a fabulous location. Alarm bells started to ring as we arrived at an unmanned reception desk with no instruction as to how to summon attention.

As we were being checked in a member of the housekeeping staff in an adjacent room was swearing quite loudly - I'm no prude but it wasn't a good first impression.

We made our way through dark and unloved corridors to our very average room, it was ok, a little tired with an old fashioned TV and a terrible picture. It was clean, however, and the linen lovely.

Our dinner in the restaurant started badly, again we arrived at an unmanned desk and waited for sometime for attention. We were eventually shown to our table, the menu given to my husband first and then to me. There were no pleasantaries exchanged and there was no explanation of the menu given. There were no wine lists available we were told so my husband ordered a beer before dinner. This came, he drank it while we chatted, I waited and waited and eventually my husband went in search of a wine list. Our table was booked for 8.30pm, I took my first sip of Shiraz at 9.05.

The food was well cooked and presented although the portions were really small and it was cold. I assume this related to the poor service, the food had clearly cooled before it was served. There was also confusion as we retired to the lounge for coffee, our order was brought twice!

There was a real sense that the staff were stressed, they were trying but there was no real attention to detail, co-ordination or sense of calm that we all expect when getting away from our busy lives for a couple of days.

Breakfast was lovely but again the dining room badly organised and no sense of calm at all. 11 tables were waiting to be cleared as we ate, not impressive for a 4 star hotel!

I would not recommend this hotel, there are some lovely people, all trying hard, there is clearly no strong leadership or effective management approach. The staff need support and training, good people are always the key to the success of any business.

We decided not to waste our money by staying for our second night, we checked out and came home, what a waste of £255 and more importantly a waste of our precious time off.

Please spend your money elsewhere, this hotel is very expensive and is merely pretending to be 4 star, the owners have no idea about quality service, meeting customer expectations or how to look after their employees.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank perfecthair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2009

Wished I'd checked Trip Advisor first!. On impulse and at the end of a touring break we decided to stay including evening meal for my birthday celebration. We'd been before, years ago, and loved Helmsley and surrounding area. The receptionist invited us to have the 'September champagne special rate' What a joke!! We arrived for dinner and the waiter/manager had no knowledge of this and asked if we had the right name! You'd have thought he was giving away a free bottle. Champagne was a tiny two thirds glass of flat Cava. Waiters were Eastern European with very little English and understandably awkward. This made diners feel uncomfortable. The manager/head waiter clearly wasn't enjoying his job and had no rapport with guests or staff. Food was dreadful, masquerading as nouvelle cuisine (small sherry glass of warm mushroom soup as appetizer - couldn't decide if it was Cross&Blackwells or Heinz) portions were small and without flavour, all in all, atmosphere in the dining room was miserable. Our double room was chintzy and chilly, nothing special. This was the worst hotel standard compared with all the other places we stayed in Yorkshire September 09.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LHCumbria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2009

We had read reviews on Trip Advisor, which are a mixture of either indignant comments or guests praising the hotel to the skies. The pair of us decided to make up our own minds when we took a couple of days off work for a night at Helmsley.
We paid the deposit on booking our night away – I have no problem with this system, we pay in full weeks ahead of foreign holidays so can’t understand why others object to this system. Parking at the hotel isn’t a problem; there are spaces either at the front or round the back. Check in at reception was low key and professional, we declined the offer of help with our bags - frankly if you can’t manage an overnight bag you ought to be booking into a gym rather than a hotel!
Our room was at the front of the hotel, which meant we had a view of the market place. After reading some of the reviews, we were slightly concerned that our room would be on the tatty side. It wasn’t. If you are someone who likes up to the minute gadgets and modernistic décor, you’ll be disappointed so stay in a city 5* hotel. However, if you remember that this is a country hotel in a Yorkshire market town, the hotel reflects and compliments its’ surroundings in an up market way.
The lounges are well decorated and stuffed full of comfy chairs and settees for reading the paper or people watching. As we had our pre-dinner drinks in the bar we spotted some wedding guests milling around – apparently there was a wedding reception that night, which we assumed meant that staff would be at full tilt. But we were pleasantly surprised; service in the Restaurant was calm, collected and a pleasure to eat in.
The food was amazing – when it first arrived I wondered if I should have eaten at the tearoom at the hotel as the potions are modest. We shortly realised that there was a very good reason for this – the food is rich, flavoursome and the presentation is perfect. The Black Swan completely understand the saying ‘quality not quantity.’
As far as we are concerned, service is the most important factor while staying away and feel credit should always be given where due. It seems only polite to ‘interact’ with staff and always take note of names on badges. We’d like to commend a couple of staff who worked in the restaurant, firstly Alena who always seemed to be smiling and seemed light hearted, a nice attribute to have as it makes us, as guests, feel at home. Also Barry, who seemed to be in charge, was deferential, professional and checked that all was well in an unobtrusive manner. We’ve eaten in places that seem hell bent on checking up on diners every five minutes, but he struck the right balance.
After a sound sleep we enjoyed a cooked breakfast in the restaurant. Some of the staff from the night before were waiting at table in the morning, a standard practice in most hotels but a feat that never fails to impress me. Where do they get the energy??
The only niggle we had was a female senior member of staff who seemed to be admonishing Barry (can’t think what for) albeit quietly while we were eating breakfast. Things like that should be done in private not within sight of guests – it’s bad practice.
To sum up our first review on Trip Advisor, we thoroughly recommend The Black Swan for a quiet stay away with both fabulous food and service in beautiful surroundings.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank hannah1611
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2009

A real disappointment as it has the perfect position in a picturesque market town in the Yorkshire Moors. But, in our experience, it did not deliver what it attempts or aspires.
We booked a room over the internet which included dinner bed and breakfast. On arrival at 6.30pm we were asked if we had booked dinner, which we hadn't as there was no indication on the confirmation email that we should do so - I assumed we would be asked about this on arrival, then we were told we would have to wait until 9pm as that was all they had left! Strange to relegate residents to a lower priority to non-residents without any communication. We were left to find our own way to our room which took some time as it was not obvious where it was. The room was OK but the bath took 20 minutes to fill, my husband rang reception about the slow hot water trickle and it took 25 minutes for anyone to arrive, by which time we had run out of patience. The email from the hotel stated that there is internet in each room - this proved not to be the case, the only internet was available at the front of the hotel and this was not provided free of charge. We were late sitting down for our dinner as they were not ready for us, the staff were very sweet but apparently without sufficient management. The front of house manager had to find us the furthest sitting room from the restaurant as all the others were full of people having their after dinner coffee and we were left to our own devices for some time before anyone came to look after us properly. The food was okay but portions tiny and most things on the menu carried a supplement to the rate we had agreed to pay - not what we would expect.
Reception was not really what you would expect from such an establishment, no real apology offered, just a mechanical response. And to cap it all a young man tried to come and clean our room before we had left it, and clearly did not understand me at all so the hotel is employing people who do not have sufficient English in some jobs.
Very disappointing and hard to believe this hotel is rated 4 stars by the AA.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank suearmitage26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2009

Attended a wedding here at the weekend and stayed for two nights. From the moment we arrived the service and attention we received was second to none. Our room was beautiful, overlooking the lovely garden. We were very lucky with the weather, which added to our wonderful stay. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff, who were all friendly, polite and unobtrusively efficient. The wedding itself was just perfect and the meal after was delicious. Breakfast on both days was lovely. A brilliant time was had by all who attended. I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
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3  Thank EdinburghKath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2009

Exceeded my (high) expectations. The food was fantastic and the service excellent: discreet and efficient. The room we had was a little disappointing as we were in the newer part of the building and it's looking a little jaded, but if the decor in the lounge and dining room is anything to go by, when the bedrooms are refurbished they will be very stylish. No complaints about the comfort of the bedroom or the lounge. A reasonably priced wine list complemented a short but interesting menu, and I could bore for England about the fantastic pork loin and belly pork dish, and the wild mushroom risotto, the strawberry soup... and the breakfasts. Don't expect big portions though!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Persicaria
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

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: $131 - $381 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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