My wife booked the hotel as an anniversary surprise being our 32nd year married. It is also my birthday, both of which was relayed to the hotel. However, took a while to find the hotel, not realising it is on the University of Essex campus and the roads have been changed. No problem, booked and was told of an upgrade. We had booked a Garden room being told that was the place to stay. We were transferred to a suite - one large room and a large bathroom. Seems ideal bit the rooms was very hot and though the staff had provided a fan this was far too small to cool the room.
Bed was massive but the facilities were let down by the instant coffee machine and the poor shower hose to the shower.
Venturing out from the hotel we asked for directions to the Art Exchange which is on campus about 150 metres away. The receptionist had't heard of it but her colleague gave us directions. Problem was, this being a university campus, the art exchange is only open term times. What else is there to do on campus/at the hotel,nothing. So headed off to Colchester.
Arrived back and had booked a special dinner. problem is that the Signature restaurant, whilst being less than a year old is being refurbished so we had to go the the Brassier. Nice staff, but sat smack next too a loudspeaker which burst into action ten minutes into the meal. Did consider moving but we had little choice as there was a large family with babies in the only other nice area so we learned to put up with the noise. I would say that the music wasn't too loud, but it did ruin the ambience.
We did some fine dining, which I regret was below par. My wife had liver pate and this is in fact a moose. Tasty but lacked texture. Me I had ham hock thing this was ham on the bone and it was a ham pad with piccalilli but no bread, peas and peas shoots with some jam substance. Too many flavours on one plate.
we followed this with the beer battered haddock and chips. Strangely this came with a quails egg - again I wondered why but it was a nice dish. Deserts were banana and peanut butter pudding for my wife and I had treacle tart which came with evaporated milk ice cream and a small bottle of jelly. Problem I had to ask for a teaspoon to get the jelly as the other spoon was a larger desert spoon. Again the varying flavours did nothing to add to the dish and I think someone need to look at the menu.
Finally ordered two decaffeinated cappuccinos .....and got two Americana coffees. The waitress did say she would change them but we were keen to go so just had those. Not a great eating experience for an anniversary.
After a good night sleep with all windows open and fan on (the corridors outside were far hotter btw) we went to breakfast which had been recommended to us. Waiter took the order but we had to wait 20 minutes before our teas and coffees arrived even though the restaurant wasn't busy. Order for cooked breakfast taken and again 20 minutes later it appears with the wrong eggs on one. (I knew the waiter wasn't listening as he asked if I wanted scrambled and I said no fried but scrambled arrived). Both plates removed but rather then recook my wife's eggs they went on the not plate - we knew this as her plate was hot, mine wasn't and her eggs were solid and mine was with loose yokes. Seems that taking the wrong orders isn't a one off which was disappointing.
All in all though this is a four star hotel, I would only give 2 stars to the restaurant - wouldn't eat here again, and 4 stars for the room but they really need to deal with the fact that there is no air conditioning.
So wish we had not taken the upgrade and had gone to the recommended garden rooms.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Re-opened in June 2012 after a £10 Million refurbishment, Wivenhoe House Hotel is a 17th Century country house, which is also home to the Edge Hotel School. Students at the school work alongside professionals, as they study for their degree in Hotel Management. There are 40 rooms, 16 in the main house and 24 in the more modern garden wing. The brasserie offers breakfast lunch and dinner daily, and afternoon tea is served in the drawing room daily. The panoramic views over the wooded parkland tot he University of Essex, are stunning. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Wivenhoe House Hotel Colchester
- Wivenhoe Hotel Colchester
- Wivenhoe House England