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“Nice decor but cold showers”
Review of The Kings Arms

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The Kings Arms
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Berkhamsted
Sevenoaks
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Nice decor but cold showers”
Reviewed October 1, 2012

We stayed at the King's Arms last weekend for the Graham Greene Festival in Berkhamsted. We hadn't stayed there since it was refurbished and reopened. The refurbishment has been done well, and our room looked good (attractive decor, nice old fireplace) and a comfortable bed.

However: although the King's Arms clearly sees itself as a top-class small hotel, the lack of attention to detail and inefficient management lets it down and stops it being a comfortable place to stay.

For example, despite lots of space in the room, there were no drawers, cupboards or shelves in either bedroom or bathroom, just a cupboard with a hanging rail. So there was nowhere to unpack toiletries, jumpers, underwear etc, and we had to live out of suitcases - not what you expect in a hotel like this. There was just one mirror, in the bathroom, and nowhere to plug in a hairdryer and see yourself while drying your hair. It was a double room but there was only one bedside light. There was a big wallmounted TV but there was no comfortable place to watch it, as it was fixed facing not the bed but the fireplace, and there was only one armchair.

I would like to recommend that the designer of the room actually spends a night there and thinks about the practicalities of staying there, which are just as important as lovely lovely fabrics and big cushions.

However, the real low point was the lack of any hot water on Saturday morning, so we had bracing cold showers. To make matters worse, having reported this, there was still no hot water on Sunday morning either. Other guests were similarly affected. The duty manager was apologetic and no doubt did his best, but in any efficient good-standard hotel, this should have been fixed at once. In fact I see from previous reviews that it has happened before, so it should never have been allowed to happen again.

I didn't find - as some previous reviewers seem to have - that staff were rude. They were unfailingly pleasant and polite, and tried to help. But management seems ineffective. I am hesitant to be too critical of the weekend duty manager, who seemed rather inexperienced, and I did wonder if the staff in the hotel are getting any sort of useful back-up from head office.

On the plus side, the breakfasts were good and speedily served, and the location in the middle of the High Street is excellent. But it would take a lot of pluses to outweight the huge minus of no hot water in the morning.

I notice that in response to previous reviewers' criticisms on this site, one Amy Kilpin from the hotel company has posted some formulaic responses, which seem to be saying that the hotel is really very good (because it does lots of training etc) and inviting the reviewer to contact the company so they can 'look into your experience'. I think this exactly demonstrates the way in which the King's Arms management seems to be well-meaning but clueless. Amy's comments miss the point entirely. For myself, I wasn't impressed; I spoke to staff at the hotel about it and got an acceptable reduction in my bill; I won't be going back; I don't need anything more from the King's Arms; why would I waste time discussing my 'experience', as I have already made all my comments in this review? So I suggest that instead, the hotel company reads the comments on this site (many of which report a series of recurring problems), takes them seriously and does something about them.

Room Tip: My tip would be to stay in the Penny Farthing down the road.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank GuineaThePig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OakmanInns, Public Relations Manager at The Kings Arms, responded to this review, October 3, 2012
Thank you for your comments. We apologise that the hotel did not live up to your expectations but we are pleased to hear that the team did their utmost to help. Rest assured that the problem with the hot water has now been rectified. Kind regards, the Kings Arms team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Tamworth, England
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2012

We stayed at the Kings Arms for 1 night as we were attending a function there. our room was lovely 4 poster bed and a beautiful walk in shower I could'nt wait to use, unfortunately when waking on Sunday morning there wasn't any hot water the boiler had broken so I never got to use the shower! The breakfast could have been warmer.
The function we attended was very badly organised by the KA and was no where near enough food for all the guests and was not what had been ordered and paid for by the hosts.
As we had travelled nearly two hours to get there and the disapointment felt by our friends, we will not be visting again and would definately NOT recomend it.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Polly023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Berkhamsted hotels

London
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2012

Godd on the surface, however the staff are grumpy and on every Friday and Saturday night they have private functions until 1am which don't cool down until 2am. The rooms are situated around the function room whith very loud music. I stayed on two nights and suffered until 2am both nights. The staff couldn't really care despite repeated calls to the front desk. They need to DECIDE whether they are a HOTEL or a pretentious club for the kids of Berko who think they are from Essex!

In addition the rooms are very overpriced £140 I would expect proper hotel service - not that akin to a Travelodge"

Room Tip: Go to a different Hotel
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank JHGW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haworth, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
97 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2012

Stayed here for a three day business trip. Had stayed there several years before and it has got much. much worse!! The car park has disappeared and you now have to park several hundred meters away in a public car-park. When I asked about this the receptionist said with a sneer "you haven't come by car have you? Most people come by train!" The room I had was cold (it was in one of the outbuildings). The heating wasn't working and they'd left some oil-filled electric radiators - but not enough to warm the room properly - and the cleaner kept unplugging them! The barman was also very pretentious and was either mute or refused to speak - just seemed like he couldn't be bothered with customers. I'd avoid this place at all costs - it is very expensive for what it is.

Room Tip: Choose a different hotel!
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Shaun B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OakmanInns, Public Relations Manager at The Kings Arms, responded to this review, September 3, 2012
Thank you for your comments, we are sorry to hear you felt disappointed with your stay. Please email us at marketing@oakmaninns.co.uk and we'll look into your experience and try to restore your faith in the Kings Arms. Kind regards.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol UK
Level 6 Contributor
179 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2012

On the face of it, a nicely modernised pub style hotel but has a serious identity crisis. We booked most of the rooms to attend a wedding. On the Friday night they held a disco, not connected with the wedding party, on the first floor, where most of the rooms are located. Worse, this went on until 2.00 am. Despite our scrupulous care to book people with walking difficulties into ground floor rooms, these requests, having been accepted and checked again prior to our arrival, went completely awry. The restaurant is great and the breakfasts lovely but there are staff training issues and questions over cleanliness in public areas. Cigarette ends had been left on the stairs from the rowdy late night clientele which gave a poor impression the following day. The rooms, mostly very well appointed are of no use if you can't sleep in them and taking people's money for them when you plan to run the place as a nightclub is tantamount to fraud. Avoid.

Room Tip: Book somewhere else entirely
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank FranceFansBristolUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OakmanInns, Public Relations Manager at The Kings Arms, responded to this review, August 28, 2012
Hi there, we're sorry to hear you felt you were disappointed with you stay. Please email us at marketing@oakmaninns.co.uk and we'll look into your experience and try to resolve any issues. Kind regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2012

My husband and I stayed in Kings Arms hotel for a wedding - the hotel room and bathroom were lovely, and I was impressed by the decor, and the quality of the food.

However, the noise was utterly unbearable - we were located behind the outdoor bar, and the windows were jammed open for fresh air (we were unable to close these, and when we tried to call Reception, it was closed). The bar itself is open to 1am, and the noise eventually simmered down at about 1.30am.

I would love to say I could recommend this hotel to friends, or visit again, but I'm really not sure I could with that level of noise, and especially at the rate you pay for that level of noise.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank DebbieS28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed June 29, 2012

We had booked a night in kings arms for a Saturday night. They had some terribly noisy party in the function room on the same floor with the hotel rooms. The function room isn't anyhow isolated from the residents area, so we had drunken people running through the corridor shouting and for them to see my annoyed face seemed fun!! You could hear that party even in the bar downstairs which was full of people talking, so you can only imagine HOW loud it was in our room.
Contacted the staff about 10pm about the noise, they were trying to sort something out with change of rooms, but as it took them more than hour, we just packed our stuff and went back to our nice London flat.
I think charging £120 per night to torture clients is disgrace indeed. Avoid this place at all cost!
Food in the restaurant is all right but won't blow you away, probably bit overpriced for what you get.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank DMIka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Public Relations Manager at The Kings Arms, responded to this review, July 2, 2012
Hi there, we're sorry to hear you felt you were disappointed with you stay. Please email us at marketing@oakmaninns.co.uk and we'll look into your experience and try to resolve any issues. Kind regards.
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 Kings Arms

Property: The Kings Arms
Address: 147 High Street, Berkhamsted HP4 3HL, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Hertfordshire > Berkhamsted
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Berkhamsted
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Kings Arms 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Kings Arms Hotel is a fine dining restaurant, boutique hotel and bar. Recently refurbished this historical building has been modernised offering quality in all departments. ... more   less 
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