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"Think we visited on a off-night, but very disappointed…"
We booked one night here for us and the DDs aged 2.3 and 6 months as a treat just after the Easter weekend 2013 (during school holidays). We were really looking forward to popping the girls in the creche for a couple of hours, making use of the facilities with them (like the pool) and then having a grown up dinner whilst using the listening service.
However DD1 wouldn't settle in the creche. I don't really blame the staff for this BUT they did say that their policy was to give the child 20 mins to settle in before calling parents back, and they called us back after 10. Of course I didn't want to leave DD upset, but felt that at that age, another quick story/cuddle from staff might have made all the difference.
We then took the girls to the pool, which was lovely - apart from the fact the nice receptionist had assured me that there was no need to go back to the car to collect the swim nappies as they were available for free in the pool, and I was then charged for them.
There are plenty of options re kids eating - they can either eat at a children's only high tea setting, or you can take them into the main dining room for a later (but still earlier than most adults) proper dinner with the family. As the girls were so little we opted for the former. We had been asked to book in a time and to pick from the menu. However, when we arrived, they weren't doing a la carte service, and it was in fact from a buffet. As we were close to the end of service time the buffet food was rather unpleasant looking leftovers that were all cold (and not the sort of thing I'd ordered at all). When I asked about this I was informed that the buffet was standard during school holidays. Fair enough, but I'd only booked (and been asked to choose DD's food) the week before. Had we been better informed we would have arrived at the start of buffet time.
The biggest problem of the stay was when we went back up to our room to find that there was no hot water. DH went downstairs to find out what was going on, and overheard two staff members discussing the issue with each other saying 'oh well, they'll just have to use kettles'. The boiler had broken and so there was no hot water that evening.
We did enjoy a lovely dinner in the dining room and the listening service worked well. The room was also nice (although a bit cramped with a double, single and cot).
I appreciate that this was a string of relatively minor incidents, but given the cost of a night's accommodation, we were pretty disappointed. No manager was available on site that night/the next morning, but one did call a couple of days later. We were offered a voucher for about 50% of the cost of the stay, and refunded DD's tea, and the nappy! I declined the voucher and was in return offered about half the value in a cash refund.
It was a real shame as hotel very convenient and on paper had loads of things that we wanted and are quite difficult to find (particularly a hotel with a complimentary daytime childcare service that will accept infants!), and a nice spa and restaurant. However, don't think we'd stay there again.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"Just returned from a 3-day break at The Elms. Overall…"
Just returned from a 3-day break at The Elms. Overall we really enjoyed our stay and would return and recommend. The name 'Luxury family hotel' is a bit misleading - it's more 'faded country' but definitely none the worse for that (mixing luxury and children makes for an anxious time anyway!).
1) Spa was really good, and the spa staff were excellent and welcoming
2) Creche facility was good - we had no qualms about leaving our son there for 4 hours a day, and he really enjoyed it.
3) Atmosphere throughout (except restaurant) was really relaxing and chilled - spot on.
4) Facilities genuinely child-friendly - books and toys available everywhere, resident cat and dog to play with, a fairy-trail in the grounds, swings/slide/trampoline, little-trikes ride-ons and bikes etc.
5) Quality of food was really good.
1) Surprisingly, the staff, with one or two exceptions, were not especially child-friendly - the service was a bit haughty at times.
2) Info re dining arrangements. These were actually very flexible, but the hotel information and staff make things seem more complicated than they actually are. There is a good brasserie menu, including children's choices, that can be eaten 24 hours a day in any lounge or bar area, or your room. A children's high tea is available from 5 - 6 (for parents who have chosen to eat in the hushed 'clinky-clink' 2 rosette restaurant). It would have been nice if there had been a proper dedicated evening restaurant for family dining, rather than perching in the lounge area or eating in the empty, brightly-lit, chlorinated spa Pear Terrace.
3) Cost of extras - a tippee cup of apple juice costRead moreLess
"While the food at the Elms is very good and…"
While the food at the Elms is very good and the room we had was comfortable we found the service wasn't up to scratch for the tariff. In particular, and although we booked to eat ata specific time, we found ourselves waiting over an hour before we got to the Dining room. The staff really weren't coping and no one seemed to be in charge. No manager was present on the weekend we stayed [apparently quite common] and our complaint about the Dining Room failed to get a response both from the manager and the regional manager. A phone call to head office also brought no apology or explanation.Read moreLess
"Not quite up to scratch. We stayed here with our…"
Not quite up to scratch. We stayed here with our 1 year old, the room was way too hot, the bath dirty and the children's facility at the rear didn't seem totally secure. A nice looking building with decent food but staff don't seem up to the same levels of attention and service as you get in a four or five star chain hotel. You're paying mainly for the location and the spa facilities. Don't go expecting a luxury break and you will be fine.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"stayed recently and had a mixed weekend. was fairly quiet…"
stayed recently and had a mixed weekend. was fairly quiet and felt we were a noisy family compared to most who were almost exclusively parents with a small child so serenely sitting sipping coffe whilst junior had finger food rather than our two noisy boys!
staff were great and we used a receptionist to babysit both nights as never trust listening services altho the room had it.
room was amazing, had a suite with 2 rooms and 2 bathrooms, huge lounge. beds bit small for a double and singles were tiny but lovely furnishings.
swiming pool nice but no kids paddling type pool and kids supposedly not allowed in jacuzzi bit (altho took mine in).
trampoline, play area but not a huge adventure playground that the advertise by any means. well equipped creche and staff seemed nice but didnt leave our kids there to be supervised but seemed to have various activities on, again mainly v young guests staying so nothing for older kids.
found food in main restaurant really poncy. everyone had raved about it but we thought it trying a bit too hard and there was absolutely no atmos in the dining room at all. bar even worse, basically empty and no one even serving at the bar!
only other plcae for food is cafe by the pool. food was overpriced and again a bit over done (salad was a selection of absolutely tiny little frou frous like a few sunflower seeds in a pile, 1 tomato, teaspoon of grated carrot etc). Main food disappoinment was kids tea. was a bland unappealing small selection. First night was plain, boiled cod, roast pots, plain pasta and some steamed broccoli and carrots. no sauce or cheese etc, no bread and butter. no yoghurts, just a undercooked rice pud. maybe ok for babies but not terrible inspiring for a 5 year old who likes his food.
overall, place was nice, kids loved using the bikes and trikes and gardens are lovely. but dont think it meets its price tag and it was all a bit austere and hush hush. not the place to kick about noisily and eat together as a family. compared to calcot which is in same group we werent as impressed..Read moreLess
2 people found this review helpful.
"A wonderful break for all the family. Four generations stayed,…"
A wonderful break for all the family. Four generations stayed, and all felt pampered and cared for througout. The wimming pool was an instant hit, as were the bicyles and board games. The grandparents were wowed by the wine list and food. Any hotel with resident dog and cat who don't mind being mauled by sticky toddlers is a winner!Read moreLess
"Stayed here early October 08. Have previously stayed at the…"
Stayed here early October 08. Have previously stayed at the Ickworth and a bit disappointed, but thought this one was much better. The luxury family hotels are good value if (a) you dont pay the rack rate and (b) you avoid school holidays. We were given a standard room that was quite small, although clean and comfortable....BUT it had a little 'annexe'(at no cost) which was a separate small room, set up with both a bed and a cot, so could cope with 2 kids. I would def advise asking for this, as it avoids the struggle if you fancy watching telly/having passionate moments with dp. We found food very nice, and you can eat at the more casual restaurant in the spa in the evening if you dont want the full candles and silver service treatment in the main dining room. Spa is LOVELY; I had a fab massage and dd loved the pool. Gym is small but has most essential items. Key difference at this hotel is obviously the childcare and facilities for children. These are both excellent. Big playground with lots of bikes/sit on toys. Trampolines and indoor games. Soppy labrador dog and even a cat who is prepared to put up with a toddler. DD enjoyed the 'Four Bears Den', although it was quiet and she was the only child there on 2 occasions. It is a brand new, very clean and has a wide range of toys. All staff were friendly and we thoroughly rnjoyed our break and would go back...which we wouldnt to the Ickworth. Also, atRead moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"A beautiful place in lovely rolling countryside, this hotel has…"
A beautiful place in lovely rolling countryside, this hotel has recently been converted into a family one to become part of the Luxury Family Hotel group (see member discount page for offers!). The children's den was pleasant - though my kids of course couldn't be persuaded to give it a try - the rooms are spacious and comfortable more along the lines of traditional country house hotel more than trendy modern and the dinners are candlelit and elaborate. The spa hadn't opened yet when we went but it will be a great addition. There's also Cadbury's World nearby - worth a visit if you can face the chocolate overload.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this lovely country house…"
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this lovely country house hotel which is part of Luxury Family Hotels. The food was fantastic - would recommend trying the tasting menu. The kids loved the creche (and the hotel dog, Tickle!). Can't wait to go back once the spa is open.Read moreLess