Friday, 16 September 2016

Premier Inn, Court Road, Lewes, Sussex

Rating 5/5
Clean and new is good

It was only three weeks since this Premier Inn opened, so it is still bright, clean, everything working and staff that are enthusiastic. The layout is a typical Premier Inn, with the big comfortable bed, plenty of power points in the room and purple decor throughout. Security doors means that you can only reach the rooms with your card key and with their no quibble good night guarantee, you are sorted. Not that we feel you would have an issue with noise (from outside anyhow), because although the location is dead central with the High Street just a short stroll away, it is tucked away and away from passing noise.

Check-in is via a self service machine but was trouble free and there was a staff member on hand to help if it was needed.

Breakfast is chargeable, but is an all you can eat type of affair. Quorn Veggie sausages are cooked to order, although to be honest, they could have done with a few more minutes cooking time.

Although they have a Thyme restaurant, there is not a bar area. So if you want a drink at the bar before turning in for the night you are out of luck!

The only thing that would make us hesitate in coming back is the parking. There is no information on their website (maybe because they are so new?). The hotel does not have its own car park, and the council run one behind the hotel is limited to maximum 2 hour stay. This 2 hours restriction is during the chargeable time (between 9am and 6pm), so as long as you arrive after 6pm and leave by 11am the next day, that's fine. For a longer stay, you would have to find alternative parking and that is not easy in Lewes as on street parking is expensive (when you find it) and other car parks are a short trek away, which may not be convenient when dragging suitcases.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Hunters Hall, Kingscote, Tetbury, GL8 8XZ

Rating 0/5
Avoid at all costs.

Hunters Hall is in the middle of nowhere. Without a car you have no hope in being able to get to and from this Old English Inn.

Quintessentially English, it is an old 16th century coaching inn, converted into a pub with accommodation in the neighbouring block, so it does have a certain charm. Our accommodation, room 1, on the ground floor was a typical oldy worldy hotel room with bulky heavy wood furniture, old style taps in the bathroom and a magnificent wooden beam across the ceiling above the bed. So far, so good. The bed was extremely comfortable, the shower does the job, the lighting was good, there is loads of free parking and you get free wi-fi too.

However, the stay was marred somewhat by a few factors which would, despite its olde charm, would never entice us back.

On the first night, the toilet stopped working, but which (and credit to the hotel), was fixed as soon as we informed them the following morning.

Arriving back from a long day out on day 2, where the weather was sultry and humid, we found the bins had not been emptied and the damp towels we had left on the bathroom floor to indicate “please change” had just been hung up on the towel rail….. and they were still wet! When we informed the hotel the next morning, the lady on reception informed us we should have left them on the floor and they would have been changed!!!! Doh! When we got back later that day, we did have fresh towels.

Breakfast was a disappointment. Hot food is cooked to order and on the first morning of our stay, the Dutch couple on a table near to us had waited for an extraordinarily long time to the point they had to ask what was happening.  There was only one lady attending to all of the guests so maybe they were short staffed…and she was trying to stagger orders I suppose not to overwhelm the kitchen. It was a while before our food order was even taken by which time the tea and coffee we had been given were cold. Our veggie breakfasts were lukewarm at best and in particular the baked beans had hardly been shown the pan!
The veggie sausage did not resemble a sausage shape and indeed, looked more like a dog turd and the toast was still bread - it must have been scared of the toaster! The lady on her own on the table next to us hardly ate anything on her plate. Maybe this should have been a warning to us.... and a good hotel would actually have discreetly asked this lady if there was anything wrong with the food for it to be left uneaten!

Breakfast on the second morning was a comedy of errors. 15 minutes after ordering the veggie breakfast again, out comes a plate with veggie sausage and scrambled egg. I ask, what happened to the rest of it (meaning the hash browns, tomato, baked beans etc as per the menu) and the girl looked like a rabbit in headlights as though she had never seen what was on the plate or even thought, "hmmm that doesn't look right"!!!!!!! Back to the kitchen.

Minty's mess, soggy cold sausage and "baked on" baked beans
A while later, out comes the plates again, with all of the previously missing items, however, it was with the same scrambled egg and veggie sausage which by now are quite hard, with that re-heated "crust" to them. I couldn't even cut into the sausage! The Beeb had given up by this time, but the waitress took my plate back to the kitchen, to get fresh sausages.

Literally 3 minutes later the plate comes back out, with new veggie sausages but which were a complete mush and stone cold, which is not surprising as even Minty knows you can't cook sausages in  3 minutes!!!! The other bits of the breakfast had that reheated film, and the baked beans in particular had that crusted outline where they had been "baked" onto the plate through reheating!. The scrambled egg was still from that initial offering, so this had been through 2 reheats and was decidedly rubbery by this point!

Minty gave up at that point and it was left uneaten. If you can't get it right on the 3rd attempt, there is no hope!
Childish, we know, but this is what The Beeb thought of his sausage!
For breakfast on the third (and our last) morning, we just had cereal. At that point we also noticed loads of slug trails across the carpet in the breakfast room. GROSS!

The hotel bar... don't get us started on the hotel bar! There are absolutely no set times  and last orders could be called any time after 10.30. It is really pot luck. Each night we asked what time they were serving until so we could time our return from nights out for a last pint at the bar, and each time we got a shrug of the shoulders and were told "I don't know".
One night there were 4 people in the bar including us and when we asked for another Peroni at 11.10 we were told by the barman that he had rung last orders a while back. Now, we were sitting at the table that was next to the bar and the big bell that is rung for "time". You would think we would hear it wouldn't you? At the very least, the bar man could have just mentioned he was going to close the bar and did we want to get  a last order in - there were just four of us in there after all!!!!! We would strongly suggest they have set bar times and stick to that!

The board outside the Inn, has a message telling you that the owners (we can't remember their names now) welcome you. Given this establishment has only 13 bedrooms, it would not be too much of a hardship for this couple to make themselves known, and introduce themselves to their guests in person. It doesn't take much to wander through the bar/restaurant to say "Hi, we are "so and so", how are you enjoying your stay with us?.........."

As a final point, the website states "Food served 11am – 10pm every day". Not that we had dinner there (after the breakfast experience, but we did hear other guests being told the kitchen was not open until after 6pm!