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Avondale Riverside Hotel (Bath)

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2 Reviews

Avondale Hotel, London Road East, Bathford, Bath, BA1 7RB. Tel-01225 859847.

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    2 Reviews
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      15.03.2002 00:13
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      A much needed break was to be had with some of my DooYoo friends in Bath. Using the Internet as a reference manual we set about finding a hotel which was reasonably priced for a one-night break. Our needs were few, we wanted to spend as little as possible and to that end were looking for somewhere which was priced per room not per person. We agreed to share twin rooms so we also needed to find somewhere which had twins rather than just doubles. I was to share with KarenUK and lovely as she is, we don’t know each other well enough to share a bed! After searches and phone calls we finally booked in to the Avondale Hotel and we certainly chose well. ~~~ The Blurb ~~~ The hotel has its own website at htp://www.avondalebath.co.uk and from the site certainly looks very impressive. “Avondale is a historic building, residents such as author and novelist L.P. Hartley, anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce and Dr. Oliver, inventor of the ubiquitous Bath Oliver biscuit, have all added in some way to the ambience here.” Although not in the city centre this can be an advantage in a city like Bath where space is at a premium. A huge bonus with the Avondale is that it has a large car park as hotels in the centre of Bath often have limited parking and public car parks can be extortionate. The Avondale is also renowned for its food, for which they have won a number of awards. If you are a resident then you can have dinner bed and breakfast for £16 per person, per night, extra to your room tariff. It’s also handy not to have to go into town and find a restaurant. ~~~ Arrival ~~~ I arrived in a light drizzle to find KarenUK already waiting in the car park with fiancé Nick and the kids (they were just dropping her off, not staying). Through the February drizzle I could see the river just over the car park wall, this was pretty much the only time I peered through the constant rain at it but I can
      imagine how lovely it is in summer. After a quick hello, we decided to head up to the hotel, Karen told me she had sussed it out and it was up some stairs (I don’t DO stairs!!!). There were indeed lots of little flights of stairs all leading to little terraces with cast iron patio furniture on them, in good weather you can have a meal on a terrace whilst watching life on the river. In February that’s not much of an idea. We proceeded through a door into the bar area where we were greeted by Sid, a man who seems to be the manager and has a very strange sense of humour (he drives you nuts). We know his name was Sid because its tattooed on his wrist (or maybe Sid is his boyfriend???) ~~~ The Bar Area ~~~ The bar area is really very compact as the hotel is using as much space as possible for the restaurant. There is one large square table that was big enough to seat Karen & family plus myself, Offy and Hpoulton. Other than that there is a two seater sofa and a couple of bar stools around the corner. Altogether not much seating for those busy summer months when I imagine the hotel is very busy. The bar is dimly lit with “ambient” lighting (I like to be brightly lit at all times!) and has an olde worlde charm with lots of wooden beams and interesting posters and objects displayed. Leading off in most directions are parts of the restaurant, which are similarly decorated. The bar is promoted as “well stocked” but personally I found it a little lacking. There were plenty of spirits and a couple of bitters but only one draft lager, unfortunately a premium one, Stella, whereas I like a nice girly pint of dingo water. The also serve a good pot of tea, which you get about 4 cups from. The tea must be good because KarenUK certainly drank a lot of it! Pricewise I found it fairly reasonable in comparison to Essex pubs, certainly cheaper than other hotels I have used in the Bath region. It was also a relief
      to find that the bar was a smoking area. ~~~ The Toilet ~~~ Yes it really does warrant its own section! Obviously after a long journey we all wished to avail ourselves of the facilities, oddly I think they were unisex and if not I wish I’d seen the gents! The toilet we were directed to had a heavy wooden door with a protruding sculpture of a full frontal nude lady on it. Inside it was clean and nice smelling with pot pourri and flowers and lovely wooden furnishings. Oh and some very weird poems on the wall, the one I read was about birds (the feathered kind) and I believe there was one about dogs too. On exiting this facility I realised that the rear of the door was not smooth and door like but had a carved figure of the rear of a naked lady in it! I wish I’d taken some snaps now as it had to be seen to be believed. ~~~ The Rooms ~~~ For the four of us we had booked two twin rooms for our stay at Avondale, Karen and I being first to arrive got first choice of room. Sid informed us that one of the rooms was in the annexe and that I could pop the car right outside the room, which sold me sight unseen. I also guessed that being able to park right outside meant that it wasn’t on the top floor – I didn’t fancy lugging my suitcase up loads of stairs. Our room was lovely, I think it was actually a family room as we had a double and a single bed. We also got a 2 seater sofa, a 28” telly, tea making facilities, an alarm clock and an en-suite bathroom. My only gripe here is that it was not a bathroom at all but a shower room, that’s right NO BATHS IN BATH! To make matters worse despite running the shower for about 10 mins in the morning I could only get icy cold water out of it. This would have been a major complaint for me if I had been staying more than one night but fortunately for Sid I didn’t really want a shower, just to wet my hair. The brochure also says that all rooms have
      telephone and modem points but we didn’t see those in our room although I have to admit we didn’t look particularly hard (yes we managed without an Internet connection). The room was lovely and despite being told it was a no-smoking hotel there was an ashtray in our room. We also had a little balcony (just three steps up from the car!) which would be nice in the summer as it had a cast iron table and chairs and a nice view of the gardens and river. The whole outdoor area looked very well kept with a lovely tub of plants in the corner, masking a cat-flap which led into our wardrobe! There were no furry visitors in the night though. I never saw the second room which was shared by Offy and Hpoulton. This was in the main house and like ours had no bath but just a shower. I know I should have climbed the stairs for reference purposes but I’m just too damned lazy. The others all assured me that Karen and I had made the right choice of room as Hannah and Ophelia found theirs to be very small with two beds practically butting up to one another. ~~~ Dinner ~~~ The restaurant had the same olde worlde charm of the bar, and was just as dimly lit (mood lighting is the pits). Being an old building there was a very cosy feeling as there were lots of little rooms leading off one another making up the eating area. I am the worlds fussiest eater, the best way to describe my diet is odd vegetarian. Fortunately the Avondale did us proud. The menu is extensive with prices ranging from around £11 to £16 for a main course. There is a daily special board and the meals are refreshingly different from your standard hotel fare. Although they do offer vegetarian lasagne (in most places the only veggie offering), they also offer several other interesting vegetarian dishes. For those carnivores amongst us the menu is also well stocked with a variety meat, poultry, fish and game. For our evening meal we all decided to skip s
      tarters and just have a main course and a dessert. Everyone there had a sweet tooth, especially Ophelia (I won’t tell you what she had for lunch in town the next day – that’s another opinion!). Ophelia and I chose Moroccan style cous cous stuffed peppers which came with a mustard sauce, I asked to have my sauce served separately and they were happy to oblige. All too often restaurants are unable to serve sauce separately as their food is pre-prepared and reheated. It’s good to know you are getting a freshly prepared meal. My main course was just the right size with two halves of stuffed pepper and it was delicious. It was also served with vegetables and new potatoes, the vegetables were perfectly cooked for me being still crunchy, but although Hannah enjoyed them I think the others would have preferred them cooked a little more. For desert I had Apple tarte tatin with caramel sauce and ice cream which was truly scrumptious. Karen, being a proper vegetarian, found dessert a little more difficult as the desserts were not suitable for veggies. The staff were happy to offer crème fraiche with ice cream making Karen a happy eater too! ~~~ Breakfast ~~~ This, unfortunately, is where the Avondale lets itself down. Breakfast is served until 9-30 (I’m not sure what time it starts). You get a served full English breakfasts with the addition of toast, juice, tea and cereal. The cereal selection is somewhat poor with a choice between Cornflakes, museli and Weetabix, nothing sweeter for the kids although they are warmly welcomed in the hotel. To go with the toast there was only butter and marmalade, no jam and the butter was served in such small pots we had to keep asking for more. The full English breakfast was very disappointing. For me, the high point of the breakfast is fried bread, something you never do at home. The Avondale breakfast was sadly lacking in fried bread. Actually it was sadly lacking
      in food. I ordered mushrooms, beans and tomatoes and was astonished to be served a huge plate with a few scraps of food sitting in the middle. Honestly, no lie the plate was practically empty with half a tomato, about 6 bits of mushroom and the most pathetic portion of baked beans I have ever seen. Given how much money they saved with me not wanting my bacon, sausage and eggs they could have afforded to give me a decent sized breakfast. The others fared a little better with Karen getting 2 eggs on toast. ~~~ Lounging Around ~~~ Having spent all day Saturday travelling and shopping we were content to spend the evening in the hotel relaxing over dinner and drinks. Karen and Ophelia were somewhat champing at the bit to watch a rather insipid TV special about some guy who sings (I think it was called Pap Idol????). They had mentioned this to “Sid” the moment they arrived and he told us we could watch it in the lounge where there was “full Sky digital” (I wish there hadn’t been as there was more Pap Idol on ITV2!!). The lounge is on the first floor of the hotel and is equipped with two big comfy sofas as well as magazines, board games and a wide screen telly with Sky digital. You are welcome to take drinks up there but it is no smoking, although there is a balcony where you can smoke if you wish. Those comfy sofas were just what we all needed after a hard day and we had a relaxing evening chatting about our fellow DooYoo’sers with no less than 2 Pap Idol specials drivelling away in the background. I even learned something about Pap Idol – its just as boring as I thought it would be, kinda like the Eurovision song contest without the funny points being awarded and no Terry Wogan to lighten the mood. ~~~ The Cost ~~~ As I’ve already mentioned the accommodation costs at the Avondale are quite reasonable and as follows. Single - from £24 per night Twin
      - Ensuite - £69 per night Double – not Ensuite - from £55 per night Double – Ensuite - From £69 per night Family Room (3 people ensuite) - from £79 per night Extra Bed - from £10 per night Cot - £5 per night House (sleeps up to 8) - £195 per night Whilst I was sitting in the bar (strange that eh?) I did hear “Sid” on the phone taking bookings for that night and he was offering the four poster for £100. Obviously worth trying to book on the day if you are travelling off season and looking for a discount. Our food and drinks bill was also very reasonable. Four of us enjoyed dinner and breakfast as well as a few alcoholic beverages and lots of tea. The bill for this came to just over £70, making the whole break a fairly cheap experience (except for all the money we spent out shopping!) The hotel is a little out of town so if you wish to visit Bath you would need to take one of three options. A taxi is roughly £8 each way, parking in the city centre is a nightmare and around £10 per day (only £2 on Sunday), or there is a park and ride service Monday to Saturday till 7-30pm which is free parking and £1.25 for the return journey on the bus) ~~~ The Bottom Line ~~~ Well our gang of four thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Avondale, and we are going again in October! The dreary weather probably did distract from the experience, it would be lovely to sit on one of the terraces having lunch and watching life on the river, I even noticed a boat hut nearby. The strange “Sid” makes you feel welcome if a little uneasy on your own with him and the hotel has everything you could ask for to make your break special. A big thank you to Hannah, Ophelia and Karen for the company

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        25.02.2002 23:46
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        Last weekend, I met up with three fellow opinion writers – Hannah (hpoulton), Kathryn (KathrynPenguin) and Ophelia (offy) – and we stayed in the Avondale Hotel in Bath. We met there around 12noon to 1pm on the Saturday and we left between 2pm and 3pm on the Sunday. When we had decided to go away, we looked online for some information on hotels in the area which were quite cheap. We narrowed it down to a couple, then Ophelia rang up and booked us in – this was about a month ago. Having the shortest distance to travel, I arrived at the hotel first. It is a very pretty building, right near the river. Although it is off a busy road, it is quite easy to imagine being in the heart of the countryside. Unfortunately, it rained most of the weekend, but is still an idyllic location. It is rather deceptive at first, as you have to drive past several possible entrances until you get to the right one. It’s also a bit confusing finding the reception, so it took me a few minutes to work out where to go. There is a good sized car park there and if you park at the far end, you are nearest to the reception. This wouldn’t be a good place to stay if you use a buggy or wheelchair, as there are plenty of steps outside, often winding and quite hard to climb. The main black door at the front is where you need to enter and you arrive in a dark bar / lounge area. Here we were greeted by Sid, the owner of the hotel. There don’t seem to be many staff there, I think we saw about six people at most. Sid certainly seems to do everything – take bookings, serve food and drink, etc. He is rather ‘in-yer-face’ though and his sense of humour can become quite wearing. I’m sure he is well meaning enough and certainly a hard worker, but his jokes with my eight year old made her cry and he still didn’t stop! When I arrived, he was expecting us and had our receipts ready. We sat
        in the lounge having drinks and waited for everyone to get there. The lounge is quite cosy, with several rooms off one another. It is pretty and quite olde worlde, with wooden beams, ornaments and hard tables and chairs. It is rather dark though, but some might say atmospheric. After all four of us were there, Sid showed us our rooms. Kathryn and I had the room in the annexe, which was lovely – big and spacious with a double bed, single bed, large TV, kettle, full-length mirror and settee. We had an ensuite bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower, although no bath. Hannah and Ophelia’s room wasn’t quite as nice. It had two single beds and was much smaller, with only a tiny gap between the beds. Also after using the bathroom, you had to go into the bedroom, then past both beds to reach the sink. We were advised to book our main meal in advance, which we did. The dining room isn’t very big, but it was adequate for the amount of guests they had there. The meal was delicious, but not cheap. We decided to each have a main course and dessert, as well as drinks and our total bill for the evening was £72! They cater well for vegetarians and were happy to change things to your specification. I had Stilton, Spinach and Pinenut Lasagne with a button mushroom confit, new potatoes and vegetables (£10.95) which was absolutely gorgeous and just the right amount. For dessert, the one I wanted was a mousse type pudding and I asked them to check if it was vegetarian, which it wasn’t, so instead they gave me strawberry ice cream with crème fraiche – delicious! The hotel has won awards for its food and you can understand why. Besides the usual menu, there are several extra dishes written up on the board each day, so there is plenty of choice. The starters cost between £3.50 (soup) and £5.25 (smoked chicken salad), with the main courses between £9.95 (Mediterranean Vegetable Roulade) a
        nd £14.95 (Medallions of Beef), then the desserts cost between £1.95 (coffee and mints only) and £4.95 (A selection of English cheeses with apple chutney and wafers). Unfortunately, our breakfast on the Sunday morning could have been made at a different place! I had poached egg and toast which was two eggs on one slice of toast. Kathryn’s cooked breakfast consisted of little more than a spoonful each of baked beans, tomatoes and mushrooms. However, you could fill up on cornflakes and toast. But the breakfasts weren’t a patch on the main meals. In the evening, we wanted to watch the Pop Idol special on ITV1 and ITV2, so Sid showed us up to the guest lounge which is ideal – a big room with fireplace (The hotel was very warm, by the way, we had to turn off some of the radiators!), widescreen satellite TV and two big settees. We were still up at 11:30pm when Sid went off to bed, so he told us how to get back to the annexe and checked we were all okay before retiring for the night. After we had checked out of the hotel, we were allowed to leave our cars in the car park while we had another shopping spree in the centre of Bath. Afterwards, we nipped back in to use the toilets and have another cup of tea and Sid was very chatty and welcoming, as ever. Incidentally, the toilets are very weird and wonderful. Look out for the 3D sculpture of a naked female torso on the front of the Ladies, you won’t be able to resist beeping those nipples!! Although the website (worth a look, incidentally) says that children are welcome, there were only a couple of kids there and it did seem much more of a place adults would enjoy. It would be ideal for a romantic break or for a few friends together. We enjoyed it so much that we are planning another weekend there in mid-October. (Any other Dooyoo members that would be interested in joining us, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!) Room
        s available ~ Single from £49 per night Twin ensuite £69 per night Double from £55 per night Double ensuite from £69 per night Family room (3 people ensuite) from £79 per night Extra bed from £10 per night Four poster £115 per night House (sleeps up to 8) £195 per night Dinner, bed and breakfast £14 per person per night, extra to room tariff Avondale Hotel and Waterside Restaurant London Road East Bathford Bath BA1 7RB TEL/FAX 01225 – 859847 TEL : 01225 – 852207 WEBSITE : www.avondalebath.co.uk EMAIL : stay@avondalebath.co.uk

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