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Cock Hotel (Milton Keynes)

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1 Review

72-74 High Street / Stony Stratford / Milton Keynes / Buckinghamshire / MK11 1AH

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      08.10.2012 16:59
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      I would stay here again

      ~THE COCK (AND BULL) HI(STORY)~ Apparently the meaning of a 'Cock and bull story' originated from two rival inns in the village of Stony Stratford, the 'Cock' and 'The Bull.' (Taken from http://www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/stonystratford/) "The Cock Hotel a 15th Century coaching inn rose to national pre-eminence in the great age of coach travel, with as many as 100 coaches a day coming into the town. The Cock Hotel was the official staging post for the famous Manchester Flier, which took a 25-minute stop at The Cock Hotel. The time allowed for lunch at the Cock was 25 minutes, so passengers had to eat fast. One of them, on more than one occasion, was Charles Dickens, who based Mr Turveydrop in Bleak House on a local dancing instructor, Joseph Hambling (or is that another cock and bull story?). Other travellers staying at the hotel and The Bull opposite vied with each other in the telling of outrageous 'tales of the road', from whence the famous phrase 'Cock and Bull story' derives." ~PURPOSE OF OUR VISIT~ My husband and I had accepted an invitation to attend a 'post wedding' reception at the end of September, in Old Stratford, near to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. This isn't an area I'm familiar with. We decided to spend the night in a hotel or bed and breakfast nearby as it would be almost a two hour drive to get there and didn't seem fair to the driver to go all that way, not be able to have a drink and then to have the long drive back. I mentioned to my brother and sister-in-law (who were also invited to this reception) that we would stay in Bucks for the night. They then booked a room at the nearest accommodation to the reception which was a Travelodge. I took longer before booking and both I and my husband thought we would rather stay at a character inn and have a breakfast the next morning. I had noticed when looking at this particular Travelodge that it didn't serve meals and the Little Chef restaurant next door would be closed. So no breakfast at the lodge! I thought I would choose accommodation within a five mile radius of the reception venue and get a taxi both to it and back to the accommodation. I found a few places that seemed suitable but thought they were on the expensive side. But then again, the Travelodge charged £64 for a double room without breakfast and so I didn't think paying in the region of around eighty pounds seemed too bad if a full English breakfast for two was included in the price. I was undecided between three inns in the village of Stratford stony and put off booking anywhere until the Thursday night; the reception was on the Saturday. I told my sister-in-law that I had booked this accommodation and she decided this seemed a better deal than the travelogue and they cancelled their booking and chose to stay at The Cock Hotel instead. ~BOOKING~ I usually research accommodation online and then book by telephone and ask for a better price than I've seen on-line, but in this case it was late at night and too late to phone. I saw on Booking.com that the price had been reduced to £66 for a double room with breakfast included. My husband said I should stop looking around or we would end up with nowhere to stay. He said just book and be done with it. And I did. Booking was very simple with Booking.com. I gave credit/debit card details (as is usual, payment is actually made when checking out but card details are taken for the hotel/inns security purposes) and an email to confirm my booking arrived within a few minutes. After booking I stumble across The Olde English Inns website which handles the bookings for The Cock Hotel. I realised that I could have booked the room for a cheaper price of £61 if I had used this site. ~CHECKING IN~ We quickly found the inns reception desk with a receptionist behind. This is situated near to the bar and we immediately noticed the busy and noisy atmosphere; it soon became apparent that a wedding reception was taking place in the hotel. We thought that reception was usually manned and if it wasn't a ring of the bell soon brought staff to the desk. We waited a few minutes to check in whilst another couple checked in and then we were greeted politely. I supplied my name and was asked to sign a form. We were told the times that breakfast would be served the following morning. ~KEY TO THE DOOR...OR NOT!~ This hotel has thirty one guest bedrooms all with en-suite facilities. Double, twin, family and twin rooms are available. On checking in we were handed a key for room 15 and given directions. The room was in the main building and up several narrow flights of stairs. On this ascent I was considering asking if another room was available not so high up, although I knew the hotel was rather full. On reaching the room neither myself, nor my husband could unlock the room door. My husband went to reception and soon reappeared with a hotel manager who also failed to unlock the room door. We were taken back to reception and offered a room in the coach house. We mentioned that we would be going to a wedding reception that evening and were told if we were in especially late to use our key to open the fire exit door. ~OUR ROOM~ The room was nice. It was up a flight of steep stairs in what was formerly (and is still called The Coach House) the old coach house. Fortunately not as much climbing was involved as there was in the previous room in the main building. This room was a decent enough size for two, as was the en-suite bathroom. The bed seemed massive. On closer inspection I could see that it was in fact two single beds linked together. This bed proved to be very comfortable. It had four comfy pillows and a duvet on it. There was an extra duvet in the wardrobe. The wardrobe was shelved, as well as having hanging space, and also contained an ironing board, steam iron and a travel sized hair dryer. There were full size mirrors on the outside of the wardrobe doors. One small niggle was that there was only one small bedside cabinet. Two would have been useful to hold a night-time drink and there was enough room for this. We moved commandeered a chair for this purpose. A desk/dressing table (by the window) contained the hospitality tray. This was equipped with biscuits and cookies, some sachets of tea, coffee (decaffeinated and normal) and hot chocolate, sugar and milk. The view from the window was of the car park but as we only really needed the room to get ready for the party in and to sleep this didn't matter at all. The window opened and the curtains weren't skimpy. A further cupboard held a flat screen television. There was a radiator in the bedroom. ~EN-SUITE~ The bathroom was nice but I was a little put off at first by finding a large wasp locked in there with me. Luckily I managed to escape but the wasp didn't! This bathroom contained a radiator and glass shelf holding two plastic tooth cups, small tablet of soap and a small bottle of shampoo/bath gel, The shampoo came in handy as when I unpacked my toiletry bag I found I'd carelessly packed two bottles of conditioner and no shampoo. There were two large fluffy white towels, two smaller sized towels, a bath mat and a non-slip rubber bath mat. The toilet flushed well. The over bath shower gave a good, hot shower, although this was spoilt somewhat due to the water draining away very slowly. I would say that the room overall probably was in need of some refurbishing as, for instance, the carpet looked as if it had seen better days but, for a night's stay, I was pleased that the bed was comfortable and the rooms location enabled us to have a peaceful night's sleep. ~RESTAURANT AND BAR~ After unpacking the few items we had brought with us, we went down to the main building and looked in at the Cock's small restaurant; we were told that it was closed due to a wedding being held in the hotel. I don't think this room was used but it seemed to be more of a question of kitchen facility and staffing numbers. The restaurant did open for dinner. We then went into the bar/lounge area and asked if we could order a late lunch or snack but were informed that they weren't taking food orders owing to a wedding taking place. I personally think would-be guests should be informed at the time of booking, if a function is to be held during their intended visit. I had particularly booked somewhere offering food but now had to look elsewhere for a meal. ~BREAKFAST~ We had no complaints regarding our breakfast. We had been told that breakfast began at eight a.m. and continued until twelve noon. Continental breakfast was available but finished earlier than the full English; I think we were told ten o'clock. We wanted the cooked breakfast. We decided to have our breakfast at about half past nine. While we were in the restaurant there other guests finished their breakfast and some others came in after us. We sat at a table already set for two. This was a small round table, meaning that when breakfast was served there wasn't much room on the table for crockery and some manoeuvring was necessary. A menu was on the table with a good selection of breakfast choices such as salmon with scrambled eggs, eggs on toast, porridge or a full English cooked breakfast. As I don't eat meat I asked the waitress, who had quickly appeared, if there was a vegetarian breakfast option. She replied that their policy was to serve the breakfast minus the sausage and bacon but with extra tomato, mushroom and egg. This suited me. We both ordered our breakfast. I asked for my eggs to be scrambled and my husband chose a fried egg. We were asked if we wanted tea or coffee, and did we want our toast to be white, brown or a mix of breads. A long table was laden with cereals, three jugs containing different fruit juices, bread, rolls, marmalade, jam etc. A welcome pot of tea and jug of milk soon appeared. The breakfast was very nice. The grilled plum tomatoes tasted lovely and sweet and, really, everything tasted good. ~STAFF~ I thought the members of staff that I came across in this hotel were helpful and polite. The hotel had a pleasant atmosphere. We had asked at reception on the Saturday evening if a taxi could be ordered for us. This was quickly done. However, the taxi took an age to arrive. The manager saw us waiting and so phoned to see if the taxi was on its way. Staff were able and willing to give travel directions. ~FACILITIES~ Tea and coffee making facilities is available in all rooms. Free Wifi. The Cock Hotel has wedding and conference, function facilities. It has two separate function rooms and a walled courtyard with benches, tables and patio heaters. It is licensed for civil wedding ceremonies. As already mentioned there was a wedding reception taking place during our stay. We saw literature advertising wedding packages and these seemed reasonable. The room used for the wedding looked very attractive, in my opinion. Dogs can be accepted at this hotel by prior booking. ~CHECKING OUT~ After finishing our breakfast and having a walk in the village, we packed our few items, put them in the car and checked out. We hadn't ordered anything other than what we had booked for and so there were no surprises with our bill. It was £66; I paid by debit card. ~DISABLED~ Both rooms that we were offered would not have been suitable for anyone with mobility problems but there are ground floor rooms; some open onto a pleasant cobble courtyard which would have once been the stables. A disabled toilet is available. ~PARKING~ The Cock Inn has a large car park providing free parking for guests. ~LOCATION~ The Cock Hotel is situated in the historic village of Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, close to Milton Keynes. ~WEBSITE/CONTACT~ http://www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/stonystratford/ Address: Cock Hotel 72-74 High Street Stony Stratford Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire MK11 1AH Telephone: 01908 567733 Email: 6432@greeneking.co.uk ~OVERALL~ I thought the only slight problem with this hotel during our stay was that it was a little too busy with a large wedding reception being held. The reception spilt out into all areas of the hotel, and to get to and from our room we had to squeeze past guests congregating in the bar, and gardens and had to try to avoid being mystery guests in their wedding photographs. But even so, we did like this hotel. I also felt that the toilets serving the restaurant and bar could have been a bit cleaner on the Sunday morning. It seemed to me as if all staff were very busy. Perhaps because they had a full hotel and all the extra tasks relating to the wedding, had resulted in some things had being delayed, such as cleaning the toilets. They weren't terrible in truth, but usually at around eleven o'clock in the morning hotel toilets are at their cleanest, I think. If we visit this area again then we would be happy to stay at this hotel.

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