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A good hotel to stay in to visit Chester Zoo
De Vere St David's Park Hotel (Ewloe, Wales)
Member Name: jillycat
De Vere St David's Park Hotel (Ewloe, Wales)
Date: 04/07/11, updated on 25/07/11 (74 review reads)
Advantages: comfortable beds friendly helpful staff good location to get to Chester zoo family friendly
Disadvantages: Some problems with the pool, bathrooms decor not in line with the refurbishment
We have stayed in St David's twice now the first time last year in April with our son who was at the time 2 years old. The hotel then was merely St David's and a De Vere Hotel. On our return this June 2011 the hotel had under gone a refurbishment and had been re branded as a De Vere Village hotel. We had selected this hotel due to offers that De Vere was running and its close proximity to Chester Zoo a 15 minute drive away.
Where is it
The Hotel is located just off the busy A494 past Queensferry you then take the B5127 signposted Buckley and the Hotel is located on the roundabout. As you would imagine this is easy to find but does mean the Hotel is located off a very busy road. There is plenty of free parking and this is monitored so it is nice and safe.
Both times we have pre booked with a deal that De Vere have offered via the telephone and Internet. We have always gone for a family room with breakfast both nights and a meal on the first night. For this we recently paid £160 for the two nights (June 2011). When we checked in it was very simple and straight forward with no problems at all. The reception staff were very friendly and helpful giving us the time the restaurant was open for dinner and booking us a table. They also gave us very clear directions to our room. Getting to the room is simple there are plenty of signs to help you find your directions. My only quibble with it is that due to the new lay out of the hotel reception area. To get to our room we had to either always walk through the bar or the Starbucks and this wasn't always easy to do with our three year old and bits luggage.
Since our last trip it was clear the rooms had been re decorated and the theme certainly seemed to be modern and funky with grey and silver walls, beige accessories a cream swivel chair that my son was always playing on. The room not only had thick curtains that had black out lining but a wooden Venetian blind this meant that combined with the double glazing there was very little noise from the road heard in our room and my son actually snored louder than the noise of the road that we could hear. The room sports a flat screen TV with Freeview channels and limited Sky channels. To my surprise the telephone was not by the bed to make it easy to answer a wake up call, but on the dressing table by the TV. There was also no suitcase holder that I personally like in hotel rooms as it stops me bending down to un-pack the suitcase. Now I am not sure if the wooden cube box that was in the room was for this or not but it seemed a pointless addition and only added some fun to my sons play rather than anything to the décor in my opinion.
The bed we had was lovely and comfortable the bed was quite high so be warned you do need to vault up on to it. We were able to sleep and lie in as much as our three year old would allow and the black out blinds and the effect of a full day at the zoo meant we had the best lie in for ages. He was sleeping on a sofa bed in the room and whilst this wasn't as comfortable as the bed it suited him fine and he was able to sleep without any problems at all. The beds had lovely white cotton sheets and fluffy pillows rather than the hard bricks you sometimes get in hotels so we felt nice and snug in our beds.
The room my have been refurbished but the bathroom hadn't, it was a weird mix of fake Victorian taps and baths and basin and poorly re painted doors that had chips in the paint work. Whilst the bathroom was certainly clean and very well presented there was empty raw plugs holes in the tiles that just made the room look un finished in its re-decoration. Rather than tiny bottles of bubble bath and soap there was a soap dispenser and a body wash dispenser attached to the walls. Whilst the soap one worked a treat the body wash one over the bath was only any use if you were having a shower as the squirter didn't allow the body wash to reach the bath to allow you to have a bubble bath so if you prefer baths I would recommend taking your own products which isn't very good for a four star hotel really.
The coffee making facilities were the usual fare and nothing special but they and the addition of an iron and ironing board in the room worked well and proved useful during our stay. The room was also equipped with a point for Wi-Fi access but we didn't use this so how good the connection and speed is I don't know.
We had a three course evening meal included in our package with two glasses of wine. Whilst the food wasn't going to win any Michelin stars it was good hearty fare, the choices from the set menu were limited to the usual assortment of pate soup and garlic mushrooms. The main courses included a lovely fresh tuna salad which my husband thought was really good and the tuna was cooked just to his liking. My spat-chock chicken was a bit over done for my liking but not inedible just a bit too barbecued. The puddings were again nothing amazing to choose from but were well presented and very tasty. You can go off the set menu and have something from the grill such as a steak but these were around £21 for a 10 oz steak which I thought was a bit expensive. The wine choices are good and the house wine we had was a nice crisp white chardonnay that went down well with the chicken.
The children's menu wouldn't look out of place in any family pub with the usual variety of chips with everything including fish fingers burgers and chicken nuggets my son actually ended up eating more of mine and my husbands food so we did wondered if we shouldn't of bothered with his own meal.
The waiting staff were helpful and attentive and there was no disparaging looks at the beginning when my son went to explore the restaurant to see where we were, so I think they are very used to families being there and being helpful. The only down point was they had run out of crayons for the colouring on the children's menu which disappointed my son a bit as he wanted to draw a picture.
Breakfast was a self-service buffet. The first day we were down for about 8 am and appeared to have missed the rush or got in before it as it was a nice leisurely pace to eat and make our selections. But on the weekend we badly timed it for around 9.20am and ended up queuing to get a table, this only took 10 minutes but I would suggest allowing time for a wait on a weekend. The food choices were again a solid selection of cereals, plain yogurts with a choice of fresh fruits or compote. The hot choices were a selection of the traditional English breakfast these were replenished frequently and were always hot when we got there. The only complaint I have about the hot buffet was sometimes the fried eyes were overcooked and the yolks hard and the sausages always were cooked within in an inch of being burnt so were not the most pleasant to eat. If you are a vegetarian I am not sure if you would have to ask for a veggie breakfast as there really were only tomatoes beans and mushrooms that would be suitable for you to eat. The toast you cook your self which I prefer in a hotel as often you can end up with either chewy toast or overly crisp toast so this allowed me to toast it to my liking.
The hotel boasts a gym, spa, swimming pool Jacuzzi, and sauna. We didn't use the gym or the spa but both days we used the pool and had a turn in the Jacuzzi. There are set hours in which children are allowed into the pool and if you are there as a couple I would definitely advise going in the child free hours as the pool was full with lots of children making lots of noise and splashes when we were there. My son loved the small pool area for jumping up and down in it for all he was worth. The pool when we were there had an attendant in situ that I think was there as a life guard. There was also lots of small toggle floats for the children to use. My complaint about this area was whilst the changing rooms were lovely and clean and stocked with lockers for you to use the pool itself needed really some repair work. When we were in the pool a tile came off the base off the floor in the children's pool. I handed this in to the attendant and told her where it had come off from the bottom of the children's pool. She told me that there were several loose tiles but though she had reported this nothing had happened to repair these as yet. On the second day in the pool my husband actually caught part of his foot on the sharp edges of the steps into the pool where a tile was missing and I personally think this issue needs to be addressed by the hotel for health and safety reasons.
Now whilst no one in our party had any accessible needs such as wheelchairs, I do think it is worth a mention as when we were there a charity called Amy and friends were having a retreat at the hotel. A lot of the children and young adults in this group were in wheelchairs and I never noticed any problems with their ability to get around the hotel in the corridors or lifts or negotiate the restaurant. Whilst this isn't an endorsement of its disabled access friendliness I can say they all seemed able to get around and the staff appeared to be helpful and considerate in ensure that they could get things they needed from an outsiders perspective.
The hotel appeared to us as a family with small children to be very family friendly with children's meals in the restaurant helpful staff who appeared well used to accommodating their younger guests. The pool has good facilities for the children and my son enjoyed his stay.
Overall and recommendation
I would recommend this hotel for families wanting a break near Chester to go to the zoo as it is so close and easy to get to from the hotel. There are a few issues I had with the hotel such as the how the bathroom in the room wasn't upgraded to the same standard as the bedroom and the missing tiles in the pool both of which are areas I think could be easily improved. However the staff were very helpful friendly and polite in all the interactions we had a good stay and would stay there again if we went to Chester to the zoo in the future. De Vere often does offers and I think it is worthwhile looking out for these.
My husband left his work fleece in our room when we checked out which we didn't realise till we got home. I had to phone several days running leaving messages for the housekeeping department about this, but these calls were never returned. On my last attempt to phone I spoke to the duty manager who personally went to check the lost property area but couldn't find it but arranged for the head housekeeper to phone back in the morning. She dutifully did this and had obviously checked with the staff who had cleaned our room on check out and had found that the attendant who was new had put it in the wrong area. She then arranged for this to be sent to us free of charge and gave her apologies for this not being located sooner and staff not returning our calls. I personally was happy with the eventual outcome but would of preferred it to have been sorted sooner. As it was resolved well in the end I am not deducting any stars for this lack of follow up initially.
VILLAGE St David's,
Ewloe Nr Chester,
T: 0844 980 2361
F: 01244 536 670
Summary: A good hotel near Chester that is family friendly but has a few issues that could be easily resolved
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