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The Fantastic Falcon
Falcon Regal Hotel (Stratford Upon Avon)
Member Name: flodombey
Falcon Regal Hotel (Stratford Upon Avon)
Date: 02/06/10, updated on 02/06/10 (40 review reads)
Advantages: Great location, well trained staff, excellent value for money if you shop around, nice breakfasts
Disadvantages: Room was not ready when we checked in.
This hotel, restaurant and pub in Stratford Upon Avon is a place I am very familiar with. It was the very first pub I was ever taken into as an 'adult' when a family friend took me out for dinner and the theatre as a treat for passing my GCSEs back in 1995 (wow, so long ago its scary).
Back on that night, as a wide eyed 16 year old I remember feeling that it was a very quaint and welcoming place. I have been back many times since, as a regular theatre goer, and finally, this past weekend I stayed over in the hotel for the first time.
It is actually known these days as the Legacy Falcon rather than the Falcon Regal, I believe the Legacy Hotels chain have bought it and have been slowly refurbishing all the rooms. The iconic outside remains the same, however, the slightly skewiff tudor building with the beams and thatch is a trademark of this historical town.
The location of the Falcon is one of its main selling points and the reason why it is used as a pre-theatre base for those in the know (rather than the theatre bars which are more expensive). The Falcon stands across the road from Nash's House/New Place which is one of the three buildings looked after by the Shakespeare Trust and open to the public. It is a mere stones throw from the Swan/RSC theatres (currently closed for extensive refurbishment but due to reopen later this year).
A five minute walk the other way, towards the high street is Shakespeare's birthplace and Sheep Street, where the three big hitters in terms of well regarded Stratford restaurants (Lamb's, The Vintner and The Oppo) are based is literally around the corner. Stratford is a fairly small town anyway but the Falcon is smack bang central in the middle of the sights.
Behind the tudor facade to the front there is an extensive network of modern extension which houses a whole wing of recently refurbished hotel rooms, a restaurant and pretty gardens. The reception desk for the hotel is right at the back but you will enter directly into the lobby if you park on their dedicated car park which is to the rear. There are plenty of spaces and a multi-storey section, we have never had a problem parking here, even when its busy.
If you enter off the street at the front you will step initially into the bar area and you have to navigate the rooms and corridors (which are signposted) through to reception at the back. The pub area at the front is a lively bar room with screens showing whatever sport might be on, plenty of tables, bar snacks and decently priced beers, wines and spirits.
As I said, for the first time this past weekend we were staying in the Falcon's hotel rooms. I was very excited when I found a double room on Hotels.com for £60 bed and breakfast. At £30 each for the night, knowing the location etc very well I jumped at the chance. Officially this is a 4 star hotel so I was pretty sure we would get great value for money, I was actually quite surprised to get a room at this rate on a bank holiday weekend - it just goes to show that it pays to shop around as the rates on their own website for the same room are between £90 and £115 a night.
On checking in, we were a little early, arriving around lunch time. They told us that our room would not be ready until 2pm and offered to look after our bags for us. We did not mind this and left the bags before wandering into town for some lunch. There was a wedding party beginning to gather in the lobby as this is a popular venue and I did wonder again at our luck getting a room.
Anyway, we returned at about 2.15pm and the lady on reception apologised profusely and asked us to take a seat, it turned out the cleaner was still in our room. There are plenty of sofas in the lobby area so we sat down. I was getting a little annoyed 15 minutes later and my patience was wearing a little thin when I heard the cleaner radio down to say our room was finally ready.
So, we asked for our bags, only to be told they had been put in our room, number 106 on the first floor. We got to our room and our bags were not there. I despatched the other half back down to reception and eventually we were reunited with our bags and in our room! I put this error down to them being busy and maybe a little short staffed - it was the only niggle with our stay and not a major one.
So, our room was lovely, a king size bed, all very contemporary decoration with a flat screen TV which could be angled however you liked, a very clean and spacious bathroom with a great shower and lots of posh looking toiletries. There was also a large wardrobe which contained an iron and ironing board, a dressing table and full tea and coffee making facilities (plus complimentary walkers biscuits which the other half immediately snaffled).
The room was clean, quiet and perfectly comfortable. All the furniture and fittings felt relatively new. Our room looked out over the car park so it did not have a wonderful view but then we only intended to be in the room to sleep anyway so it did not matter.
Both of us slept very well and were undisturbed by other guests until about 9am the next morning. Breakfast was served until 10.30am which was a nice touch and meant we did not have to rush.
I was very impressed with the breakfast selection, it is a nice, posh feeling hotel restaurant where tea, coffee and toast are bought to your table for you, orders are taken for cooked breakfasts and a full range of continental pastries, cereals and fruit/yoghurt are on a buffet. For the rate we paid this felt like an added luxury.
The staff at breakfast were very attentive and polite, I enjoyed some pain au chocolate and brown toast with some tea and felt we had got fantastic value for money.
All in all, this is a great base for exploring Stratford. My first experience as a hotel guest was as good as I expected it to be, knowing this place pretty well from the past. I am glad to see that it is indeed a lovely place to stay, with well trained staff and nice food. Shop around if you intend on staying here and you may find as competitive a rate as we did.
A top notch destination in this busy tourist town.
Summary: A fantastic base for exploring Stratford, well worth considering if you want to stay in the center.
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