“ Address: Enstone / Chipping Norton / OX7 5UE / Oxfordshire / England „
This hotel is a bit misleading from the website and in terms of what to expect. It looks like a 4 or 5 star hotel in amazing grounds, but in reality the whole thing is so massive that where you stay really depends on what the experience is like! Luckily for us we were expecting something pretty ropey as we went on a very good value salsa weekend organised by our salsa class and so were not expecting luxury!
This place is great if you are staying for a conference or an organised weekend such as our salsa weekend. Its big enough to accomodate big groups of people and cater for lots at dinner and breakfast, but I wouldn't want to stay here on a romantic getaway or weekend away as I think there are nicer places to stay in the area.
The hotel is so big that we had a massive trek (literally felt like about 10 minutes!) from our room to the dining room or any of the main rooms where our dance classes were being held. There are lots of extra bits of the hotel tacked on that are pretty ugly buildings - 80's square blocks that look like halls of residence or similar - nothing like the picture on the website which is just the main part of the hotel! Luckily you can walk to all parts of the hotel no matter which block you are in undercover as all the other buildings are joined to the main hotel. There is plenty of car parking in various different car parks and a small bit of car parking outisde the main entrance to reception.
My friend and I shared a room in one wing away from the main hotel and it was fine - travelodge standard or slightly above. Smallish, but clean and reasonably modern but just standard hotel room which you would expect from any chain really, nothing special. Another friend had a room on the other wing closer to the main part of the hotel but his room was pretty dire. If i had paid to stay there without being on a salsa weekend when we were dancing til 2am and not really using the bedroom much then i wouldn't have been impressed! It was very old fashioned, and looked almost bare. It was tiny with a tiny 14 inch old tv, an old desk and looked just like some of the older rooms in halls of residence when i was at uni (not as good as some of the newer halls!). I had heard on the grapevine that the rooms in the main part of the hotel were very nice. So i think it depends on where you stay and I think they are different prices so check when you book exactly what you are getting.
The reception staff and waiting staff were very friendly. Breakfast was buffet style and there was plenty of choice - standard hotel fare of cereal, fruit, fruit juice, tea and coffee and hot breakfast - sausages, bacon, mushrooms, two different types of eggs etc. A few nice touches such as strawberry and banana smoothies being available as well as juice, and a variety of different bread as well as toast. The dining room was large and airy and had huge pictures on the walls and was actually quite a nice place. Dinner was served there too and was also buffet style. I don't know if it was buffet style just because there were a 100 or so of us on the salsa weekend or if anyone else in the hotel also ate there and had the buffet or if an al a carte menu was available. The food for dinner was perfectly edible and quite nice but definatley hotel standard food and not very exciting. Chicken and rice one night and I think beef in some kind of sauce and rice or noodles the next night! There was also a salad bar which looked very nice but i didn't try - as well as salads it also had cold meats and things like potato salad so you could actually just eat from there if you didn't fancy the main meal. The deserts were again buffet style and were lots of different types of gateau/ cheescake type things that you could help yourself to and platters of fruit. Not amazingly tasty but fine!
My favourite part of the hotel was actually the very cosy , warm and friendly bar area. It had a nice big fire place, comfortable chairs and sofa's and reasonably priced drinks (not cheap by any means but not extortionate). It was nice to sit here after dinner for a little while and on the sunday afternoon we sat there having a coffee too and it was a nice elegant room to sit in which was a shame the whole of the hotel wasn't up to the same standard.
The only other thing to say about this hotel is it really is in the middle of nowhere. It has nice grounds if it is a nice day to walk around in (although they were digging some of it up when we went). But the driveway up to the hotel itself is about 1 mile so you can't walk anywhere else. You definatley need a car to go exploring the Cotswolds and personally unless i was staying for another organised weekend that was based around the hotel without needing to leave i would rather stay elsewhere in the Cotswolds somewhere in a village or town that wasn't quite so remote.
I would recommend staying here only if you were sure you knew what type of room you were getting and if you got it for a reasonable price, otherwise i think there are better places. However i sort of feel mean only giving the place 2 stars but that is my rating i am giving in terms of just staying on your own /with a partner/ friend etc for a weekend away as it wouldn't be that great - for our own purposes of having the salsa weekend there it was actually very good and i would give it more like 4 stars for that purpose!
The house was built in the early 18th Century. It boast 4 star standard bedrooms and panoramic view of the countryside.