“ Address: Bridgefoot / Stratford Upon Avon / Warwickshire / CV37 7LT / England / Tel: 0844 879 9145 „
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My husband and I spent 2 nights (Saturday and Sunday) at the Swan's Nest for the August Bank holiday. The hotel was easy to find using satellite navigation, although looks a bit like a big pub from outside so I wasn't initially sure we had the right place! The car park entrance wasn't instantly obvious for us to find as someone had parked right in front of the sign which said which way to turn, I think it needed better signposting which couldn't be obstructed by cars or people.
There is free car parking for approx 60-70 cars, we arrived at 1.30pm and the car park was fully packed with guests and people visiting the in-hotel restaurant for lunch (plus it was bank holiday). We were advised we could go park nearby at the sister hotel (Alveston Manor) which is nearby but we decided to wait a little and ended up getting a spot after about 10-15 mins, which wasn't too bad a wait.
We were greeted by a lady at reception who was very pleasant and helpful, and she gave all key information as to enjoying our stay. We were given room number 45 which was on the upper floor, not too far from reception. It was a quiet room in general, which was good, as I have heard people who are located right above the bar get a lot of noise from it. I think from the looks of it, we had a room that was better than Standard, as we had a special name for our room (Spotted Flycatcher - probably some bird name!) and I think the room seemed quite spacious.
First impressions of the hotel were that it was cosy and comfortable, albeit a little old fashioned. I have not visited any other MacDonald hotels but from what I heard, it probably is one of the more older hotels within the chain. Our room was quite spacious and clean and we were provided with a double bed, desk, comfy chair and a new looking Samsung flatscreen TV, with plenty of freeview channels to keep you entertained.
Sleep quality was good, and the bed was really nice and comfortable. Each side has somewhere to rest any things by the bed, my husband had a little side drawer unit, and I had the desk, which I could reach quite easily to grab things from. Although it was quite close to me, it didn't obstruct me while I slept. There are little lamps by the bed, and a switch for the mains, so you don't have to get up to switch the light off should you want to watch tv or read before going to bed.
On the Saturday night, we got a fair bit of noise as there was a wedding reception on, which didn't go on too late and was done by about 10.30. Our room was very close to the reception hall, but we quite enjoyed listening to the merriment and cheesy tunes!
The bathroom was mostly white coloured and clean looking, apart from a cobweb on the window, and a small-to-medium sized spider hiding in the window corner that seemed to have been living there for quite a while. The spider was okay though and minded his own business, although he would usually venture out slightly a bit during the evening. Now usually I tend to terminate spiders if they become a little too close for comfort, but spidey was an alright chap.
The shower was quite powerful, although I found the jet sprays a little too fine, but at least there was good force coming from it. There is a glass screen rather than shower curtain which leaked water a little, but it was okay as we could put a spare towel on the floor to mop up any excess water.
In terms of toiletries, you are given one hand soap, one shower gel, one shampoo, and a shower cap. This is probably the bare minimum I would require anyway, as I tend to bring a lot of my own toiletries. They do not replenish this stock on a daily basis - although I am unsure what they would do for people staying for longer periods such as a week. You are given two bath towels, two hand towels, a mat to put by the bath, and 2 little flannels.
Our hotel deal included hot buffet breakfast, which was served on the ground floor near reception in 'Le Bistrot Pierre' restaurant which is within the hotel. This restaurant is quite popular by day and offers fine French cuisine. In the morning, it offers a buffet breakfast to those who are staying at the hotel and those from outside who might wish to come and have their breakfast here. The restaurant is not massive, so basically you have key items out to take as you wish, including juice (not fresh), cereal, pain au chocolats, croissants, bread, ham, cheese, yogurt, dried fruits and nuts, and milk. A waiter or waitress will take your hot breakfast order which is standard fare consisting of toast, eggs, bacon, sausages, beans and mushrooms. There are no hash browns which I was a little miffed about, as I love those! But anyway, on both days I didn't really fancy a cooked breakfast, so instead I asked for pancakes, which are the thicker type rather than crepes, and they came with a nice little pot of maple syrup one morning, and the next with some compote and crème fraiche as they must have run out of maple syrup that day. There are nice little jars with jams and honey in them on the table, as well as little packets of butter for your toast. It's quite an enjoyable atmosphere as you are usually put by the window which has a view of the riverside. It is a tad on the quiet side during breakfast though, as they have no music or anything, and you are usually quite close to other patrons, so you wouldn't be able to have a personal conversation should you wish.
I paid £169.60 for 2 nights with bed and breakfast, working out to be £84.80 per night. I have stayed in Stratford Upon Avon before and paid £19 a night at the Travelodge which was obviously a lot cheaper, but considering there was no breakfast there and it was a little bit more of a walk to get into town (about 10-15 mins), plus the fact I booked only a month before August Bank Holiday, I thought that was a very decent price. I found this deal through ASDA Travel after a search through travel supermarket, which I was amazed at, as I didn't even know ASDA did travel and hotels!
The hotel is walking distance from the main town, all you have to do is come out and cross the bridge, and there you are. The town is really lovely and quaint, and two days was enough to potter about, lunch and have a nice time. You can walk along the river too, and admire the ducks and swans which live there, and even enjoy a nice boat ride if you wish. There are plenty of lovely cafés and tea rooms. I can recommend both Bensons Tea Room and Patisserie Valerie café for some nice lunch and desserts. We eat an Indian meal at Avon Spice which was fairly standard Indian fare but seemed to be quite popular. We also eat one evening in Café Pasta, which was a chain restaurant, but had a nice atmosphere. I liked the look of the Encore pub and Cox's Yard, but we decided on going to some quieter places, but those places looked really lively and fun to go to and are quite famous within Stratford Upon Avon.
In terms of sightseeing, we decided against the Shakespeare houses, as my husband finds those kind of tourist things too boring, but I managed to get him to go to Shakespeare's grave which is inside Holy Trinity Church. The website says you need to pay £1.50 to go in, but we got in free somehow, maybe they were just not asking for money that weekend. That was worth going to, and something unique. We didn't get a chance to go to the theatre, but they have the Royal Shakespeare Company there, and would be nice for Shakespeare fans to catch a play there.
If you do want to use spa or swimming pool facilities, as a guest at the Swan's Nest, you are able to go to the sister hotel Alveston Manor which is only a couple of mins walk away, but didn't get around to going there.
I enjoyed my stay at the MacDonald Swan's Nest, and I would recommend it for anyone visiting Shakespeare's home town!
(I have posted a similar review on tripadvisor, with photos!)