“ Address: Chapel Street / Stratford-Upon-Avon / CV37 6ER / England „
The Mercure Shakespear Hotel, Stratford upon Avon.
The hotel was once part of the Macdonald hotel chain but has been taken over by the Mercure hotels group which is an international hotel chain.
The shakespeare Hotel is in the heart of the beautiful historical town of Stratford upon Avon so it is easy to walk around and see all the attractions of this historical old town. It is a beautiful 74 roomed hotel with rooms and suites in the main building and also in the adjoining annex.
Some of the rooms are available with a four poster bed and each room carries a name associated with Shakespeare.Its location is ideal to sight see around this beautiful town and is handy for the local Shakespeare theatres and it is not too far away from the river. The road it is in can be a bit busy but there is not that much noise from the traffic.
The hotel is over 300 years old and has a Tudor appearance of old oak beamed frontage which makes it look very pretty and picturesque especially when the bright red geraniums in hanging baskets and window boxes are in full bloom. Throughout the hotel you will see there arelots of original oak beams and some of the flooring is uneven and the floor is uneven and in places you have to duck down to stop you banging your head on the low beams.
The ceilings appear to be quite low adding to the atmosphere of the place. There are some tasteful old pictures adorning the walls throughout the hotel and brass ornaments. There is a massive fire place in the bar area and it had roaring fire going when we returned from an evening out at the theatre. All the furniture and decor is quite old and dated in keeping with the rest of the building and it maintains an atmosphere of olde world charm.
The reception area is set back towards the back of the hotel and we were greeted quite well and given directions to our room. The staff were very professional and business like and welcoming. There was a lot of tourist information available and leaflets you could take to browse through of local attractions. Check in and check out was simple and painless.
There are a variety of rooms to choose from including single, twin, doubles and suites. Some of the rooms are interlinked for families. If you really want to splash out you can book one of the suite rooms with a four poster bed.
We had booked into the hotel for the weekend for a theatre break and we were pleasantly suprised at the atmosphere of the building. It is not ultra modern in any way and some of the rooms are very dated indeed as is the furniture. There are oak beams everywhere even inside the rooms. Our room was a small suite with an en suite bathroom.
The lounge area was functional with two very old winged armchairs, a coffee table, lampstand in the corner and a writing desk. The television was quite an old set and looked very much out of place anyway. We were not in the room long enough to watch television as there is so much to see and do both in Stratford itself and the surrounding areas. The decor did look a bit drab and I must admit it was clean which as far as I am concerened is a very high priority on my list of expectations.
The bed was quite big and very comfortable and I managed to sleep a whole 8 hours. There was tea and coffee making facilities in the room and two bedside tables with reading lamps. Our room was in the main part of the hotel so I can not comment about the annex area but it was peaceful. We could hear no noise at all apart from the creaking floor boards both inside and outside the room and in the corridors.
The bathroom was plain white tiled and had a shower over the bath and a toilet. There were some toiletries provided as you would expect but they were not very good quality and we had brought our own stuff with us anyway. It was spotlessly clean and functional but not a bathroom you would want to spend any time in,
Parking in the hotel is very limited and the entrance to this is down a side street through a very narrow archway. The car park is very small indeed and you need to be quite adept at manoeuvering the car to park properly. I noticed some people even double parked which is not very helpful if you wanted to get away early. Parking is on a first come first serve basis and when we returned to the hotel after going out for a trip on one of the days all the spaces were taken so we ended up parked quite a way from the hotel.
Although there is a restaurant in the hotel called Orthello's we only had breakfast here as there is a wide choice of restaurants around Stratford. Looking at the menu it appeared a little on the expensive side but the choices were very good indeed. I can only tell you about the breakfast because that is all we had. Breakfast was included in our room rate and worked out about ten pounds each. If you are buying breakfast separately it worked out about £15 a head.
The breakfast was a mixture of buffet and waiter service. The buffet was very extensive with fresh fruit, tinned fruits, various seeds and dried fruits available. There was a wide selection of pastries and different breads. There was a good range of mini packs of cereals, albran and muesli. THere were also different fruit juices and yoghurts to help yourself to. Tea and coffee was also freely available and the staff were constantly offering to top up the pots.
While helping ourselves to fruit and breads the waitress had taken our order for a cooked breakfast. The cooked breakfast was delicious, good meaty sausages and nice crisp bacon, fresh tomatoes and mushrooms. The eggs were cooked to perfection apparently. I wouldnt know as I dont eat them and the nearest I would come to eating eggs are the wrapped variety made by cadburys none of which I might add were on offer.
The breakfast was very substantial and certainly set you up for the day.
There are two bars in the hotel although we only made the front bar which is at the front of the hotel. This is called Orthello's bar. The other bar is called Quil bar and lounge and is towards the rear of the hotel. The front bar was more lively as people caome in off the street for drinks or prior to or after dinner in the restaurant. The roaring log fire was quite nice to see although it did chuck out the heat somewhat. Prices for drinks at the bar were quite extrotionate and typical of hotel prices.
Our stay per night was £172 and totalled £344 for the two night's bed and breakfast. They do sometimes offer cheaper rates and there are also packages available. Some of the rooms are much more expensive than the one we had. We booked this hotel via the Mercure website which was simple to use and a confirmation email came as soon as we had booked it.
The web site can be found here :-
Would I recommend this hotel?
I would definitley stay here again due to it being in the heart of Stratford and close to all the local amenities, local theatres and tourist sites. The only minus point I found about the hotel was the car park but the hotel can not really do much about that. This is the only reason I marked it four stars.
The hotel was very comfortable and quite peaceful. We had no issues with anything in the room although it was a little dated but everything was clean. The restaurant was very nice indeed and the extensive breakfast was wonderful. The staff were very friendly and welcoming and it was a pleasure to stay here. It might have been a little on the expensive side but it was worth it. If you do go and stay here you wont regret it.
Mercure Shakespeare Hotel.
Stratford upon Avon.
Thanks for reading this review.
I recently wrote a review for Shakespeare's Birthplace, probably the most popular visitor attraction in Stratford-Upon-Avon. As a present, a room was booked for me for one night at the Mercure Shakespeare hotel, possibly the best hotel in terms of it being a traditional building with a great location.
Mercure is an international hotel chain, with quite a prestigious reputation. I wouldn't have booked this hotel for myself personally, as the rates per night are quite high, but I know the person who booked it for me got a reasonably good deal with breakfast thrown in. Needless to say, I was very happy to be staying somewhere smack bang in the centre of Stratford town!
For such a large, well-known hotel chain, I was expecting to see something ultra-modern, with contemporary design and décor. I did an Internet search before going, and saw photographs of the outside of the hotel, and was quite surprised to find an old-fashioned, black and white building, along with traditional interiors. Obviously, it would have looked a bit silly to erect a modern and contemporary hotel in the middle of Stratford, surrounded by older buildings, but I've seen new builds ruin similar towns before. The Mercure Shakespeare hotel keeps the air of tradition and the roots of history in its architecture, interior design, and the general classic feeling associated with it.
... Location ...
As I've said, the location of the Mercure Shakespeare is perfectly central to Stratford-Avon's centre. The hotel is situated on Chapel Street, meaning that just a few seconds walking and you'll be in reach of shops, tourist attractions such as Shakespeare's Birthday, and many places to drink and eat.
... Parking ...
According to the website, the Mercure has limited car parking on site. I was concerned by this initially as I had read reviews from others who have stayed at this hotel but had problems getting a space in the car park. Perhaps I was lucky, but I went on a relatively warm and sunny day, expected there to be problems getting a space at around 3pm, and yet I got a space with no problems. To park here, you'll need a code from reception to let you out and a cost of £10 is charged for an overnight stay until you check out the following day. I paid this by cash to get it out of the way and make sure I had my car safely stored for my stay so I wouldn't have to worry about it until the next day. There are other car parks around Stratford, including a large one which I initially parked in before checking into the hotel, and that's around a 10 minute walk away. If you have any concerns regarding parking, the staff at the hotel reception are very helpful and can direct you to their car park or an alternative. I was initially parked by a leisure centre of some sort, and wasn't sure how to drive from there to the hotel car park. The woman in reception told me not to worry as she picked a black & white printed map out from behind the counter, drew a star on to show where my car was, and traced the route I needed to take.
... About The Hotel ...
Mercure is quite a prestigious international chain, and with Stratford being a hot tourist spot, this hotel has to be able to cater for enough visitors whilst maintaining quite high standards for those paying their higher prices. The Shakespeare Mercure has 74 Rooms, some in the main building, and others in a detached building just two steps out the back out the main one.
Looking at it, it looks traditional with its black and white front, and upholds the image of the town very nicely. I thought it may be a little too 'posh' for me, with staff and visitors in there being a bit snobby (yes, I feel guilty saying that but it's the truth because I'm just the average working, middle-class girl). I found everyone there very nice, give or take the odd rich man in the foyer complaining that someone wasn't shining his shoes as he walked in. Okay, that's stretching the truth slightly, he was actually moaning that there wasn't someone to park his car for him and that he wait at the desk to be checked in like everyone else even though the queue was only 1 person long!
According to their website, they allow pets which somewhat surprised me, though I didn't see any when I was there so it's best to call and confirm the arrangements of taking your pets prior to visiting.
... The Rooms ...
Upon checking in, we were issued with two cards so we had one each. These are the electronic swipe key cards, with which I had no problems, and so I found them very handy as they can be kept in your purse.
It depends which room you ask for and how much you pay, and I can only go by what I experienced. My particular room therefore was very nice as the first thing I noticed was the amount of space it had! Opening the door, I saw a good sized bathroom with bath in front, a wardrobe to the left, and a large bedroom come living area to the right. I say bedroom/living area as we had our two separate beds, plus 2 chairs, bedside light, a floor light, a desk, a set of drawers with a TV and two bedside cabinets. The layout made it seem nice and airy, plenty of space to move around and the chairs were a nice addition to make it feel more relaxed and practical.
As per the website, the rooms have air conditioning. I wish I had noticed this before going, as it was sweltering at night and I didn't even think to check if they had air con. The windows were open and yet I was so hot I wasn't sure I'd ever get to sleep in such heat! I needn't have worried though, 2 minutes after my head hit the pillow I was under, and this is someone who has long-running problems sleeping at night.
Everything was clean, both in the bathroom and the main room, with everything neatly laid out as it should be. The duvet cover and pillows, at first squeeze, didn't seem very nice. They felt quite hard and plasticy. I spoke to soon, because that was the most comfortable night I've had in a very long time!
The windows were very large, giving a great view outside and making the room feel more spacious. Decorating the windows were large, old-fashioned curtains. The bed clothes and chair upholstery looked a bit like the curtains, which, although this isn't how I'd choose to decorate my home, added to the overall feel of the hotel. It keeps with the atmosphere of the town in general, retaining the classic appeal.
There was an overhead shower in the en-suit, a hair dryer stored in the wardrobe along with a few hangers, and in the main room was a booklet with information on the hotel and local area. There was also a mini bar and room service, along with a telephone. These additions make your stay more practical, and even if you don't use room service or have a shower, it's good to have them there in case you decide you want them.
... The Food ...
The hotel has two main restaurants: the David Garrick (which was awarded an AA rosette) & Othello's Bar and Brasserie. There are two bars, one in Othello's and the other in the Quill bar & Lounge (which blends with the reception area and serves all night). I found the latter serves late because I had returned to the hotel at about 11pm and decided to sit downstairs rather than go straight back to the room so I could say I got the most out of being social in the hotel, and after having a friendly chat with the man on reception, was able to order a delicious hot chocolate.
I didn't go to either of the restaurants for dinner because I wanted to try somewhere else in town. I did quickly glance at the menus however, which I thought were relatively expensive and a little to classy for me when I prefer something casual. If you're a bit like me though, there are plenty of places to eat and drink just a few seconds away from the hotel.
The breakfast, which I had included in the price paid for the overnight stay, was, I beiieve, served in the Garrick restaurant area. This was buffet style, and there was plenty of seating even though there were already many people there already enjoying breakfast by the time I had forced myself out of my comfy bed. There was a relatively good choice of cold and warm foods, along with hot and cold drinks, and although the service wasn't perfect (I had asked for some plain white bread but the waitress never returned) it was a nice experience overall with a good atmosphere. As this buffet breakfast was included in the price which someone else paid for me as a present, I definitely can't moan about it! But if I were to go again, I wouldn't buy the buffet additionally for the £15 or thereabouts it's charged at, I would prefer to go down the road and get a £3 breakfast elsewhere.
... Price ...
The prices are, to me, quite high. They do vary depending on what month and day of the week you stay, though I would say a room for a night would cost you on average £100, plus around £15-20 for breakfast if you wish to add it. Don't forget to add on £10 for the carpark if you have a car. For this however, you do get a hotel right in the centre of the town which is inkeeping with the traditional appeal of the area.
... My Stay ...
Overall, I was very happy with my stay at the Mercure Shakespeare hotel, despite a few niggles here and there. I don't feel like I can complain because I didn't pay, but had I have paid £100 then that may be slightly different. On arrival I noticed the mini bar fridge in my room wasn't working because I was going to store a few diet coke cans in there rather than pay £10 for 4 from the mini bar list. I opened it to find it was leaking, so went to reception to let them know about the problem as I was about to go out for dinner. I told them I was concerned it may get worse and ruin their carpet if it leaked everywhere, but when I came back a few hours later no one had checked on it and there was a nice big puddle on the floor. I went back to reception before going out for a few drinks and they said they'd tell maintenance to check it out before we got back later that night. I went back, saw the nice guy in reception I had bumped into earlier who was very friendly, and he told me he was aware of the problem and that no one would be able to look at it until morning. I presume that's because maintenance weren't called the first time I mentioned the problem. The receptionist man told me he didn't have a clue about fridges so just unplugged it and dried it up a bit, and added that if I wanted any cans kept cool I could use the downstairs fridge. I was happy with that; a lovely guy who was honest that he didn't understand fridges, but he'd tried to help and was very nice about it.
... Overall ...
If you're planning a stay in Stratford and want a central location, then you can't get much closer than the Mercure Shakespeare hotel. If you're only staying for the one night this would be perfect, though it really does depend on your budget. It's a good idea to check out the website or give them a call to find out about their best deals, and prices vary and sometimes you can get a good deal with breakfast thrown in.
Staying here was, overall, a good experience as it felt like a safe, comfortable and kind hotel.
Located in the historic city centre.