This review is for the Minster Hotel, a 34 room three star rated hotel in the centre of York, in Yorkshire.
The hotel is situated on Bootham, which is less than a five minute walk from the Minster, which is also the heart of the city, its shops and historic attractions. I've stayed at numerous hotels in York, and I was pleased with the central location of this one. I note that an old review on this site is quite scathing of the hotel, although my one night stay was more favourable. I booked on Laterooms, so paid a little less than the usual advertised rates, which I'll detail a little further on.
My first impressions of the hotel were positive, the lady at reception was helpful and the whole procedure was smooth and it seemed that renovations had taken place recently. I use Laterooms a lot, and occasionally there are problems with the payments, but there were no problems on this occasion. The hotel gave the appearance of being generally welcoming and also being kept clean and tidy. On this occasion, the room was 69 pounds including breakfast.
The room itself was more than satisfactory and was of a good size, it had coffee and tea making facilities, was warm and had a comfortable double bed. There was a flat-screen TV, which I didn't use whilst I was there, but was well positioned as there's nothing worse than a TV stuck in the corner of the room which is hardly bigger than a postage stamp. I noted from the hotel's literature that there was a selection of Freeview channels for those that might be interested!
I'd say at this point that the reviews guests may leave might depend whether they're placed in the outbuilding, an old coach house, or in the main hotel. I was placed in the latter, but I heard from another guest at the hotel, and I've noted on some review sites, that the quality of the rooms is lower in the coach house. I'd therefore recommend that if you can to ask for a room in the main part of the hotel.
Breakfast is included in the price of the room, and is a freshly cooked breakfast, along with other usual sides such as fruit juices, cereals and yoghurts. The breakfast room looked like it had just been renovated and was clean and well maintained. The breakfast itself with fine, a reasonable portion, served promptly and with a welcoming cup of coffee. You won't be able to take any other meals in the hotel however as they currently only serve breakfast, but York isn't short of delightful eateries to choose from, including some of my favourite pubs!
There is wi-fi in public areas, although not in the room, or at least not the room that I was in. Although wi-fi in the rooms would have been preferable, it's useful to have access to wi-fi which is much appreciated. There is also a bar, which didn't seem very well used when I was there, and looked a little expensive, but it's nice that the option was there if I had wanted it. As I mentioned above, York has a lot of fine pubs to choose from, so I was happy to support their finances instead.
In terms of car parking, I don't have a car as York is well served by railways (and as an aside, the York Railway Museum is a fascinating museum with so many interesting exhibits and is free of charge to visit), but I understand that parking is provided free of charge for guests outside.
The hotel's address is 60 Bootham, you can book on the site itself, or through booking sites such as Laterooms.com. It's definitely worth checking this site, as it's cheaper to book via this than via the hotel itself, although you aren't of course guaranteed the same availability. This price differential might certainly be disappointing to some customers however, I always prefer when the hotel offers the cheapest rate possible when they're contacted directed.
In summary, this is a satisfactory hotel, I think that I may have been lucky in the room that I was given, and satisfied with the service I had, but others have clearly been more unfortunate. I'd suggest that this wouldn't be my first choice if I was staying in York again, but I certainly would be happy to stay here again.
For my birthday last year Dave decided to arrange a weekend in York for me. I really needed a break as I am full time carer to mom who has dementia so we chose a really nice hotel (or so we thought) and booked in for the weekend.
The hotel has a website at www.minsterhotel.co.uk and, if you take a look, you'll see it looks like an ideal choice of venue - looks good, has excellent facilities (allegedly) and is close to York.
I found out after we had returned home that Dave had also sent an e mail to the hotel before we went explaining my situation and that a weekend break was a very rare treat for me and asking if they could make sure things were just right for me - bless him!
We arrived on Friday evening having found the hotel easily. It is on Bootham which one of the main roads leading into York, through Bootham Bar and directly to York Minster. This was part of the attraction as it meant that we could park the car and not need to use it again all weekend. There was a decent sized car park at the back of the hotel so this was fine.
We checked in and were told where to find our room. The lift was so tiny that we could just about both get in with our small case so if you were part of a larger group then you would have to make two trips or use the stairs.
We found our room quite easily and unlocked the door. We walked in to a room with the en suite to the left, wardrobes to the right and the window straight ahead. This layout is relevant as it meant we got a bad first impression of the room as the curtains were not fitted to the curtain rail properly and were hanging off.
The problems in the room included:
Both the net curtains and the main curtains were hanging off the curtain rails where they had come down and not been put back. This made the curtains difficult to close and gave the room a very scruffy appearance.
The catch on the window was broken.
The back was broken off the remote control for the television making it useless.
The bathroom was not up to standard - the shower head was dirty, there was rust around the taps, the toilet didn't flush properly (the handle had to be pumped up and down to get the toilet to flush) and the sink was stained.
The waste paper bin in the bathroom was not emptied during our stay despite being used.
On the second day there was very little toilet roll left after the room had been serviced and when it ran out we had to ask at reception for another one, which we were given without comment or apology.
Now for the breakfast!
On day one we stood for about 10 minutes waiting to be shown to a table (as instructed in the hotel information book) even though there were tables free and staff had noticed us.
There was a buffet table containing a good selection of fruit juices, fruit and cereals.
Then there was a further hot buffet consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomatoes and beans. Here we had to wait for 5 minutes for plates to be delivered to the buffet area.
Also at the hot buffet were two large toasters so that we could make our own toast. On the first morning I made the mistake of selecting my cooked breakfast before putting the bread into the toaster thinking it would be at least as efficient as the one in my own kitchen. The bread actually took ages to toast and so my breakfast was cool, to say the least!
On day two the variety of food was limited on the breakfast buffet and the eggs that were there were inedible, but at least I set the toaster off before I sorted out my cooked breakfast!
On the third and thankfully final day there was no hot food. The bacon, sausage, eggs, tomatoes and black pudding were all cold. Even when fresh supplies arrived the food was still cold.
On this day even toast wasn't an option as the bread supplied for toasting was too stale and had mould on it.
The information in our room had stated that our order for tea, toast and a cooked breakfast would be taken at our table.
Clearly this was not the case and we suffered because of it, not having a decent breakfast on any of the three mornings of our stay.
Just to add to the ambience Radio One was playing at a fairly loud volume at all times whilst we were eating and rap music isn't really everyone's cup of tea even if the young staff enjoy it.
To add insult to injury the check out on our final morning was beyond belief.
In the room there was a complaint sheet which we completed and handed to reception on our way to breakfast so that it could be read prior to our checking out. I have no idea whether this happened or not as no comment or apology was made.
When we came to check out the bill was incorrect as we had been charged £330 instead of £275. The receptionist did apologise but was clearly annoyed at having to check and alter our bill even though she only scribbled the new price on the bottom of the bill!
My husband commented on the cold breakfast that we had just endured and the receptionist was very sharp saying. 'You'll have to put any complaints in writing to the manager - he's not here at the moment.' I was very surprised that a hotel of this calibre should be run with no one in charge!
As we left the reception area we heard the two receptionists beginning to comment in a derogatory fashion on the fact that we had complained. I was surprised at this as I would think that they would have been used to it!
I had seen on the website and on the sign outside the hotel that they had been awarded three stars by the AA so I checked on the AA website to see what this means and I quote 'Staff will be skilled in responding to guests' needs, and there will be a dedicated receptionist on duty. All rooms are en suite and have remote-control TV and direct-dial telephone. There is a restaurant open to residents and their guests and a bar or lounge serving drinks.'
I would not say that the reception or the breakfast room 'staff were all skilled in responding to guests needs' and we did have a remote control TV but without a working remote control! If the meals in the restaurant are as bad as the breakfasts I am glad we didn't try it!
We were so disgusted with the standard of the hotel and the service, or rather lack of it, that I wrote to the manager and complained. He never replied - maybe he is still unavailable?
I have since written to the AA about this hotel enclosing a copy of my letter to the manager and they intend to follow it up with a visit to check on the facilities.
I do note that the website still advertises the hotel with 3 stars so maybe the AA think that this level of service is acceptable I do not!
Needless to say we will not be visiting this hotel again!
A charming Victorian Hotel with a warm and authentic atmosphere enhanced with modern facilities to accommodate all of our guests.