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A 4-star only if they give a rating for the longest cobwebs
The Abbey Hotel Golf & Country Club (Redditch)
Member Name: Fritzthecat
The Abbey Hotel Golf & Country Club (Redditch)
Advantages: Beautiful grounds
Disadvantages: Dirty, bad food, ineffective staff , ...
I've come across the Abbey Hotel in Redditch while confirming hotel data for another while ago and was impressed by their offer for a family break: It's not often that you find a 2-night including breakfast and use of the health club offer in a 4-star hotel for £ 99 and I've been waiting since for a chance to go there. They also advertise that you can book reduced entrance tickets to a nearby Safari Park through them. The kids had been begging since ages to visit one and with the end of the school holidays coming closer this seemed the perfect opportunity to offer them a treat for being good during those rainy days.
Booking over the website was easy, a quick phone call confirmed that park tickets would be available and could be bought on-site after arrival, no need to pre-book. The last weekend of the summer holidays arrived fast and we were on our way ...
The hotel is a red brick purpose built property, not extremely attractive but set in immaculately landscaped grounds, not without charm. The entrance is utterly unassuming, being set slightly below ground level and anything but not grand. You actually have to climb down some stairs to enter.
The lobby is nice and clean with a modern decor throughout. There are some comfortable sofas and the lift to the upper floor can also be found here.
The check in was swift and painless, within two minutes we had our key cards to our room which would also enable us to use the facilities of the health club. We got a quick briefing about breakfast times and how to make use of the swimming pool and were on our way.
The staff we met was friendly and courteous throughout but in some aspects sadly totally ineffective. After realising that the cleanliness of our room left a bit too much room for improvement we went to the receptionist and informed her discreetly that we would appreciate it a lot if the cobwebs in our room could be removed asap.
She apologized a few times, as expected, and promised to take a note for the housekeeping. I have no clue whether this note was passed on or not or just blatantly ignored by the cleaning personnel, the cobwebs were still there when we came back after a day out the next evening. To my best knowledge they could still be there, growing happily and absolutely undisturbed.
Booking of the park tickets was easy and went smooth and check out was as painless as checking in.
Bar and pub
There is a bar next to the lobby and a pub can be found at the golf club, on top of the spa. Both offer outside sitting areas and the terrace of the pub overlooks the beautifully landscaped golf course.
The interior of the pub is not much to write about. A kind of rustic furniture that doesn't go all that well with the too bright light and the forever running TV, the later is tuned constantly on a sports channel which is probably the link to the golf course. The pub closes at 11pm but if you don't feel like sleeping yet and if the uninspiring ambience hasn't put you in a coma yet, you can move over to the hotel's bar.
On our second evening we had dinner in the pub.
First thing we didn't like is that they don't offer a children's menu. They offer family deals, swimming courses for kids but no menu especially for little guests - poor but the smaller problem.
The bigger issue is that we didn't like the food !
The soup we had as a starter was Ok but nothing special and pretty bland. They have a selection of pasta on the menu which comes with a choice of 2 sauces (never seen that before). I settled for the tortellini with arrabiata sauce, which should have been spicy but was boring and as bland as the soup, the tortellini were limb and the whole affair was smothered in some melted cheese that clearly wasn't Parmigiano.
The husband settled for Chicken Tikka and got a portion that was fairly small. He moaned that the rice was not only without any taste but also very watery, I didn't try but believe him as it also didn't look very appetizing.
Both kids had opted for the giant Yorkshire pudding with Cumberland sausage, gravy and mashed potato.
The Yorkshire pudding was fine but the mashed potatoes were cold and smothered in an extremely thick and starchy gravy . The sausage was the limpest specimen I've ever seen in my life and both girls refused to eat it. I can't blame them: It tasted even worse than it looked.
Not a great experience at all, overpriced on top and I wouldn't eat there again if they paid me !
The hotel lounge is more cosy and offers, next to a bar area, some comfy sofas and a few tables . There are plenty of tables outside, including a large table under a gazebo. I didn't really check what kind of drinks they offer and if there are any fancy cocktails, we just settled for a pint. All went fine during the first evening and we really liked the bar but on the second evening there was a group of golfers who were clearly far beyond their bedtime and behaving horribly.
We witnessed one of them urinating just behind the terrace and having a quiet drink without being undisturbed was impossible. In the end we took our beers and had them in the lobby. Of course it is not the hotel's fault if guests don't know when it is time to stop drinking but an experienced barman should realise when it is time to stop serving.
Golf and Country Club
We didn't try the golf course. None of us plays golf, but the husband spend an hour in the gym and loved it. He found it well equipped and would have loved to return, but we ran out of time so one visit was all he got.
On our second day we managed to squeeze in a visit to the pool and all liked it a lot. The pool isn't extremely large but sufficient and the whole pool area is very attractive. There are more than enough lockers, you'll find showers equipped with shampoo and hairdryers. In the pool area is also a steam room and there also must be a sauna somewhere which we haven't seen. We didn't have enough time for any beauty or massage treatments so I can't comment on either.
First impressions were very good ! The room wasn't just of a decent size but really big, big enough to house a double bed, a proper single bed and an extra bed for our younger daughter, several large pieces of furniture - and still leave enough space for our luggage and all of us to move freely at the same time. The decor is modern and decent and there is a proper bathtub with a shower above in the ensuite, big enough for taking a nice hot bath. We found a small pack of biscuits on each pillow and there is a proper wardrobe to store your clothes. We were all excited, just dropped our bags and decided to explore the rest of the facilities before unpacking. The enthusiasm didn't last last long when we came back, switched on the lights and had a closer look ...
Upon closer inspection we realised that the carpet was well used and sported several stains. The desk was more than a bit wonky and seemed to fall to pieces, God knows what got this rather heavy piece of furniture in such a state ! There were huge cobwebs hanging from the ceilings all around the room, an extremely long one right above our bed, the top of the textile pictures on the wall above our bed was covered in a thick layer of dust and there were huge stains on the inner side of the entrance door which could have been anything. The bathroom was clean but the grouting could have done with some TLC. We weren't impressed any more, not a bit ...
There was a TV which worked but we didn't really use it and I have no clue what channels they offer. Wi-Fi is free and also worked without any problems and the storage facilities in the room were ample, not just for a weekend stay. The hospitality tray sat on the wonky desk and we were provided with plenty of tea and coffee but not quite enough milk and had to go and get some more from the reception on the second evening.
There are no glasses for your toothbrush/toothpaste in the bathroom, not even plastic cups, which is something that is standard in houses of a much lower category. We used one of our two coffee cups from the hospitality tray and hoped housekeeping would get the hint the next day and either provide us with a glass or another cup. You never should expect too much: The cup we had used to make a cup of coffee was exchanged with a clean one the next day but the cup in the bathroom stayed and we had to ask the reception for another cup when we both actually wanted to have a coffee at the same time. Some guests can be fussy, no ?
Our bed and the bed of our older daughter were very comfortable. The mattresses here seem to be a bit harder than what you usually find in England and we were very happy with that, although I would have probably slept better without being aware that there were massive cobwebs dangling above my head ! They did make me a bit nervous !
The camp bed our little daughter got wasn't quite that good and she had a bit of a moan that it wasn't "comfy". It also blocked the access to the trouser press but who uses them anyway ?
Our room was located on the ground floor overlooking the parking lot and being at one level with it. Not a great view but I guess somebody has to live on this side of the hotel too. The parking spaces are very close to the window and of course we had to have somebody parking with the rear of their car towards our open window on the second day, blowing exhaust fumes directly into the room. Nothing the hotel is responsible for but not very nice at all.
Breakfast is served in the restaurant which is located next to the bar. The decor is OK but nothing special and the food we found wasn't very inspiring. There was a range of cereals, some pastry was squeezed in a corner, and a fine selection of juices. Unfortunately they were offered in huge jugs which were so heavy that you need to be Rambo to lift them while they are totally full.
There was only one kind of cheese and the selection of salami looked tired. No chance to take any yoghurt, the spoon to help yourself was too small and lying in the bowl, you'd have to dig it out first. We spend 45 minutes for breakfast on our first day and nobody realised and exchanged bowl and spoon.
The mushrooms from the cooked selection were huge and less tasteless, peeled tomatoes from a can instead of grilled tomato and watery scrambled eggs complimented them perfectly .
On the second day we were sent to a table where we had to wait 10 minutes until it was cleaned and the butter was too hard to spread while the room was so overheated that you didn't feel like eating much, if the food didn't put you off already! I had a better breakfast in the Premier Inn we stayed at a few weeks earlier ...
We never tried their dinner service as their prices are rather high and the breakfast we got didn't really put us into the mood to fork out that much money.
The hotel grounds are immaculate and landscaped beautifully. I don't play golf but would have loved to take a walk around the course as it just looked so nice.
The hotel is located to the north of Redditch. There isn't much around and, unless you are unlucky and get a room right above the bar, it is very quiet.
The only nightlife nearby is the hotel's bar and pub, the later is rather dead. This is clearly not a city hotel with lots to do and see around but more for a quiet break. At least I think that at one point it was planned so. If you don't mind drunken fellow guests with bad manners, a dirty room and really bad food you will enjoy a stay. If you do - go and spend your money elsewhere !
Summary: Go elsewhere
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