“ Address: 27-29 High Street / Arundel / West Sussex / BN18 9AG „
~Too Many Swans~
Once or twice a year I have to go and visit a factory in West Sussex which belongs to the company for which I work. If I have the choice, I usually ask for a hotel in Arundel because it's a lovely little town where I enjoy a wander around in the evening to soak up the atmosphere. I've previously stayed at the Town House and the Arundel House so this time I was looking for somewhere else to try and I picked The Swan. Confusingly there are two hotels called the Swan in Arundel - The Swan in the town centre and the White Swan further out of the town. The one I am reviewing is The Swan Hotel on the High Street. I booked the room through Hotels.com and got a generous cash back of around £5 on my room rate of just £60 including breakfast and wi fi.
The Swan is a pub and restaurant with 15 rooms upstairs. This means when checking in you need to do it at the bar since there's no 'reception' in the traditional sense of the word. The Swan is close to the river and really well placed for wandering around the town. It lacks a car park of its own but there is a public car park close by and during the evening there is free on-road parking. On my previous visits to Arundel hoteliers have always told me that there were no traffic wardens and there was no reason to worry if you over-stayed the parking hours. This is apparently no longer the case and there's been quite a crack down.
In the car park I used behind the hotel it's free between 6 at night and 8 in the morning so most overnight guests won't have too much to worry about. I was advised by the lady who checked me in to go out during the evening and put a ticket on for the next morning so that I wouldn't have to worry about it first thing. Sure enough, after paying 60p I got a ticket to extend my parking to 9 am. If I could have been bothered to move the car onto the street I could have had free on road parking until 9 o'clock.
After taking my details and giving me the wi-fi code, the lady at the bar abandoned her tiny smattering of customers to take me up to my room. I was up on the top floor and it's worth keeping in mind that there's no lift so if you have a lot of luggage or you aren't good with stairs, this might not be the best choice. Mind you neither of the other hotels I've used in Arundel had lifts either. After showing me the room she then took me on a long walk to ensure I knew how to get to the back door which is both the fire exit and the late entry door after the main doors are locked at night. I appreciated the attention to health and safety but it was quite a trek.
~Home Sweet Home~
My room was number 15 on the top floor and opened with an old-fashioned key. It was a pretty little double room with plenty of character. The green patterned carpet was the same one used throughout the hotel. There was a double bed with self-stripe white linens, and a decorative runner and cushions that matched the wallpaper. Bedside tables were placed on each side. The effect was tidy but not too over the top or 'matchy matchy'. There was a tiny wall mounted flat screen television which I didn't try. In the corner by the bathroom was a small wardrobe with hotel coat hangers (the ones you can't steal though why anyone would is a mystery to me) and a folding bag stand. The room was small but since I was on my own it was big enough. For two people I think it would have been a bit of a squeeze. There was a wall-mounted radiator and two rather dim reading lights over the bed. My favourite feature was the tiny desk set into the eaves of the window from which I could see both the castle in one direction and the river in the other. The desk was a bit cluttered with the tea tray and a hotel folder but it was a pleasant place to sit and work and the free wi-fi access was fit for purpose. The window was one that stuck out on the roof and had three sides to it which made it quite difficult to block the light out. I was there in September so it wasn't too much of a problem but in the middle of the summer it would have been difficult to keep the room dark.
The bathroom was a bit 'institutional' in appearance with a grey lino floor and a basic white suite of shower, loo and washbasin but the rather fancy toiletries compensated nicely.
~Eating and Drinking~
One of the reasons why I had chosen to stay in Arundel was because I wanted to meet up with a friend in the evening. She waited for me in the bar which was nice but quite empty. We probably should have stayed in for dinner as the menu was rather more interesting and better value than the restaurant we chose instead. At the end of the evening we returned for coffees sitting on one of the comfy sofas.
Breakfast is served in the dining area in the morning and the choices were impressive. Half a dozen different cooked options were available including kippers and eggs Benedict but I'm never very hungry in the mornings. I just asked for a poached egg and some mushrooms and these were served with brown toast. Whilst I waited for it to be freshly cooked, I had some orange juice and a small bowl of cereal. For a hotel with only 15 rooms, the options were extensive.
I settled my bill for £63.50 (£60 for the room and £3.50 for two coffees) and headed off to the car. I have liked every place I've stayed in Arundel and would probably choose this one ahead of the Arundel House (which I suspect is closed at the moment) but ever so slightly behind the Town House. The facilities are a little basic - don't expect a gym or a pool or a business centre or anything like that but most of the time I don't need such things. The price was good, the service was kind and attentive and the room was small but comfortable.