My most recent trip away took me back to a place close to where I grew up in Sunny South London, unfortunately the sun wasn’t shining on this occasion. I actually think its the first time I’ve left Manchester behind in the sunshine, only to arrive down in the south in colder weather.
The hotel chosen for the weekend away was the De Vere Selsdon Park, previously (and still known by some as) the Selsdon Park Hotel.
The building which houses the hotel is stunning, as are the grounds which date all the way back to a mansion in the 9th century known as Selsdon Mansion. Over the years the site has been an Anglo-Saxon hall, a medieval farmhouse, a Tudor Manor House and a Victorian Country Seat.
In 1538, King Henry VIII gifted the manor to his financial adviser, with it being rumoured that the King stayed there during his secret courting of Anne Boleyn.
Steeped in history and royal heritage, it is no wonder that this building oozes grandeur as well as stunning grounds that also house a golf course.
So what about the stay?
The Selsdon Park is now owned and managed by De Vere Estates, so I was expecting a superior level of service that matched this stunning building.
We arrived early and understandably the room was not yet ready, we had a wander and grabbed a drink in the newly refurbished bar area, unfortunately the weather was not great, otherwise it would have been lovely to sit outside in the grounds overlooking the golf course.
At the official check in time, we went back to reception to check in. After a little messing around (Computers not working etc) we get our keys and head to our room. During this time we also witnessed a male member of staff, what I can only describe as ‘barking’ at one of the girls at reception ‘If you don’t know for sure, then don’t show them in the wrong direction’ he shouts across at her. Not professional in the slightest and not something you expect to hear between staff as a guest checking in.
We go to the room and unpack, preparing ourselves for the evening. We have an event to attend nearby at 8pm so had decided to eat in the hotel, which didn’t open until 6:30pm so we sit back and relax in the room.
6:30pm came and we headed down to the restaurant, having already taken a look through the menu, which seemed to offer quite a simple range of British fayre.
On approach to the restaurant (Which is empty), we are asked if we have a reservation, I say that we didn’t, to which I’m told ‘Well we don’t have any tables without a reservation’. Taken aback, I question why this was not advised to us during check in, with no one asking if we wanted to make a reservation, or telling us that it was already full which would have allowed us to make other plans.
After a little perseverance (as we didn’t have time to go anywhere else now) they allowed us a table.
For starter I chose a Chicken and Smoked Ham Hock Terrine (£6.50). This was pleasant although a little bland.
India went for the Tomato and Basil Soup (£6.00), expecting a flavoursome homemade soup. This in fact was very boring and tasted like it was out of a carton.
For mains I went for Pie and Mash (£13.50), again this was far from homemade, the pie was like a £1 supermarket pie, but worse still was the mash, which was very oily and unseasoned, it was the first time I couldn’t eat mash potato.
India went for the Peri Peri Chicken (£15.00), which was a dry piece of chicken with around 10 chips.
Overall with one glass of wine, the meal cost over £50 and I didn’t enjoy one single item.
We left (incidentally the restaurant was STILL empty at this time, so still unsure why we had been turned away initially).
Getting changed we headed out to the event. Returning around 11pm we head off to bed. Thankfully the room and bed were comfortable.
At around midnight we were awoken by noise outside our door. It appears staff members were packing up from an event downstairs and trying to put away furniture into what I can only assume was a cupboard located close to our room, you would have thought they would have at least been quiet at that time of night!
Overall we were disappointed in our stay, the hotel itself is gorgeous, the rooms are comfortable and decorated well, however the level of service was well below what you would expect for the rating and cost. (On booking online on their website, it also says that booking direct gets you a £5 voucher to spend in the bar, which we did not get)
De Vere did contact me on social media asking me to get in touch, which I did immediately, unfortunately I haven’t heard anything back from them as yet.
What a gorgeous place. Shame about everything else. Money wasted.