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“Good food, poor event management”

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The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bolton Abbey
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
“Good food, poor event management”
Reviewed 22 October 2011

Background: I wanted a fun birthday private Sunday lunch, cost not an issue.

The bad bits first:- I fixed to visit Jen, the Events Manager, to make arrangements. I appreciate that a private lunch for 9 is not as big ticket as a wedding event for 100 but even so I'd expect a good events manager to exercise the same level of care for any event (and a small event carries far less organisation work). She wasn't disastrous but she was poor. A helpful discussion led to some specifics - an armchair for the meal (their normal chairs have no arms, I am immensely happier in a carver): lunch in the Hartington Room and, at her suggestion, drinks beforehand in the Barden Room: wine recommendations to come from them later: final in-season food recommendation to come later too: helicopter landing details for me to fix with reception: they'd fix placecards: an oval table with (and she was firm on this) no end seating - 5 one side, 4 the other (not a problem and I drafted a cunning seating plan to reflect this and sent it to them).

It'd have been good if she'd handled the flight stuff instead of me (no great drama but she's supposed to organise the event, not just bits of it). It'd have been good if she had come back with wine suggestions as promised, but she had to be chased. It'd have been good if she'd got back to me with final food detail but she never did.

On the day things looked bad. When we arrived we went to the Barden Room to find it empty and cold - a ghastly location for relaxed pre-lunch drinks. Fortunately Robert, who looked after us, whisked my guests to the public seating area by the fire; not what I'd had in mind but it was fine. I popped into the Hartington Room to find a different seating arrangement and no placename cards and no carver chair. Not good; the girl Jen seems pretty useless and if you're fixing an event I'd recommend careful double-checking and contingency plans (or better still talk to someone other than Jen).

Now the good bits:- In planning the meal I had help from Val, the Restaurant Manager. A delightful man with a comprehensive knowledge of the courses they can offer; we ended up choosing an enhanced tasting menu and to hear Val describe the dishes and their detailed background was a joy. If you're interested in food, talk with Val.

Good support too from Nigel, the Wines Manager. His recommended wines were as pleasing as we'd hoped (even if the recommendations only arrived after some chasing email and phonecalls to Jen).

And good customer care from Robert and Olga who looked after us on the day - quick repair of the disastrous drinks fiasco and a swift re-arrangement of the table set-up. And thank goodness I'd brought my own placename cards.

So a wonderful meal - great food and very pleasing wines matched by caring service. If it hadn't been for the dismal abysmal event management I'd have scored an excellent 5 instead of a very good 4.

If they could combine the service and attention to detail one finds at Rudding Park with their own kitchen flair Devonshire would, based on this meal, be unbeatable.

Would I recommend? Only with the strong caveat of not trusting event management, so if it's a once-in-a-lifetime event go elsewhere. Would I return? Possibly not, there's too much excellent competition and even if it's only one aspect which annoys one finds it very easy to go somewhere else. Poor outcome Devonshire.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank incomfort
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (303)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Leeds
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 October 2011

We also visited on the 4th October using the travelzoo voucher which offered excellent value.
The Burlington restaurant was open and we enjoyed the Taster Menu with superb service.
An excellent hotel with superb comfort and service in every department.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JDW99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2011

Unsatisfactory visit ~ the front of house staff seem to care less about customer service and this is a disservice to the kitchen that produced very good food.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank misssmtaylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York, England
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 October 2011

Stayed here 4th October 2011 for an overnight stay booked through a great deal with Travelzoo where we got a great deal paying £189 for one night stay with breakfast and a £130 voucher to put towards meal/drinks and/or spa treatments.

Upon arrival we had barely left our car with our bags when a chap in tweed country style clothing came over to us. We initially thought he was a guest until he offered to take our bags for us. Helpful assistance before we'd even set foot in the hotel! Reception was v helpful, friendly and welcoming. Our bags were taken on ahead to our room and put into the wardrobe. The receptionist took us up to our room no 29 and showed us round. The room itself was beautiful and had stunning views of the rear hedged garden which was beautifully manicured. V peaceful and restful location.

We had booked a spa treatment as part of our package. Slight downside was the spa is in a separate building across the road. The building itself is quite pretty but needs updating in some places. Upon arrival you are directed to changing rooms upstairs with a towel and robe and can leave your clothes in the large cubicle. There is a small pool and jacuzzi downstairs with a gym upstairs. There is a small relaxation/cafe area, three treatments room, steam, sauna and plunge pool. Then tables, tennis court etc outside.
My partner and I had a treatment each, him a back massage and me an exotic milk and coconut wrap, both with a lovely lady called Pam who was v friendly and chatty. Both treatments were lovely and v relaxing. But the only downside to mine was we were in a treatment room nearest to the sauna/steam room (as opposed to the other two which were at the other end of the building) and didnt have a shower room attached. So I had to waddle wrapped in plastic and a sarong to the shower cubicles which were round the corner but you had to walk into the pool area...slightly embarassing but luckily it was quiet.
Only other slight downside was the jacuzzi is at the end of the pool nearest to the reception area, so you feel a bit exposed to people coming into the building.
Also the spa is not solely for the hotel and open to other members of the public, including children, which there was a few of there. That took away a little bit of the relaxing 'spa' atmosphere for me and with people in the gym also, it wouldnt be somewhere i would consider for spa day - having been to Centre Parcs spa and Waterfall spa etc.

We dined in the brasserie restaurant as the burlington restaurant was closed, but we werent disappointed. We had two courses, the rib eye steak was the best we have eaten.
The restaurant staff were lovely and friendly and were v helpful without being over bearing.
The only thing we didnt like with this (which is noted on the menu) is that they add a 12.5% disretionary service charge to the bill. I dont mind tipping at all for good service but feel a bit cheesed off when this is added regardless and then you have to ask to have it removed. However we did have excellent service so left it

Make sure you check the temperature in your room before you go to bed as we forgot and woke up very warm half way through the night and had to open the windows.

Breakfast was a delight. V helpful and accommodating staff again. Breakfast is taken in the Burlington Restaurant and we sat in the conservatory area which was lovely and looked out onto the courtyard.
There is a great selection of fruit, cereal and croissants to start. We had a full english breakfast, which looks like not a lot ie one sausage, one egg, one slice of bacon, one mushroom etc, but when eaten with everything else is more than enough and very satisfying.

The area itself surrouding the hotel is countryside and the Bolton Abbey estate. V quiet and lovely views. If you leave the hotel and turn right and follow the road it will take you to a little village area with a couple of quaint shops and a tea room and there is also a tearoom to your left as you leave the hotel.

Overall we were very happy with our stay. We couldnt fault any of the staff who were extremely pleasant, friendly and helpful. Even when we shut our door to go for our evening meal and the loose door knob came off in our hands. Luckily the chap who was 'turning down' the rooms was walking past and took it to sort. We mentioned it to reception and it was all sorted by the time we returned from our evening meal. a job well done with no fuss.

Would definately recommend this hotel to friends and family and would visit again.

Room Tip: Room 29 overlooked the hedged/courtyard area. Lovely views and very peaceful
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Biker794
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Preston, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 28 September 2011

The venue for my eldest son's wedding reception last week was at The Devonshire Arms. From the initial greeting on arrival to saying goodbye the following day everything was perfect. The hotel itself, the food, the staff, the service was second to non. Old fashioned service that sadly today has disappeared but not at the The Devonshire Hotel. Our first but certainly not our last visit. Thank you.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank linda p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa

Property: The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa
Address: | Bolton Abbey Estate, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales National Park BD23 6AJ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Yorkshire > North Yorkshire > Yorkshire Dales National Park > Bolton Abbey
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bolton Abbey
Price range (per night): ₹ 13,640 - ₹ 35,298
Hotel Class:4 star — The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set within 30,000 acres of land on the Bolton Abbey Estate, this impressive 4-star country house hotel boasts an award-winning restaurant, an adult-only spa, a gym and an indoor pool. Skipton is just 5.8 miles away and Harrogate is 16.2 miles away. Each elegant room has a spacious seating area and a flat-screen TV with a DVD player ans satellite channels. All rooms offer different views of The Dales, River Wharfe and Italian Garden, and all rooms feature a luxury bathroom. Situated in the very heart of the Yorkshire Dales, The Devonshire Arms Hotel has a luxurious spa featuring a sauna, steam room, swimming pool and whirlpool. A range of treatments and massages are available and the property also has outdoor tennis courts. Clay pigeon shooting, fly-fishing, and falconry displays are all possible within the Bolton Abbey Estate. The award-winning Burlington Restaurant offers a seasonal menu using the finest local produce. Guests can enjoy the ever-popular afternoon tea, and there is also a lounge bar. The Brasserie offers guests a more modern gastro-menu featuring some of Yorkshire's favourite dishes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel Bolton Abbey
The Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel And Spa
Devonshire Arms Country Skipton
Devonshire Arms Country Hotel

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