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“A mixed experience” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel

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Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel
Ranked #2 of 13 Alston B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
91 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“A mixed experience”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 February 2012

My boyfriend and I booked a two night stay with a living social voucher. Reading previous reviews I knew the hotel was in a remote location and rang them to check there was a mobile phone signal there, as due to personal circumstances it was essential that we could be reached by phone at all times. I was told phone reception was generally poor but Vodafone was pretty much ok. As we had 4 phone networks available (including vodafone) between us we thought we would manage. We arrived late evening and found there was zero reception on all the 4 networks at the hotel. Due to the lack of a "plan B" at the hotel (room phones don't accept incoming calls and the reception is not manned between 11pm and 7.45am, even the wifi doesn't reach the hotel rooms) we were unable to complete our stay and were forced to check out after one night, causing us to feel stressed and have a sleepless night due to being unreachable. The lack of a phone signal is of course not the hotels fault and may benefit some guests who just want to "switch off" but a "plan B" should be available for others. On speaking to some of the locals in the pub they told us the Vodafone mast had been down in the area for at least a month. Had I have known that I would not have stayed there this weekend, knowing we were reliant on a phone signal.
When we arrived we wanted a hot meal but were disappointed to be told only sandwiches were available if we didn't want the 4 course meal. We had to trek out again to the local pub where we got a decently priced "pub grub" meal at the Cumberland pub. The potholes in the drive of the hotel are pretty bad.
Our room door lock was warped making entry very difficult. The room was generally nicely decorated and had a lovely view. There were some marks on the carpet, being very light in colour. The bed was huge but we didn't like all the layers of sheets and blankets, would've preferred a duvet. But that is personal choice.
The lounge area with an open fire was cosy. The clock had stopped on the mantelpiece. This may have been deliberate? But it just added to our feelings of being cut off and slightly disoriented.
We went back to our room about midnight and found that the bathroom light didn't work. Fortunately there was a light on the mirror else I'm not sure what we would have done at that hour. The shower pressure was poor and the shower gel (which was a shampoo and gel all in one) was poor quality considering the hotel tries to set out a "luxury" image.
We found the room very cold overnight until the heating came on about 6am.
The breakfast was very nice with a huge choice of food and served by polite staff. We were due to have the 7 course meal in the evening but as I said we had to check out due to the phone signal problems. All in all it was a mixed experience. Sure, it is a nice hotel in a lovely remote area where you can relax and unwind. But I would say there needs to be a few improvements and more attention to detail to make the experience one to remember.

  • Stayed February 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Pippa_Cra_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 15 February 2012
Just as we thought we were getting back to an even keel....another one!
First, let us explain that we are in a remote part of England. Having said that we do get signals from most of the mobile networks in various levels of strengths, the best being O2.
Secondly, the building has very thick walls so the signal is made worse.
And finally, the gales blew down the Vodaphone mast and it has taken over a month to repair and even now this is very much an on/off situation.
All this was explained to these guests.
Whilst it is true the reception area is manned from 7.30am until 11.00pm the telephone still rings in our house. Now we might not answer it at 2.00am (and yes it does sometimes rings at this time and at other unsocial times) but had we been aware of the vital nature of this request we would have answered the calls and transferred them to the room. We have to accept that our staff were unaware that we could do this and hence their reply. For that we apologise.
Which brings us on to the, oh and another thing game....
Yes it is true that there are stains in the room, caused by guests spilling red wine all over the carpet and leaving without telling us! (and, to add insult they brought it with them!) and yes the pull cord was broken but a guest had broken it and we were unable to get a replacement until the next day!....and yes we have a continual battle with pot holes over the winter months as as fast as we fill them the frost, snow and ice break them up again. if you don't use our drive as a race track then they are perfectly managable and one day when we have a spare £10k we will resurface the whole thing but we are living through a very tough recession and we are trying to do our best.
Peter and Marie Haynes
PS these guests have been invited back to finish their break and we will do our best to make things better for them
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599 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (139)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Bradford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 February 2012

My Partner and I have just had 2 fantastic nights stay in this wonderful hotel. We drove from West Yorkshire on Sunday 5th Feb 2012 leaving behind 10cm of snow and were looking forward to a couple of days of relaxation and we were not dissapointed in anyway shape or form.

The drive has to be classed as one of the most fantastic drives we have ever experienced with breathtaking scenery even though there was inches of snow, the road was amazingly clear, giving us the chance to enjoy the dramatic landscapes.

On arrival at the hotel we were made very welcome and knew we were in for a real treat. WE WERE NOT DISSAPOINTED!

Our first night consisted of a 7 course Gourmet Tasting Dinner with a selection of the finest wines which we can only describe as phenomenal. Presented to us by passionate and knowledgable staff. My Partner who is Vegetarian, and has in the past been fobbed off on such evenings with what can only be described as minimal choice was more than catered for with a fantastic choice and throughout our stay this remained the case, with every effort made to ensure there was a huge choice on the menu and NOTHING was out of the question.

The staff were excellent and looked after our every need and made our stay memorable to say the least.

Our second night was a 4 course dinner, which again was of the highest standard.

The hotel has an extensive wine cellar with a selection of the finest wines from around the world.

The bar was stocked again to a very, very high standard with an extensive choice which included a number of fine whiskies and a number of stunning cocktails, again made by very knowledgable staff.

All in all, a truely memorable stay and one we will be doing again in the very near future.

Thank You very much......Craig and Sharon.

Room Tip: Luxury Room, (Room 9) four poster bed with views of the garden.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Craig D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 15 February 2012
Dear Craig and Sharon,
Thank you so much for your kind comments, particularly the ones that say that we could not do enough for you.
.....because that is what we always try to do and that is why we hurt so much when guests say the opposite. We want all guests to feel the way you do. Your requests for special vegetarian options and the need for free range eggs (not a problem as all our eggs come from the local farm!) are easily accommodated.
So, we hope to welcome you back to Lovelady soon.
Peter and Marie Haynes
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shropshire
Level Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 February 2012

My husband and I have just returned from a one night stay (2nd February) at this gorgeous hotel, it was the conclusion of a one week break in Cumbria. We travelled to the hotel from Windermere and as described by the AA the journey over the North Pennines was fantastic, the roads were clear of all ice and snow and were perfectly safe and the views were amazing. Having researched the hotel we knew it was in a remote area (although only a couple of miles from Alston) and was known as a bit of a ‘foodie’ heaven. The location and the anticipated dining experience was the main attraction for us booking into this hotel.

Boy, we were not disappointed.

The whole stay was fantastic, we were greeted at the door by a member of staff who was very friendly and pampered to our every needs, the room was gorgeous, bordering on luxurious and the lounge with a roaring fire was very welcoming as we sat with a glass of wine taking it all in.

We had the 7 course taster menu with wine and it was wonderful and lived up to all of our expectations. To read any negative comments about this wonderful hotel, particularly at about the same time as we stayed is bewildering and incredulous. The whole experience was a real treat and we would strongly recommend this hotel for anyone wishing to stay at somewhere away from the ordinary. The hotel sets itself up to be different and it achieves this in abundance but we must stress that the difference is its attraction. And on a final note I can honestly say that at the culmination of our stay really was the jewel in the crown by which I mean the breakfast. No wonder they have won so many awards for this truly wonderful meal, the breakfast menu is 2 pages long and you really are spoilt for choice and just like the evening meal was cooked to perfection. On behalf of my husband and myself I would like to thank Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel for capping off a wonderful break in Cumbria.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MaureenShropshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 15 February 2012
We would like to thank your reviewer for posting such positive comments after the previous observations of the road condiyions.
We are truly thankful that there are guests out there who feel so strongly that they want to take the time to correct unfair postings. A truly grateful owner and we look forward to welcoming you back.
Peter and Marie Haynes
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Liverpool
Level Contributor
28 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 February 2012

I booked this hotel through Last Minute.com as an overnight accommodation for a business trip. The booking was non-refundable but the information indicated that the hotel had everything I required (including a restaurant)

The hotel is in a very remote location and I had a very difficult and traumatic drive over a steep mountain pass (with snow and ice and hairpin bends) – when I eventually arrived at the hotel I just wanted a meal (I had missed lunch) and a quiet evening in my room ready for an early start next morning.

When I checked in I was asked whether I would be eating at the hotel – I said yes and was showed the menu. It was a set menu at a cost of almost £50 – well exceeding my companies evening meal allowance. I explained that this was too much and could they offer me an alternative (for example just purchase a main course) and was told no but I could have a sandwich. Obviously I needed more than this as I hadn’t eaten all day. They suggested I go down to the village and eat there, which wasn’t an option – I was a female travelling alone and did not want to go back out in the remote area to a place I didn’t know and find somewhere to eat (it was also very cold, icy – snow in places – and would have been dark by the time I went out)

They refused to help me further – the manager did not even come out to talk to me. I was left with no alternative but to leave while it was still light and find somewhere else to stay. As I said the location was remote and I had to drive for almost 2 hours before I found somewhere else to stay. In some places I could not see the road for the snow (on a mountain pass) – I was very frightened and of course hungry.

When I eventually found somewhere else to stay I called Last Minute.com to enquire about a refund of the £73 B&B rate I had prepaid They were very friendly and helpful and explained that the booking was non refundable but she would speak to the hotel. She spoke to the hotel and told me the manager was still unavailable and she would call me back.. She called me the next day (today) and informed me that they were refusing to refund the £73 cost of the overnight stay (which of course I hadn’t taken). I feel this is very unfair as, had the fact that eating a meal in the hotel would cost £50, I would not have booked. I travel extensively with business and I have NEVER come across a place where they do not offer an alternative cheaper menu.

To put it frankly - I am amazed at the totally uncaring attitude of this hotel - which from what I saw is nothing special, there was an odd smell about the place and it seemed eerily quiet. The hotel I eventually stayed in also had AA Rosette awards and I was served a delicious 2 course evening meal for £24!

So - if you have been offered a 'deal' to stay here - think twice!!

Stayed February 2012, travelled on business
Helpful?
9 Thank AnnGrace43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 3 February 2012
Well here we go again...there are always two sides to any argument and thank you for the chance to reply.

First we should point out that this reservation was taken on 23rd January 2012 for a stay on 31st January 2012 and the reviewer must have researched us on our website and even trip advisor!

On arrival she was met by our reception staff where she stated that she could not afford our dinner offerring (which is not £50.00)

She was told we could provide a lighter room service which does have both hot and cold items and was asked to wait until the owner could speak with her as he was on the ‘phone. We also said that there were less expensive eating places in the town which is a mile or so down the road.

However and here is the reality of the situation, she said that she needed to be in Windermere for the next morning which is between one and a half to two hours away! …and then promptly left without speaking to us. Had she waited we would have offered a one or two course alternative to meet her financial requirement (this would not have been far off what she paid at her new establishment) as we always try to be understanding but she never gave us the chance. We can categorically deny that she did not ask if she could have one course

We are then somewhat surprised that this guest could not find a hotel for two hours as there is one just 400 metres from us and another one in the town, a mile or on her onward journey. She also passed through Penrith which has quite a number of hotels scattered about the town. No, she went on and on until she got to Windermere, missing hotels in St John’s in the Vale, Grasmere, and Ambleside. This is even more perplexing as the road conditions were, allegedly, so awful.

It is true that we are in a remote part of the country but that is our attraction as is the drive which has been voted by the AA as one of the world’s best drives for its views. The roads that night were perfectly clear and well gritted. Any snow on the fells did not effect road conditions. As testimony to this our hotel was very busy that evening with guests traveling from all over the North of England and from London with no cancellations due to the weather.

It is clear to us that this guest had selected the wrong venue as she needed to be in Windermere rather that Alston, did not wait to see the owner and wanted our hotel to pay for her error.

Our terms and conditions clearly state; “We would remind guests that a reservation constitutes a contract between themselves and Lovelady Shield Hotel. In the event of a cancellation less than 48 hours in advance, we shall do our best to re-let the room(s) in order to prevent imposing a charge for the contracted first night.” When you leave on arrival it is pretty clear that it will be difficult to relet the room.

Had the guest said "look I have made a terrible mistake and I thought this hotel was close to Windermere we might have taken a different tack after all we are not a money grabbing establishment. We understand when guests are taken ill or emergencies prevent them from coming. In these circumstances, unlike many others, we waive our right to charge this and there must be many readers of these reviews who will confirm this. If a guest has a complaint and we have “fowled up” we try and go overboard to put things right.

On this occasion we really do feel that we are the aggrieved party and we cannot see a justifiable reason to refund this lady, particularly as we feel she has now been very manipulative.

We will let you make up your minds.

Peter and Marie Haynes
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Leeds
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 February 2012

we went to this beatiful hotel in the lake district after booking a special nights and meal tasting via travel zoo.com it turned out to be a bargain. we paid £139 for two persons to stay overnight and have a seven course evening meal with wines and breakfast the following day.The meal was priced at £51.50 per person and the wine tasting at £23.75 per person if it was purchased seperatley. at these prices the meal alone would have cost us more than we paid for the whole experience with wines etc.

We arrived a little early and took the owner by surprise so the rooms were not ready until, 3pm, we went into the village but the shops were closed as it was winter season. however on ourn return we were shown to our room which was very njice in blue and white very clean and the onlyn dissapointemnt was the lack of ironing, the sheets and the table covers etc all required a good iron to get the creases out.

this said thee room itself was very good quality fittings but the shower was only a trickle when we used it, i dont think we used it correctly although there were no instructions.

we had a very enjoyable meal and enjoyed the wines etc as they were given out by the owner who took it forgranted we knew who he was, and he paid speacial attention to the guests and gave out the wines with a story for each glass, delightful!

th emeal itself was very good seven courses and plenty to eat on each course, initally we started with a pate which was delicious and then we had pea soup which went opnto the fish course, i had stiputlated tha t id didnt eat fish ir sea food and they rememvbered and served me a pasts dish instead again this was lovely.then a blackcurrant sorbet to cleanse the palate.
the main course was a rack of lamb with haggis fritter etc myhusband devoured this as lamb is this favourite, i was by this point very full indeed.The following course was cheese and biscuits with grapes etc again this was very tasty and plenty to eat.
finally we had a sweet course which by this point we were both very full indeed and struggled with the sweet course.

We then had tea and coffeee in the loung areas all in all a delightful evening with very good hosts and the staff were very pleasant and vey obliging.


We went to bed very full and had a great nights sleep to wake next morning to snow covering the hills etc making a beautiful sight from the windows.

Again breakfast was delightful with porridge for myslef and fruit and yoghurt for my husbaqnd then a fukll english for su both, plenty to eat again and lots of chice served by very pleasant staff who were very well trained and served the meals etc without any delay.

We really enjoyed the whole experience and will certainly look out for the deal again on Travel Zoo.com.

We came back through Barnard Castle and found a very warm welcome within the village. A very pleasant experience and chilled out we returned home.

My only comment was the lack of ironing of the sheets etc and the table covers even in the restaurant the table covers were very creased and gave an imopression that they didnt care when they obviously do care very much about the hotel and its presentation.

Room Tip: we had room number 8 which looked out over the front of the hotel onto the car parking areas and the...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sue S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 3 February 2012
We would like to thank your reviewer for such kind comments, particularly in light of the previous review. This is what we are trying to achieve.
We are bringing your feedback to our house keeper to ensure the ironing is improved!
Thank you so much.
Peter and Marie Haynes
PS If you want another treat look no further than Valentine's evening when we will be putting on a very special gala dinner!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel

Property: Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel
Address: Lovelady Lane, Alston CA9 3LX, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Alston
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 13 B&Bs / Inns in Alston
Price range (per night): ₹ 6,421 - ₹ 16,011
Hotel Class:3 star — Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Lovelady Shield Country Hotel
Lovelady Shield Country Alston

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