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Historical Traveler Reviews Barnsley House
Could so easily be perfect....
Just returned from a trip to Barnsley House and had high expectations. House and gardens are lovely and reception area is nice with the modern blending in really well with the old stone house. Our room wasn't going to be ready until 4ish which wasn't really a problem so we went over the Village Pub across the road owned by Barnsley House. Very pleasant staff who made a real effort and food was good, solid pub food (roast beef etc). Our room was fantastic (room 9) and consisted of lounge and bathroom downstairs and excellent bedroom upstairs. All kitted out with the latest TVs and Bose sound systems, even a mini plasma tv at the end of the bed. One of the best rooms we have ever stayed in. We had booked a table in the restaurant for 9pm and headed down to the small bar shortly before. Bar is very trendy but cosy and we liked it. Drinks were well prepared although expensive (Bloody Mary £10 plus compulsory service for example) and service good. Dinning room was nice and about half full. Despite this the service was unbelievably slow and staff seemed to be in a dreamworld. Didn't matter too much to us but could see other diners getting annoyed and heard some complaining afterwards. Food was fine and the Vincigrassi pasta certainly worth a mention. Coffee in the morning room afterwards with log fire was a nice end to the evening. On our way to bed we stopped at reception to ask if we could keep our room for an extra hour the next morning as we had been delayed 2hours from the check in time we were given before leaving London by guests before us checking out late. The evening receptionist wasn't interested in helping so called the owner who was still around and he was less bothered and rude about our supposedly ridiculous request. The next morning we were phoned at 1055 and told if we weren't in reception ready to check out at 11am we would be charged. As we were paying our bill to the receptionist the owner rudely stood over us supervising, not speaking a word until we were out the door. All in all it could have been amazing but couple of little silly things ruined it. Some very helpful and pleasant members of staff but management only want your pound note and don't seem particularly interested in ensuring you enjoy your stay or even saying hello! Stick to Cowley Manor or Chewton Glen for the same money and better idea how to run an upmarket hotel.
Romantic and Relaxing
Spent a very enjoyable weekend at Barnsley House. The Room (#2) was great with a superb bathroom. Just what was needed for a relaxing break from the kids. The food was also good and the Vincisgrassi highly recommended for pasta lovers. No evidence of poor service, as others have mentioned, since we found it excellent and the staff were attentive and friendly. The only niggle (hence a 4 rating rather than 5) is that the bar and lounge are small and therefore in the evening tend to get taken over by non-residents arriving for dinner.
However this didn't spoil our stay and we would definitely go back
Fawlty Towers comes to Barnsley House
'We're better than Babington House', said the Reservations Manager. No hot water all night: the chef's not doing sandwiches; cold coffee and a 35 minute wait for breakfast to list a few of the endless problems. A small discount was the only ackowedgement of these relentless disappointments and a month later and despite chasing through Mr & Mrs Smith no reply to our letter of complaint. Certainly not Babington House, maybe Fawlty Towers - if only Basil could have charged £365 for a night!
Try it for lunch & enjoy the garden
With such a famous garden now closed to the public and the hotel prices so very high, it was suggested to us that we go for lunch & then tour the garden. We very much enjoyed it. Booked in for a 12:30 Sunday lunch, had a cocktail on the patio, strolled through the laburnum arch. Inside we enjoyed a lovely lunch for £25 each without drinks. Very good food, nice service, elegant surroundings.
We found the bar to be a weird space, overly draped in dark fabric (trying to be a somber copy of the Delano?) and very small. So, go in good weather & drink outside.
The garden is NOT being maintained to previous standards, so visit it soon !!!
An Exquisite Haven
We had a very memorable evening last Saturday night. It was our first weekend away alone without our children for some time and although we had decided to stay at Cowley Manor which was wonderful, we were very keen to experience Barnsley House after everything which we had read. Although we had expected something very special, it really surpased our expectations. They have created an exquisite haven in which to relax. The food was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed everything. We look forward to returning to stay very soon.
Well done for creating such a perfect place to unwind.
Not the new babington
Why this is one of the "top 50 hotels in the world (conde nast traveller)" I dont know. Distinctly lacking in atmosphere and service.
To be fair the house is nice, the room was good and the food was good.
But when you're paying upwards of £260 a night the service is simply not good enough. We waited 30mins for breakfast and about the same in between each course at dinner. Half the staff didn't seem to speak english. One of the courses was wrong. The Village pub is OK but nothing special - bit like a small town bistro. The overall experience is very identikit - but somehow the whole is less than the sum of the parts. You can imagine the owner going down a checklist....funky bar; tick, flat screen tvs; tick, roll top bath; tick but it just doesn't work. Probably a good place to go for Sunday lunch but I shant rush back.
Welcome? what welcome?
Having read various flattering articles about Barnsley House over the last year or so - I thought this would be an opportunity to see if it was a suitable hotel for mother and step-father to stay on future visits, to be within striking distance of 3 of their several children.
As we admired the sloping lawn and cherry blossom, we were accosted with the words 'can I help you? in a 'what do you want?' sort of voice, by a woman blocking the doorway with arms crossed. Having explained our wish to view the hotel with future visits in mind, we were told 'you can't go into the gardens; they're closed'. We were grudgingly handed the minuscule brochure, supervised like shoplifters as we attempted to glance into the (miniature) reception rooms. 'Well we only have 9 bedrooms' was the response when I queried whether there was another sitting room. The lurid 1960's red and black bar was a bit of a shock in such a lovely old Cotswold building. Step-pa dared to look into the dining room, despite being warned off by the charmless receptionist because someone was eating there! (and it was 4pm) There was obviously no point in asking to see a bedroom and so we retreated from this unbelievable reception as the door was slammed on our heels. The first word you see when you open the brochure is 'welcoming' - a joke, obviously.
Heaven on Earth
This place is heaven on earth. Small country house hotel which has been sumptiously refurbished throughtout. If you are looking for amenities that a larger hotel offers this is not the place for you. Whereas if you want to spend a weekend of pure luxury with your loved one this is it. Only nine roons we have already been back 3 times in the last 6 months and all have been stunning. Modern yet romantic. Room 2 is lovely with a hugh jacuzzi perfect for sipping the free bottle of champagne you receive on arrival and then the larger suite of room 8 we preferred room 6 in the eaves which is possibly cosier. The small yet wonderful morning room with a log fire is what you would expect of a country house but the real shock is a small quirky trendy/boudoir type bar which wouldn't look out of place in a hip bar in London. The Food is good but there are better Chefs delivering higher quality food from their kitchens. However we felt it is about the whole experience and this place wins hands down than anywhere we have stayed in the UK.
Having only been opened a year we sincerely hope the excellent standards remain. Can't wait for the warmer weather so we can experience the gardens of Barnsley House. It is expensive but then somethings you can't put a price on.
An Expensive Way to Get No Sleep
There are good things and not so good things about Barnsley House. On the plus side, the location is convenient to visit the rest of the Cotswolds, the house and gardens enchanting and the decoration impressively modern. Our bedroom (I think Room 2) had a big comfy bed, excellent linen, seating area, fresh flowers and fabulous views over the gardens. There is an equally large and beautiful bathroom with a jacuzzi bath and shower big enough for a rugby team. Free champagne and fresh orange juice are put into your room each day. Staff mainly good.However despite all of this being up to expectations, some other aspects of our stay were a disappointment - especially at Â£350/night. The main problem concerned the slamming of doors all night long. The main culprit seems to be a service fire door into the kitchen which shakes the walls every time someone goes through. Each time I complained someone offered to leave it propped open. A few hours later - slam - there it goes again. I was woken at 6am both mornings (presumably setting up for breakfast) and kept awake both nights. I can truly say it was the least peaceful night I have had in a hotel for a long time (I think since back-packing in Delhi 20 years ago). On departing, when I told the manager and owner how much it had spoiled my stay it became clear that they had received complaints previously. However they seemed not remotely bothered and seemed to have no suggestions of how they could improve this unacceptable situation. I told them that I would not recommend the place because of this.Other minor disappointments...the house is on a pretty busy road - although set back. Therefore rooms on the front of the house are likely to get traffice noise at some times (although not likely during the late night) and this detracts from the perfection you may be expecting. The other annoyance was that it seems everyone is booked to come to dinner at 8pm. We had made our booking for this time and went to the bar for a drink and to look at menus. However there was no space for us in the bar, the reception area or the morning room. So we had to go straight into the restaurant. There we waited 30 minutes to have our order taken (meanwhile no drink except water) and then a further 30 minutes for starters to arrive. The food was excellent - but an hour at a table waiting for a starter is not good enough. They should pace the table bookings better.All in all I came away feeling that the place is nearly excellent. If they have solved the slamming door problem then I would recommend it. If they have not - and the attitude of the people I met indicated that they are not motivated to do anything about it - then definitely do not go unless you sleep soundly through loud bangs and shaking walls.
Welcome to the shark tank
Everything looked lovely on the website, so we decided, with my 6months-pregnant wife, to book a few days with them. My wife made a reservation for a special offer they had for ?295 per room per day half board for 4 days, which did sound attractive, and was told on the phone the cancellation policy was 10 days, but the whole booking needed to be paid upfront. So she paid. The next morning, she slipped on ice and broke an arm. When we phoned back to cancel immediately, we were told we should have checked on the website that this particular offer was not refundable under any circumstances, but that they were going to check with the owner the following week, as he was away -and this despite our mention of their own staff's mention of 10 days' cancellation policy on the phone! And the owner refused to re-imburse us. It so happened that my wife works in the financial services and her phones are recorded, so we extracted the tapes where the Barnsley House employee does indeed mention the 10 day cancellation policy about this particular booking, and let Barnsley House know that we had that evidence. Only then were we told that we may -subject to the famous owner agreeing- get a credit note, but under no circumstances our money back. We are now working on this. The place still looks pleasant on paper, but be warned, the owner likes to keep any cash he manages to extract from you, fairly or not, and in our case a four-figure sum which is not negligible for us, even if he had to turn down nobody as a result of our cancellation, his own staff had misled us about the cancellation policy, and there were medical grounds for our inability to travel.
TripAdvisor Reviews Barnsley House
Travel Blogs from Barnsley
... I know I must let go of this silly defensiveness!
We get off the bus at West Hendred and find the Church of the Holy Trinity here to be one of the most delightful experiences. It is old and the church yard displays its crooked gravestones with that certain dignity of those of great age. It is slightly bowed and misshapen but revered nonetheless. There are spiders webs aplenty at the entrance and inside, but in the later afternoon stillness the ...
... is understandably very worried and hasn't been able to reach her parents yet.
Around 1:30 one of our science teachers came in to tell us that she was taking her students on an "outing" to a science museum on the other side of Oxford. This is nothing new, as the teachers are encouraged to expose their students to all the sights that Oxford has to offer as much as possible. The class was scheduled to start at 2PM, so I made a note in our log. At ...
It has begun. The beginning of the end. The countdown to departure day.
Tomorrow is the final day of the program, but it is so jam-packed with activities and preparations for departure day that I very much doubt I will have time to write an entry tomorrow. So today's will have to be particularly lengthy and explanatory.
I was on the morning shift today with Emma, Ruth, and Nancy. We had several students come ...
... ancient wood panelling and portraits of scholars and benefactors present and past in their dining halls. The colleges run tutorials and accommodation, whereas the university organizes lectures and administration. There are many, many well known people who attended, with writers JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis amongst politicians Margaret Thatcher and Bob Hawke. We went to the pub that Tolkien and Lewis reportedly frequented called "The Eagle and Child", but are doubtful ...
... Nic amazed how green everything looked. The kids cousin Ellen made the trip up from just South of London to stay with us for the next couple of days. (1 bus trip and 4 trains later) We had 2 rooms, girls and boys room. Tom so excited about Easter tomorrow. :-) We had dinner at the accommodation and wanted to chat to Ellen to see what she has been up to over the past 3 ...