De Vere Dunston Hall
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Historical Traveler Reviews De Vere Dunston Hall Norwich
Working visit or the not working visit
I found the hotel extremely pretty on the way down the driveway and I was looking forward to spending the night here, as a change from the average Travel Lodge/Holiday Inn fare.
All of that vanished as soon as I reached my room. The key card failed to work, this after I had walked as far as possible to the other side of the building and up to the top floor. I trudged back carrying all my bags and lap-top etc. The card was changed and the concierge accompanied me on my return, explaning how I must have done it wrong and perhaps I should have tried it again. Strange I never thought of that! I also carried my bags all the way by myself, despite having three and a suit, without even the offer of help. The card didn't work again and I was let in with a mastercard and told to pick-up a replacement at receiption later!
I went out on business later and picked up two cards on my return, they didn't work either, so again the long trudge backwards and forwards (why I was placed this far back is beyond me because the hotel didn't seem that busy), on the way back the concierge discussed the problem with a manager, ignoring me, they eventually re-coded the door to get it to work.
This was not my problem and I didn't even get an apology!
The breakfast left me seething, I was pointed in the general direction of my table, it had not been cleared. I was not offered tea or coffee or toast, I had to settle with a speciality tea I made myself. I went to get my bacon and egg etc and my side of the table was cleared but the mess on the other side left.
When I booked out I did express my displeasure with these problems but it seemed to go over the head of the receptionist.
It's a shame, a beatiful hotel that I would have considered for a long weekend with my partner, that's unlikely now.
I have at least another dozen or more visits to the Norwich area over the next twelve months but at £82 per night I will think long and hard before booking into Dunston Hall again. But whats the alternative? another holiday Inn/ Travelodge?
Second Rate Food
Considering this is a four star hotel, the food in both the La Fontaine restaurant and the carvery were far inferior to our local pub! However, the service in bars, restaurants and reception was very good.
I certainly would not be returning to Dunston Hall in the future. This has made me wonder whether all other De Vere Hotels are similar.
Perfect start to a new year
We satyed at Dunston Hall on the 1st January, to get away from the heavy new year celebrations. We came here a year before and had a wonderful break, and this time was no different. The drive up to the hotel is breath-taking, and the hotel is beautiful. Staff were polite, and friendly, and all facilities were great. We had dinner in the carvery, but chose from the menu, and we both thought the food was great. It is a fantastic place, and we will be visiting again very soon.
Initially I excited about the prospect of visiting a working 'restored to it's former full Elizabethan glory' (to quote the literature) country house. But my enthusiasm deminished with every step from the car. There was no doorman for starters, although the reception was staffed, warm and friendly.
The grounds are nice and the building appears to be mostly original (barring some ugly modern terraces attached to the sides) - externally that is. If you are interested in an original interior don't stay at this hotel. The majority of the old layout and fittings seem to have been stripped out and replaced to conform to Englands (some may say) 'over-nannying' health and safety laws. Although a lot of the original panelling seemed to have survived a selection of modern 'fake' doors, pressed steel radiators, air conditioning units hung from the ceilings along with fans and not to well disguised RSJ's split up old halls and rooms. This made the building seem fake and akin to something I would expect to see in Massachusetts than in a country property in England.
The rooms continue this theme and are all very similar and somewhat 'over dressed' in trying to be in keeping with the rest of the building. They reminded me of the Travelodge - but with more impressive beds and fittings. Functionality wise they were perfect though.
Below stairs seems to have been replaced with a modern sleek gym/pool and health center as you would expect and demand in any hotel (this is one area where original fittings will not wash). Although more effort could have been put into the public restrooms as I feel they gave more of an air of 'Walmart or Tesco's' than a grande building.
The food was very good - although I can't comment on the main carvery as I was in a private function room. It was silver service, warm and served in a friendly and helpfull way (which the price associated demanded). Bar areas were well stocked seems to be open all hours and served some bar snacks. Although I did detect a level of unfriendliness towards the guests from a few staff the care was overall very good and well mannered.
Overall I was pleased with the visit but.. I feel the building was a poorly finished disappointment which was crammed with a large number of guests most of which seemed happy to turn the air blue with profanities. There was no real feeling of being in an exeptionally individual position - anymore than I would expect in the Holiday inn down the road.
Nice and Relaxing
Just come back from a five night stay at De Vere Dunston Hall Hotel. Very nice, we had a four poster room which is in the original part of the hotel. Room very spacious and clean and great view down the drive and into the trees and beyond. Staff were especially friendly, meals were great and carvery well good. The leisure facilities are excellent and the pool nice and relaxing. Overall a great stay, you can do as much or as little as you want.
Some years ago, after attending a works 'do' at this hotel, I promised I would come back and sample the carvery. I have finally gotten around to it. I could not get down from Lincolnshire to make Mothering Sunday but arranged to get down for the next day. I booked a table over the telephone and subsequently had a quick look on the web to search for any reviews. Well the reviews were not particularly favourable towards the carvery and I considered cancelling. I ultimately decided to give the Hotel the benefit of the doubt and make my own decision. I am glad to say that it was a good decision. The carvery meal was the best I have ever sampled. We were a party of just four - my mother, sister, wife and myself. The staff were very friendly and courteous and I will DEFINATELY go again.
Ok for a "lads" weekend
Following booking problems, where I was quoted one price by one representative and then asked to make a credit card reservation by another for a higher price had been offered, our stay was satisfactory, ok for a "lads" weekend but I would not take my other half here for a romantic weekend! Despite the ornate facade, I thought the hotel was very ordinary indeed - American style - and characterless. The carvery restaurant atmosphere, decor and food was poor to average and the service was poor, probably because they were trying to cram too many guests in.
Peaceful weekend in the country
Beautiful hotel set amidst wonderfully well kept grounds. Staff was friendly and very accommodating. Meals were judged adequate by one who does not judge hotels by their food.
Wonderful setting, shame about the food
A beautiful old house in a wonderful setting, gorgeous terrace with views over surrounding countryside. A very disappointing meal in the carvery with indifferent service and dry overcooked food.
Lovely surroundings, shame about the staff
The building itself is gorgeous, and the surroundings are immaculate. The major disappointment was with the staff though, reception were friendly enough but the bar and restuarant staff were not very friendly or helpful. In the bar a gaggle of barstaff mingle at the top end joking between themselves and sneering at the customers. The gentleman who served my wife was miserable and made it obvious he didn't want to be there, and he looked quite scruffy, beard, long hair, etc. The food was ok, the a la carte food was good, the bar snacks were very poor and very expensive for what you actually got. The carvery was ok ish it was extremely busy and the staff looked extremely overworked and understaffed. Overall a very average stay.