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Historical Traveler Reviews Sopwell House Saint Albans
I live in St Albans and was asked by members of my family to find a nice country hotel to stay at, during a recent family gathering. On the surface Sopwell House seemed perfect, their brochure promises a relaxing stay - and as it's a '4 star' hotel charging £155 per night - I thought this would be perfect. I therefore booked 3 rooms - the first for my elderly parents who were staying 2 nights, the other 2 rooms for brothers and their spouses who both stayed just one night. At the time I mentioned that one of my brothers had just recovered from brain surgery and if possible for him to check in on arrival after his long journey. I was told this would not be possible as check in was 3 pm, we reluctantly accepted as apparently nothing could be done. As it turned out my brothers room was not ready until almost 4 o'clock!! As for my poor parents - both nights were disturbed by extremely loud disco music - it was so bad that the room was vibrating!! Several phone calls during the night and a complaint at reception on check-out amounted to nothing, the person on reception said they had no authorisation to offer any compensation but would pass on the message. Surprise - they never heard a thing. Two weeks later my mother wrote a letter to the General Manager - she was contacted by him and was very apologetic and told them that room should never have been allocated as it is directly above the disco - but again offered nothing in compensation only the offer to ring him personally should they stay at the hotel again (AS IF) !!! Apart from this, the rooms were O.K. but definatly not worth the £155 - the breakfast was luke warm and served on cold plates. The service was slow and when they ordered tea, got coffee (which was cold)!! To add insult to injury on check-out they were charged for drinks out of the mini-bar which was not even been opened, never mind drinks consumed!! All in all this was a total disaster and would recommend you find somewhere else to stay, I was so embarresed after booking this hotel for members of my family. This hotel is for Weddings and Conferences - if your looking for a nice quiet weekend then forget it because you won't find it here!!!!
I stayed overnight with a group of friends. My single room was fine but a little shabby. Do all the rooms look out onto extension roofs? Mine also did and was next to the airconditioning extractor fan, but with the windows shut this couldn't be heard. The bathroom was very nice. The bed was comfy, the room was clean.
However service from lunch in the Brasserie (coffee for one of our group didn't appear), through dinner in the Magnolia Restaraunt and drinks in the lounge (we waited about an hour for an after dinner drink) was terrible. Very slow, very forgetful and some waiting staff couldn't answer simple questions, such as "Can I have toast with the pate?" An additional bottle of wine was added to our bill.
There weren't enough lockers in the country club or seats by the pool. The facility simply isn't big enough for the number of hotel and day guests wanting to use it. Similarly there weren't enough seats in the lounge bar after dinner, perhaps if people didn't have to wait so long for a drink, the turnover of seats might be quicker. It was an enjoyable stay but it could have been a great stay.
Give this one a miss
First visited the magnolia 10 years ago - and it was great - unfortunately time has not been kind to this restaurant. The service was awfully slow, when the food finaly came it was cold - the vegetables overcooked - the potatos nearly raw - and all for nearly 40 pounds a head. A truely miserable experience - there are many much better and cheaper alternatives in the area
Excellent, friendly service at a classy hotel
I don't know what has happened at Sopwell House in the last year, but we have stayed here four times and have never experienced the kind of problems described in the other reviews.
I have stayed in many 4* and 5* hotels and think the service at Sopwell equals all of them. Staff are attentive and polite and can not do enough for you. Each time I have stayed the room has been totally different to the one before but always clean and spacious. Maybe they have been redecorated? The Country Club is relaxing and clean and the beauty treatments are second to none and also reasonably priced. To say the changing rooms are like council facilities at best is not true. Once again maybe they have refurbished. I have never been to a council pool that supplies hairdryers, free lockers, shower gel and shampoo, robes and towels and has wooden lockers and spotlights. It does get busy but with 130 rooms what do you expect?
The restaurant is lovely and the food of a high standard. I never had to pour my own drink.
The only minor criticisms I would have are that once I had to wait half an hour for my room, on one occassion they ran out of pastries at breakfast and that on the one occassion I ate in the Brasserie they did try to get you in and out quite quickly. Thats it.
Dont pay a ridiculous amount for the room. Book at lastminute.co.uk or sopwellhouse.co.uk and get a great deal.
Very relaxing, beautiful surroundings!!
I went there with two girly friends on a pamper package, the setting was beautiful. food delicious and room was spacious. The pool area could do with a bit of maintainance but was still lovely..had a sauna, steam room and spa all at no extra cost.
Would recommend...good value for money.
Sopwell has obviously improved since reviews in 2003/4
surprised to see bad reviews for this hotel/spa. Having recently had my 3rd visit I am constantly impressed with the politeness, attention to detail and comfortable surroundings.
I think it could be pricey if people do not think to take advantage of their special offers. Having always visited on this basis, we certainly feel we receive more than our money's worth. If considering visiting, check out their website for really good deals
High cost for dreadful service and small room
Book in time is 2pm our room was not ready until 3.30pm. The spa had no spare sun- lounges therefore it was not a relaxing experience. The room was £152.00 for one night (Not including breakfast) it was small, tired, dated and had a view of the top of a conservatory and a littered filled gully. No mini bar or full-length mirror were provided. When I complained I was told by one of the managers that I booked a standard room and that's what I got. We were moved and charged an extra £20.00.
At dinner in their main restaurant we booked a table for 8pm and were eventually seated at 9.30pm - We had to request the menu 3 times, waited 30 minutes for our drinks, wine was spilt over one of our guest, champagne was left for us to open ourselves, potatoes arrived 10 minutes after the meal, we poured our own drinks the list is endless. On the menu it stated a 10% service charge will be added but in fact a 12.5% service charge was added. I am sure I could get bad service a tired hotel room without facilities at a fraction of the cost.
Over-priced, over-due for refurbishment, customer service? forget it
This was one of the worst hotel stays of my life. The room was small and in urgent need of redecoration (indeed, the first room they sent me to was already occupied by someone else!). Room service was slow, choice was limited, food poor and they didn't bring what we had ordered.
What a shame....given the location it could be a wonderful hotel and apparently once was...but it's going to need a lot of investment, a new chef, and a complete change of staff to make it even tolerable.
Literal Daylight Robbery
Not normally one to complain, on this occasion i feel i was so badly treated by this hotel i hope some of you will take heed of this story before visiting. I took 2 others for lunch there to the Magnolia Restaurant. The food, although sparing, was quite nice. We had no wine with our meal, and it came to £116.00. This would have been acceptable, had it not been for the fact that when i got my credit card statement, they charged me twice. I was abused by accounts department staff when i called to ask for a refund of the 2nd amount, who rudely asked me 'are you an accountant?'. The polite image presented by the hotel was overturned to reveal an ugly, customer- hostile attitude, and my complaint would not be acknowledged. Even when they admitted that some 60 customers had been twice-charged on the same date, they wouldn't look into my complaint because my 'name wasn't on the list'. I sent copy bank statements and everything. In the end, after numerous calls, my credit card company who insisted it was the fault of the hotel, credited the money to my account. Only then did the hotel acknowledge the mistake, but i received no apologies or compensation, or offer of any gesture. The hotel itself is a bit dated too, and very expensive for what you get.
For a classy and quintessentially English Hotel for your money, stay at the Marriott Hanbury Manor instead.
TripAdvisor Reviews Sopwell House Saint Albans
Travel Blogs from Saint Albans
... Centre. Not a good move. Firstly, they only opened up the Wood Street entrance which is a 10 minute walk from the city centre. Dumb move. Then we went through security...it was like dealing with the TSA. They checked my bag...what was I going to bring in? Booze? Grant then got pulled up for an ID check. Fair enough except his Passport & Driving Licence werent good enough and details were taken by the Stazi. It wasnt a good start. Once inside we hooked up with our ...
... Greek) sermon with "Our National Poet, Dionysios Solomos, once wrote..." I cringed, inwardly, not because I have anything against Solomos, he did, after all write our (the Greek) National Anthem, but because we were in England, and the Poet Laureate here is Carol Ann Duffy. While she may not be as sermon-inspiring as Solomos (I really want to eat salmon now, darn you Dionysie!) it definitely reminded one that upon stepping into this church, one was 100% back in Greece. Like ...
... chamber was very spooky. we also found out that the yowmen warders and their families actually live inside the tower. Then we went and saw we will rock you a musical story set in the future were everyone lives online and rock n roll is dead but one rebel (Galaleo figaro) goes and rediscovers rock and roll as well as all the Queen songs on the way (I want to break free, a crazy little thing called love, we are the champions, we will rock you (strangely enough) and much ...
Today Mum and I chose the clothes for Dad to be buried in. Nice comfortable clothes he liked wearing, along with his new Montecristi hat.
A quiet night tonight. Dave and I had dinner at a Thai takeaway on Hatfield Road that allowed us to eat in at no ...
... tart - not bad. With complimentary alcohol and refreshments throughout the journey it made up for the poor interior!
Overall the service was good, the journey was comfortable and it felt like we arrived in Brussels in no time! Much to our disappointed we had standard class tickets for travelling home, it was a nice experience! I'd definitely travel on the Eurostar again and may even look into interrail tickets in the future.