The Mermaid Inn
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Western Isles Hotel Tobermory
An uncomfortable and expensive night
I wish I'd checked Trip Advisor before booking the Mermaid in Rye. We paid £240 for one night's bed and breakfast (£95 per adult plus £50 for our five year old) and it was very poor value for money. We stayed in room 6 which was a good size but with a very tired bathroom - lino floor, cheaply fitted and no shower - and a bed that was hard and very lumpy - it was probably the worst hotel bed I've ever had the misfortune to try and sleep in. Luckily my son's bed was more comfortable and I moved into that at 1.30am to try and sleep. The room itself was very poorly appointed - for the sort of money we paid I would expect at least a bottle of water in the room but no. No bathrobes, no tea/coffee facilities, no extra pillows, cheap and nasty soap, thin towels. It did have cotton duvet cover and pillow cases but that couldn't compensate for the generally poor standard. We ate lunch which was good and breakfast which had good and bad points - full English was generally good although poached egg was vinegary, mango in fruit selection was brown and well past its best and the juice was from a carton. Restaurant is the sort where you feel compelled to speak very quietly! Building itself is worth a look if you are in Rye but just visit for lunch - don't bother staying for the night. We will go back to Rye but will be staying elsewhere.
Worst christmas ever
We have just spent three days and nights over Christmas at the Mermaid, and never have I felt so pleased to be home. We had booked a superior double back in June, and found we were stuffed in the back of the hotel in a tiny room with just space enough to fit a fake and severely uncomfortable 4-poster bed. There was no welcome from the staff. Downstairs there are two small lounges, both of them smoking, and both liberally used as such. The restaurant was adequate but forbidding, the food fussy and just ok. The only extras the hotel managed to muster for the festival were carol singers on Christmas Eve, who turned out to be a couple of primary school kids, and 'live entertainment' on Christmas night - a very poor DJ - who kept us awake. On the day of departure it looked like we might be snowed in. There was no help or information offered. We were staggered that the hotel should charge 10% service on top of the already enormous bill. We often go away for Christmas and this was the worst value stay I can remember.
Not bad but could do better
My wife and I visited the Mermaid to celebrate my birthday. I was very much looking forward to staying there as I had stayed there with my father about 15 years ago.
I had hoped to get a room in the old part, but we were given a room in the newer section out the back. It was small but comfortable although they really stuffed a lot of furniture in there. We paid £115 per person per night and for this price we'd expect tea/coffee making facilities but there were none. The bathroom was very tired looking and there was only a thin plasterboard wall between us and the next room. As such we could hear their every conversation and coughing fits all through the night!
The public bar is great with a huge roaring fire and friendly bar staff. We also had the four course dinner which was OK, but not great. Like another reviewer here I got the impression that the chef was trying too hard and ended up with a mish-mash of flavours. The smoked quail salad was very ordinary and the "red pepper" soup was very bland. The lamb was good but serving it on a bed of risotto was unusual, and didn't work for me. The waiting staff were good even when they brought the wrong wine to our table. Finally, my wife had requested a birthday candle to be placed in my dessert but this was not done.
We ordered the early morning tea service in our room, but when it hadn't arrived after 20 minutes we had to ring to ask where it was. It then turned up promptly, but the spoons and one of the cups were dirty (i.e. they'd been used previously but not washed!) and I had to clean them myself. The full English breakfast was good.
Overall, I think the Mermaid is way over priced for what you get. We ended up paying over £300 just for one weekend and felt we could have got much more for the money elsewhere.
Tourist trap par excellence
Oh dear. A lovely old building and at least you can park. That's where it ends. I paid £200 per night for a "special mid-week break". Dbb in a four poster room as a special treat for knackered hubby. Slightly starchy and un smiling staff fail to greet you whereever you go.
Our room was disappointingly small and had a faded worn out look, and would best be described as in need of refurb. Hoping for a luxurious bed, expecting comfortable, all we got was a slightly grimy cover over a mattress which was totally worn out, creaky, hard and flattened by use. A cheap thing that would not have been out of place in the stereotypical Blackpool b&b. No tea or coffee making facilities. Mildewy old shower room. We were offered a second even smaller dingier room. I think they moved the worn out mattress to this new room just before we looked round!
We left immediately. We were refunded our deposit with no trouble at all. We ended up in the Luxury b&b which is its actual name. We felt really welcomed and at home here.
The Mermaid is severely over-priced and trading on little more than its historic antiquity. It is not alone in Rye in doing this, but it was the worst example we have ever come across.....unless you know different!
English country charm
We had gone to The Mermaid on the trail of E.F.Benson's Tilling, the home of my favourite literary characters Mapp and Lucia and found The Mermaid on a website of the town. Although not mentioned in the books, the Inn is on Mermaid street known as Porpoise street in the novels and the home of the social climbing Wyses'. It also has claims to being Rye's oldest hostely predating Queen Bess by 150 years.
I accept some of the prevous criticisms-yes the rooms lack kettles and trouser presses and mini bars but if you want that book a Premiere Lodge. I found the setting and the public rooms enchanting. It wasn't cheap but staff were professional and friendly. Our room in the eaves was so atmospheric that we didn't mind banging our heads on the anchient beams. It was a priviledge to stay somewhere so historic.
Rye (or Tilling) itself was beautiful and despite it being a bank holiday weekend was not overun. There were loads of great pubs and shops and the antiques were well priced for a touristy town.
Our weekend deal included an evening meal at The Mermaid and certainly bumped up the price. The dining rooms are gorgeous and the sercice was faultless silver service. The food was very upmarket british-venison, grouse etc and covered four courses with a reasonable wine menu. To be honest we were a bit overfaced with the formality of the food which seemed to be trying to utilise local produce but then overcomplicating it. The chef appeared to be trying a bit too hard as there were too many flavours competing with each dish. I had a lovely terrine that came with a kumquat sauce. There must have been a dozen of the little bitter fruits! too much.
There are loads of nice restaurants so you might want to look around town first. The Copper Kettle on the high street looked interesting. Breakfasts at the hotel were amazing. Great choice and individually prepared-no sweaty toast. Eggs benedict came with fresh asparagus-unusual but a welcome addition,
Great atmosphere and strange lights
I love this place! It's very old and therefore it's sloping floors and twists and turns make it a character-filled and fun place to stay.
This isn't a plush hotel, but there's something about it that makes you, the guest, feel very much at home and at peace.
The lounges and dining rooms are comfortable and the staff work very hard to make you feel special - they have time for you.
Food is good, although I do believe it is a little over-priced and attention to detail is good most of the time.
I stayed in Room 5 (Nutcracker Suite) and had a disturbed night with strange lights moving out of the wardrobe, around the room and then moving along the narrow coridoor to the ajoining part of the room. I had heard that certain rooms had activity of this kind, but must say, it was quite remarkable ( a little scary!) and certainly an added bonus. I even caught it on video camera.
I shall be back
We spent a night at the Mermaid in August, and I wish I had seen the previous reviewer's comments before we went, because I agree with them entirely! Our stay had a number of Fawlty Towers elements. When we arrived, we were allocated a room which still had luggage in it, but the porter just removed the luggage and gave us the room key. However, we insisted on being moved when we saw that the previous occupant's toothbrush, shaving kit, etc was still there! No other room was ready until much later and when we got there, it was disappointing - even allowing for the fact that it's an old building, the decor was very tired. The fire alarm went off in the middle of the night, and our fire escape was through another (occuppied!) bedroom; we were told that the heat had set it off. In the morning, the waiter at breakfast tried to put us on a communal table set for 20, as a large party who had been staying had wanted to sit at smaller tables and he couldn't be bothered setting up separate tables for other guests.... All this, and a very full price - £180. This hotel is trading on its historical interest and is definitely not worth it. I will not be returning to the hotel (nor, incidentally, to Rye, which was also disappointing - very full of day-trippers and rather tacky).
OVER PRICED, OVER HYPED, UNCOMFORTABLE, AVOID!
We did not enjoy our stay at the Mermaid at all. Over priced, poor service, poor room ammenities, would never go back. Fair enough, very historic building - that's where it ends. We paid £180 per night for the room, which was tiny, boiling hot, had a small double bed and a 14 inch TV that didn't even have teletext. In the morning the breakfast came with lumpy off milk for the cereal and a pot of tea with no tea bag. At the prices they are charging I would say AVOID unless you are a historian. You could go to the amazing BABBINGTON HOUSE for this price!
The best hotel in England?
My wife and I stayed at the Mermaid over Xmas. We arrived on the 24 December and spend the best Xmas ever, departing on the 29. The food, accommodation, and service was of the highest quality.
I fully recommend this hotel!
Miss this at your peril
The Mermaid Inn is the ultimate retreat for those who love history and elegance and a break from all the sterile hotels that seem to be everywhere.
Full of history, 4-poster beds and staff that can't do enough for you, The MErmaid is a very special place.
Even if you can't afford the rooms, a night at their amazing restaurant will give you memories for months to come.
Miss this hotel at your own peril.
I can not say enough good things about it.
GO GO GO
TripAdvisor Reviews Western Isles Hotel Tobermory
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