Bedford Swan Hotel

Address: The Embankment, Bedford, Bedfordshire, England, MK40 1RW, United Kingdom | 4 star hotel
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This 4 star hotel is located on The Embankment, Bedford.
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    Historical Traveler Reviews Bedford Swan Hotel

    Wore Down by Series of Inconveniences


    Stayed at the Swan the week of 5/12/05 as a business traveller... The hotel itself is very nice & well situated to downtown Bedford restaurants. Unfortunately, management of the facility itself was poor for a business traveller due to a number of minor inconveniences which resulted in my overall rating. With some increased focus on effective management, this hotel could provide a very nice experience.


    1) Linens showed signs of age & mattress was a bit tired.

    2) Breakfast was typical English, though unimpressive.

    3) Walls were thin, resulting in my being woke up by room next door's telephone wake up call.

    4) Internet access required contract with a seperate service provider. Halfway through my stay the provider changed (no prior notice) and management refused to make good on the rest of the unused contract or assist in ensuring that service was not interrupted.

    5) Very loud disco music on Wednesday evening until 12:00 PM - Ugh!!!

    6) Police patrol carpark daily - looks that the main reason here is not security but to issue parking tickets. Forgetting to demonstrate hotel parking pass on dash WILL result in parking infraction.

    7) Some of the front desk help did not speak English well - I felt at times communications were like an episode of Faulty Towers!


    1) Ate dinner in the restaurant on last night - very good, but charged additional fee to "swap" a dessert from one menu to another.

    2) Facility itself is historic & beautiful.

    3) Location, location, location. Well located for walking about town.

    4) Visible police presence.

    5) Dinner wait staff very friendly and accomodating.

    6) Close - but not too close to Bedford train station. No need to rent a car if flying into Gatwick - easily accessible from the airport by the Thameslink to Bedford train station & onto the hotel via a 5 pound cab ride. Train ride took @ 2 - 2.5 hrs.



    Slightly overimpressed-by-itself typical old-style English county town hotel I think. Everything in the room was OK but not great and one of the staff was pointlessly and inexplicably rude to me. Torn bed linen - the sort of tear you'd probably live with if it was your own pillow case but you don't really expect a 90/night hotel to make that decision for you. In-room entertainment choice poor. I found the room a little noisy; I could hear next door even though they didn't seem to be particularly loud. Reception didn't even ask the next morning how my stay was - presumably I'm just meant to be grateful The Swan let an oik like me stay overnight. Breakfast at 12 with numerous places to grab a bite round the corner is a bit of a bad joke so I avoided that. No reason not to stay here, but equally no particular reason to stay.

    Loved this hotel


    Date of stay 14.10.05 to 16.10.05

    Just returned from a two night stay at the Bedford Swan Hotel. What a lovely hotel. Staff are friendly and the hotel itself is beautiful and located in an excellent position for accessing Bedford's city centre.

    The hotel is situated opposite the Bedford Rowing Club. My friend and I spent a lovely afternoon sitting on a bench by the river watching the rowers go by. It was very peaceful and relaxing after a long week at work!

    Rather than book the room directly from the hotel's website, we used one of the companies associated with this website. The twin room we booked worked out much cheaper using this method and we were very pleasantly surprised when we arrived to find such a plush hotel and well maintained room at a very reasonable price.

    We only ate breakfast at the hotel so can only comment on the quality of the food and service in relation to this. On arriving at the breakfast room, we were seated promptly. There was a good choice of food which was hot and ready to eat. We had a cooked breakfast on both occasions and really enjoyed it. The breakfast room itself, like the rest of the hotel, was really pretty and of a very high standard of decoration.

    The hotel has a pool and jacuzzi area. The jacuzzki was very relaxing. The pool perhaps a little cool but no so as you'd notice after a minute or so. On our visit the third step of the pool steps was broken and there was a reasonable size hole in the pool floor in which my friend caught her foot. Both issues were reported on our departure and the hotel assured us they would be looked into. Don't let this stop you using the pool, it's very nice but just be careful! Oh, and take 1 (returnable) for the lockers - they forget to tell you this!

    Overall, my friend and I were very impressed with this hotel. For the price we paid, to be honest I would have settled for less! It really is a lovely hotel in a great location and I would stay there again.

    Lovely but not very comfortable


    We wanted to love the Bedford Swan because of its history and unusal design. If we were twenty years younger it would have been fine. But our backs hurt from the lumpy mattresses. We were told that renovation hadn't extended to our floor yet. It is a charming 18th century hotel with some lovely views. The breakfast was no more than average.

    If you're more interested in English charm than comfort, this is the hotel for you.

    On a positive note, the pool was spectacular. We felt as though we wee swimming in the Roman baths.

    Am planning to return


    We stayed in the hotel in May 2004, I'm now online booking to return this year (2005).

    The service we recieved was excellent, the room had amazing views of the river, it was comfortable, well furnished & spacious.

    The pool and jacuzzi are a great place to relax, they are set on the ground floor of the hotel with stone walls and low lighting-the water glistens blue & it all makes for a very romantic atmosphere. When we used it we were the only ones in there!

    Breakfast was delicious (in contrast to another review I've read here). The food was all well cooked, plentiful & delicious.

    Service throughout our stay in all areas was excellent.

    I definately recommend this hotel.

    Bed But NOT Breakfast


    We were staying here for a night in August 2004 for a 40th Birthday celebration.

    The hotel accommodation was OK, certainly nothing special but reasonable for the price/rating of the hotel. We didn't really spend much time in the hotel as we were out during the day anyway. I'm sure there are some nice rooms with a view out onto the river. Unfortunately our view was out onto a car park and I was woken around 8am by staff clearing out bottles into a bin, obviously clearing up after a wedding or some such event the night before. That was certainly not what we needed after a Saturday night out celebrating with friends.

    The real thing that disturbed us was the breakfast. We arrived about 9.30am as they were due to serve for at least another thirty minutes. The room looked as if a bomb had hit it as virtually all the tables had been used, although I'd say only around 25% still had people sitting at them. We had to wait for about 20 minutes before we could be shown to a table as there didn't seem much evidence of staff to clear any tables.

    When we did eventually get to a table we asked for tea, coffee and toast. We went up to the buffet stand for the breakfasts and there was virtually none of the cooked breakfast items. We thought we have some of the remaining fruit while the kitchen prepared some more. While we were eating it a delivery of more cooked food arrived and was immediately pounced on by everyone else who was also obviously also waiting for food. Eventually we asked a passing waitress (poor thing looked frazzled by being one of about two staff seemingly on duty) about getting some eggs prepared and she took our order. We also reminded her about the tea, coffee and toast that we were still waiting for. After about 20 minutes the table next to us got theirs, at least some movement! Eventually we got our eggs and went up to see what was remaining and found a few offerings either grossly undercooked or overcooked. What was there was enough to make you feel very ill. We could see other people with concerned looks disecting sasuages and just leaving them. Those that didn't look as if their stomachs had churned were just laughing at he experience.

    We never got our tea and coffee and in the end I stole the toast of someone that had abandoned the area ages ago which, of course, still hadn't been cleared up as there were far from enough staff on duty. I was still hungry and that was just about edible (if stale).

    We mentioned that it was by far the worst breakfast we'd ever had when we were checking out and the receptionist didn't seem at all surprised. Couldn't see a trace of the manager - must have been fielding other guest's complaints somewhere.

    Average hotel, very shoddy and inedible breakfast.

    Not near a lake.


    The Swan is directly opposite the Bedford Moat House hotel. On balance it is probably the better of the two being a building of more age and character. I'm not sure about it being next to a lake (previous review) it is actually next to the river.

    Being close to the centre of Bedford it's very convenient for the pubs, clubs and restaurants which, if you're a little adventurous, can yield some nice surprises. Rooms vary but they're all highly acceptable. The bar is spacious and has a good amount of atmosphere. Of the hotels close in to the centre of Bedford this is the one i'd go for.

    Good hotel


    I booked this hotel for an overnight business trip in the area, so I just wanted something clean with a desk. I was delighted when I arrived to see the idilic setting by the lake. Checkin was speedy and efficient, as was checkout. Spent some time in the bar with a good book and a few glasses of reasonable house wine, and had a really pleasant evening. Overall a really nice hotel - good location, pleasant and helpful staff, very reasonably priced. Highly recommended.

    Bedford; OK


    The hotel is an old one, richly decorated and clean, although alittle musty. If you are not used to traveling abroad, there are some differences. This is an expensive hotel, and some of the rooms are small. There are no clocks, alarm or otherwise, in the rooms. There are also no screens in the windows, so if you want some fresh air (we definitly did) you will have some bugs to deal with. There was a hair dryer provided, but not in the bathroom, it was hooked up in the desk. The water pressure was excellant and there was plenty of hot water. We had the unfortunate experience of having rooms across the hall renovated at the time of our stay. Our room was a no smoking room, but that did not help much with the smoke from the workers drifting across the hall (not to mention the steady stream of profanity). The staff did seem to do there best to be accomidating to our needs. There is a beautiful pool and hot tub with wonderful lighting that did wonders to take away our stresses of the day. The food was fair; and english. There is a beautiful park accross from the hotel and a river that is home to many swans and otters! I would not venture around the corner at night as the clubs do seem to get alittle rowdy, and they are the only thing open in the evening except the McDonalds. Overall I would probably recommend this hotel.

    TripAdvisor Reviews Bedford Swan Hotel

    4.00 of 5 stars Excellent

    Travel Blogs from Bedford

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    A travel blog entry by lisaajane on Oct 23, 2013


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    Rainy day in Bedford

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    ... went to a pork knuckle restaurant, for you guessed, pork knuckle! Huge, crackly, salty on a board, with grated horseradish, mustard and cabbage and fennel seed salad. Oh, and steins of beer! On Friday night, we were able to get some cheap tickets to the Magic Flute at the Volkstheatr. That’s that opera theatre for the masses. Fantastic production; orchestra in the pit, masses of singers, plethora ...