We recently stayed for four nights, having had similar length stays in 2010 and 2015 (when it was undergoing a substantial refurbishment). Strangely, or perhaps not, our overall experience has been ve... more
We recently stayed for four nights, having had similar length stays in 2010 and 2015 (when it was undergoing a substantial refurbishment). Strangely, or perhaps not, our overall experience has been very similar on all three visits – however the sensitively executed refurbishment is a substantial plus point. We enjoyed our recent visit and hope to do so again.
We particularly like Reception – staff invariably strike the right note on all interactions and are well informed. The parking facilities are a major plus – we drive to the hotel, park, and then use a variety of public transport until we depart.
We have progressively upgraded our room booking – this has not been cost neutral, but has mostly provided some welcome benefits. However on our first visit in 2010 we were allocated a small room on the third floor (310? or 301 perhaps) which provided superb views over the city including the castle. In our latest visit we have been in a much larger room with claims of offering a castle view and, somewhat oddly, 360 (degrees we assume was intended but does not appear on our screen!): the reality is an excellent view of a large tree nearby when looking towards the Castle, a limited view of part of the castle when looking through one of the narrow turret windows, and 360 degrees (= a circle) is not possible given the physical construction of the room and its turret! As a very minor comment, room maintenance needs to replace one of the bulbs in the lantern light fitting in the turret!
Room servicing continues to be quietly performed to a good standard.
So …….. the above leaves the important catering issue. Overall, the catering has stepped up a gear since our previous visits but there is still room for improvement in its delivery and support. Breakfast offers a good range of choices – although that did not include mushrooms during our recent visit; we would not expect mushrooms to be a special request item. Hotel room bookings include options of room only, continental and full breakfast and therefore some control by restaurant staff is an obvious necessity; it is therefore unclear to us why, having booked full breakfast and confirming our name and room number each morning, we were escorted on two mornings to a table without a salt and pepper pot. Evening meals were generally good and sometimes even better, and very competitively priced other than perhaps the 10 oz. steak which looks a tad out of kilter with the rest. Re starters, don’t ignore the soup – we liked ours when we opted for it! We are currently moderating our wine intake so cannot comment on the wines, but the beer and soft drink prices and Irish Coffees were very reasonably priced. Given the style of the menu e.g. multiple burger options, coupled with a mix of accents and nationalities of both staff and customers plus different terminology for the same things, then we suggest that above average care be taken when placing an order.
Like many hotels these days, the range of guests often includes coach parties; these can significantly affect the service experienced by other guests; Braid Hills does much better than average in minimising the potential impact of the lumpy demand patterns at meal times, the escalated noise that can be generated by synchronised early risers, as well as the depletion of the hot water resources.
The option to use the excellent bus service to get into the City is marred by a lack of housekeeping re the steps between the hotel drive and the public pavement – during our visit the steps were decorated with a lot of leaves plus bits of concrete/plaster that has spalled off. The garden areas facing the main road might benefit from more attention, and would better expose the advertisement boards of the hotel! less