Booked this very much last minute (4-5hrs before arrival) as a stop off on the way back from a week abroad.
We've usually had good experiences with Best Western (independent but with some franchise based QA) so as this had the essentials (gym and family rooms) it was first choice in the area, despite mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. The link to booking. com indicated that rooms were available but, thinking that I might get a better deal I chose to call the number on Trip Advisor, which turned out to be the central Best Western booking number. This is where things started to go wrong. After waiting on hold whilst she checked with the hotel, I was told the hotel was full. When I said I could still book on booking.com, she could offer no explanation and eventually offered to transfer my call to the hotel. After waiting c 5mins for the call to be answered I hung up and booked the room on line anyway.
On arrival, no one had noticed the last minute booking. When I said I had a 5yr old asleep in the car, the receptionist was excellent - commandeering restaurant staff to put an extra bed in the room as quickly as possible. However, the other details were neglected with the room set up for one occupant in terms of towels, toiletries etc.
I'd booked an executive room. I suspect I was upgraded but this was never mentioned. If not the room was very spacious, clean and can't be faulted.
Next challenge the gym. For medical reasons, my wife has to undertake a rigorous exercise program daily. The gym equipment was adequate but not exceptional. It was unmanned - not a problem or uncommon. However, hours were restricted and you had to complete a medical questionnaire before using it and need a note from your GP if you are on medication. Elsewhere we've seen unmanned gyms with pretty much 24hr access and never had a medical questionnaire (although signing a disclaimer is not uncommon or unreasonable). Still, fortunately use of the gym was still possible although it made for a later start in the morning than we would have liked.
The final challenge was breakfast, which broke me from feeling overall OK with reservations to a negative feeling. This was a classic case of poor organisation.
The hotel was busy, but we came to breakfast relatively late. We queued for 5-10mins before a table was available. The room, large and spacious, was just not put to good use; every table could seat at least six and yet almost all were being occupied by couples- hence the queue.
When we finally got in, we witnessed 2-3 staff run off their feet trying to keep things moving whilst there seemed about 5 others who would wander around, clearing the occasional table or providing the odd poached egg or whatever had been specifically ordered.
With a 5yr old with is, we visited the buffet three times and on every occasion it was out of one or more elements, including a total absence of sausages replaced with the less popular black pudding, with one poor member of staff trying to replenish things as quickly as she could and bearing the brunt of guests frustrations. It struck me that this whole experience could have been so much better if there had been better management of the process.
That said, the food itself was of a good standard, with the use of large, field mushrooms particularly enjoyable.
much potential but needs better management less