It's always good to get a warm welcome at check-in, and that extended by a smiling Nicola could not have been warmer or friendlier, so we got off to a good start.
Room 40, she told us, was a lovely ground floor room with door opening on to the gardens, but when I pointed out that I had requested an upper floor room when booking, she immediately offered an alternative if, once we had seen it, we were not happy.
In the event it suited us well, being spacious, bright and well furnished, with ample wardrobe and storage space and excellent lighting. The beds were extremely comfortable, as were the pillows chosen from the pillow menu, and we appreciated the generous hospitality tray with it selection of teas, coffees and biscuits.
The well lit bathroom was spacious too and had good quality bath sheets and hand towels, as well as quality toiletries, but the water flow from the shower was frustratingly sluggish. Housekeeping was of a very high standard, with all fittings in the bathroom sparkling clean and everything in the bedroom impressively fresh. But who on earth decided that a door stop, intended no doubt to prevent the door from banging against the bath, should be fixed to the door itself instead of to the floor, so that the door banged noisily on the side of the bath?
It was good to enjoy free WiFi and the use of a computer and printer, as well as the splendid Health Club facilities.
Breakfasts were excellent, with a wide variety of juices and starters and an appetising selection of hot dishes, which were actually hot and not lukewarm, on the self-service buffet.
The dinner menu offered a fairly wide selection of dishes at reasonable prices and we enjoyed some very good food, but found the portions to be over generous and in some cases extremely so. A starter of lightly curried chicken veloute came in a large soup plate filled to the brim, and with more pieces of chicken than often served as a main course, so that it became almost starter and mains combined. This, of course, is a matter of personal choice and there will be some with hearty appetites who relish huge portions completely covering the plate, while others attach importance to presentation.
Whether having breakfast or dinner, the service provided by the mainly young staff was excellent. Nothing was too much trouble for them, anything we asked for was brought to our table without delay, and they never failed to check if everything was to our satisfaction nor to ask if there was anything else we needed. The impression we formed was one of enthusiasm for their work and a determination to please. These remarks apply equally to other members of staff, in particular one who helped solve an IT problem (Gavin?) and another who brought extra pillows to the room and sorted out a problem with keys.
And this same caring attitude was evident at check-out when a smiling Diane thanked us for staying at Keavil House, said she hoped we would return again soon and wished us a safe journey home.
Yes, the staff of Keavil House richly deserve three big cheers.