We stayed at the Burnside for the Jazz Weekend on November 16/17, as we have done several times in the past. Having this time read some of the reviews before we went I was beginning to wonder what to expect from this hotel, which we had never had a problem with previously. I need not have worried!
Yes there is a bit of a problem with car parking, especially on a busy weekend such as this, and with some building work being carried out, but there were several spaces at the far end of the car park. OK, a short walk but no hotel can possibly accommodate all the guest cars right outside of the reception entrance.
On arriving at reception we were greeted with a smile from a most helpful receptionist, who also confirmed our pre-booked restaurant dining time.
We were in room 228, a double and separate single room, with a small balcony to the rear of the hotel. The room, including the bathroom, was spotlessly clean and the beds comfortable. The previous comment by a reviewer about nowhere to hang an outdoor coat, especially in the Lake District, is valid. A couple of hooks on the back of the door would be helpful. Tea/coffee making equipment is hidden away in a small cupboard and maybe difficult to locate – but we had been before! A little brighter lighting in the room would be a worthwhile improvement.
We entered the restaurant for our evening meal at the scheduled time and were immediately seated. Warm bread rolls and water were offered and our order taken within minutes of our arrival. The food and service by the restaurant staff was excellent, absolutely no complaint whatsoever. We did have to leave our table after our dessert to help ourselves to after dinner coffee but we were happy to take this into the lounge area. Not a problem. The arrangement by which people are booked into the restaurant in small groups at 15 minute intervals works really well, it means that diners are not kept waiting once seated and the waiting staff can give them their full attention.
Breakfast the next morning is perhaps a little less organized, being buffet style and obviously busy when the hotel is full. We arrived just before nine and were seated straight away but did notice that a little later people were being asked to wait for a few minutes in the lounge. Once a table was free it only took the waiting staff a few minutes to re-lay the table. Personally I thought the breakfast offering was very good – fresh fruit, fruit juices, cereals, croissants and all the usual ingredients for a continental style breakfast but also a full hot buffet – eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, hash browns, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc, etc. Yes, you do have to serve yourself with tea or coffee and toast but is this really a problem? At least you can take it when you want and to your own liking. Personally I prefer to have such items hot rather than placed on the table by a waiter at the start of my meal. Over the course of this summer I have stayed in 4/5 * hotels in Tenerife, Madeira, Cyprus, Croatia, Faro and New York. Self-service is now the norm in all of these places.
Since the present owner took over there has been a great deal of refurbishment and improvement works at this hotel, with associated building work, so it is inevitable that there may be some inconvenience to patrons, but this work is essential to improve customer facilities. I sometimes tire at the complaints of people about building/renovation work at the same time complaining about lack of facilities!
Finally may I comment on the general attitude of the staff at this hotel? As at most hotels many of the staff are from other countries and do not have English as their first language BUT we did not find any of the staff to be rude or indifferent. In fact I would say the opposite, receiving a polite ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ whenever passing. I have always found that if you acknowledge staff they will always acknowledge you. We noticed that the bar staff were particularly attentive, even willing to make cups of tea and coffee late at night after our jazz sessions. I would particularly single out a young man, (Fyn I think his name is) who was looking after the bar in the event room. For him nothing was too much trouble, even going to other bars to fetch drinks for us that his bar did not stock.
Always pleasant and polite, a credit to the hotel and to himself.
We will be returning in April. less