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Slaley Hall

Hexham

Northumberland

NE47 0BX

Telephone: 01434 673350

Fax: 01434 673962

slaley.hall@devere-hotels.com

Their website sounded absolutely fantastic, a unique location, with fabulous interiors and a team of passionate staff to make my stay extra special. There's true joy in the warm welcome, it's easy to relax when you're being spoiled. This is Slaley Hall, just the place to take my partner to celebrate my 65th birthday, regardless of cost. This must be paradise, this is the life.

I went ahead and booked a deluxe rooms for 4 days which was confirmed telling me that this is my break and this is the life and the day before my arrival, they sent me another email which ensured me that they could not wait to meet me, show me around and make my break unforgettable.

How right they were, a truly unforgettable break was awaiting me.

Check-in was from 15.00 hours and when I arrived at about 16:00 hours I was told quite bluntly that our room was not ready and would not be ready until 18:30 at the earliest as a number of rooms (including ours) are being occupied by a 'football team' who, so not the young lady told us would not leave until 18.00 hours.

She gave us a choice of either going away and to come back after 18:30 or so she said, we could wait the 2 ½ hours in the bar and have a 'complimentary' coffee. I had just driven to Northumberland for 4 hours in appalling weather conditions only to be told to go away and come back 3 hours later. I was not happy but reception was insistent that there was nothing they could do.

When I inquired if I could, whilst waiting for my room,  book any purchase  from the bar to my room I was told that this would not be possible as I would not have a room until I actually checked in, which was impossible , as my room was presently occupied by the 'football team' which, as I found out after was  Huddersfield Town who played Newcastle that very evening at 20.00 hours in the Carling Cup.

So that was the true joy in the warm welcome as promised.

In the end I finally received my key card 10 minutes past 19.00 hours having waited in excess of 3 hours in the bar and made my way to room 305, the ‘deluxe room’  which was promised to me as being easy to relax when you're being spoiled.

The first impression was that the room, whilst quite spacious, was rather cold and boring, the furniture taking me back to 70's and looking like a self-assembly kit from MFI.
There was a bathrobe in the wardrobe but no sign fluffy slippers, the heated towel rail in the bathroom was not working and the room was freezing cold. All efforts to change the temperature with the room thermostat were in vain, it made no difference which way you turned the little dial, it just stayed cold, but we discovered on ancillary heater in the wardrobe which we had to use to bring our deluxe room to an acceptable level of warmth.

There  was no hotel information folder anywhere in the room, no writing paper, no pen.


At 20.00 hours we went for our dinner, having had little time to change and we dined for the first two nights at the more formal Duke's Grill and the remaining two nights at Hadrian's Brasserie.

The food in both restaurants was ok, nothing to shout about, and despite having booked the Half Board option we still ended up paying in excess of £ 50.00 extra per night which included a bottle of wine but not having any desserts.

Regretfully, whilst there for last 4 days the menu never changed and we found it quite difficult to find anything different to eat on our last day, it was becoming rather boring.

Breakfast was another story. You first join a queue at Hadrian's Brasserie to wait for a vacant table. When you finally get your table you then join another (rather long) queue for the self-service breakfast. On 3 out of the 4 days the plates were ice cold as the staff could not be bothered to refill the plate heaters and by the time you finally get your 'english breakfast' having waited with the queue for various missing items, which happened every day , your breakfast is stone cold. Cold bacon, cold sausage and cold eggs are not my ideal but the continental breakfast selection was as unimpressive that it could not be considered an alternative.

On one day we ventured into the Leisure Club, but with an abundance of rather noisy children in the pool we found it rather cumbersome to have a swim so we gave up and just had a sauna. When I tried to dry my hair after I had a shower I found that the hair dryer in the changing room was not working forcing me to go back to our room with my wet hair.

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I have just returned from a Spa day with my daughter. We had a special offer which was £39 for a spa day with a treatment included. It was a good job that is all i paid because it certainly wasnt worth any more. On entering reception we were checked in and given bathrobes, these were still wet. Slippers that...

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Slaley Hall

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Excellent (98)

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Slaley Hall

49% gave Slaley Hall the thumbs down and would never return again

 

After we got back I complained to DeVere Hotels about the delayed check-in emphasizing that they were clearly aware that the rooms would not be ready upon arrival and that they should have notified all the guests effected by this delay and that they should have given us the opportunity to cancel our booking for that day or allow us to delay our arrival at Slaley Hall.

The reply I received from Sean Boyce, the managing director of Slaley Hall, was the usual fob off pre-printed  garbage telling me how grateful he was that I bought this matter to his attention as this would enable him to place an immediate focus on this area to ensure such problems do not reoccur.


It was the typical response you usually get from hotels or tour operators following a complaint and when I questioned his response and pointed out to him that this was clearly complete nonsense as Slaley Hall had knowingly sold these rooms for financial gain to a third party, he came back to me and confirmed that they were fully aware that the rooms would not be ready until 19.00 hours but, as he said, they did not anticipate that this would inconvenience the arriving guests. He also confirmed that the check-in time for Slaley Hall is from 15.00 hours onward but, as the said, this does not guarantee them at 15.00 hours.

He did not show the slightest remorse, and I can only assume that this is happening quite frequently at Slaley Hall, when Newcastle are playing an evening match at home.
How they can possible claim that they are aware that guests cannot check in until 7pm and that this, in their view, would not inconvenience the guests arriving? It can only mean that their guests do not usually complaint and just accept that they will have to sit in the bar for 3 hours sipping a 'complimentary' coffee whilst Slaley Hall is reeking in the financial rewards of having sold their rooms to somebody else.

He did, in the end, offer to upgrade my room on my next visit to a deluxe room and he told me that I could have a 'complimentary' meal for two at one of their restaurants if I stayed again at Slaley Hall within the next 12 month but my response was that I had no intention to stay there again or, indeed any other DeVere Hotel, in the next 12 months or the next 12 years.

A previous complainant hit the nail on the head when he said that Slaley Hall was nothing  more but a glorified club house with rooms and, as I am not a golfer, I will leave this place to the golf playing members of our society to enjoy in the future.

I have just returned from another 4 day break to Madeira. I stayed in a fantastic 4 star hotel, had a sumptuous suite overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and I paid, inclusive of all food and drink, several hundred pound less than I paid at Slaley Hall. This also included the flight, the car park at the airport and the taxi to and from the airport in Madeira.

Why would I want to stay at Slaley Hall again?

So just remember, should you ever decide to stay at Slaley Hall phone or e-mail them the day before you go and request that they guarantee you a check-in time from 3 pm onwards. If you don’t, you might have to roam the grounds or finish up in the bar for 4 hours sipping a 'complimentary' coffee.

Personally speaking I will never stay at another DeVere hotel again, there are plenty of other hotels who offer value for money and who don’t treat you like Slaley Hall treats their clients