On arrival we were informed that we would be charged £30 for having our small dog with us. While a surcharge was indicated at booking, we thought £30 was excessive - it is the same to have an additional guest in the room.
Initially we were also informed that he was allowed nowhere apart from the room - however after a discussion with the manager about the hotel’s claims that ‘Dogs are Welcome’ our dog was grudgingly permitted into one end of the lounge area too.
Our room was a Deluxe Double, on the ground floor. While a good size, it suffered from a poor layout - for instance the TV is only viewable from the desk, and the suitcase rest is in the far corner to the wardrobe. The room itself was clean, but the decor was very tired. We had a very non-deluxe view of the carpark.
The bathroom was a big disappointment - cracked tiles, black mould, poorly fitting loo seat, and a shower over the bath which soaked the room the moment it was used.
The restaurant was where Mar Hall Hotel really let themselves down, however. We chose the ‘fine dining’ Cristal Room. While my wife enjoyed her soup starter and lamb main, my terrine starter was bland in the extreme, and my steak, ordered rare, arrived grey, and chewy. While the blood orange sorbet served with pudding was lovely, it didn’t go with the butterscotch tart at all. The cheese selection was unremarkable but inoffensive - although the brie needed another three days before serving at least. Finally the restaurant was unable to procure two espressos - delivering a pot of black coffee instead.
Throughout, the service was friendly and willing, but amateurish and disorganised - we saw about 4 staff in the dining room at various stages but they seemed to swap roles constantly - this perhaps explains things like the forgotten orders and long wait for food. To their credit, after a short conversation about the cooking of my steak, we were charged neither for that, nor our puddings.
A lovely old building which could and should be a fantastic hotel - but appears to suffer from poor management.
In the morning, we enjoyed a breakfast of kedgeree which was a vast improvement on the previous night’s endeavours.
The staff all tried hard, but it is obvious that there is a lack of effective direction and process for them.