10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"I've been staying at this hotel for a number of years now as it is the perfect base for some outdoor activities in the Lake district. With it's roarign open fires and great ales I quite frankly couldn't care less if it rains all week (theres a great bookshop in Grasmere village). Recent renovations have swept away the last remnants of the 70s yet it still retains the old world charm you would hope for in such a fantastic setting. We found the staff and in particular Paul the manager very welcoming. With a good drying room and a wooden floored bar this is a very hiker friendly place. Dinner inclusive package is well worth doing as the food is fab!!"
- Travel date: 8th December 2008
a warm welcome for alfie!
"we had a lovely autumn break with our little dog alfie, who is a miniature dachshund. from the moment we walked in we felt at home. nothing was too much bother for the staff. and alfie even got a biscuit given to him in the bar!! he was well pleased!!! we have stayed before so it is a familiar place to us. it did not disappoint! although we did think the heating could have been a little hotter!!! we r staying there with alfie for christmas and really looking forward to it!! a truly lovely hotel once they get round to refurbishing the rooms."
- Travel date: 5th December 2008
Magical weekend at The Swan
"My boyfriend and I had some Tesco vouchers and wanted a relaxing weekend in the countryside- the Macdonald chain hotels can be paid for by Tesco vouchers, and Grasmere looked lovely so we booked in at The Swan. When we arrived, on a very cold day, the log fire in the lounge downstairs was a really welcoming sight and we could tell straight away that our stay would be very special. Our room was overlooking the fell behind the hotel and the decor is very traditionally English- chintzy curtains, patterned curtains and antique furniture. Everything was very clean and there was definately no smell of damp (as suggested by other reviews). The shower was lovely and hot and there were plenty of towels and complimenary toiletries. Grasmere itself is a perfect base for exploring the lake district and spending a relaxing weekend- there are some lovely cafes, pubs and giftshops, and some very good restaurants. We ate at Villa Columbina our first night- a lovely Italian right next to Dove Cottage, and the Jumble Room our second night. If you go to Grasmere you should definately ring ahead to book a table at the Jumble Room- we had the best meal we have ever had there- a lovely, cosy restaurant with a very relaxed atmosphere- the focus is all on the food rather than the pretensions you sometimes find in very good restaurants. Walking back to the hotel follwing a good meal, the lounge at The Swan is the perfect location to relax with an evening drink by the huge fire- they even have a cupboard of traditional games so you can enjoy a game of Scrabble by the fire. A few reviews on the site are uncomplementary about the breakfast at The Swan, but we had no complaints- the buffet is full of fresh fruit, cereals, pastries, yoghurt and juice, and there is a choice of full english, boiled eggs, kippers or smoked mackerel to follow. I am a vegetarian and was given a generous plate of two eggs, beans, mushrooms and tomato as an alternative to the full english. All in all we had a magical weekend at the swan- I would definately reccomend it to anyone who likes their hotels to have character and tradition rather than be ultra-modern and slick."
- Travel date: 23rd November 2008
"I booked a two night inclusive short break at this hotel. At Â£440.00 , I thought it would be good. When I booked I was offered a Superior romm as I was told the standard rooms overlooked the car park. The room was at the back of the hotel and did have a view of a fell. The room itself was in dire need of a refurb, it had stains on the wallpaper , some of which was peeling, biro marks by the bed , threadbare carpet, I also asked for a double bed and got two singles. No radio or teletext available either. The menu was good, imaginative and made good use of local produce, I enjoyed all the food and had no compaints there. All of the staff and service were extremely friendly7 and courteous, really this is the hotels saving grace. Although service was hit and miss, forgetting wine, offering bread etc, the staff were friendly enough for it not to be a problem. Overall I didn't feel it was value for money as there were other hotels nearby which looked far smarter at the same price or cheaper, so i would try one of them instead."
- Travel date: 10th November 2008
"Weâve been eager to stay at the Swan for a while, but the price had always put us off. Then we discovered a promotion (code SUW) which cut the price of two nights B&B from Â£340 down to a more reasonable Â£200 â so we booked. A lot of hotels in the lakes charge per person/per night so the price is not always as good as it looks. For Grasmere, Â£50pppn was very reasonable. The star rating of the hotel was not clear and it isnât clearly stated on the Macdonald website. There was a banner outside the hotel advertising the restaurant, which showed five stars and a plaque inside with three. This review, and our expectations were of a four star hotel as the many hotel booking websites showed it as four star. We arrived about an hour early, but were allowed into the room straight away. Having heard so much about the Swan, opulence and comfort were the expectation. The reality was a grubby room which reeked of damp. This was not just a mild whiff but strong and almost overbearing. The bedding was clean and fine but the carpet, like the ones in the corridors, was threadbare and mildew ran up the side of the window. The bathroom had cracked and loose tiles, with mildew on the blind, fan and grouting. The TV remote control did not match the TV so the teletext was unusable. As there were only four channels, this would have been useful for checking travel and weather. We had asked for a quiet room â and got one right at the back of the hotel but on the ground floor. From about 6:30, we were woken by the regular banging of a nearby door and could hear the creaking and clattering from the guest in the room above. If this was really a quiet room, then I canât imagine what the others are like. We ate in the restaurant on the first night. Service is fussy and a little over the top, but while the staff are keen, efficient and obviously well trained, itâs the basics that let it down. The first course of soup was served forty minutes after sitting down. It didnât matter by then that it was served politely, by a smart waiter with a cloth over his arm. The experience at breakfast was much the same. There was a buffet with three fruit juices, five large unlabelled ceramic tubs of cereal, some croissants and mini-danishes, fruit, ham and cheese. Cooked breakfast could be ordered. When we enquired about vegetarian options, we were told there were two fish dishes. With meat and fish removed from the choices, it left egg, mushrooms and beans. I ordered this, to be told a few minutes later that the hotel didnât have any beans. The waiter then served a small poached egg with three mushrooms. The most unwholesome breakfast Iâve ever been served. On the second day, they didnât have beans either so I asked for two eggs. I got one, and only two mushrooms. I suggested to the waiter that I could nip into the village and get a tin of beans from the co-op (something any of the staff could have done during the previous day), but he just laughed with embarrassment. The hotel was probably very good once. But time and a lack of investment have taken their toll. The staff cannot be faulted in any way. They were all very professional, helpful and friendly. But their efforts were in vain as however good they hoped to be, they were let down by the quality of the product they were delivering. As we were paying a discounted rate, itâs possible that we had been allocated a room that was inferior, though there is no excuse for the dirty condition of the room at any price. Bearing in mind how much we paid, we werenât too disappointed with the stay. Had we paid full price, we would have been seeking a refund and an apology. On the second night we ate at The Jumble Room in the village centre. If you can get a table - go there. It is one of the best meals I've had."
- Travel date: 11th August 2008
walkers paradise with views to die for
"Coming from the Old England in Bowness to this we were expecting a come down. The main hotel is old and has been extended over the years and it is showing signs of its age. Our room was plush and clean but very in need of a refurb and an update. However, none of this really put us off. In fact it adds to the charm. There's a warm oldie house smell and feel to the place. It's like going upstairs to bed at your Nan's house. You feel at home, settled and relaxed. The restaurant is great. It has seen some update in recent times. The food is a step down from the usual MacDonald fare which is great as it obviously caters better to the market this hotel is aimed at. Coming from the formal dining of the Old England in Bowness to the relaxing vibe in this hotel restaurant was refreshing. Reasonably priced food, cooked beautifully, presented with love and delivered with a smile. You could not want for anything more. The location is all about walking. If you don't walk you're a fool. Helm's Cragg is an easy hill climb and offers stunning views. White Moss Common is an easy walk, more views, caves and Lakeside fun. Keswick is a stunning scenic drive away etc etc. Buy a map, pack a lunch, boot up, set a route and go. You'll not be disappointed whichever way you head. Grasmere has hiking shops, small cafe's and a lovely evening vibe. Great for an ice-cream and/or an evening stroll."
- Travel date: 10th June 2008
great break in a lovely hotel
"a great location if you are interested in walking as there are walks directly from the door. The hotel is warm, and gives the feel of a small hotel. Staff were excellent, extremely friendly snd attentive and nothing is too much trouble. Food in the restaurant is excellent although make sure you book as it can get busy. The rooms are a little dated but still fine..perfect place for a short break and it's a great place for couples. I wouldn't recommend for families as I could imagine kids getting a little bored here"
- Travel date: 7th May 2008
Beware the restuarant
"After many years using this dog-friendly hotel, my wife and I abandoned it five years ago because of its falling standards. Last week we decided to give it another chance. Intending to use the restuarant for dinner each night, the first night we both chose the same items. However, our bread was decidedly stale, the elaborate fish starter was frozen and tasteless, and the duck tough. The rolls were changed with the comment they were fresh that morning, but those of people sitting around us were also changed at the same time without their needing to ask. We heard the lady at a nearby table complain about the duck to be told the knife probably needed sharpening. We found the two courses plus wine and coffee grossely over-priced at Â£74. We found having bar sancks would have probably cost Â£50+. We went out to another restauarant on the second night for a far better service and meal at a more reasonable cost. The breakfast next morning was excellent, but the second morning my wife ordered tomato mushroom and bacon, while I ordered a 'full' breakfast. We each received a quarter of a mushroom- yes, a quarter of one - half a small tomato, and one slice of bacon. Mine included half a round of black puding, a tablespoonful of dried scrambled egg, and a small sausage. My wife's plate looked empty and mine would have done but for the 'flood' of watery baked beans. When I commented to the head waiter he just shrigged and walked off. Our room was decidedly 'tired', but the good things included the quality of the bath sheet, the comfortable beds,the hotel situation, and the friendliness and helpfulness of the reception staff."
- Travel date: 23rd April 2008
Couldn't have been better!
"Booked a two night 'break' and took our dog, Daisy a fox terrier. Its great to find an accommodating hotel to take us & the dog. The food was excellent, breakfast too many options! The bar very relaxing and lovely open fires. Its a lovely place for a special break as it is a little more expensive, but you do get what you pay for. We bought a voucher for our parents to go and stay and they enjoyed it as well. Grasmere is a fantastic place and so many beautiful walks in the area. We will be back, thank you the Swan."
- Travel date: 9th April 2008
a perfect scrambling weekend in the lakes
"We had an absolutely superb weekend at The Swan. We stay for the Easter weekend (2008) and everything was fantastic. The staff and service over the weekend were exemplary. They epitomised politeness and attentiveness to detail was exquisite and we could not have faulted a single part of the hotel experience. We were there for an extended weekend away from work, to relax, rewind and climb some stunning English mountains. Each one of these were fulilled to a T. The location of the hotel was, for us, perfect. True, it is on a "main" road (it is not exactly a busy road), and we could NOT hear the road from the room. It is a 5 minute walk from the centre of Grasmere yet has stunning views of the nearby crags and is superbly position for some direct walks and for short drives to the variey of hills in the Lake District (Ambleside: 10 minutes, Keswick 20 minutes). Breakfast, consisting of a juice, fruit, cereal and pastry buffet plus a full English cooked to order was excellentt. On arriving back at the hotel late afternoon after a day on the hills the bar menu was just what the Doctor ordered - sandwiches, soup and afternoon tea were all great. The only criticism would be the evening menu. Some of the menu choices are a little simple and the wine list a bit uninspiring for the price they charge (23 GBP for 2 courses, 30 for 3. In restaurant of this price you would expect a bit more)though it is a charming breakfast / dinner room and the bar / lounge extremely relaxing. Taking the wine and cheese through to the fire and sofas is a wonderful thing after a long day out. The whole experience was, nevertheless, extremely enjoyable. I can only imagine that DCPiacere either stayed at the wrong hotel or that we were simpy far luckier than them in our experience. We expect to go back to the lakes very soon and we will definitely be staying at the Swan again."
- Travel date: 24th March 2008
Macdonald Swan Hotel is also called
- hotel macdonald swan
- macdonald swan grasmere