The arrangements between the booking company and the hotel went very smoothly. This was the first time we have stayed at the Wood Norton. The package was a very attractive one - and delivered all it promised. The history of the hotel (former home of the exiled French royal family and wartime home of the BBC) and its surroundings (especially Croome Court, with its Capability Browne landscape, and the secret wartime RAF Defford) was fascinating. The drive from Sussex to Evesham took us through the heart of the beautiful Cotswolds, So we were a little surprised at first to find that we appeared to be entering a very large building site for a retirement village surrounding the hotel entrance. However that did not interfere in any way with the rest of our stay. No noise or nuisance whatsoever. The house is very interesting architecturally and set in wonderful grounds and gardens. The large terrace has views over the Malvern Hills. The public rooms on the ground floor are spacious, nicely furnished and comfortable.
The reception was charming, and we were delighted to find that we had been allocated a magnificent first floor suite the Hallett, room 102. Although we didn't make it down to the bar for full afternoon tea until 16.40, 10 minutes after service was due to end, the staff were very welcoming and the tea was outstanding.
The restaurants' evening meals were all excellent 2 nights in the bistro and 1 night on the tasting menu in the Old Kitchen restaurant. The only negative was that the set menu of 3 choices in the brasserie was not changed between Wednesday, when we first ate there, and the following Friday.
Breakfast was fine, but improvable. We arrived on the first morning about 09.00 to find that the fruit salad had disappeared and were told that no replacement/refreshment was available. But the other mornings the free-for-all bowl was replaced by individual Kilner Jars of chopped fruit which worked fine. The berry compote was gorgeous. The breakfast menu choice seems heavily in favour of egg-lovers which we are not. When we asked if there was a fish alternative, such as poached haddock, we were told not, as the Arnold Bennett omelette was the only fish dish. The coffee at breakfast was pretty indifferent dark, wet and warm, but not much else. Fresh cafetieres would be an improvement. The cooked breakfast was excellent, but was served too soon after ordering, before we had finished our cereals.
During our stay, two weddings took place and a third was being prepared for. The way the hotel has organised the separate Orangery as the wedding venue is excellent. We were able to enjoy watching families clearly having a good time, and a memorable experience, without in any way interfering with our own enjoyment of our stay there.
We only needed to contact reception once to obtain an extension lead to reach to the bedside and that was delivered and rigged up very quickly and efficiently. When we came to settle the bill it was ready and waiting and just consisted of the difference between the wines we had consumed and the allocation of 75 towards them. Very fair and efficient.
We went away very happy with our stay, and have already recommended the hotel to friends.