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Reviewed 18 February 2018 via mobile

Saturday night stay and meal in their restaurant.
The hotel has bundles of character and our room was very pleasant. Shower not great but everything else fine.
The bar is very small so get in early.
Food unbelievably good. This chef can really cook.
But oh dear, the restaurant service was terrible.
What a shame - could have been such a good experience.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Tim M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 23 February 2018

Dear Tim M,

Thank you for your kind review of our hotel. We do indeed have bundles of character and I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed your room. I would however ask, if it is not too much trouble, if you would mind sharing with me the room in which you stayed so that I may heave a look at the shower within that room to see if perhaps there is something we can do to ensure that the next guest has a better experience.

With regard the size of the bar, we are going through a process in the food and beverage areas and are putting new menus in place, as well as drinks lists, looking at further beverage areas to try to enhance the product that we have here at The Bear.

I am sorry that during your stay you received such poor service within our restaurant. I have shared your feedback with our Restaurant Manager who has asked me to apologise on his behalf for what should have been a completely different experience

The chef has also asked me to thank you for the kind feedback that you have left regarding his food. Chefs as you probably know spend many hours perfecting dishes and creating masterpieces to place in front of us at patrons to eat. It is encouraging for a chef to receive such great feedback as yours.

Thank you once again for you r kind feedback, and I do hope that we shall see you again in the not too distant future.

Kindest regards,
Paul Mason

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2018 via mobile

I took my wife here on our 5th visit to The Bear, we had a wonderful feature room with a four poster bed in the courtyard area, it was so quiet and peaceful.
I had paid in advance for Dinner B&B, although the service in the restaurant is normally excellent this time the experience was less than we expected. The service was slow and somewhat disorganised, the food was as ever absolutely superb, only to be spoiled by the over worked staff, in fact after two and half hours we still hadn't been given a sweet menu dispite asking for one, we left.
The following morning the restaurant manager apologised profusely telling us the new ordering system wasn't working very well.
Too late I'm afraid, the experience did spoil our stay.
We will use the Hotel again, but eat elsewhere next time.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Stephen O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2018

Thank you for your view of the Bear Hotel.

I am thrilled to learn you enjoyed your room so much, and found it peaceful and quiet.

I am disappointed to learn that you experienced poor service in the restaurant, but that the Manager took time to apologise. There have been some management changes at the Bear, but that is no excuse for poor service.

I do hope you will allow us the opportunity to show our service at its best, and return to the Bear again soon.

Kind regards

Paul Mason
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2018

There are 2 main hotels in woodstock , the bear and the feathers.
Have used the feathers but found it lacking - its not what it was - so having had a couple of snack meals at the bear which were nice decided to stay this week for one night .
the room , no 37 a deluxe double , was delightful , cosy , everything you might need
a capsule coffee maker , kettle and -hooray - a teapot and cups and sauces not mugs! double hooray ..
My room also looked immaculate and for £108 incl breakfast was very good value-as for charging for parking -£10 overnight -well they have 2 large car parks in the middle of the town very desirable - just find out what it costs to park in london overnight !
dinner was a business meal , service was fine , food was excellent really tasty i remember in particular the loin of cod with arancini s and pear compote -very tasty , beef fillet also pronounced very good .dishes were smallish but who eats out because they are starving - not many .
A really enjoyable meal and a nice surprise .

Room Tip: room 37 is a deluxe double very cosy inc coffee machine , tea making etc
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank alanEastSussexUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2018

Thank you for your positive review of the Bear Hotel.

I am delighted to learn that you enjoyed your stay and found the standard of the room and facilities as you expected. I am equally happy to learn that you enjoyed your meal with us, and that you enjoyed your overall stay very much. I will share your comments with members of the restaurant, as they will be thrilled to learn that their efforts were appreciated.

I hope to welcome you back to the Bear again very soon.

Kind regards

Paul Mason
General Manager

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Reviewed 15 February 2018 via mobile

Lovely room though previous reviews regarding turndown proved inaccurate as we didn’t get any! Car parking charges excessive.

Biggest disappointment was valentines dinner. Waited 30 minutes for our wine order to be served. Quality of food very good but marred by poor service and staff attitude and uncertainty.

We finally left after waiting 30 minutes for desert order when most of the service staff seemed to disappear.

We wanted and paid for a special valentines evening and the hotel proved to be an expensive and huge disappointment.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
3  Thank David V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2018

Thank you for your view of the Bear Hotel.

I am sincerely sorry that you had such poor service at the restaurant, especially so given it was Valentines Day.

I am happy to learn that you found your room as you hoped for, and will raise the lack of turn down service with members of the team to ensure consistency. I am relatively new to the Bear, and am working hard to raise standards to where they should be.

I do hope you will return to us again soon, so that we may show you the quality of food you enjoyed with the quality of service you expect.

Kind regards

Paul Mason
General Manager

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Reviewed 14 February 2018

Didn't get off to a great start when I struggled to find anywhere to park on arrival and to add insult to injury found the £10 fee for parking (soon to be £15) applied to residents. Could be worse though as the receptionist argued Mr MacDonald’s case and continued to dig a hole, the Oxford Randolph charges £35.00. Apparently Mr McDonald has decided he is being less than honest by hiding the parking fee within the tariff and is coming straight by adding a parking supplement. He is also rather altruistic and gives lots of money to charity to make amends for these charges - I didn't make that up, it's the case for the defence from the staff, (two members of staff trotted out this statement - they're all singing from the same song sheet). Our room settled into, all thoughts of parking charges forgotten - Room 18, our room is clearly a suite with a settee converting into a bed, perfect for our twelve year old daughter. She was delighted with the layout. Our room was in what was once a glove factory and clearly a fairly new conversion. It exudes character combined with modern influences and quite a different feeling to the main building where I have stayed on previous occasions. The noise from guests in the room immediately above was horrendous with any slight movement resulting in loud creaks of the flooring. We elected to have dinner in the restaurant that evening - something we'd been really looking forward to. The restaurant was busy so we had drinks in the bar whilst we waited for a table. The bar has much character with a large open fire but somehow now manages to feel tired and less than cosy with harsh lighting - probably due to use of LED bulbs. The Bear's bar has been easily surpassed in feel by other establishments close by and is in desperate need of a little investment. Our meal was disappointing, maybe I didn't read the menu closely enough. I started with a minimalist (well it is an appetiser) salmon confit which was nothing to write home about. Unfortunately my £24.00 main was also rather minimal. I had assumed it would include vegetables but all I pretty much got was a smallish portion of beef and half a fried onion. Probably if I'd studied the menu I would have realised a few potatoes was ‘an extra’. In an attempt to stave off pangs of hunger I followed up with the cheeseboard - more minimalism!!! My daughter and wife were not impressed with their sweet either. With thoughts of finding the Woodstock 'chippy' we made our way to our room. A call from reception after we'd retired 'could I move my car as the gates couldn't be closed' – almost certainly well over the limit I offered the receptionist my keys – he declined my offer to allow him to move my car. Apparently once the car park charge is £15 the staff will then be happy to move cars. Though not on the public highway but certainly invalidating my insurance, he was content to let me, despite being well over the limit, move my car – very unimpressed!!!!!!!
Breakfast was on par with other Tripadvisor reports, around a thirty minute wait. This is relaxed dining allegedly (see management response to another guests comment). The next two mornings of our stay we had breakfast at The Woodstock Arms – (highly recommended, especially the poached eggs with salmon).
With the weather being so miserably wet and cold we were inclined to give the restaurant another chance on our third and final night until we noted that the brief menu was identical to the menu on our first night. We wandered around the corner to a Chinese restaurant where we were offered, quite frankly, far better value for money and a very entertaining Vietnamese waiter by the name of George. Thank you George, we had a great evening!!!
MacDonald’s hotels once my go to chain appear to be living on a reputation which no longer appears to be deserved and prices that do not reflect the quality of product delivered. There are plenty of upcoming establishments snapping at MacDonald’s heels.

  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank AlastairW98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2018

Thank you for your review of the Bear Hotel.

I am sorry to learn that you were annoyed by the parking charge. It is true that Mr Macdonald donates 70% of his personal profits to charitable causes which are close to his heart.

Parking is available on the street, for those that do not feel £10 is a fair charge for a CCTV protected car park. I have taken pains to ensure that the signage is clear and that it is not a surprise charge.

I am happy to learn that you enjoyed your room, and your daughter was happy with the arrangement of the room.

I am sorry to learn that you found your meal portions disappointing, and I will address your comments with the kitchen, as feedback is valuable to us in improving our offering. I have taken onboard your comments about the slow breakfast service as well, and have bought these to the attention of the Restaurant Manager to review the service during breakfast.

Unfortunately, as we are not valet parking cars at the moment, we are not insured to move cars for guests. When the valet parking becomes a feature of the Bear Hotel, we can move cars as required.

I hope that you will return to the Bear again, and let us show you our improved service and hospitality.

Kind regards

Paul Mason
General Manager

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