My wife and I have just returned from a superb weekend with our dance group Dance-X-Treme. We go away as a group a couple of times a year, it is always brilliant and something that we all make sure is in our diaries. This is our first visit to The Abbey. From our arrival on Friday to when we left this morning the service was excellent and the friendliness of the staff was exceptional. My wife and I had a superior room on the 'ground floor - room 222 - and the view was great - watching the dawn come up in the distance as the sun came up over the horizon (at I guess 30 miles away) was memorable. This was a great room with tea and coffee making and plenty of space. Room service was good, bottled water was provided and while it may not mean a lot to many for me the free internet in the room was excellent. I always take my MacBook to keep in touch with business emails and this service was great.
The shower over the bath is not something that we like - a good shower (and no bath) would have been far preferable. However after negotiating the bath and the temperature controls, there was always plenty of hot water and the heated towel rails kept towels dry and warm. If anything the room was a little too warm so we kept the window open. We loved the king size bed and with the many pillows it was almost too comfortable to get up in the morning.
There were 110 of us in our party and as well as our group there were over 30 from Tenby Male Voice choir as well as other guests and I appreciate that feeding that many at any one time is a skill often not achieved by some hotels. I am pleased to say that The Abbey did it with ease. The breakfast was excellent with everything from full English to pain au chocolat and our individualised three course evening meals were served very efficiently - this is off course so very important when we all wanted to eat together at the same time and then move on to an evening's dancing. The ball room was excellent. The floor was good and there was plenty of room for tables and chairs around the sides with a 'balcony' which we used as an overspill. The stage area was simple but adequate and the acoustics were good. There was no air conditioning in the ball room and with 110 energetic dancers all wearing our Halloween costumes we sought refuge via the fire escape doors to cool off. This was the 28th of October when the temperature outside was about 10C so I would not like to think what it would be like in June!
Myself and many of us like a glass (or two!) of real ale and it's not surprising that we raise a thirst when dancing for a couple of hours or so. We were excited to discover that The Abbey was listed by CAMRA so that our expectations were high. Unfortunately this is the only area where The Abbey let us down. The Wye Valley beer was the only beer on draft and it was awful. In desperation some of us turned to Tetley's, Guinness or Lager. Wye Valley is a good beer and we had to inform the less initiated that it was not Wye Valley that was at fault but the way that is was kept by The Abbey - it tasted like they hadn't cleaned the pipes for months. Unfortunately there were no bottles of real ale available either (most places can manage some Doom Bar, Abbot Ale, Speckled Hen, if nothing else). If The Abbey wants access to good beers all it has to do is cross the road to a superb off licence Belle View Stores which sells a good range of bottled ales including several from Malvern and the local area. After the disappointment in The Abbey bar we visited the off licence and the nearest pub The Unicorn. In no way does The Abbey deserve a Camra listing and as a member of Camra for over 25 years I will be letting Camra know. OK most of you don't care too much about the beer but at £4.20 a pint we think that it ought to at least be drinkable - many of my friends threw it away.
Most of our stay was spent dancing so we didn't have much time to view the local area, however The Priory next door is a must, as is the local museum, and if you have time the range of antique shops within 100 yards or so is worth a good look.
Would we recommend The Abbey? Absolutely. Will we be back? Extremely likely. Will we take our own beer next time? Definitely.
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- Also Known As:
- Abbey Hotel Malvern
- The Abbey Hotel Malvern, England