“ Acton Court Hotel / 187 Buxton Road / Stockport / Cheshire / England / SK2 7AB / Tel: 0870 7522235. „
The Acton Court Hotel is well known to past and present residents of Stockport. It is situated on the busy A6 road opposite Stockport Grammar and has been the location for many a wedding (including quite a few Coronation Street fictional affairs and my own very real Wedding breakfast), as well as party nights, funeral teas, murder mystery weekend, you name it. As a family, we have had many a "do" in this hotel. The hotel claims it is ten minutes to Manchester International Airport, although I am not sure what mode of transport this relates to!
Location wise, the hotel is in a great spot, there are plenty of restaurants and bars within easy reach whether you go south or north, and it is very easy to find. There is also ample parking for this 35 bedroom hotel.
We didn't actually choose to stay here this weekend, as we needed to be quite a bit further south to attend a wedding elsewhere, however we had exhausted all family spare bed options and we were booked in here by my brother in law for a little treat for the two nights. It has been three years since the last event and I was looking forward to see how the hotel was looking, as I believe it has changed hands, and certainly the dining room has been modernised.
The hotel itself is only classified as two star, which did surprise me as it does seem to offer all the basic standards of a three star hotel. All rooms have full ensuite facilities with toiletries provided, there is a hospitality tray and there is even internet access from the rooms (as well as direct dial phones). I have stayed in different classes of rooms over the years, and I remember one being very poky and incredibly hot, and in the roof space, while we had a lovely room on the night of our wedding, nearly 15 years ago.
This time we had room 16. This is a double superior room and it had a four poster bed. I have to say my initial impressions were that the hotel has not really moved on from the 1980s in terms of style. The bedding was white and therefore very neutral but the drapes around the bed and the windows were very dated, but still in very good condition nevertheless. The bedroom furniture was also very dated, the typical dark wood effect styles that appears in so many hotel rooms.
The hotel appears to have changed hands and certainly there has been some money spent in key areas. I found the ceiling of our room quite bizarre however. The actual ceiling has obviously been lowered at some stage in its life, and resembles an office ceiling, those types with the removable white tiles resting on a metal frame, and the whole thing was a mere 6" higher than the bed itself!
I have to say that what the hotel lacks in style it certainly tried to make up with very friendly service from a very hardworking staff team, including the General Manager who seemed to have been on duty for the entire 48 hours we were there. We had a blown bulb in the bedroom, when we checked in, and we made our way down to the bar, reporting it on route, for it to be addressed straightaway.
The bathrooms are also, unsurprisingly, dated, with their coloured suites. The shower itself was very poor, and almost impossible to regulate the temperature. It was not really a shower, but simply a mixer style tap with a shower head. The towels were simply not adequate for two guests attending a wedding and indeed I don't think I found an actual bath towel (and I prefer Bath sheets). No doubt the age of the building is having an effect on the plumbing as I turned on the cold tap to clean my teeth, and it was roasting hot - as was the hot tap. The rooms did not have an iron or ironing board either, but we were able to get one relatively quickly from reception.
The Food: we first sampled the hotel's food at a wedding reception (unsurprisingly) and it was to die for, as indeed as it was at our wedding and many an event since. I don't think I have ever ordered an a la carte meal in the restaurant until this weekend, and after a marathon 4 hour journey from Nottingham to Stockport, we were certainly ready to sample their fayre.
The menu itself is very traditional and quite meaty - vegetarians note as you will be presented with the one vegetarian course option! We ordered in the bar and made our way through to the restaurant.
A significant redecoration program has taken place in the restaurant and the floors have been stripped back to the original boards, stained a wonderful light golden colour, to complement the neutral walls and modern art work. I am not sure if this is still a work in progress as many walls were very bare, and screaming out for a painting. The chairs themselves were typical of many modern restaurants, the straight - back brown leather effect style. However I felt the table decorations did not fit, the tables were covered with white damask cloths, with gold damask over that, when in fact I feel a nice quality wooden table with no cloth would suit the room far better. The food was of a good standard, as always, but again I felt the menu was well out of date, especially the pudding choice - which included the old favourites such as sherry trifle, strawberry cheesecake, apple pie and fruit salad. Perhaps it caters for the majority of their customers, but I felt that given the restaurant had a face lift, the menu could have done too. My husband ordered salmon, I ordered a steak, and we got a mountain of vegetables, and rather oddly, my husband received a side order of roast potatoes - which just doesn't go with salmon!
We retired to the lounge for a drink or two, and enjoyed a good conversation with the barman, who was certainly the most educated person in his field that I have met in a long time, and eventually the night porter. The bar still retains its traditional décor, although there were some subtle attempts to modernise it too, and the lovely brown leather chairs were in abundance in this room - clashing somewhat with the velour chesterfield style seating around the edges of the room and rather red and dated carpet. I just hope the owners are mid refurbishment and haven't ran out of money to complete the job.
I thought the breakfast was just ok. Juices and cereals were available, and what then seemed to be a one choice cooked breakfast option, together with toast, tea and coffee. I can only assume the breakfast style has changed with a change in ownership, which is a real shame as most wedding guests like a hearty breakfast the next day. Breakfast is served between 8am and 930am which is quite a tight window.
The hotel has a function room for weddings, and indeed this is a main part of their business. The bar itself leads onto a private garden area, which is an excellent location for those wedding pictures.
The room rates at Acton Court are excellent, and will appeal to both midweek business guests and weekend wedding guests. Single rooms are available from £36 and the rack rate for double is £60. Fine negotiator that my brother in law is, our rate for the superior double room was only £50 including breakfast which is great as despite the negatives I have pointed out, it is still far cosier than staying in a lodge style hotel on a similar budget.
I feel almost a little sad that the hotel doesn't seem to have moved with the times, and I am writing a fairly negative review on the place, disloyal almost. However whether you are a wedding guest on a 1-2 night weekend break or a business guest I am sure you will have a comfortable stay and I certainly would have no qualms staying here again for the next family wedding!
ACTON COURT HOTEL
187 BUXTON ROAD, STOCKPORT, CHESHIRE, SK2 7AB
TELEPHONE: +44 (0161) 483 6172 FAX: +44 (0161) 483 0147