“ Address: Narrowcliff / Newquay / Cornwall / TR7 2NE / Tel: 01637 872010 „
I have just returned from a two night stay in Newquay. Where as I did not stay in this hotel (we stayed in the travelodge across the road, and I wish I could review it on this site because it was just superb for a budget hotel) we did eat here twice and come for a drink.
The inside bar is huge and very spacious. It had a long, wrap around bar, a pool table and plenty of seating. The bar over looks the fantastic coastline and it is just lovely to sit by the window whilst having a drink or a bite to eat. There is also an outside terrace which would be amazing to sit out on and have a bite to eat in the summer, but it was far too chilly as this time of the year! It is situated at the edge of a cliff so you get stunning views.
The staff were very friendly. About an hour before our train home we arrived at the bar, this was about 11.30. They don't start making lunch until 12.00pm however the bar man had a word with the chef and it was no problem for them to cook us lunch slightly earlier! They were very polite, always smiling and wished us a safe journey.
The food was lovely. They have quite a varied menu for a gastro pub. This included baguettes, jacket potatos, burgers, sea food, steaks as well as a variety of 'favourites' such as home made lasagne. They also have a wide range of side orders (there chips are yummy!). I am a vegetarian and still had a decent choice. I ended up having a jacket potato with cheese for dinner which was lovely, perfectly cooked. Then for lunch the next day I had the cheese and chutney baguette with chips, it was very nice. It is very reasonably priced, my jacket was only around 4 pounds and the baguette with chips the same. The night we had dinner they had a steak night on, where you could get 2 steaks with all the trimmings (if that is the right word, vegetarian dosnt know what shes on about!) and a bottle of wine for 25 pounds. The drinks arnt cheap but not extortionate- about 3.30 for a pint which is what I would expect to pay in such a pub in a town like that (ie not a student town).
The location is ideal. It is about a 2 minute walk from the train station and central to all the other bars and shops. I would love to stay in the hotel here sometime!
Two important points ....
1) Please do NOT confuse this "Great Western, Newquay" with the "BEST WESTERN" Hotel, Newquay - approx 750yrds away, which seemed quite nice but I can't comment personally on it.
2) Please note that due to our letter of complaint (& substantiating photographic evidence) submitted to the hotel owners (St Austell Brewery), many of the website details I mention in the 'prior to booking info' have changed incase you check the site, although hopefully more people will be aware the Great Western is not WYSIWYG on the main advert pics - in reality it's dire unless you pay top dollar!!
Why we chose the Great Western Hotel, Newquay
On a dismal Sunday afternoon (3rd April) we decided to book a few days away together for our Anniversary (9th April). As I'd only just returned home on leave after yet another Tour of Duty in Afghan it was a last minute booking as usual. Anyone having read my other hotel review will know, this is a necessary way of arranging our hols, as we've learnt the hard (expensive) way never to book or pay for any holidays in advance, as I either don't return home when I'm supposed to, or I come back injured & in no fit state to go on holiday!
So we looked on the Internet at "Booking.com" & we were impressed with the photographs & details provided for the Great Western in Newquay.
The price was comparable to many other hotels with similar ratings & photo's, and it wasn't at the cheapest end of the range (which if it had, it might have given us a clue to how bad it was!)
The website we used was ...............
The site had 38 photographs of the hotel. Most importantly, 16 of the photo's were of the bedrooms and bathrooms. They were ALL pictures of clean, modern, spacious rooms. Please understand, I'm not stupid & I'm not naive so I know that adverts are designed to show off a place to the best advantage, so if there had only been one or two pics of rooms I would have been suspicious of the standard for the price - albeit a last minute booking so prices were lower than usual. However, we both felt that with such a large number of photographs on display, the pics would therefore be pretty much representative of the hotel as a whole..... Cor blimey how wrong we were!
Further to this, the web description was ................................
"Situated in Newquay's lively centre, this 3-star hotel offers an impressive cliff-top terrace and bright bedrooms with free Wi-If. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the restaurant serves fresh local seafood. The spacious rooms at Great Western Hotel Newquay have an en suite bathroom and free toiletries. All rooms also offer tea and coffee facilities and a hairdryer, and many have beautiful sea views and comfortable seating areas."
I telephoned the hotel to check availability, clarify several important details & ultimately secure a booking.
We wanted Bed & Breakfast for 3 nights (Friday afternoon 8th April to Monday morning 11th April). Whilst on the telephone, I asked the member of staff to confirm the price quoted on the Internet of £140 was fully inclusive for 2 Adults, full B&B, Tax, VAT etc, and there were no hidden surcharges.
She replied in the affirmative that the "£140 was all inclusive". (I'll explain the importance of this further down the review).
I then asked about the parking situation (guessing a very busy holiday town like Newquay would probably have limited spaces available on the public road). I also needed to know how near the hotel parking was for "Blue Badge Holders" (disabled drivers), as it now is unfortunately relevant for hubby.
The receptionist said they have a small number of private parking bays available in their secure forecourt, and would reserve a space for us right at the front of the hotel. She added that there would be no charge providing we had the "Blue Badge" displayed (which we subsequently did each day).
Based on all of that, I happily made the booking & immediately paid her the required £35 deposit by debit card over the phone.
Menagerie? Cats, Hens & Stags
We arrived on Friday 8th April, & after being asked to sign in and pay the remaining £105, we were given the key to Room 201. The room was small, dingy & nothing like any of the photo's on the website. Unfortunately we'd left our two cats at home. A shame really as they'd have been safe there, as there was certainly no chance of swinging either of them around in the room!
Room 201 is situated right at the front of the building (the window is positioned over the hotel's front door) It is directly facing a row of noisy bars, shops & the very busy main road. So there's no view of the sea or any of the many beaches, however we would have had a fabulous chance to be kept awake so we could watch & listen to all the drunken 2am hen & stag party revelries outside the bars opposite!
I therefore asked at reception if we could change rooms as it was not suitable.
Incidentally, although we sussed that Newquay is a popular place for hens, stags & other noisy drunken parties, the hotel is located at the quieter & slightly more expensive end of Newquay (away from 'back-packer' places & 'the all-night party beach/clubs/bars'), plus the Great Western hotel policy states they "can only accept bookings for a maximum of Two Rooms for Single Sex Parties and they do not accept group bookings".
Romantic Weekend? - Ha the Irony!! Hobson's Choice
We were offered a choice of just two other rooms. Room 71 or a "twin room" - without wishing to be crass, I think it's safe to say most people will surely agree a twin room was hardly a suitable suggestion for an Anniversary weekend! We declined the twin, and rather than lose our deposit & have nowhere to stay, or face having had a wasted a 150mile round trip, we reluctantly accepted Room 71.
We had to pay a £30 upgrade fee (£10 per night).
Now please remember at this point, that we had secured a "disabled" parking place at the front door.
So the irony of their choice of alternative room didn't escape us. Room 71 is a bl**dy route march and a half from reception.
To get there entailed having to carry our own luggage through SEVEN fire doors, climbing up THREE flights of winding stairs, taking a trip in the elevator & then hiking through a very long maze of narrow corridors to the further end of the double-building & up into the eaves of the hotel!!
Even 'Sherpa Tenzing' would have had to stop half way for oxygen. I was kn*ckered when we got there, so poor hubby was definitely feeling more like Sir Edmund Hilary than Cassanova when we finally reached our attic summit.
Our Room - Would you Adam & "Eave" it?!
As the room was at the back of the hotel, it had a really lovely view of the sea (Atlantic Ocean) & the beach through its small attic window. It also meant it was quiet outside with the window open.
However, the room, was just about as far removed as you could possibly get, from the range of rooms & en-suites advertised on the Internet!
It had a broken bedside brass lamp that swiveled dangerously around when used & had just a tatty piece of string to operate it.
There was only one bedside cabinet, as the room was too small to accommodate two.
Because it was an attic room, there were large sloping roof beams positioned directly over the bed - as hubby found out when he sat up in bed at night. Ouch!!
There was only one plug socket next to the bed, and like just about all other couples these days, we had a mobile phone each that needing charging & we use them as bedside clocks during the night - especially as there was no clock in the room.
We had to charge hubby's phone via the only other socket in the room, which happened to be near the dresser so that meant keep swapping the plug over when using hair straighteners or laptop etc.
The general decor was nasty. The walls were covered with 1970's woodchip & Anaglypta that had emulsion paint on, but the paper was peeling & paintwork was in patches, and in dire need of redecoration.
The "dressing table" was not usable, as it was also where the TV, the kettle & the tray of cups etc were stationed - plus it was stuck in a dark alcove with no mirror!
Regarding the drinks tray, the cups were dirty & the longlife milk was dated 18th March so it was 3.5 weeks out of date.
With the exception of the one dressing table stand-chair, there was no seating area (as per the majority of photo's on the Internet). The wardrobes were strange shaped, grubby built-in-cupboards that had large cobwebs in them & were still decorated with the old carpet & the old paint colours.
The main light in the room had a cheap nasty cardboard lampshade. The glass light fitting in the bathroom was full of dead insects. The light switches & plugs were badly damaged fittings.
The radiator leaned off the wall but was needed as it was the only source of heat for the room & bathroom & it was the only place to dry the bathroom towels.
The en-suite door was a noisy sliding door (required as there was insufficient space to open a normal hinged door in the room!) We each had to fumble around in the dark in the middle of the night, as we couldn't put the bathroom light on, due to it automatically operating a very noisy extractor fan which wakened up a sleeping partner! (The bathroom door is only approx 20" from the pillow end of the bed!)
The outdated avocado bathroom suite was nothing like the clean modern suites they chose to show in all adverts to be representative of the hotel! The cheap plastic 1970's style bathroom mirror was deteriorated all around the glass. The trapdoor in the bathroom ceiling allowed dirt to constantly fall through onto the toilet. The tiles were damaged in several places around the bathroom, so were unhygienic and unsightly. The shaving light didn't work.
The plastic wall mounted hairdryer was filthy & was so pathetic it was as effective an asthmatic geriatric blowing on you.
The nasty, plastic shower head was caked in limescale & really awful. The shower cubicle was dirty, and the grouting mouldy. The rubber bath mat was exactly that - a "bath" mat, so when used in the shower it was too long & too narrow for the square shower cubicle.
The "free toiletries" were not fit for use! They were two dirty pump bottles of fruit type shower gel & handwash. They were half empty & the outsides of the bottles were clouded with soap scum as a result of being used by total strangers - so not really the sort of thing you wanted to shower with! Plus they had no security seal to ensure nothing else had been introduced into the products.
Bed & Breakfast - What breakfast??
We went down to breakfast on the first morning (Saturday) and were told that we had to pay for our breakfast, as it wasn't included! We paid as we were hungry & no-one was on reception to deal with the matter immediately & breakfast was due to end soon. I subsequently went to complain at reception later in the morning when a member of staff was present, thinking we'd get a refund. However although the receptionist was very polite, she was unable to help, as she said the breakfast was "not included" & we'd "paid for room only", even though I explained I had clearly & specifically asked on the phone if the price was fully inclusive! By way of apology, she offered us a free breakfast for just one morning (pointing out however that did not include juice or cereal, so we still had to pay for those - and pay for breakfasts in full for the other two days).
The food at breakfast was not of any kind of consistent standard, it ranged from cold & greasy to hot & fresh. Even the amounts given varied daily for the standard "Cornish cooked breakfast". For example - one morning I got half a piece of toast, lots of beans, one tiny sausage, one egg, one mushroom, half a tomato, and one piece of bacon - Hubby however got a full piece of toast, a few beans, one large Cumberland type sausage, one egg, one mushroom, half a tomato, and two pieces of very fatty bacon. We paid the same amount though! It's the sort of thing that just niggled us even further!
Breakfast is served from 7.30am to 9.30am according to Booking.com, but hotel staff say breakfast is served until 12noon. See, they can't even get their stories straight on such a simple thing as breakfast times!
Breakfast options are .......
Cold Selection which is £5.00 per person.
Includes: Cereals, fruit juices, bakery items, toast, preserves, yoghurt, fruit salad, tea and coffee
Full Cornish Breakfast which is £7.50 per person.
Includes: Bacon, pork sausages, Fried or scrambled eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomato plus your choice of items from the Self service cold selection.
Children's Breakfast (Under 16's) £3.75 per child. They get "Any combination of items from the cold or full Cornish breakfast selections".
Under 2's seated in highchairs. Free
The Hotel's "Steam" Bar & Restaurant
The hotel's bar and restaurant is called "Steam". They provide informal dining, drinks & snacks in relaxed comfortable surroundings. They open at breakfast time, and are open till late night.
There is a large garden terrace for al fresco dining, a small under-cover outdoor area, a contemporary indoor restaurant, a function room and a large bar area.
The food is GREAT!! It is well worth a visit as the food in the afternoon & evening is fresh, tasty & very good value. The portions are huge. They offer "specials" - things like beautiful local fish with all the trimming for an average of £15 and you won't leave the table hungry. The Moules & Frites are lovely & only £9.15 for huge bowl of mussels. They offer a Friday night & Monday night deal of Steak and all the trimmings for Two People plus a bottle of red wine for £25 - the portions are large and the red wine is fair quality.
The BBQ ribs looked like a scene from the Flintstones opening credits, you get a full rack of ribs with fries, coleslaw and salad. At £8.45 it's a huge meal and very tasty.
We also enjoyed the "Sharing Plates" ......... (the nachos were enough for 4, the combo was enough for 2-3)
Nachos were with tomato salsa, soured cream, melted cheese and jalapenos £6.15 (Add beef chilli for only £2.00)
Combo Platter was breaded scampi, chicken wings, onion rings, garlic bread,potato wedges, BBQ sauce & garlic Mayo £8.95
I suggest you get the combo as a snack instead of the sandwiches, as they aren't as nice and are approx £6-£7 each
I would certainly eat there if we were in the area, but no way would I stay in the hotel again!
The bar isn't that well stocked. They only had one brand of whisky, they ran out of Bailey's on the Saturday night, they ran out of one of the beers on tap on Saturday eve (much to the annoyance of a group of guys staying there!) Some of the staff are lovely & friendly, some of them are obviously just working to pay bills and not graduates of Dale Carnegie's course "How to win friends & influence people"! ;-))
The views from the outdoor terrace & some areas of the restaurant are fantastic. The terrace is set on a piece of cliff that juts outs to sea, with a beach on each side of it.
"Well behaved dogs on leads are welcome in the garden, and on the slate floored area of the bar restaurant"
Location & Directions
SatNav postcode TR7 2NE,
Newquay is on the Northern Coast of Cornwall. It is just off the A3058.
It's 82.1miles (1hr 22mins) from Exeter
It's 49.9miles (1hr 5mins) from Plymouth.
Without SatNav, directions are ...... Leave the A30 sign-posted Newquay A392. Follow the signs for Newquay and continue for approximately 5 miles to Quintrell Downs. At the roundabout take the right-hand exit into Quintrell Road (A3058) over the level crossing (sign-posted Newquay Porth and Henver Road). Carry along this road for approximately 3 miles. You go straight over two mini roundabouts. After the second one continue for 400yds. The Great Western Hotel is on the right.
Located up on a clifftop, the Great Western is just 200 metres from Newquay Railway Station.
The National Express Coach Station is on Manor Road Newquay TR7 1JF approximately 0.6miles away
The hotel is situated between Great Western Beach and Tolcarne Beach. The famous Fistral Beach is just metres away.
Newquay Airport is a 15-minute drive away.
Taxi ranks are found all over the town.
Great Western, Cliff Road , Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 2NE, UK
Tel: 01637 872010
Official Rating Details
The Great Western has a 3 Star Rating.
It is classed as a 'Hotel'. It has 42 rooms according to its own website & 72 rooms according to the Booking.com site! (Go figure!?)
It is part of the "St Austell Brewery" chain.
I would rate the accommodation as 0/5 (ZERO out of FIVE)
In April .......
Room 201 would have been £50 for Friday night, £50 for Saturday night, and £40 for Sunday night (ROOM ONLY)
Room 71 actually cost us £60 for Friday night, £60 for Saturday night, and £50 for Sunday night (ROOM ONLY)
The website is currently showing tariff for May to be ..........
Standard Single: £70
Sea View: £100
Premium Sea View: £140
Superior Sea View: £180
PLUS .......... Parking at £5 per vehicle, per night ...... Unless 'Blue Badge Holder'
PLUS ...........Breakfast & any food, drinks etc
Offer is available Sunday - Thursday until 26th May. Price is per room, for 2 nights on a room only basis. Offer is subject to vailability and is on selected dates only.
Other Hotel Rooms
These details are according to their own website & not what booking.com state or based on our personal attic experience!
The Great Western Hotel, Newquay has 42 (??) bedrooms (72 according to another site). They are .....
"Superior - Spoil yourself in the sumptuous luxury of a Superior room. With the best views in the house, you can take in the breathtaking seascape while you luxuriate in the high quality surroundings."
"Premium - Our refurbished premium room offer greater luxury and guaranteed sea views."
"Standard - The majority of our bedrooms are Standard. These rooms are awaiting refurbishment and offer simple décor at a good price. If you want to get out and about and enjoy the best of what Newquay and Cornwall have to offer, then our Standard rooms provide an excellent value resting place. A number of our standard room are suitable for families and can accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 children under 14 years of age." <<<<<<< (Please note the website changes have been made as a result of our complaint so prospective guests now are aware of the varying standards etc - see details of our complaint settlement below) >>>>>>>>>
"PLEASE NOTE : THE MAXIMUM ADULT OCCUPANCY FOR ANY ROOM TYPE IS 2 ADULTS"
"Whichever room you choose, we can guarantee cleanliness and comfort. Rooms tend to be large and bright. All are en-suite with bath or shower and provide complimentary toiletries, TV, phone and facilities to make hot drinks."
Family rooms accomodate up to 2 adults and 1 or 2 children under 14 years of age
Prices are per room per night.
Breakfast is served between 8am and 12pm, please contact reception for further information.
On site parking £5 per car per night (must be booked in advance as spaces are very limited)
To save time when you check-in, an express check-in service is available. Just call the hotel 48 hours prior to arrival, between 6pm-8pm and pay the balance of your stay. Then when you arrive at the hotel you will only need to collect your key.
Smoking Policy - It is non smoking with the exception of outdoor areas.
The Hotel can only accept bookings for a maximum of Two Rooms for Single Sex Parties.
The hotel does not accept group bookings
Parking & Access
Parking is a BIG drawback to staying at The Great Western not only from a distance point of view when loading/unloading, but more importantly from a car-security point of view.
The hotel has very few parking spaces for residents. They do say that there is a large Pay and Display public car park on Tolcarne Road within a short walk of the hotel. However it's quite a walk, very expensive & not secure (Newquay has quite a high rate of crime) We saw the carpark & there seemed to be a lot of broken glass on there.
You need to ask at Reception when booking to see if they can reserve you a space in the hotel carpark - but it will cost you £5 per car per night to park there - unless you have a disabled blue badge, and then they waive the fee.
The carpark has a security barrier on the entrance and once you've booked in they will give you an access code.
Parking spaces are very tight & not easy to get into. We have a 4x4 and it was a bit of a nightmare to get into the space they allotted us. We found it was easier to reverse into the space in an evening so we could drive out forward in the mornings, as they also had workmen's van on the carpark each morning. Plus the carpark entrance is right on the main road which is very busy during the day & you also have to traverse the footpath, so it's easier to exit forward in a morning when traffic and pedestrians at the peak!
Parking is on a first come first served. Although you can reserve a space, remember there are far more rooms than parking spaces! They place you name on a placard on the wall for the length of your stay to reserve your specific bay.
I was so damned miffed about the whole experience & the feeling of being conned by the Great Western & their flagrant misrepresentation of facilities, that I wrote a detailed letter of complaint & provided them with photographs to substantiate our grievances.
I feel that I chose my career in the military & knew what I was letting myself in for, so spending months living in old fashioned grubby military tents with no space to move, limited amenities, noisy neighbours & carrying my kit for miles to get to accommodation, along with sharing grotty showers with a multitude of insects, eating lousy 'Ration Packs' & wishing I was back home in a comfy clean bed is unfortunately part and parcel, therefore it's safe to say I'm definitely used to "slumming it", but that's the nature of warfare (and it's FREE), but it's sure as heck not what I expect to have to put up with when I'm on holiday and when I'm paying for it!
We now realise (AFTER the event) that the hotel is undergoing 'restoration' and being modernised. The staff apologised for the noise of the workmen in the hotel, & the tools, flat-pack furniture, loos etc scattered along the corridors!!
But neither the Internet advert or the receptionist on the phone at the time of booking made any mention of this.
If we had been informed prior to us actually paying a non-refundable deposit & travelling 75 miles to get there we wouldn't have booked.
We also were not told we might get put in a room that was time-warped & grotty.
The photographs did not show a mix of rooms available, they only showed lovely clean, modern, spacious rooms!
It was highly misleading to say the very least. We feel cheated by the whole experience. I would certainly not recommend The Great Western to anyone.
We complained to St Austell Brewery on 16th April and after a few nudges they finally agreed to refund us £70 on the 17th May 2011.
We paid £200 - £140 for 3 nights +£30 upgrade + £30 for breakfast (£7.50 each x 2 breakfasts on 2 days)
I think that £70 is a lousy refund out of £200, but that was their final offer, so I've accepted it.
The website has now had this small print added .............. "* Note: The hotel's Standard bedrooms have not yet been refurbished. All Standard rooms are clean and comfortable but their decor may not reflect the images on this website".
Their Letter of Apology (if you're interested?)
Their letter (an email - not even a paper letter!) of apology simply said .........
Thank you for your email regarding your stay at the Great Western Hotel in Newquay and I am very sorry to hear your visit did not meet your expectations. Please be assured that we have taken all of your comments seriously and have discussed issues of room servicing and consistency of breakfast with the relevant heads of department.
At the time of your visit we were in the process of continuing upgrades to a number of bedrooms and I am sorry you were not adequately informed.
I also apologise for the fact that the range of photographs on the website did not adequately show the various styles of rooms on offer. Having now checked I find that on the booking.com website there are now a number of photographs of standard rooms. Also our own website www.greatwesternnewquay.co..uk takes care to mention that standard rooms have not been refurbished and have accompanying photographs. We wish to ensure our guests have adequate information to help select the appropriate choice.
Please accept our apologies for your unsatisfactory stay. We would like to offer you a refund of £70.00 by way of an apology. Would you please contact the hotel on 01637 872010 to advise the card details that you would like credited? I do hope you choose to visit us again.
Tony S*****. Retail Business Manager"
Would rate it as 0 out of 5 for our stay.
Acknowledgements & Other Information Source
Some of the information in this review (i.e. Other bedroom details/descriptions & tariff etc) are courtesy of Great Western and Booking.com websites/brochures.
This review may appear on either of my Dooyoo or Ciao accounts under my name "Zurich11" and soon on a travel review website
NB. A selection of my photo's are on Ciao & other review sites, to show how grubby it was.
Thank you for reading this review & hope you enjoyed it xx