“ Address: Bailgate / Lincoln / Lincolnshire / LN1 3AR „
I had to travel to Lincoln for work and, to be honest, didn't really want to go! Usually, I love staying away for work; but recently, I had done a lot of nights away and really just wanted to stay at home. However, I had been booked into the White Hart Hotel by my company and went along with it. I think our rooms had cost around £90 each for one night, although they were only booked the day before, so it may be cheaper to book in advance.
I literally knew nothing about the hotel, and just turned up, arriving at around 7:30pm with a colleague. I had driven from Norwich and hadn't been to Lincoln before, so was impressed with my Sat Nav's ability to get me to the right place first time! The drive through Lincoln to the hotel was very impressive. It had just got dark and you could see the cathedral lit up against the night sky - beautiful! Then, we seemed to just keep driving towards it, and even went through a few stone arches before arriving on Bailgate, where the hotel is situated. Bailgate seems to be a very pleasant shopping street, right next to the cathedral, and the White Hart is situated towards the end of the road.
There was a clearly marked sign for car parking, so I headed into the 'garage'. There were quite a few cars parked in here already, but luckily I have a small car so managed to squeeze in. We took our bits from the car and headed over the road to the hotel entrance.
The hotel looks really nice from the outside, so I was initially pleasantly surprised. The entrance to the hotel was through a revolving door - something that I absolutely love! However, for my colleague with a broken wrist, it proved to be a bit of a tricky obstacle. We made our way through to the reception area, which consists of a love down desk and some comfy seats. After a long journey, we were thrilled to see these seats and made ourselves comfortable. The gentleman on reception was very helpful and talked us through everything we needed to know, pointing us in the direction of both our rooms, and the restaurant.
As I mentioned, it had been a long trip, so we wanted to unpack and get changed before heading down for dinner. I was given my key (yes, a proper key - there's no cards to get you into a room here). I was in Room 101, all of the rooms also had a name written under their number, I'm not really sure what this was meant to signify, and to be honest, I found it a little weird! On entering my room, I was confused - there was a little entrance lobby with one door to the left and one to the right. I soon realised that this must be rooms 101 and 102 and they can become interconnecting rooms. Luckily for me, the door to the right was secured with a bolt!!! I proceeded through the left hand door and think I actually gasped in amazement.
My previous experience of 'work' hotels is that you get what you are given and are grateful if it's a Holiday Inn or similar. This was in a different league entirely. The first thing I noticed was the INCREDIBLY high ceilings, the massive bed and the huge window. The room was very regal, and just stunning to look at. There was a old fashioned wooden wardrobe full of hangers, a dressing table with the tea and coffee making facilites and there were even 2 complimentary bottles of water on the bedside table. The bed is one of the biggest I have ever seen and the covers were deliciously opulent and inviting. There was another table with 2 chairs infront of a truly massive window. It was almost floor to ceiling and covering one whole wall of the hotel room - my view was on to Bailgate which is a delightful area. I believe that the rooms on the other side of the hotel have a view of the cathedral, which must be stunning. There was a chest of drawers with a flatscreen TV on it, which had all of the Freeview channels. The bathroom was large and contained a bath over a shower but I loved that there were plenty of hand creams, body washes, shampoos and shower gels - it seems so common to have them in dispensers now, it was a lovely treat to have the little bottles.
I got changed and met my colleague downstairs before heading to the bar. The restaurant was a decent size and there were quite a few customers eating in there when we arrived, which must have been about 8:30pm. We were shown to our table and brought menus and a basket of complimentary bread accompanied by tapenade and balsamic vinegar dips. This was a lovely surprise and we were thrilled as we were pretty hungry by now! We each ordered a glass of wine and decided to opt for a full 3 courses (well, sometimes you have to make the most of your food being paid for!). For our starters, my colleague had the carrot and corriander soup, which she said was really lovely; I opted for the 'Mussel, parsley and tomato risotto' which was delicious. It isn't something that I would usually choose and I was so pleased that I went for it.
For my main course I decided to go for the 9oz rump steak (my husband doesn't eat steak so I don't have it at home). I ordered this with a blue cheese sauce and it came with chunky, hand-cut chips and a traditional garnish. Unfortunately, I asked for the steak to be medium - well done, but when it came I could still see bits of blood. It wasn't the end of the world, so I carried on eating it, it just wasn't quite what I had asked for. The more I tried to enjoy the steak, the less I did. It was full of fat and so chewy that I just couldn't eat it in the end - I ended up leaving over half of it. The chips were delicious, as was the blue cheese sauce, but the steak was very disappointing. My colleague is a vegetarian and went for the mushroom gnocci, which looked delicious and she assures me it was.
We both opted for a selection of ice creams and sorbets for dessert and were able to choose 3 from a fairly large selection. I chose vanilla ice cream with mango and blackcurrant sorbets - incredible! The flavours were out of this world and I could have eaten more of it. Unfortunately the caramel biscuits that were served with it weren't up to much and tasted a bit like a soggy wafer, but the ice cream and sorbet more than made up for this. AMAZING!
The food in the restaurant was an average price - my 3 course meal came to around £25 and my colleague's came to £16. We both had a small glass of house wine, which were priced at about £3.80 each. Neither of us felt that this was bad atall as the quality of the food had been fantastic (apart from my steak).
We were both feeling pretty full by now, so simply headed up to our rooms and said goodnight. I had a shower, which was lovely and powerful and thoroughly enjoyed pampering myself using the many lotions and potions available to me. Then made myself a well earned cuppa before sinking into bed to watch TV for a bit. I don't usually sleep well when I'm away from home, but I had a wonderful night's sleep here! The bed was fantastically comfortable - normally nothing comes close to my memory foam mattress that I have at home - but this really did!
The next morning we headed back to the same restaurant for breakfast; we were shown to a nice table and had it explained to us. We were on Bed and Breakfast, so anything was included - RESULT (or it would have been if I wasn't so full from the night before!). There was a wonderful array of food in a buffet style in the middle of the room - cereals, fruit, pastries and juices, and then there was a menu to order from. I quickly ordered a coffee and we ordered some toast to share. I then decided on Eggs Benedict, whilst my veggie colleague had a more tricky decision to make as there weren't many choices. Upon asking the waitress we learned that there were no veggie sausages, but that the chef would be able to make an omlette - great. They were also accommodating when she asked for soya milk with her tea. The breakfast was delicious and I wish I could have eaten more, but there's only so much my stomach can take!!!
We went back to our rooms and packed up before checking out. I found the reception staff to be exceptionally helpful every time we spoke to them, they simply couldn't do enough to help us. Upon checking out, you get a code to let you out of the car park, which seems to work really well. Free parking at a city centre hotel is such a bonus and seems to be very rare, but it really did make our stay a lot easier.
Overall, I would thoroughly recommend this hotel. It seems to have a wonderful location to explore the city of Lincoln and the rooms are just stunning. The friendly staff and lovely food really help to make this a truly wonderful hotel, and one that far exceeded my expectations. Infact, I am thinking of returning for a leisure trip with my hubby as Lincoln looks like somewhere I would like to explore.