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|Address:||The Grove, Chandlers Cross, Hertfordshire WD3 4TG|
|Tel:||01923 296 015|
|Price: £50.00||Wine: £25.00||Champagne: £52.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12.30-2pm (Sun -4pm) Sun-Thurs 7.30-10pm Fri 7-10.30pm Sat 6.30-10.30pm|
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I'm not sure if l somehow slipped in to a parallel universe last weekend, but my experience at the Grove was wholly different to that of the previous reviewer and SquareMeal's own review. Reeling from an amazing experience at Pied-e-Terre some 24 hours before, I was expecting the weekend to continue in style at the much lauded Grove. Unfortunately it was a mixture of disappointments and highs – the highs emanating from the fantastic spa but not at all to do with the dining facilities.
On our first night at the Grove we visited the glasshouse in good spirits, celebrating with some champagne. However at the rate this came out we may as well have given up and gone home. It took close to 30 mins to get one bottle of champagne served with only two waiters around (who didn't seem to want to hurry along at all) and another 10 mins to get an extra glass, not to forget having to catch the waiters attention again to remind them of forgotten drinks! Service was not at all friendly but neither was it arrogant. This was plain laziness at its best which meant it was both pitiful and annoying at the same time and unfortunately repeated over and over all weekend long.
The buffet dinner was just as pitiful, with cold flavourless and uninspiring food, which although stirs the visual sense upon sight (eyes bigger than than the stomach etc…), quickly puts out upon taste. The staff here again lack any motivation, initiative or knowledge. At breakfast in the Glasshouse, one waitress looked blank when we asked about poached eggs and on another occasion our request for eggs florentine was again met with further hesitancy. It was as if we were speaking a different language! We eventually got our eggs florentine (well, an amateur attempt at it anyway) 30 mins later, delivered by the manager who let us know they don't usually serve this but have made an exception as the chef already said he'd make it. I'm sorry, is this not a country hotel billing itself as a luxury location!
Service in other parts of the hotel is just as frustrating, including an incident where our food was billed to a nieghbouring table and we were left waiting for condiments to our dish for a further 15 mins after it was served to the wrong table initially, as the waitress had simply forgotten about us!
Unfortunately a giant rant. My thinking is that we were either severely unlucky as a group (highly unlikely) or that this is one severely confused hotel. It wants to be luxury but it serves Hilton buffet food. It wants to be exclusive yet the staff are too incompetent to even deal with the simplicities of service. It is a hotel with a category of errors which I suspect they are aware of but are too busy profiting from the healthy spa and the golf business to feel the need to bother.
One word: pathetic.