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|Address:||Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU|
|Price: £70.00||Wine: £20.00||Champagne: £47.50|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-2pm 7-10pm|
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A Five Star Country Hotel with a lauded 2 Michelin Restaurant for a luxury break – What could possibly go wrong? – Well plenty if it’s The Vineyard at Stockcross near Newbury, Berks.
We knew when we booked that it wasn’t an Olde Worlde gem like Le Manoir, but were still a bit surprised that the interior looks like a slightly tired Essex Conference Centre built in the heyday of TV series Dallas .. Very low ambience
The Room (‘suite’) and bathroom was of a decent size, only spoilt at first entry by a grubby spotty carpet and glass rings on a side console. However, a more lengthy experience revealed an air conditioning system that only pumped out hot or very warm air. On a great Spring evening this resulted in a sleepless sweaty night (being on the ground floor with patio doors, opening a window wasn’t an option. The plumbing in the bathroom was dysfunctional and badly maintained
Service was poor, the housekeeper who turned down the bed while we were at Dinner left the upturned empty freebie champagne bottle in the cooler and the two used glasses. The advertised room WiFi didn’t work. The TV was not tuned properly .. Many stations like C4 were unviewable, everything else had a distorted picture.
The service at Dinner in the low atmosphere high ceilinged restaurant was similarly poor, we had to ask for bread and water after we’d been sitting in the restaurant for over 10 minutes, and then had to subsequently request water top ups. The amuse-bouche of a worm of piped soft cheese/herbs in a narrow glass with beetroot spaghetti required the skill of a keyhole surgeon to extract and eat without decorating everything in purple. The food (apart from the small portions) I can only describe as sub the average gastro pub in taste, and looked a lot better than they tasted.. Overpriced and lacking taste. There was only one dish (venison) out of the six we had between us that could be described as of One Michelin Star quality, let alone up to the standards of proper Two Star establishments like Marcus Wareing or The Square .. A major let down, the only offset was a great wine I choose myself from a great (but high mark-up) wine list.
The breakfast continued the sad themes of the evening before. The Full English was tired like an all day buffet, the worst dish being Eggs Benedict with the normal toasted half an English Muffin being replaced by a doughy untoasted wodge of something indiscernible that waddled round the mouth.. A horrible travesty of what is normally a great breakfast dish. Two Michelin Stars? Five Star standards? .. I don’t think the hotel or restaurant were anywhere near