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Reviews (1,789)
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Reviewed February 27, 2018

Stayed at the Bear last week for 5 days. Pleasant welcome however everyone seemed very confused and flustered.
We got checked in and asked if we wanted help upstairs- considering it was two women and a young child with lots of bags- the answer was yes!!
Our room was an executive double which was pleasant, however the heating/ fan was extremely noisy and had to be turned of at night which meant waking up to a very cold room.
We were told their was an electric radiator but with having a child a young child didn't feel like it was safe to use.
We had some nice fresh bottles water in the room but only one glass?
We also had one shampoo between three of us and no shower gel. When asking about shower gel one of the staff told me they had run out?
I have never stayed in any hotel that has run our of shower gel?
At one point the bar had run out of ice?
The manager seemed to rampage around the place constantly, seeming very unorganised and stressed.

Having stayed at The Randolph in Oxford last year with NO complaint, our stay at The Bear was very disappointing and defiantly not a 4* service.

It would defiantly better the staff at The Bear to go to The Randolph in Oxford and see how it should be done!!!

  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Gemziwoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 12, 2018

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to review the Bear Hotel.

While I am pleased to learn that you enjoyed your room, I am disappointed to learn that you found various aspects of your stay to be less than perfect.

We are reviewing the heating arrangements for the hotel at the moment, and I will pass on your comments to the team responsible for maintenance, so that we can address the noise from the fan.

I can only apologise that some of the essential room items were missing, the glass and the shower gel, and will bring this to the attention of the housekeeping team, so that it will not happen again.

I am pleased to learn that you enjoy your stays at one of the other Macdonald Hotels, the Randolph in Oxford. We strive to provide the same consistently high standards and I hope you will return to the Bear again so you can experience our true hospitality.

Kind regards

Paul Mason
General Manager

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Reviewed February 25, 2018 via mobile

We stayed here for one night to celebrate an anniversary. The setting, location and building are fantastic, our room, number 17 (I had paid for a deluxe character room) was lovely and very romantic; however it had a step down into it (a member of staff followed us to our room and pointed this out to us after check in, warning us to be careful.) this would have been fine, but the step is not clearly marked, so knowing we were going out to dinner, we opted to leave the card in the light slot in the room, so that we could see clearly when we returned. Unfortunately, staff went into our room to pull down blinds & leave a chocolate on each pillow, and also removed the card. So upon our return to the room, entering in the dark, I fell down the step, landing on all fours. Luckily I had low heeled boots on, otherwise I may have snapped my ankle, but thinking back, this could have been very dangerous had I been carrying drinks, been elderly or disabled in some way, or even pregnant. A health and safety issue that needs to be addressed rapidly before someone seriously hurts themselves.
I didn’t get a chance to complain to management the following morning on check out because there were 9 couples complaining about other issues. Breakfast is 8-10 am and check out is at 11am. All very much of a rush on a Sunday morning.
We had read reviews about the restaurant service & cost, so had thankfully opted to eat out on the Saturday evening. Breakfast, which was included in our price, was stingy to say the least. The hotel prides itself on its award winning food & produce; however the toast was tiny, thin & only toasted on one side in one case. The sausage (you only get one) is under cooked & tastes of very cheap quality, the bacon we had to ask for well done (again only one rasher) and the baked beans, served in a ramekin, were stone cold. I don’t eat eggs or black pudding & didn’t fancy a mushroom or tomato, but regardless you still only get the obligatory one sausage & one rasher. Coffee was good though.
My fork was dirty but they replaced this quickly when asked.
Staff are pleasant enough and managed to keep a polite smile on their faces despite the angry references to Fawlty Towers, that we heard whilst trying to check out.
Guests complained that they had been seated in the restaurant at 7.30pm but hadn’t left before 11pm due to the slow service. One family were almost charged over £600 for their meal as incompetent restaurant staff had managed to add other people’s meals onto their bills. Terms such as ‘absolutely atrocious ‘ and ‘diabolical ‘ were angrily being thrown at the manager as we checked out.
Another bug bear is the £10 parking charge for guests. Parking is quite limited anyway and the hotel takes no responsibility for your vehicle whilst it is parked on their site. A letter they gave us on check in stated the charge was £15 for overnight parking, but luckily we were only charged the £10 as advertised outside the hotel.
This hotel has the potential to be exceptional; however their policies and management could certainly do with an overhaul. It’s such a beautiful building in a stunning location, but they need to start putting their guests first rather than their profits.
Definitely must do better!

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Grace E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 12, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to review the Bear Hotel.

I am very pleased to learn that you found your room romantic, and terribly sorry that you fell down the step on the way back from dinner that evening. I will address this with the team to see how we can better improve it, to avoid such incidences. I am very glad that you were not injured, and I will make sure that house keeping do not remove cards from the light slot in future.

I am disappointed that you didn't enjoy breakfast, and that you found the portions too small. We are reviewing the restaurant services at present, to ensure we do provide a better quality and enjoyable breakfast.

We do provide CCTV and feel that a secure car park in the middle of a busy town like Woodstock justifies charging £10 for. We have taken pains to make this charge clear to anyone entering the car park, so that the charge is not a surprise.

We are working hard to raise the Bear's standards and I hope you will afford us the opportunity to welcome you back again soon, where you will receive our full hospitality.

Kind regards

Paul Mason
General Manager

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Reviewed February 24, 2018 via mobile

This hotel is not as good as it looks. Inner walls are very thin and therefore be prepared for a noisy nights sleep. All the usual room facilities but feather pillows and duvets mean you must request feather free if you have allergies.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Penny C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 10, 2018

Thank you for your review of the Bear Hotel.

I am sorry to learn that you did not enjoy a peaceful nights sleep during your stay with us. We have a variety of rooms to choose from, and it is always worth requesting a change in room if the room you are in does not suit your requirements.

I do hope you will return to the Bear again soon, and afford us the opportunity to provide you with a room that is extremely quietly situated in the hotel.

Kind regards

Paul Mason
General Manager

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Reviewed February 23, 2018

Look no further if you're seeking a hotel in the area.

Warm reception - very helpful personnel (eg rearranged dinner timings to fit us in)

Fantastic room! huge double bed with very good quality linen. Big beautifully appointed bathroom, oak beams and lovely view from the window.

Excellent dinner - nouvelle cuisine. I had the loin of cod - delicious. Charming front of house and waiting team. Excellent full English breakfast (best black pudding I've had in years).

Very good VFM - booked through Secret Escapes.

Can't fault the place. We would highly recommend.

  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Jon P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 9, 2018

Thank you for your lovely and positive review of the Bear Hotel.

I am so thrilled to learn that you found your room as you hoped to, and that you found members of our team so helpful and the dinner enjoyable. It is motivating and inspiring to hear that our guests enjoyed every aspect of their stay with us.

I hope to warmly welcome you back to the Bear again soon.

Kind regards

Paul Mason
General Manager

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Reviewed February 18, 2018 via mobile

I’ve been staying at The Bear since the mid nineties. There are other good comfortable digs in Woodstock but this is the best. Beds comfy, food great, staff friendly. Like a lot of people, I’m only promoted to write a review when something is frustrating/annoying or both.
I mentioned at check out once that charging a £2 supplement for kippers in the morning felt like they were trying to squeeze another few quid out their guests and perhaps there were better last impressions they could have. Unfortunately, they’re at it again. On check out... have you parked a car? That’ll be £10 please. Really? Come on! Apparently it’s because there are new parking restrictions outside in the street so the management decide to take that opportunity to fleece their guests. There is there no notice in the car park or anywhere I saw that was obvious, but even so, it feels like you’re being ripped off. Even the staff were embarrassed about it.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled on business
1  Thank Skylord
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, General Manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 22, 2018

Dear Skylord,

I would like to take some time to express my thanks for your feedback. It was encouraging to hear that you have a long history with this hotel.

I was however saddened to learn that you were unhappy with certain elements of your stay. Namely the new parking charge. I am sorry that you missed our signage as we are not trying to mislead or surprise anyone, we do have a board at the entrance to the car park that directs guests to the new parking charges.

I am also saddened that you were led to believe that new parking restrictions on the main street had pushed our decision to charge for parking. As there are no new parking regulations. In this current climate it is customary to pay for parking in any hotel where parking is at a premium. However when you pay for parking at The Bear, we do not charge because others do so or because parking is at a premium, but because we offer a secure, gated and security patrolled car park for our guests to feel at ease when they leave their car in our care. All of which unfortunately comes at a cost to the hotel. We do have guests who feel that they do not need the security and they are happy to park on the main street at the front or back of the hotel.

I am again sorry that you were not aware of this issue until check out, however I hope that it has not discouraged you from continuing to enjoy the hospitality that we offer here.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the not too distant future.

Kindest regards,
Paul Mason

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