Craig shares his experience of his stay at the Mercure Grange Park Hotel in Hull in this Hotel review blog post
Okay, let’s get your first thought out of the way. Yes Hull! We all know it’s had some bad press in the past, but that’s just where it is; in the past. After being voted the city of culture in 2017 Hull has seen significant regeneration and is all the better for it. The city isn’t the only thing that had a huge amount of money spent on it as the Mercure Grange Park Hotel also had a pretty penny lavished on it, with some major refurbishment. That said, let me tell you about my experience.
The photograph above of the original 19th century manor house was taken in 1944 before the building was turned from a tired home in to a 100 room hotel with gym, pool, restaurant, bar and local spa on the doorstep. Skip forward a few years to March 2018, and the Hotel was the proud winner of a REYTA award in The Remarkable Business Tourism category. And thanks to a million pound plus refurbishment of the main event space and all 100 bedrooms, this Hotel now holds a four star rating.
Although we arrived early, our room was ready and waiting for us. The sitting area was clean and very spacious, but it did lack a little cohesion in furnishings and design.
The room was equipped with a television, bottled water, tea and coffee making facilities, including a Nescafe Nespresso machine and pods. There was a fridge and a safe along with a good iron, ironing board and a hairdryer.
They even added a very sweet personal touch, and included some confectionery and a pot of American chip spice, both of which are locally made.
The bedroom was to a very high standard, with new furnishings, linen and decor, and a super comfortable bed. The room was quiet and peaceful but did lack plug sockets by the bed meaning that I had to charge my phone over the other side of the room. This is one thing that was raised in a small survey that I conducted as a ‘must have’ in a hotel room.
We also had bathrobes and slippers at our disposal, which is always nice to have.
While very clean, the bathroom could do with a bit of TLC. It was functional and everything worked, but it was somewhat tired, and I know that new Manager Sandeep is keen to address this. They provided some good quality products in the bathroom, including shampoo, shower gel, body lotion and tooth brushes and tooth paste along with shower caps.
All rooms were spotlessly clean and I failed to find a rogue hair or dust anywhere. Another major factor in my survey. Box ticked!
On site you have access to a very well equipped gym with running machines, weight machines, free weights, bikes and even a punch bag. But if you’re an outside runner you can always run in the grounds and surrounding area.
In addition to the gym there is a large indoor heated pool complete with sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room, all of which we made good use of. These are great things to have, particularly if you’re away for a romantic weekend or just needing to relax before dinner.
With 100 rooms and a newly refurbished entertainment space, the Hotel is building a reputation as a wedding venue. The new space looks stunning and it’s clear that a lot of money was lavished on it. With pretty grounds and good food, it is a top contender as a wedding or party venue.
At this point I want to mention the spa facilities and tell you that these have no connection to the Hotel, and that it’s an entirely separate business. The Hotel are not able to book treatments for you. While on the Mercure website it may appear that they are connected (they are in fact listed as one of the Hotels facilities along side the pool, steam room and sauna) they are not. Which is very misleading.
So, avoid the disappointment that we had in not being able to have a much needed massage and contact them well in advance of your stay to book a treatment. Unfortunately they were fully booked when we stayed. I did try to book in advance and left a message that wasn’t answered. Apparently they are closed on Wednesdays, however their answer machine message does not confirm that! Hence my annoyance when they didn’t call back.
One of the major aspects of a weekend away with your loved one is great food, and the Mercure Grange Park Hotel didn’t disappoint. We started with afternoon tea, which consisted of a selection of sandwiches and cakes and of course a pot of hot tea. This was very well presented and was enjoyed in the bay window of the old manor house overlooking the gardens.
Your afternoon tea can consist of anything your heart desires. If you want a bottle of prosecco, you can. If you want the finest champagne, just ask. You can have as much or as little as you want, and the staff will be more than happy to cater for your needs, making your afternoon tea as personal to your tastes as you like. The price will vary of course depending upon your choices, but ours was £10 per person.
Dinner is served in the main restaurant at the front of the Hotel. Restaurant manager and wedding planner Andrew was attentive and happy to assist us with our choices, able to make recommendations of dishes and wines. We selected a bottle of French Pinot Noir (recommended by Andrew) which was a great accompaniment. A touch lighter than the reds that I am used to, with a rich fruitiness of cherry and raspberry.
Our starters consisted of tempura calamari with a chilli and red pepper salsa and the prawn & crayfish cocktail, charred cucumber, baby gem and crispy shallots. Both dishes were well presented and tasted great. We couldn’t fault them.
For main course we chose the slow cooked lamb shank with creamy potato mash, savoy cabbage, green beans and minty gravy. We also had the pumpkin & ricotta tortellini with mushroom, spinach & white wine cream sauce.
The lamb was beautifully cooked. It was deliciously tender and tasted incredible. The tortellini was rich, creamy and again was full of flavour. Needless to say both plates were scraped clean.
I have to admit to being a bit too full to manage a desert, but in the interest of a thorough review I plumped for the sticky toffee pudding with stickier toffee sauce and Chantilly cream. I wish I could tell you that I had to force it down me, but after that first taste I wasn’t able to stop until my plate was clean. It was incredible.
All of the food was very reasonably priced with starters from £6 and main courses from £11 for a Caesar salad up to £24 for the 230g rib eye steak. A copy of their menu can be found on the website.
For breakfast we decided to test out the room service. At bed time we made our choices and hung them on the outside of the door. Right on time our food was bought to us, having ordered a full English breakfast, pastry’s, poached eggs, toast fruit, Charcuterie, cheeses, orange juice and of course tea and coffee.
For some reason breakfast went slightly awry. Unfortunately the Charcuterie only consisted of three slices of salami. The cheese selection was of two cheeses only, and my newspaper never arrived. In addition they had no hash browns. They substituted these with fried potatoes. While mildly disappointed, I am fully aware that we did order a lot of food, so maybe the person who prepared the breakfast was exercising some sort of restraint on our behalf! That doesn’t excuse the newspaper though.
Having said that the poached eggs (which were the only things I really wanted) were cooked to perfection. I often judge a place by their poached eggs, and I’m pleased to say it was a pass.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Mercure Hull Grange Park Hotel. My main problem with the stay is that it wasn’t longer. More time in the pool please. More breakfast in bed. And more slow cooked lamb shank!
I also have to mention the staff, as every single person we interacted with, including Sandeep the Manager was a total delight. Everybody was super friendly and could not have been more helpful and courteous. I would certainly recommend this Hotel to anybody staying in the Hull. Just be sure to have a little self discipline at breakfast, or you may find that a well intentioned member of staff does it for you.