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The Kings Arms Hotel(Temple Sowerby)
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Reviewed 3 October 2016

This hotel was the third we were to visit during a trip through Rutland, County Durham and Cumbria. On arrival we were met by a polite but cool reception from the proprietor and after a brief exchange of pleasantries we were whisked away through two elegantly furnished lounges, past reception, a cosy bar, across a corner of the dining room and the garden, all immaculate, to a gate in what we came to regard as the dog defensive perimeter.
OH Dear What a Contrast.
The courtyard was a roughly surfaced cobbled area littered with trip hazards surrounded by derelict buildings of questionable safety which has all the charm and grace of a demolition contractors yard or a World War II bombsite. Our room was in the coach house, which is a rather nondescript building set to one side of this depressing area and having an uninterrupted view of the scruffy car park. but little else. The room was cramped, plainly decorated, cheaply furnished and very clean, However I have certain recall that at the time I made the telephone booking I specified twin beds but found a very small double bed which we were subsequently to discover was as uncomfortable as it looked. Certainly the room and its environ fall far below the standard to be expected in a three star hotel. How inspectors could classify it under a three star umbrella beggars belief. The en-suite was OK.
The hotels literature never promises to welcome dogs however it does agree to accept them, insofar as the main building and gardens are concerned nothing could be further from the truth.
The hotel is free to set its own policy but to state that it accepts dogs and then ban them from any part of the main building and garden to the point of displaying " NO DOG" notices on an access gateway is hypocritical. On one occasion my wife dropped a heavy hint that in order to comply with the rules not to leave a dog in the room unattended whilst going for dinner she was obliged to waken our elderly dog to take her to our car, the hint was met by cold stony silence from the proprietor.
At breakfast an inferior fruit salad ( too much apple), was substituted for grapefruit and orange segments on two occasions but that aside breakfast was good and pleasantly served. The unchanging dinner menu presented a problem which would have become progressively worse had we stayed for six nights as originally intended. The guinea fowl was OK, but the venison very chewy, we found the presentation over elaborate and uncoordinated suggesting an attempt at fine dining which had failed. On the third evening of our stay we limited ourselves to starter and desert only and this proved to be the best meal we had. Sadly that evening had begun badly as the small bar being crowded we were shown to one of the lounges which had an overpowering smell of furniture polish or was it a noxious air freshener.
After three nights of a chill atmosphere, being made to feel like second class dog owner we left earlier than planned.
If the proprietors do not like dogs as plainly they do not and do not want them in the hotel then they should be honest and abandon the present deception of publicly "accepting" them but in practice banning them to the basic dreary coach house.

Peter and Maureen Peak

  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Peterpeak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paul e, Owner at The House at Temple Sowerby, responded to this reviewResponded 7 October 2016

WOW, what a stinker….and also, for the most part, either false or totally unfair! I can only refer to the previous review below entitled ‘Dog friendly overnight stop’, written by a couple who stayed in the same room and ate from the same menu just 2 days prior!

We well remember these people and to say that they were determined to be miserable would be an understatement, and to spend two weeks after their stay writing this diatribe is telling.

To set the record straight, there are no ‘trip hazards’ that we could identify. The Coach House is a characterful sandstone building, the oldest part of the property, and is cosy and warm inside with appropriate furniture, given its ‘cottagey’ style. Refer again to the above-mentioned review. There is indeed one unused sandstone building, quite safe, beyond the Coach House. This currently has a glorious coat of ivy turning red and gold in the autumn sun.

Regarding dogs, once again the previous review has it spot-on and the vast majority of the many dog-owners who stay with us understand the need for dogs to be excluded from public areas of the house and the main garden, as there is ample provision for walks in the village. Alas, when dogs are left unattended in a strange environment they can get agitated and experience shows that popping them into the car during dinner is safest. In the past, some dog-owners have been mortified that their pets have damaged a room whilst they were away.

Some may say that their comments on the non-existent trip hazards, the food (too much apple indeed!) and the imaginary smell of polish/air freshener sound like the delusional ravings of a deranged mind (I couldn't possibly comment!) Mind you, considering that these people arrived miserable, suffering from some illness or other, then proceeded to be miserable for 3 days before departing miserably, I suppose the review could have been worse! We did attempt to provide the same level of hospitality that we are known for but, sadly, it simply isn’t enough for some.

To end on a positive note, if it’s the exception that proves the rule, then this review will hopefully be seen in isolation. We realise that we cannot please all the people all the time but we try very hard to please all of our guests most of the time and we are delighted that so many have written such glowing reviews.

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Reviewed 23 September 2016

Great place to stay for visiting the Lakes & Pennines. Very relaxing owners and staff couldn't do enough. The food was amazing! Really good to relax in the spa bath after a days hiking. Nice to have china crocker in the room too!

Room Tip: Our room with spa bath was excellent!
  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Jeremy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paul e, Owner at The House at Temple Sowerby, responded to this reviewResponded 27 September 2016

Thank you Jeremy, very happy you enjoyed your stay at TSH! The spa baths are certainly a bonus, as you say, and give a wonderfully relaxing massage. See you another time soon we hope.

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Reviewed 18 September 2016

Our first stay in 6 years at this hotel, and it's as good as ever. Handily located within 10 miles of the M6 we broke our journey from Scotland to the South of England at this old favourite. Our elderly Labrador was accommodated with a small surcharge, and we spent a very comfortable night in the old coach house which serves as the hotel's annexe. While the dog was welcome in the room, she was, of course, prohibited access to the public areas of the hotel which we understand completely. There are plenty of country paths in the immediate vicinity to exercise your dog. As a tip, do book in advance if you have a dog, as accommodation for our canine companions is limited.

Our room was spotlessly clean, well-ventilated, comfortably appointed and tastefully decorated; the towels and toiletries were of good quality. The bed was oh so comfortable, and I slept solidly despite my somewhat troublesome back! The buildings date from the Elizabethan era, and in the main, the decor reflects the history of the establishment, but the dining room has been re-furbished in a modern idiom.

Dinner was superb, with an interesting and varied menu making the most of locally sourced produce, complemented by a thoughtfully compiled wine list. Our food was excellently cooked and beautifully presented; service was spot-on. Breakfast was terrific, sourcing local ingredients and being freshly cooked to order. Can't wait to find an excuse to travel through the Eden Valley once more to stay here again!

Room Tip: Book in advance if you want to bring your dog, as canine accommodation is limited.
  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank OldTiles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paul e, Owner at The House at Temple Sowerby, responded to this reviewResponded 19 September 2016

Wow...that's a review and a half! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and we're all delighted you enjoyed your stay again so much.
One correction, just for the record is that the buildings are Georgian rather than Elizabethan, built between around 1715 and 1815, with our lovely restaurant added in 2006....so that bit at least is Elizabethan!
We've passed on your kind comments to all our staff and we hope to see you again before too long.

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Reviewed 9 September 2016 via mobile

I stayed at this hotel for three weeks in August with my wife and 14 year-old daughter on our summer holiday. It was perfect in all respects.

The owners, Paul and Julie, made us all feel extremely welcome, as did the rest of the staff who were friendly, polite and helpful at all times.

The hotel was absolutely spotless and our rooms were comfortable and spacious.

The food in the restaurant was absolutely outstanding and chef Daniel and his assistant, Alex, should be very proud of themselves. Paul is keenly interested in and knowledgeable about wine. His wine list was extremely thoughtful and interesting with some quite eclectic choices. However, all of his recommendations complimented the excellent food very well.

If we choose to come back to the Lake District next year, then this will be the first hotel that I will call to check on availability.

Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
Thank David M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paul e, Owner at The House at Temple Sowerby, responded to this reviewResponded 19 September 2016

A fine review! It was a pleasure to accommodate you all for your extended holiday and we're so pleased you enjoyed your time here at TSH. It's always a delight to talk about wine and to make recommendations - wine brings so much contentment to life!
Your comments are much appreciated and we'll pass them on, of course...our staff always enjoy their hard work being recognised.
Many thanks for taking the time to review and please do call when you're planning your next trip, it would be good to see you back!

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Reviewed 6 August 2016

Due to location just off the M6 and near to the lakes this hotel is obviously very popular as a stop over for travellers heading north or south which is why we chose it. It is very traditional in feel with the smell of furniture polish greeting you in the immaculate lounge areas. The bedroom was very comfy.
You can walk around the village to stretch your legs from a long drive and the walled garden with resident ducks is lovely.
The food was excellent - fine dining - and really good value. The restaurant was quiet when we stayed and had a rather hushed library feel so we felt we had to whisper. Not an issue but would not be to everyone's liking.
The countryside around the village would be well worth exploring during a longer visit and suspect it is much less touristy than the lakes making it a destination worth putting on the 'let's come back' list.

  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank winsoc1953
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paul e, Owner at The House at Temple Sowerby, responded to this reviewResponded 8 August 2016

Thank you very much for such a kind review. As you mentioned, we are a very convenient stop-off for those going either north or south and as such we like to offer a stay that is as welcoming and relaxing as possible for weary travellers - including comfortable rooms, friendly service and fantastic food!

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