Wynyard Hall is a venue that has featured numerous times on the Canny Food blog. This is on account of the great food, service, and surroundings we’ve historically encountered. Jnr and I visited for a Festive Afternoon Tea a couple of weeks ago to ‘kick off’ our Christmas celebrations. Having experienced said tea last year with my friend I had high hopes for the experience and was excited to share it with Jnr.
Of course, visiting a four star hotel at this time of year means beautiful decorations in elegant surroundings, giving me so many ideas for my own tree and wishing for a lottery win 🙂
For the first time, we were in the Drawing Room taking Tea, which was a more comfortable affair. I’d contacted in advance and asked for no Egg or Fish sandwiches and were told we were having Cucumber, Cheese and Tomato instead. Apart from the Cheese and Chutney finger sandwiches the other varieties were decidedly bland. Jnr, in fact, said he wasn’t going to bother eating them so he had more space for the cakes on offer.
He decided which cakes he’d eat, and offered me the leftovers. Very kind of him! I was especially looking forward to their billed ‘Boiled Egg’ Mango Mousse, which I’ve enjoyed previously when visiting. I presume there was some Passion fruit in there as both ‘eggs’ had a seed on top.
I couldn’t possibly fault the delicate cakes and pastries we were served, nor the scones, which were to a high standard. I tried to eat my scone the ‘wrong’ way round to see if it made a difference – I’m a cream first kinda girl – and I’m holding to the traditional Devon way. I even wrote a blog about this a while ago!
So, on to the negatives. I found the service rather lacking, especially when our Tea was towards the end of the schedule. The staff seemed more concerned about setting up for later than asking if we needed more tea or if everything was ok, and I had to attract their attention to get more water and milk.
There was also a big issue when it came to settling the bill. I had purchased a voucher during their ‘White Christmas’ promotion to use specifically for this experience. I’d received an email after purchasing which had no information on regarding redemption or vouchers, just what I had purchased and the amount I’d paid. It is likely during the process on the morning more information was on the webpage, but because of the speed needed to secure one of these deals I very much doubt anyone had time to make a note. When booking I was told this was fine as the email had a code on, but when trying to redeem it on the day was told that a voucher had been sent out and they wouldn’t accept the email as proof. It was all very embarrassing and frustrating, and the staff ckearky just wanted me to cough up and go.
I’m not usually an overly emotional person, so perhaps this down to pregnancy hormones, but I got very upset with all of this. I didn’t have the greatest experience I’ve had there to begin with, but then feeling like I was let down after struggling to purchase so many of their ‘special’ deals on that Friday and potentially not being able to redeem this one because of limited availability tipped me over the edge. I begrudgingly paid, and called Mr. Canny from the car park crying. What was supposed to be a warm and happy afternoon I personally felt was ruined by a lack of communication and acceptance that terms & conditions weren’t properly outlined in their email communication. Another one of those moments where I feel voucher deals are the bain of my life.
Since this experience the vouchers I purchased have arrived, and I’ve discovered the redemption dates on them are the end of February. This gives me a bit more time to rebook for another Afternoon Tea once I start my maternity leave next month. I’m still disappointed by what happened on the day though, which is making me wary about returning. Their own staff didn’t even reassure me I had a longer redemption window, and I find it strange that they weren’t briefed that they’d encounter these deals & how they needed to deal with them. Such a shame when Wynyard was one of my favourite places to visit in the North East, but hopefully next time (should I give it another go) without the festive rush it will be a better experience.
Thanks for reading,