Prior to a business meeting in the local area I and a number of colleagues had a requirement to stay in the Wisbech area.
My regular readers will know my search criteria from my previous reviews, but to remind you, I normally try to keep below £100 per night and it should include a breakfast. I usually search using Expedia, but for this hotel, Tripadvisor ended up being the referrer of choice.
We wanted somewhere near the centre of town and you couldn’t get much nearer than this. Most rooms overlook the market square of Wisbech, the best days of which are behind it, although it was always busy and still quite bustling. The rest of the rooms overlook a pretty courtyard which was in full flower and makes a fantastic alternative entrance to the hotel via the car park, which is a little small and quite difficult to find. Knowing this, the hotel will automatically send you an email on the morning of your first night with very clear instructions of how to find the particular hole in the wall you need to drive through to find the car park. Print these off if you can, as they will be invaluable once you hit the one-way street layout of Wisbech town centre.
The Rose & Crown has some real history, the cellars date back nearly 600 years and the main staircase has parts that are 400 years old. They make no apologies for the age of the building and it should be seen as a real feature of the accommodation. The stairs are crooked and some of the floors on the 2nd floor are uneven, this only became a slight issue after a number of drinks in the evening, but I like a challenge. The decor in my room and throughout the public areas of the hotel keep in theme with the aged style and the old sash windows and exposed brickwork were especially pleasing to see. Any severe moderisation of these rooms would be a shame as it would lose its character overnight.
No complaints about the amenities here, free wifi throughout with a number of aerials to connect to for best signal strength, freeview TV, tea & coffee facilities were standard, decent shower and a comfy bed. Breakfast, for me anyway, was a bit of a non event, due to not waking up early enough and bit too much imbibing the night before. However, my colleagues took advantage of the full English and were suitably satisfied with what was presented.
On a side note, I have a dilemma with breakfasts: being on business I never really want to indulge in breakfast too much and speed is usually key to ensure I can get on with what ever I am supposed to be doing. Therefore I normally find the a buffet breakfast is the best option as I can just grab a plate, stock up and get on with it. The problem is, buffet breakfasts can sometimes be a bit disappointing, either something has gone cold, or someone has just taken the last fried tomato or the scrambled egg is all dried up. So with this in mind, ordering a breakfast is a safer option a) to get what you want and b) to have it all fresh. The issue then is, cooking to order can take a while and with my sleeping in habits it gets a bit frustrating having to wait around. I refuse to wake up earlier so when the only option is ordering, I normally give it a swerve and go for the cereal, yogurt and toast option. (I though you might enjoy this insight into my mind!)
Anyway, later that day we needed to do some group work as a business and hadn’t planned a room or anywhere to do it, the team at the hotel were incredibly helpful and offered a small meeting room for £25 for a few hours which they had available, but as the weather was nice outside, they suggested that the library wouldn’t be very busy and we could probably base ourselves in there. We went for option b and holed ourselves up in the library for a few hours, a few cokes and sandwiches later we had done what work needed to be done and we all left very happy with our stay.
All in all, a lovely hotel in a town that is trying its best to keep going following tough economic times. The setting is lovely as there is a river that runs right through the centre of town where there is a market place and large memorial. A couple of parks in the town and a fair selection of shops make it a pleasant place to visit, all be it a long way from anything else.
I paid £75 for the night which included breakfast. You can find the hotel at http://www.theroseandcrownhotel.com
We chose not to eat at the hotel on the evening we stayed as there was a group of us we wanted to try something a bit more adventurous. We ended up in the West End Restaurant in Wisbech, rated No 1 for eateries in Wisbech, it didn’t disappoint, but I didn’t take any photos so I can only tell you that I had the Mussels followed by Lamb Shank, it was cracking.