Review by Claire Taylor on 9th July, 2007
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My husband and I booked Treetops as a venue for our wedding. We booked and paid a deposit in April 2004 after meeting with the then wedding co-ordinator David. We were assured that all rooms were provisionally booked for the Friday and Saturday night for our guests. By easter 2005 we had heard nothing from Treetops and rang to make contact, again asking for assurance that all rooms were booked for both the Friday and Saturday nights due to our guests coming from France, Ireland and all over the UK. We were assured that all rooms were ours for both nights. By May 2005 when we had heard nothing regarding arrangements for our wedding, which was a civil ceremony held at Treetops, or reception, I was getting anxious. My husband and I visited for lunch and were greeted by a temporary co-ordinator, Mike, due to David leaving. We went through the details, menu, costs, etc in depth and left feeling reassured. The following day I rang to clarify the wording of what was to be printed on our menus and was told that Mike had left. I spoke with the chef, Carl, and got the wording for the menu, the main course which was "Normandy pork sausages on a bed of mashed potato, with caramelised red onion gravy and petit pois". I visited Treetops again to meet with Sarah, the stand in, to go through the fine details again.
Three weeks before our wedding I emailed a list of which guests were staying in which room. On the Tuesday before our big day I rang to enquire whether the restaurant would be open for our guests to have breakfast and was informed that no rooms were available for the Friday night as there was another wedding booked for that day. I asked to speak with the owner Mrs Winsland and was told that was impossible. It was late the following day when she returned my call. When I mentioned that I may as well cancel the wedding as it felt ruined, she told me to stop being stupid, that it was only a minor detail, suggesting that we should have known the rooms were not booked as we had never provided credit card details. We had never been asked for credit card details.
Sarah resolved the situation by booking all our guests into the Scarisbrick Hotel for the Friday night, which was better than nothing, and any difference in price would be covered by Treetops. Our guests would have to make their own way to Treetops on the Saturday. All our visions of Friday evening being spent mingling over dinner and around the pool disappeared.
The morning of our big day arrived and at 11.30 whilst getting ready I got a phone call from Treetops to ask whether we were having toad in the hole or normandy pork as a main course. I laughed thinking it was a joke. It wasnt.
My husband later informed me that he and the rest of the family had to prepare the marquee, with the balloons and table decorations. The hotel would not open the bar when guests began to arrive, and the sound system was broken. I walked "down the aisle" in the conservatory to a CD played on a crappy portable stereo, it sounded really tinny, and before the song finished the girl stopped it without fading it out. When we were served the meal it was apalling. Skinny sausages that did not even look cooked, lumpy mash, dried peas and bisto, not a caramelised onion in sight. I was so embarrassed. We had been promised that we would be invited for a practise meal where me and my husband would be served our wedding breakfast but it never happened. If it had we would not have accepted the slop we were served. It transpired that the chef who told me the wording, Carl, was on a day off.
On my wedding day I had a choice. Either I could fall to pieces with the disappointment, or I could choose to be happy that I was marrying the man of my dreams surrounded by the people I loved. I decided to do the latter, as clearly that is what is important. I had the best day of my life for that reason only.
Late in the evening Mrs Winsland showed her face. She had obviously been watching to see if I was going to allow the cock ups to affect me, and was probably wondering if I would sue.
To say that this place was Fawlty Towers would suggest that some element of the disasterous set up was comical. For me and my husband in the run up to the most important and expensive day of our lives, it was not comical at all.
Date visited: 13th August 2005
Review by John Maguire on 3rd September, 2006
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My family and I have dined at Tree Tops for several years. The hotel indeed provides top class cuisine served in a relaxing and informal manner by their top class staff. Itís idyllic surroundings provide an oasis of peace. We have stayed in the Chalets, which are very well appointed. No praise is too high. A home-from-home Country House Hotel, which is an ideal base to tour the north west.
Date visited: Numerous