Destination Just for Us Reviews UK

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Colchester Review

Posted on
August 10, 2015

Our trip to stay in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Colchester had been booked for over a year and after some initial trepidation of leaving the children in their sister’s care for a weekend we were very excited about having a child-free weekend for Hubby’s best friends wedding – something we had not had for well over two years.
We had a nightmare journey to Essex. Our satnav reported a journey of just under three hours but it took us five and a half thanks to roadworks on the M3 and Friday traffic on the M25, so when we finally arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Colchester it was a very welcome sight.
The resort is idyllically set in 320 acres of Essex countryside however located just 15 minutes from the A12. The website tells us that it has 194 refurbished rooms and conference rooms of all sizes and the extensive facilities they have to offer include an indoor swimming pool, outdoor tennis courts, covered driving ranges and a UEFA certified football pitch, so we were excited to see what it had to offer.
Crowne Plaza Hotel Colchester
First impressions of this four star hotel were very positive. Neatly manicured lawns and huge pots of flowers decorated the outside area, leading into the grand entrance hall complete with comfortable seating area, a grand piano and large glass balcony’s overhead. As we checked in we spotted some of the wedding party who informed us they were having drinks in the bar and to meet them once we had dropped off our cases.
Colchester Grande Plaza
As we collected our keys we were advised that we were staying in The Village which turned out to be a series of smaller buildings outside the main hotel which are designed to allow friends and family to stay close together during their stay while remaining close to all of the resort’s facilities.
Colchester Five Lakes
From the outside the buildings looked nice and as we arrived it was clear that there was a large party staying here who were intent on partying hard with loud music and dancing. We were not too bothered by this apparent noise as we planned to drop off our bags and head back into the main building to meet the wedding party and have a bite to eat.
Crowne Plaza Colchester
The room itself was a lot smaller than the pictures on the website but appeared neat and tidy, if a little shabby in places. There was everything you would expect from a modern hotel room with a large widescreen television, small table and chairs with complimentary water, tea and coffee making facilities, a wardrobe with safe and a large bathroom with a bath and walk-in shower.
Crowne Plaza Colchester
The one thing that let the room down was the bathroom. On the first glimpse it looked modern and clean but on further inspection it was grubby and tired and dead flies littered the windowsill, bath and shower – certainly not the refurbished rooms the website promised.
Crowne Plaza Colchester
A bit disappointed by what we had seen, we headed back to meet our friends only this time through the grounds, which were just as impressive at the rear of the hotel as they were at the front and there were some friendly ducks wandering around the guests too.
Crowne Plaza Colchester
We headed for Bar Lacu, a Manhattan-Style bar with comfy, relaxes seating.  The bar offers a selection of classic chilled cocktails, specialist beers, wines, and spirits as well as a small menu, but we decided to book a table in the Brasserie for later that evening for our food. Most of the men opted to drink beer but I decided on a nice chilled Pimms to relax and enjoy after our epic drive.
Crowne Plaza Colchester
By the time we got to the restaurant we were all starving. It was safe to say it was packed and there were large of groups of people eating including a hen party and other celebrations. We were advised that the a la carte menu meals would take around 45 minutes to arrive due to the number of people dining so we all opted for the buffet.
Crowne Plaza Colchester
The food on offer included Leek & Potato soup, Pork Curry, Jerk Chicken, Fish, Salads, Charcuterie meats and salads and I lost count of the number of helpings everyone had. The Profiteroles won the top dessert choice too – they were amazing. The buffet cost £24.95 each and as it contained starters, main course and dessert I though it was a very reasonable price.
After another brief stop at the bar we headed back to our room as Hubby had an early start the next day with Usher duties. The party was still continuing next door as we arrived but thankfully our room was reasonably sound proofed as long as we kept the door to the patio shut, which wasn’t ideal as the room was hot and stuffy. Unlike the rooms in the main hotel The Village does not have air conditioning which was a real disappointment. We did however find a noisy tower fan in the wardrobe which provided some relief from the heat.
I would like to say that we got a decent nights sleep, but some other guests banging, shouting and singing until the early hours put pay to that and every time someone ran a tap or flushed the toilet the pipes whooshed and wheezed for a good two or three minutes afterwards.
Crowne Plaza Colchester
Hubby left early the next morning to go for a Turkish Shave with the groom and other wedding party leaving me alone in the room. Once I had cleared the bath from flies I did manage a relaxing bath. I did try to book a treatment at the spa but they were already fully booked so I made the decision to catch up with some work on my laptop.
The website promises complimentary high-speed wireless Internet throughout the hotel and in your room but it was certainly not high-speed but slow and clunky – almost impossible to get any work done at all. That coupled with the party that had re-started next door at 8.30am was not conducive to a relaxing stay and made sitting outside on the patio table and chairs impossible.
Crowne Plaza Colchester
The small patio area was also filthy with cigarette butts littered everywhere and a table that looked like it had been used as an ashtray.
Hubby arrived back later than expected and we missed the 11am cut off for breakfast so we headed to the Sports Bar to get something to eat, ordering a sausage sandwich and drink each which cost £15. I have never known such an unorganised place to eat and despite not being busy it took 40 minutes to finally get our food which was quite frankly disgusting, but it was too late to complain as we had just 20 minutes to get ready and get back to reception to meet the wedding party.
Colchester Crowne Plaza
We managed to get changed in record time, although hit another snag in our room – no nets on the windows so had to close the curtains and no iron to give hubby’s shirt a quick freshen up, but we made it.
Colchester Crowne Plaza
The wedding was being held at another venue and we returned to the hotel at 12.30am still buzzing from a wonderful day. Everyone wanted to continue the party and Bar Lacu was now closed so our only option was to try the nightclub Pulse which is situated onsite.
Pulse nightclub is basically a conference room with some added lights and had distinctly no atmosphere to it at all and the worst DJ I have ever heard, so we headed back upstairs with our drinks and sat around chatting in the lobby for an hour or so before heading to bed.
The bed had been made by housekeeping and the tea bags replaced that I had used in the morning, but both teacups and water glasses were still dirty and had not been replaced or washed up and the bins had not been emptied. Thankfully it was a quieter night although the loud music from next door started by 8am again.
Colchester Crowne Plaza
The following morning we finally got to try the breakfast which was held in the Brasserie where we had our buffet two nights previously. There was a good selection of fruits, cereal, pastries available as well as a full cooked english breakfast option which was delicious.
Talking to the other members of our party it seems that our experiences were very different. The wedding party was split up and none of us were together. We had all booked quoting the Bride and Grooms names yet both ushers and the Groom’s parents were in the Village and the Best Man and other guests were in the main hotel.
Everyone who stayed in The Village had similar issues to us, yet those in the main hotel had a much more comfortable stay with air conditioning, large quiet and more comfortable rooms yet paid the same.
We were looking forward to a weekend away without the children and apart from the amazing wedding of our very dear friends, we were so disappointed by the accommodation in this 4-star rated hotel.
Our accommodation cost £130 per night including breakfast.

  1. Reply


    August 10, 2015

    That patio table and chair look awful, I’d be so unhappy staying there I think. That food looks disgusting. Hope you managed to have great time, I certainly wouldn’t expect a 4 star hotel to be like that!

  2. Reply

    helen gandy

    August 10, 2015

    Oh I do hate it when the feeling of ‘meh’ happens. I’ve stayed in a few hotels that have made me feel like that. The patio area certainly does not look inviting at all which is such a shame. Hope you still had a nice wedding weekend though!

  3. Reply

    JuggleMum, Nadine Hill

    August 10, 2015

    What a shame that there were things about your stay that ruined the experience for you. Especially as it was a rare child free experience. We have stayed at Crowne Plaza before and been happy but we’ve never stayed at this particular one.

  4. Reply


    August 10, 2015

    oh no, how disappointing. That outside table is disgraceful. xx

  5. Reply

    angela hamilton

    August 10, 2015

    oh no how utterly disappointing 🙁 that table outside is a disgrace. Not sure the hotel deserves 4 stars

  6. Reply

    Zena's Suitcase

    August 10, 2015

    What a shame it didn’t live up to your expectations. What a dampener on a child free weekend 🙁

  7. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    August 10, 2015

    What an utter shame for you 🙁 I don’t get how they can expect to charge so much for something so awful! x

  8. Reply


    August 10, 2015

    I am one of those people who will check my room and if I am not happy go and complain immediately, my first port of call is always the bathroom, if it is minging im moving rooms x

    • Reply


      August 11, 2015

      The hotel was fully booked – nothing they could do apparently

  9. Reply

    Hannah Wood (staveley)

    August 10, 2015

    Oh my gosh I have never seen such a horrid place in all my life 🙁

  10. Reply


    August 10, 2015

    What a great review and lovely photos. I love the bathroom! It’s the first thing I check when i arrive somewhere haha! x

  11. Reply


    August 11, 2015

    How disappointing! I would definitely make a written complaint

  12. Reply


    August 11, 2015

    Ho disappointing. For a four star hotel, I would have complained. I hate it when there is no consistency

  13. Reply


    August 11, 2015

    What a shame. I would have complained and asked for a room move as well or at least a discount. Glad you enjoyed the wedding though. You guys scrub up well 🙂

  14. Reply


    August 11, 2015

    what a superb review very detailed .
    and you both look lovely

  15. Reply


    August 13, 2015

    oh no! Doesn’t sound good. But you look gorgeous hun!

  16. Reply

    Erica Price

    August 18, 2015

    It doesn’t look nice at all. What a shame! You’d think that a modern hotel would have sorted out issues with sound proofing and noisy plumbing.

  17. Reply

    Abi - Angel Eden Blog

    August 20, 2015

    What a shame it didn’t live up to your expectations, that’s really disapointing

  18. Reply


    July 26, 2017

    Wow! 15 pounds for that sandwich, that looks terrible. Such a shame.

  19. Reply


    August 21, 2018

    This looks incredible! I had never heard of it before but would love to stay in this hotel

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog