A ‘drab’ room, a ‘tough and tasteless’ steak and ‘teeny weeny’ breakfast eggs: An Inspector calls at Crouchers Hotel near Chichester and awards it just one star
- Crouchers Hotel is on the outskirts of Chichester – close to West Wittering beach
- Inspector says his £137-a-night room was ‘dark, drab and lacking imagination’
- He had a patio – ‘a scruffy one next to the car park off the busy A286’
Crouchers Hotel is on the outskirts of Chichester, about a ten-minute drive from West Wittering beach.
There are 26 ground-floor bedrooms in a series of unprepossessing red-brick buildings. Rooms are classed as ‘cosy’, ‘comfy’, ‘comfy luxe’ and so on, and if you book direct you are upgraded.
This means that for my £137 (B&B) I warrant a ‘comfy’, but it’s a huge disappointment at that price.
One of the rooms at Crouchers Hotel on the outskirts of Chichester. Room classifications include ‘cosy’, ‘comfy’ and ‘comfy luxe’
‘You’ve even got a little patio,’ says the receptionist. True, albeit a scruffy one next to the car park off the busy A286.
The room is dark, drab and lacking in imagination. I dread to think what a ‘cosy’ must be like.
We’ve all got our pet gripes. Near the top of my list are theft-proof hangers, which make you feel like a criminal.
They’re here, along with a one-squirt-and-you’re-done tube of shower gel, spongy pillows and leaden duvet.
The main part of the hotel is one long, narrow, low-ceilinged space, with reception and bar at one end, an eating area and conservatory at the other.
Penny, a friend who lives locally, joins me for dinner. We order drinks and adjourn outside. After far too long, two gin and tonics turn up and we are asked if we would like to see the menu.
‘Yes, please,’ we chorus. But they don’t arrive until we throw in a reminder 20 minutes later, after which no one comes to take our order.
When we go inside, we are shown to a table by a wall in a dark recess. ‘Could we not sit over there?’ I ask, pointing to a spot near the conservatory.
One of the guest bathrooms at Crouchers Hotel, which has 26 ground-floor rooms
The hotel is just a ten-minute drive from the beautiful West Wittering beach, pictured
Thankfully we can. We order promptly and I ask for the wine list. Admittedly, asking to see a wine list is not the same as ordering from it, but no one wants to know what we might like to drink.
Eventually, I make for the bar and place the order myself. On returning, our acceptable liver parfait first courses have arrived, followed some minutes later by the vino. Wrong order, surely.
My steak is so tough and tasteless that I give up halfway through, then notice Penny has hardly touched her pork belly. ‘I’m sorry,’ she says. ‘Not your fault.’
Things don’t get any better at breakfast. My two boiled eggs are teeny-weeny and you pay extra for an espresso or latte.
Perhaps lockdown has taken its toll on Crouchers. Perhaps it’s not yet back into its stride. But it needs someone to crack the whip.
Crouchers Hotel, Birdham Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 7EH. Telephone 01243 784995 or visit crouchersorchards.co.uk. B&B doubles from £130.