If it were possible to give this place less than one star, I would.
As my (now) husband and I searched for wedding venues, the couth atmosphere of a place coupled with its price tag and adaptable menus were our main criteria.
I didn't consider bad customer service as something I'd have to battle.
I rang Berrow Court twice. Each time, the phone just rang out, with no voicemail. I put it to the back of my mind, and went on in the search.
Then a few weeks later, my husband came across it on his own, and decided to ring. This time he got a voice mail, and left a message asking for a call back.
After about a week, we'd forgotten about it again, then received a call back from the owner of the house, an older lady. She explained that she'd been ill and had surgery lately, and didn't employ full-time staff, and apologized for no call back.
We asked if we could come for a viewing and discuss rates. She put us in touch with a woman who ran events there. This woman told us that the venue had had no bookings for June (alarm bells!), that our date was available, and that the price for the booking was the low, loveable figure of £1,000, with no added fees (only food and drink costs).
Thrilled with the prospect of saving thousands off our venue budget, we asked to come for a viewing. She told us she would ring us back the next day once she had the diary.
A week went by, with no call back. Spurred on by the low figure, we rang repeatedly, each time either with the phone ringing and ringing with no answer phone, or getting voicemail and leaving a message.
Finally, a full three weeks after our initial conversation with the owner, we got the Events Coordinator when we rang. We made a booking to see the venue and sample menus.
When we arrived for our appointment with the Events Coordinator, we discovered that she had not only not made a seperate appointment with us, but had, without telling us, invited us to an open day.
We milled around the place with other disappointed-looking people, watched them all leave without making any bookings, and finally sat down with the Events coordinator, an hour after we'd arrived.
Every question we asked, the answer was, "I'm not really sure, I'll have to check". The menus were boring and dated (from the 1980s), with zero flexibility on menu options. There were six wine offerings, and no chance to get anything nicer or less expensive in.
There turned out to be a per-head "General Fee" that hadn't been disclosed to us. Finally, a bit fed up, my husband said that the only reason we'd come was because of the low price. But frankly, even £1,000 seemed too much with all the run around we'd been getting.
At this point, one expects some semblance of customer service, apologies and assurances of better treatment in future.
Instead, the response was, "Where did you get £1,000 from?". When he responded that she'd given him that figure, she replied that she'd told him it was ABOUT a thousand, that the booking price is £1,800, plus a minimum order of a bottle of wine per guest, plus menu and entertainment fees."
My husband just gaped, and then asked if the price were negotiable. We were told, with a derisive laugh, "Absolutely not". We pointed out that they had no bookings for June, and that they were about to lose our booking.
We mentioned we'd been looking at Kenilworth Castle, an English Heritage site, not simply a Georgian House where the landlady lives upstairs, as Kenilworth Castle worked out cheaper.
The response was, "then I suggest you go there".
It's not hard to see why Berrow Court doesn't have any bookings. They have no dedicated staff, and the staff there don't seem to be interested in making money or booking the venue, apparently!
After our rather appalling experience, we left, and rang the landlady and told her we'd been horrified at our treatment. Her response was that they didn't book the venue for the "type of people who want to discuss cost". Oh dear.
The venue itself is lovely, with nice, well-manicured gardens, and the house is large, spacious, if a little dated. Each of the rooms are interesting, and the decor is a mish mash of modern feminine (shabby chic), and old Georgian.
If the staff were to change, and have correct details to hand and offer customer service, I would imagine it would be a lovely place to hold an event.
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