Summer 2020's Most Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a summer like never before … and for once we don’t mean just the weather! We’ve been asked a lot of questions about our changes lately, so we thought we’d round them up here for everyone.

Why are you not open inside?

We made the decision, in line with Scottish Government briefings, that an outdoor setting is far safer for everyone at the moment than an indoor one. We will only make the decision to open up our inside bar and restaurant areas when we feel that everyone will be safe. We’ve invested heavily in providing outdoor space which is sheltered yet open, and which has a few Chester touches about the décor. Unlike some establishments which have placed their tables exactly 2m apart, but not seemed to take account of space when someone sits in the chair at the table,  we have spaced our tables and chairs so that when seated, everyone is at least two metres apart at all times. We aim to operate outdoors for the foreseeable future.

How many can we book for?

The largest party size we can have is eight people – but this party can be made up of no more than three households.

Why are you asking everyone to book online?

By booking online, we capture your information for track and trace. We will take the lead person’s details at the time of the online booking. Then, on arrival we require the details for each household in your party. As we have your details, we then know which tables everyone sat at and who was at the neighbouring tables at any given time.

I want a longer slot than the 1 hour 45 minutes on offer – can I book a longer slot?

Environmental health - which is responsible for licensing conditions for bars and pubs just now - is advising that a maximum two-hour long slot is allowed for guests in all licensed premises. This time restriction is designed to make sure that guests don’t get too ‘merry’ and forget the principles of social distancing from their friends, other guests and our staff. We think this is a positive piece of guidance designed to keep us all safe and we support it.  This is why we have this two-hour time frame in place. (We allow within this, a time period for cleaning with electrostatic fogging.) We're abiding by this advice to keep everyone safe. If a walk-up table happens to be free after your slot then you can be moved to that table by our hosts – but this will be time-limited too.

Do I have to book in advance – we want to just drop in for a drink when we feel like it, as we used to?

Life is very different for us all just now and we all have to accommodate the many chance which are now required.  We have a very limited number of walk-up tables and these are on a first come first served basis. When you arrive you must give your details for track and trace- and this includes all households in your party not just the lead person. These tables all have our maximum two hour time limit too, but may be only available for a shorter time than this, and we will tell you this before we seat you. So, we ask you to respect our colleagues when they ask you to vacate the table.

Aren't you forgetting the music?

It's a condition of licensing currently that we have no amplified music or entertainment - sorry!

Why do you have a minimum spend?

All hospitality businesses suffered more than a four-month period of zero revenue. We made the decision to ensure that all of our guests could still enjoy something of The Chester experience and we’ve invested in beautifully decorated marquees and domes. In order to make everyone safe, we currently have higher levels of staffing than we would usually have. In order to remain viable and sustainable we’re asking all clients to commit to a minimum spend per person or per dome. It’s just not workable for us to offer all of this for guests who want to spend two hours with us and buy only one coffee for example.

I couldn’t come for my booking but you’ve charged me £15 per head on my credit card – why?

When you book online you are asked to read and accept our terms and conditions where we outline our cancellation policy. If you are a walk-up we have these terms and conditions at our entrance where our hosts greet you. We staff our restaurant for the number of people who have booked and we have to pay these staff even if no one turns up! Similarly, we prep the amount of food we need for those bookings and as we buy everything fresh, this goes to waste – but we still have to pay for it. If you cancel more than two hours before your booked time, there is no charge. But, for no shows at tables – which has become a national issue for many hospitality businesses - we will charge a £15 fee per person as per those terms and conditions. We believe this is fair.

Can I book a marquee table just for drinks?

Absolutely! You can book online but just be aware that we have minimum spend of £15 per head at the marquee tables and £100 per dome.

We are four adults bringing two children with us – can we just book for four and let the kids just wander around and amuse themselves?

Sadly no, according to Scottish Government advice, everyone – and that includes children – must be seated, so you would have to book for six and take note of our minimum spend policy of £15 per seated person.

Are you dog friendly as everything is outside?

It’s another no we’re afraid. We are not anti-dog, but at the moment we’ve got so many safety issues to be considering that we just can’t add dogs into the mix!

Where can we park?

We have a large are park to the rear of the hotel which is accessible from Queen’s Lane South.

My favourite cocktail is not on the list – if I ask nicely can I have it??

We’re having to operate in a totally new and unfamiliar way so we’re asking everyone to order from our summer 2020 drinks list only.

I want to book a dome for five people?

Sorry it’s not possible, as the space within a dome only fits the furniture for four – and this would include children.

We were late in arriving and you made us leave our table early – why?

We don’t ask anyone to leave a table ‘early’ but we do ask everyone to leave their table at the time indicated on your booking confirmation. And this applies if you arrive late too – the clock starts from the time of your booking.

I’ve been calling the hotel and no one is answering – why not?

Currently we are only manning our phones from 10am as we have restricted office staff in place.

Hope this answers your questions too but if not email us at