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“Disastrous and Shameful...Nightmare at the Normandie” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Normandie Hotel & Conference Centre

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The Normandie Hotel & Conference Centre
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   10 Nook Ave | PO Box 851, Port of Spain, Trinidad   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 21 hotels in Port of Spain
Trinidad
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Disastrous and Shameful...Nightmare at the Normandie”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

If you like clean surroundings, pleasant service, basic courtesy from staff and value for your money, then avoid this "hotel" like the plague.
I attended a 5 day conference at the Normandie (cost of $8,500) and grew more appalled, ashamed, and disgusted with each passing day.
SERVICE - The horrible service began the week before when I called the front desk to enquire about their rates. When I asked if there were special rates offered to attendees of the conference to be held there from Monday, the man who answered responded with "Eh? Wha conference?". After explaining to the hotel employee what was going on in HIS hotel, he advised me to call back in the morning to ask again since "the people who could help already left". Basic customer care would have dictated that he take my number, get the information, and get back to me as soon as possible. I braced myself for more poor customer service in person if this was the best they could offer on the phone but nothing could have prepared me for the nightmare that would follow.
SURROUNDINGS – As you can see from the pictures, the appearance of this hotel (which is totally false as represented online) would make anyone cringe...sanitary bins overflowing and surrounded by flies (even up to TWO days after we complained to the front desk about this!), cobwebs in the conference room which was musty, dirt and grime on bathroom tiles and sinks, paint peeling off the walls, "ornamental" plants that had died and dried up and used as "decorations", black boxes filled with decades old plastic plants in the "conference room", toilets that wouldn't flush, badly wrinkled table cloths, old plastic jugs for us to pour from and the list went on. Some of us actually developed rashes on our skin after sitting in this room for a couple days in addition to severe aggravation of our sinuses from inhaling all the dust on the dirty, old carpet.
SERVICE - the staff was extremely unfriendly and unprofessional and apparently needed a few days to warm up to us since we only saw a hint of a smile late on the third day of the conference. Perfect example...on going downstairs for lunch on the first day, a couple of us assumed that the soup bowls and large soup pot set up next to the lunch station contained soup/a first course for our meal, but when we asked one of the servers if we should go to that station first for soup she shouted back "SOUP?! SOUP?! It doh have no soup here!" almost in a rage that we dared ask a perfectly reasonable question. Example 2 – Never mind the fact that we paid almost $10,000 to attend this conference, most of us had to beg the staff for reasonable servings of the food. I actually had to beg the server on the last day for another piece of lamb to add to the scraps she deigned to give me, and she LITERALLY went picking through the dish to find the tiniest piece of lamb which she then carelessly and angrily slapped onto my plate. Afterwards we saw them generously packing Styrofoam containers with the food that WE PAID FOR.
The worst part of this whole nightmare was that the owners were there almost every day...their website says that “Mr. & Mrs. Fred Chin Lee, have taken great pride in establishing a unique boutique-style Hotel, through their continued dedication and passion.”...surely anybody who had an ounce of integrity would take one look around and realise that their “hotel” badly needed gutting, cleaning and refurbishing...but then again, why spend money to make anyone feel welcome when they could just pretend that they are running a clean and decent establishment while continuing to line their pockets with people’s hard earned money.
This is a national disgrace and the owners and staff should all feel ashamed of themselves!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RaymondChinLee, Owner at The Normandie Hotel & Conference Centre, responded to this review, October 29, 2013
Dear Distinguished Guest,

Greetings from Normandie at Nook.

There are no words to explain or excuse ourselves the way you felt while staying at our premises. Please accept our sincere apologies and simultaneously our gratitude for giving us the opportunity to respond through this travel media site. This review along with a few other reviews have prompted the ownership to take immediate action

We are now embarking on a journey of restructuring, repositioning, and rebranding of the Normandie at Nook. We are being assisted by our executive consultant Ali Khan, veteran hotelier who until recently had managed Hilton Trinidad, former Hilton Tobago, and Jaloussie Plantation St. Lucia. Ali Khan is facilitating the complete refurbishing of the hotel as well as enhancing quality brand standards.

This house of culture, art, music, and as the hotel is well known in the literary community is preserving the legacy of iconic social philanthropist Fred Chin Lee and his affable wife Anna Chin Lee. We urge you to revisit us to see and witness how our team is practicing the Art of Hospitality.

Please Ms Zee Z, give us another opportunity to host you so that you may ascertain the recent changes made resulting from your review, the fundamental changes made have completely changed the entire state of mind of our team members for which we immensely thank you.

Respectfully,

Ray Chin Lee and Ali Khan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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74 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Greeley, Colorado, United States
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

I stayed in the suite across from the Resteraunt and although it was not the Hilton it was CLEAN, the staff was amazing. Whatever I needed I just had to ask. I even locked myself out late at night and one of the staff stayed with me for 20 minutes until the maintanence gentleman came to let me in. They were warm and friendly even though I knew they would rather be doing something else. So, all of the folks who whine about a noisy fan or a light switch,.. must not travel to TT very often. I am here 4 - 5 times a year and This is the place with the right price, and the best service. From Colorado USA - Thank you Normandy for the greatest 3 weeks I have had in Trinidad. And to Josephine the service attendant. You are the best. :)

Room Tip: I liked the suite - had a great balcony and private stairway to the resteraunt and shopping but priv...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaguanas, Trinidad
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

My hubby and I stayed over the weekend, we checked in at 3pm where all the paper work was finalized.The A\C is makes a loud noise in your room, the bed is extremely small and uncomfortable. At day 1 our A\C knocked out it took 2-3 hrs before anyone came despite two phone calls. We were told to move to a next room no assistance offered. The next room's shower wasn't in good working condition and the A\C was louder, the kettle was dirty when I asked for a clean one (no kitchen in room) I was told to come downstairs for it.. when i paused in disbelief on the line a couple seconds...I was told ok I'll bring it up...On the day of our departure (check in at 1:00, check out @ 11am) not listing names so someone telephoned @ 830am awaking us, inquiring when we were leaving and what rate we were quoted although all the formalities were finalized on our arrival when i related this I was told thank you for your insight!!!!no sorry,no apologies. Upon leaving I inquired as to what is the hotel policy regarding checking out, normally guests are reminded @ 1030am and a 15min grace is allowed. When i related I was called @830am silence followed no apologies. I can be a better host if I were to open a hotel at my home not to mention offer much better facilities. The pool needs cleaning and the restaurant is expensive. The cost of $700-800 a night is definitely not worth it.

Room Tip: Avoid this Hotel
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

We stayed here during Carnival 2013, and had a good experience. Overall, the hotel is looking tired and could well do with an upgrade, expecially given the prices charged. However - it was Carnival (peak season) and so we expected higher prices; we'd also left our accommodation booking a bit late (Oct 12) so had less choice. The hotel has a lovely setting and character (including parquetry floors in rooms), and was a comfortable walk to Queens Park Savannah & Carnival events. One thing to be aware of: they hold a few 'under the trees' events at the hotel during Carnival, which means loud pumping music which reverberates through your room. This only affected us once, with music starting at about 4pm on Sat, but having stopped by 12pm when we got home again. If this might be an issue for you, I suggest you ask ahead when the events will be and timing.

Check-in was slow, but generally we found the staff to be friendly and helpful. Of note, they allowed my partner to use their office computer for several hours to do some urgent, unexpected work. The rooms were comfortable and clean, with some minor staining above air conditioning units which didn't detract from the experience for us. The air conditioner units are old (and not easily adjusted) but worked ok. Shower water was warm rather than hot. The pool was clean and very welcome after wandering hot dusy Carnival streets. Breakfasts were good, buffet style with a variety of food, although yes sometime things ran out and weren't quickly replaced (noting other reviews). The dinners were somewhat overpriced given the quality of the food, but convenient. However, we weren't impressed when told we could only have 1 piece of chicken at the buffet dinner!

We had no problem with security - we kept our bags locked during the day, and took valuables (cash, passports) with us at all times.

Some of the reviews of this hotel are quite damming - but its worth remembering, you are in Trinidad and standards will not replicate the US or UK, and if you want a Hilton experience, pay the price and go stay at the Hilton!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Costa Rica
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
74 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

Dear reader,
Avoid yourself additional frustrations and disappointments from the regular you normally get from work. If you are on business and need everything to go worries free, this is not your hotel. Upon arrival, they could not find my reservation. It took a while for them to find me a room. They thought they were doing me a favor by placing me close to the small pool, mistake, I wanted peace and quite. That night the AC stopped working so not much sleeping. In the morning when going for breakfast, I reported the broken AC and they said they would have somebody fixing it in no time. After enjoying a sad, weak and repetitive breakfast (every day the same weak continental buffet breakfast, yikes!), went back to my room to work and after that go to a meeting. By 4 pm, the AC was still broken and on top of that, the internet was not working. Finally somebody fixed the AC but it work the following night again, and yes, still no internet.I requested a safety deposit box for one night and they took me into this small, smelly and beat up room with the safety deposit boxes; they boxes were all rusted and showed their age (counted in decades), it was an issue to get the right key to open the small box. I could continue with anecdotes but I have not got the time to write that much right now. Just remember, if you are on business, think twice about staying here. Perhaps if you go to TT for carnival and plan to party day and night this could be an option for you, I will leave that to your consideration.

Room Tip: There is a new building with rooms away from the reception and next to the parking, those seem to be...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013 via mobile

I stayed here briefly during Carnival 2012 together with many family & friends. We were most disappointed that we cut short our stay and moved to another hotel due to many reasons. Mainly the lack of hospitality, the services was extremely poor, the ignorance of staff especially management, the quality and the choice of food was dire, the rooms had damp, no hot water and to top it off the theft of money from several rooms. All the family run members are interested in is making money regardless of your safety and welfare!! DO NOT STAY HERE - AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT AND FOR THE NORMANDIE HOTEL TO SPOIL YOUR STAY IN TRINIDAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!! TAKE HEED AND STAY ELSEWHERE!!

  • Stayed February 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia / Guyana
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

The Normandie has great potential but falls short of the mark in true Trinidadian style.
The main hotel complex is a lovely old historical building with a very nice pool area attached but the staff are hopeless and lazy and just cant get their act together.

Stayed here for 3 nights during the carnival period in 2011. Decided to spend a little extra money to treat my traveling partner (she's now my wife so it must have worked!) Therefore we stayed in one of the Samaan Wing suites and paid a small fortune to do so. Complimentary breakfasts were provided with the room but were pretty crappy (again in typical Trini fashion) for the money paid. The location is fine although a little bit of a walk to the Queen's Park Savannah (could be worse though...) so a car would really help - the only problem is don't expect the secure car park to be secure or the security guards to do their job (ie stay awake at night).

Whilst the suites look nice on the hotels website they fall well short of the mark. They're not actually suites just larger rooms without any amenities or closet space (come on guys it's be a cinch to put some built ins in...) and things like ironing boards left out in the room. The fancy paint job shown on the hotel's website was not done properly and the walls were poorly painted, marked and peeling. Worst of all there was no hot water available for our entire stay. When questioned why we were met with some crappy excuse or we were told that the plumber had been called and nothing was done about it - for over $300 a night I damn well demand hot water!!!

So in summary this hotel is a pretty good reflection of Trinidad and Trinidadian culture - beautiful location, blessed by history and natural resources but spoiled by the staff's laziness, disorganisation and inattention. It's a lovely old colonial building that just needs the return of colonialism to restore order!

Room Tip: Ask for one with hot water - if you don't get it leave.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Normandie Hotel & Conference Centre

Address: 10 Nook Ave | PO Box 851, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Location: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Trinidad > Port of Spain
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 21 hotels in Port of Spain
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Normandie Hotel & Conference Centre 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set between the rain forest and Queen’s Park Savannah, Hotel Normandie features 70 rooms, 6 meeting and conference rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and bright, attractive accommodation. Just 1 Km from the Savannah and 3 Km from Ariapita Avenue, at the end of The Nook Normandie manages to relax you with its tranquil surroundings. Each stylish, air-conditioned room and suite at The Normandie has colourful décor and includes a coffee/tea station, cable TV, and complimentary Wi-Fi; some of the rooms include a refrigerator. The Normandie also has a restaurant that offers a continental/international breakfast and an Italian flavour for lunch and dinner, a 24-hr front office, 24-hr security, complimentary parking, a concierge, a spa, and provides a tour desk and the only pilates studio in Trinidad through our in-house partners, Island Experiences and Madeleine Miller Pilates. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Normandie Hotel And Conference Centre
The Normandie Hotel & Conference Centre Trinidad/Port Of Spain

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