I am a relatively young girl who loves holidays in far and exotic places. I have stayed in various standard of hotel from hostels to 5 star luxury. This year I intended to treat my mother to a week on a mediterranean cruise but a combination of financial restraints and the ash cloud threatening to stop flights put paid to that.
With time booked off work it was necessary to get away one way or another so we began looking at holidays in England. Now Blackpool is a tradition and I have many fond memories of the town from both family holidays and nights out and the Metropole has always been a prominent feature on the sea front. When such cheap prices popped up to stay there I jumped at the chance to book, perhaps foolishly expecting much much more than what we actually got!
We arrived on the Sunday evening, a little tired , after dragging the cases further than intended as there wasn't a crossing where there should've been ( not the hotels fault, merely a mis judgement on my part). We were greeted with an awkward entry.... do we go through the car park barrier or walk around. When we made our decision ( car park) we were greeted by a crowd at the door... no, not paparazzi, just a group of smokers in the doorway, one of which was kind enough to hold the door open and then try and squeeze through the entrance along with my case, my mother and her case!!( again, not entirely the hotels fault).
Now, I've got to admit, at this point I was quite excited at the prospect of entering the Metropole hotel. After many years spent in various B&Bs this was going to be a week in THE Grand Metropole Hotel. The excitement was turned to slight disappointment when I saw the decor. The entrance, once past the conservatory area, was dark and dingy, perhaps even a touch dirty looking. That said, it is Blackpool so I swallowed my initial disappointment and trundled on up to reception.
This was where the rot set in, the receptionist, don't know her name as no name badges, was extremely busy staring at the computer while another guy ( staff, management... I will never know) was ranting a mile a minute about service he got somewhere else.We stood there entertained by his wittering until she finally acknowledged us by asking if we wanted our key. 'Yes, but we need to check in first' was our reply. Her attitude was terse and perhaps a little offhand, certainly not welcoming or even the slightest bit interested in the new arrivals that, infact, she didn't even realise were new arrivals, says a lot for customer care!
We found our room, not too difficult, thankfully, as her directions were more like instructions received at an army training camp and not the warm, helpful guide you would expect from hotel reception staff of any star rating.
I am pleased to say that we were happy with the room, clean, bathroom clean, no hidden nasties and enough towels. Now I wouldn't normally feel the need to mention towels but read on and you shall see why I have....
We booked sea view and thats what we got, sadly we hit a time when there was a lot of construction work going on so we had a buliding site between us and the sea. For us, this was disappointing but these things happen and had whoever took our booking mentioned that this was going on we still would have booked. Some people may not have so maybe thats why they kept it a secret.
We had a sort of balcony, obviously not accessible as it looked like it was about to drop off and the windows were extremely dirty but the room was clean so we were very happy......until we saw we had a room mates
We had seen there was nightly entertainment, I guessed it wouldn't really be my scene but I was willing to give it a try ( I even brought a dressy dress!!!)After venturing in the 'entertainment' area the only reason either of us ever entered that awful, fully lit, cabaret room was to go to the bar.Entertainment pretty much non existant, bit of bingo most nights with bar shut at 11pm on the dot. this even occurred on a night when the bar was full after a special dinner for war veterans.
On the whole the bar staff were, as the reception staff, uninterested and offhand.
There was another bar.... the conservatory, which was much more pleasant to sit in with views of the sea, pier and tower but that bar shut 5pm and anyone one who dare try and pay with a note near closing time was hit with a torrent of anger from yet another member of staff who loved his job!!!!
I would also like to note at this point, that on returning to the hotel after a day out we timed it for a last drink at this bar. We soon became aware of a group of people who clearly were not residents, merely down and outs who trawl the town for cheap drinks. I'm not a snob but I found myself sitting with my mother as a resident in a supposedly nice hotel listening to the kind of language and subject matter that I would expect if I'd found the roughest pub in town. We actually left. On returning they had gone, probably in search of a cheap pint elsewhere but my opinion is they should never have been served there in the first place. My intention was to make a complaint but the guy on reception was so offhand I decided to save it.... add it to the list that was forming.
I believe it was the 2nd day when one of our room mates made an entrance. I had put my shoes on the window sill and on choosing which pair I required I saw an ant. Not really a problem, looking at the balcony I would have expected it to have ants.We had had the window open so these things happen.
We had another pleasant day... out of the hotel, not in as the general feeling of unhappiness generated by the staff was over whelming. Every time we picked up our key from reception we were met by an unsmiling, cool response, the bar staff were of similar ilk. The clientele thankfully seemed unaffected and we came across some lovely people, mainly of pension age. It made me sad that none of the staff seemed to want to engage in conversation with them and really make there holidays. I've worked in the leisure industry and making the customer feel wanted is of paramount importance... clearly Brittania hotels do not operate this policy.
Returning to the room after another day out we found beds made ( not difficult as no sheets involved) new coffee sachets ( no spoon, I think the hotel suffers a shortage in tea spoons as we never had one at breakfast either.... donations of spoons greatly recieved at the Metropole) and fresh towels, just two bath and one hand... to share eugh!!
We also found..... the room mate had friends, several, a few on the window sill and one on the tea tray and on taking my handbag from the wardrobe, a couple in there. I was compelled to complain.
The normally terse guy on reception actually raised a smile and immediately told the guy who appeared to hold some authority. He immediately suggested we had had the window open and thats why. I explained that the ants were actually coming in through the windowsill. He agreed to go and look in our room when he was doing his floor check, I expected him to invite us on this visit but I was wrong, he found us later to say he couldn't see any but he would order a deep clean and we could change rooms if we wanted. As we only had one more night we chose to stay where we were.
I've got to say, although not very helpful and not forthcoming with any form of compensation, he was lovely and the only staff member I had seen in 3 days with any kind of personality and willingness to chat.
The following day he asked how the ant situation was going.... well by that point it was appalling, thay were actually everywhere and there was no evidence of any deep clean. He blamed the cleaning staff and the hotel itself, like he had no connection with it at all.
When we checked out we quipped we were glad to be leaving the ants to be met with, perhaps a more pleasant response from the reception guy ( the ants melted the ice )but still no 'hope you enjoyed your stay' or 'do you need a cab' or anything that would count as customer service.
I am aware that this review has become more of an essay, novel or maybe a mildly amusing anecdote... and I still didnt go into the case of the disappearing towels. I suspect there maybe more reviews concerning towels on here in the near future as I overheard a group complaining over a drink one evening. I feel there is still so much to say., not least the regimental way in which we were guided into the breakfast room... marched to a seat, sit and stay! Breakfast amazed me, so disorganised it was hilarious, it took us two days to find the orange juice, had to wait for toast every day and woe betide you should feel the need to speak to any of the staff, only two of them had any ounce of customer care.
The saddest thing is, the location is brilliant, the building is historic and well known and given some investment could be amazing. The staff need something to make them actually want to be there and treat their customers with the respect they deserve.... perhaps a P45 is the only answer.
We had a good time, thankfully, we have a high tolerance threshold and a good sense of humour and it was really good to see Blackpool again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.