There is a distinct feeling here that the staff could not give two hoots about their guests.
Food: Breakfast buffet: dire. Congealed beans, eggs, cheese & stodgy scrambled egg. Melting plastic spatulas instead of stainless steel spoons for each dish kept warm on a hot plate were more akin to motorway service stations not a four star hotel. Crockery and teapots were unclean. Majority of staff were impersonal and unwelcoming, on one morning they were taking orders for hot breakfasts and on the next one it was a buffet, however we were left unattended for so long by the waiter that there was hardly anything left that could pass for food. Nobody welcomed us and informed us that it was a buffet that morning – some of the staff need to be educated about good customer service, acting in a professional manner and communicating to the guest – for example, let the guest know that “breakfast will stop being served in 15 minutes and will not be replenished after that time. Is there anything that I can get for you at the moment?” would be a helpful comment. Don’t allow the guest to walk up to the buffet to find slices of hardened cheese and overcooked bacon. In previous years there has been a very good selection of pastries - this year, cold croissants.
The only well trained and staff with pride in their job were the Spanish maître d’ at dinner and the English waiter at breakfast (who was very helpful and polite) and the (Flemish?) girl at reception who checked us in.
The chef still cared about cooking a decent dinner and there was little to find fault with. It was of a similar standard to the RSC rooftop restaurant, in fact the onion artisan bread could have been identical and sourced from the same place. The interior was not condusive to an evening meal, it was in the breakfast room! We sat at a formica table facing the breakfast dressers with a cash till in full view! This is vastly different to other years when we were seated in the proper restaurant with a candlelit table covered in crisp cloth facing a lit log fire. We were also the only people eating between 8pm -10.30pm.!
Afternoon tea was a complete disappointment with clumsy, thickly cut sandwiches. Why aren’t Mercure educating staff that that Afternoon Tea is a great tradition that should be capitalised upon, it requires a good choice of delicately made sandwiches and variety of exquisite of cakes and this was sorely missing.
At the bar, it wasn’t long ago that there were many varieties of Port on offer, now it is just two brands. It seems that everything is a cost cutting exercise to gain maximum revenue from the guest with minimum labour costs and minimum effort. This has not gone unnoticed, guests were conspicuous by their absence.
Management give the impression of caring little about guest satisfaction. We were told by a dark haired manager (not Marnix Teeken) regarding the lack of water, “You’re not in a junior suite!” No, we were staying in a lowly, four poster bed room (220) for a family celebration and were clearly not deserving of the rare, hallowed waters of Schweppes Abbey Well. We have spent thousands of pounds in this hotel over the years. A bottle of water must be bought at reception if one is required, the cost is £5! The next day we bought a couple of2lt bottles of Evian for a cheaper price. What passes for a couple of biscuits in the room are the smallest, lack lustre cardboard that one can imagine, it is almost an insult - they used to be Scottish Shortbread (M&S up the road fulfilled that craving) There needs to be far greater forward thinking about the needs of the guest and making their stay as comfortable and stress free as possible. We have also stayed at the Alveston Manor, Billesely Manor, White Swan and Mary Arden hotel over more than two decades so can be reasonably discerning about this.
The location is great as is the history of the hotel but the overly modern breakfast room/dining room now looks naff (circa 2009) and lacks elegance and classic touches befitting such a wonderfully historic, listed, English building. The grouting in the bathroom was grubby as was the stained carpet and dirty upholstery.
A calm complaint to the duty manager was met witha quiet "I'll pass it on to management". There was no apology that a family celebration had been marred nor any constructive communication about what they would do to improve matters if we would like to stay again (unlikely). There has been no call from Mercure to apologise. Disappointing.
Check in and about turn to exit if the room looks dirty and management of this hotel is as we found...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your recent stay with us. I am currently investigating the issues you have raised. Please accept my sincere apologies for not meeting your expectations.
I would appreciate if you could contact me personally to discuss your feedback.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.