My friend and I have been staying at this Hotel for approximately seven years and always had good experiences. However our stay last November was a catalogue of problems from start to finish and I am attaching my e-mail which I sent to them upon my return. Apart from two automated responses, four months have now passed without an explanation or an apology. We are going to be staying at the Hilton this November which has much better facilities but I am posting this as a warning to others.
It is with regret that I am writing to you to express my disappointment with the long weekend I have just spent with my friend at your hotel. We have been staying with you now every year for approximately seven years, firstly for Crufts and in the last three to four years for the Annual Winter Good Food Show. Each year we have had either the Curtis Suite (501) or the suite on the 4th Floor and have found the facilities, service and general standard excellent. However last year we did have reason to complain about the room cleaning as dirty cups and glasses were not replaced but that was the limit of our problems.
However this year has been an entirely different story and has been a complete saga of problems from start to finish. You must therefore excuse the length of this e-mail but I wish to address these in detail.
I booked the Curtis Suite in June 2011 for the nights of 25th and 26th November and dealt with Inga Weilandt at your Resevations Office. She was a delightful lady and I also advised her that we could possibly require the Thursday night, 24th November, which she confirmed she would hold for us. Prepayment at the agreed rate of £152.00 advanced purchase price was paid for the two nights on 21st June 2011 and confirmed by Inga by e-mail of the same date. On 6th July 2011 I e-mailed Inga and confirmed we would also require the Thursday night which she booked for us and confirmed by e-mail the same day that she had taken pre-payment of £152 for that night as well.
When we came to check in at approximately 8.00 p.m. on 24th November 2011 we were dealt with by Ingrid on your front desk who advised us that the computer did not show that we had paid for the three nights. She then presented me with the check-in documents showing a room rate of £228.00 per night, some £70.00 higher. I argued this and then showed her the copy e-mails between Inga and myself clearly confirming that full pre-payment had been made. She asked to take photocopies of these documents and when she returned, she said she would take this up with Inga in the morning.
Upon arrival at the Curtis Suite we found it to be clean and tidy as always although we were somewhat surprised to find the note stuck to the minibar that "for the customer's convenience" (to which someone had scrawled above "inconvenience"), the minibar would no longer be stocked and any items could be requested from in-room service; these would be charged although any items not used could be returned to the front desk when checking out when they would be credited to the account. Apart from the fact that guests checking out with luggage and other bags having to also carry down unused items like small glass bottles and cans, this idea is laughable. Someone paying for a room in excess of over £150.00 per night, I feel would expect a minibar service even if this was not used. As it was, there were two small bottles of water provided but in the middle of the night when the room was warm, these were insufficient and we were left without any alternative cold drink apart from tap water from the bathroom.
I was also surprised that you no longer provide bath robes although your advertising photo in the front lobby clearly shows these.
We had room service that evening, a club sandwich and two glasses of wine and this was served quickly and was hot and tasty.
On the Friday morning we went to breakfast and as I was concerned about the booking deposit not showing, I phoned my personal banker in Jersey to ask them to check my credit card entries which he agreed to do. However upon returning to the room, we found a message from Inga confirming that this had been sorted out and apologising - for which I thank her. However I was annoyed to note that my card had been charged with £228.00 by Ingrid but that this had now been refunded.
We then went down to reception and spoke to the gentleman on the desk and asked him to call us a taxi to take us to the Bullring for a day's shopping. He said he could do this but was quite insistent that it would be cheaper and more convenient for us if we allowed him to drive us to the train station and then he would collect us from there when we returned at the end of the day by train. Although we were quite prepared to pay the taxi rate, we agreed to this and he immediately drove us to the station. He gave us a laminated piece of paper with the hotel number and said when we returned we should phone the hotel and he would come straight over to collect us. However after a long day's shopping and a very tiring train trip back which was full meaning we had to stand all the way, we made our way back to the point where he had left us and called the hotel only to be advised that there was no shuttle service available that evening (it was approximately 5.00p.m.) and that we would have to find a taxi back. The receptionist did recommend the taxi firm office at the location we were and we did get a taxi within ten minutes or so but that cost us £6.00 rather than the free transfer which the gentleman insisted he could provide.
Several weeks before coming over, I had phoned the hotel to reserve dinner on the Friday night in your restaurant. At the time the person I spoke to could not take the booking "as the restaurant was closed" and suggested I phoned back that evening when it would be open. I did this and booked a table for two which was confirmed. On the Friday afternoon I phoned to check what time I had booked, whether it was 7.00 or 7.30 only to be told that there was no reservation in my name. I was pretty annoyed by now and the lady I spoke to you made a new reservation for me. She was very polite and efficient but this was yet another annoyance.
Equally on the Saturday we spoke to Ingrid again on the front desk and asked to book a shuttle back to the Airport for 12.30 on the Sunday for our flight back to Jersey. She advised me that there was no transport available until 2.00 p.m. and as our flight was at 2.15 this was impossible. I therefore asked her to book a taxi for us which she did.
On the Saturday evening after a day at the Good Food Show, we opted for room service for dinner. We phoned down and ordered some hamburgers and wine and also requested some Pringles and a couple of Kitkats from the minibar list so we could snack in the evening. After some initial confusion, the in-room operator also took these items down however when the food was delivered they were not with the order and the waitress said that she would get them and bring them up "in a few minutes". Approximately an hour later, I phoned down again to find out what had happened to these only to be told that the hotel was completely out of stock and that someone should have phoned me back to advise this! He further stated that if we wanted anything else we could order it from room service and we wouldn't be charged the tray charge!! I cannot believe that a hotel your size does not stock these items, particularly as they are listed on your ridiculous minibar self-order list and even if you did not have these in stock, would it have hurt to offer us the option of some crisps (which you supply with your cold sandwiches) and perhaps some chocolates like the ones you leave in the room as an apology?
Overall it saddens me to advise you what a frustrating, irritating and overall poor stay we had with you on this occasion. On the positive side the food, cleanliness and staff attitudes are, on the whole, good although it would appear that the hotel is cutting back on those little extras which someone paying a not insignificant amount of money per night would expect from a hotel of your stature. One or two problems we could forgive but the number of things which were not right this time are unforgiveable. When I returned I told my partner of all the difficulties and we actually checked Trip Advisor only to find we are not the only guests who have recently experienced problems. Whilst I would not put my comments on such a site without giving you an opportunity to respond to complaints beforehand, I do feel that it is important that you address these and know of the extent of our unhappiness. As I say we have stayed with you every year since your hotel opened and have been loyal customers also recommending you strongly to people we know who may be travelling to Birmingham for shows or concerts. We run our own business and only get a few long weekend breaks a year so we book high standard accommodation and expect this along with good service as we would expect our clients to receive from us. Certainly having paid over £450.00 for accommodation alone this weekend, which would have been nearly £700.00 had it not been for the early booking fee, we do expect a better standard that we received. In the light of this weekend, we do not feel that we will be using you next year and are already checking out alternatives.
I am sorry to write to you in such a vein but hope that our comments will be noted and acted upon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.