My experience of dealing with the Celtic Manor can only be described as a catalogue of failings. I made 2 separate group bookings for spa packages at the Forum Spa to be taken in January 2013. Both were special occasions and I was hopeful that the Celtic Manor, being a supposedly reputable resort, would come up trumps.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Dealing with the reservations team in respect of the first booking (made several months in advance) was a saga from beginning to end. I was quoted different prices by different agents and ended up being charged £20 extra for an admin error made by them! Every single call made to them resulted in me being put on hold several times giving the distinct impression they were making up prices & terms and conditions as they went along.
We were less than impressed with the spa day itself. The staff at the spa were pleasant and attentive but many things were amiss. The toilets in the ladies changing area had no toilet paper and the stench of urine emanating from the out of order cubicle quite literally made our eyes water. It was like that all day.
As it was a special occasion we’d arranged for a bottle of Prosecco to be waiting at our table when we went for lunch. It wasn’t there when we arrived & after a great deal of waiting and prompting staff, one of our party ended up going to collect it. We were a party of 5 and she was given 3 glasses and told the other 2 would follow shortly. They didn’t. After a further 15 mins of waiting and yet more prompting, they finally appeared. Totally ridiculous for a 5* resort and also not ideal when we had to keep an eye on the clock as treatments were scheduled for the post lunch slot.
The second booking (also made several months in advance) was all set to go ahead when I received a ‘courtesy call’ 7 days beforehand to advise me that the pool and poolside facilities (sauna, etc) would be closed for refurbishment. There was no apology, it was just casually slipped into the conversation. I voiced my dissatisfaction as this visit was also a special occasion and the short notice was not really acceptable. I was told no discount could be offered but we could come and swim free of charge on a separate occasion (bearing in mind we’re making a 100 mile round trip, no thanks!).
The Celtic Manor take payment in full upon booking and have a cancellation period of 7 days prior to your visit. If you cancel any time after that, you stand to lose the full amount. I received this phonecall at 6.15pm exactly 7 days prior to our planned trip! I was told by one agent that they would waiver the 7 day policy on this occasion as I was keen to speak to other members of the party and possibly make alternative arrangements. Within the hour the Marine Spa in St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay had saved our bacon and I called the Celtic Manor to confirm the cancellation, only to speak to another agent who told me a refund was not actually possible and our only option would be to change to an alternative date. Understandably, I went ballistic and after being put on hold a few more times they agreed to refund the full amount to my credit card.
Whilst having problems with the first reservation I did actually complain to the Celtic Manor directly via email. The response I received was dismissive and some comments only went to show that they hadn’t even read it properly.
They did us a favour in the end as St David’s Hotel did us proud. If I never set foot in the Celtic Manor again it’ll be too soon.
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