What’s in a star? When judging the quality of different hotels, one compares, amongst other things, the stars awarded. What do they mean? In this particular case: ‘not much’. Last month we stayed in a three star hotel in Belgium (van der Valk, Nivelles), which outclasses this four star hotel in almost every aspect. I say “almost”, as some things do qualify for a forth star like its location in the heart of the old town of Zutphen, the historic main building and possibly its gourmet restaurant (We did not try the restaurant as we preferred to explore what the old town had to offer).
But isn’t the main function of a hotel to provide the customer with adequate sleeping facilities, i.e. a good bed and a good breakfast? About this hotel’s breakfast I have no real complaint: buffet style has become the standard; sometimes a little better than average, sometimes a little less so, though in this hotel it comes at a price of 16.50 euros. More disturbing, however, is that we did not get the room we booked.
We made our reservation, as usual, through Booking.com, availing ourselves of a special offer: a standard room at a discounted price. A so called ‘smart deal’. Disappointed with the room I complained. The receptionist was so kind as to see if we could be ‘upgraded’, but everything was fully booked (in fact, we took the last two available standard rooms, according to Booking.com). On my departure I mentioned once again that the room was not the one we thought we had booked. A more senior person brushed aside all my arguments, insisting that the room we had was a standard twin.
But pictures do not lie. I must assume that all information on Booking.com is provided by the hotel concerned. Judging by picture and description it became clear that instead of a standard room we had been given an economy room (with a brick wall view at 5 meters, but that is another issue), something we very much wanted to avoid in view of the many negative comments.
The mattresses are good, but the beds are rather small. No more than 70 cm each. There is one arm chair; the other guest should content itself with an upright chair. So, sleeping is narrow; sitting is worse. There is a flat screen and a safe, but no mini bar, nor tea/coffee making facilities. The bathroom is too small for two people. (One wonders if this room isn’t a converted single bedroom). The bathtub shower is too low for a person of more than 1m60. One has to bend over to get ones head under it. My advice to the hotel management: skip the bathtub and put in a decent walk-in shower. One cake of soap, two easily breakable plastic water tumblers, two not so well working soap dispensers, as well as good towels, are provided, but I missed the usual mini bottles of shampoo and body lotion/douche gel. This room, and some other ones I have seen, is not worth four stars; rather two, I should say.
I wonder if the management cares very much. There is no other hotel in town in a similar position. In the land of the blind one eye is king.
Summing up: Of course there are positive elements. The hotel staff is welcoming and helpful, breakfast is adequate, the location excellent and the front end charmingly historic. But my bottom line is that many, if not most rooms do not merit 4 Stars and even though it was a special offer, the hotel should honour its commitments. I do not think that we will ever stay here again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.