I have traveled extensively and have always used TripAdvisor to read reviews and check other peoples’ comments with regards Hotels. I have always found the information helpful and often take bad reviews with a pinch of salt. I have never written a review before, but after staying in the Glenavon Hotel I feel compelled to write this.
We arrived on a Thursday evening for our two night stay, we were attending a Wedding the following day and had been looking forward to this stay for weeks in advance. I had brought along two good bottles of Champagne in my suitcase had we wanted a drink in our rooms during our stay.
There were two receptionists on duty, after standing there for a moment I had to interrupt their idle chat so I could check-in for our non-smoking room. One of the girls without any level of enthusiasm recited her blurb on the hotel and breakfast without eye contact and asked for my card to put a pre-authorisation on it. A sign over her shoulder had caught my eye, 'Only alcohol purchased on the premises may be consumed at the hotel - and guests would be asked to leave if violated' . I have stayed in numerous hotels worldwide and never have I come across such a sign. I was entering my PIN number in for the pre-authorisation when I saw that she was pre-authorising my card for £200 - the cost of the stay was £180 - I thought this a bit cheeky but did not take any further notice.
We made our way to the room, over a walkway, down a few flights of stairs taking three to four minutes, whilst passing numerous signs warning that you cannot drink alcohol in the room that you have brought yourself. The room smelled of sewage and I was about to ring reception, but I didn't want to cause any trouble for the Bride & Groom, given that we were Wedding guests. I was conscious that she could be the Bride with the 'troublesome guests'. The room was plain and very normal a typical Irish county hotel room albeit overpriced for this category.
I looked at the Dinner menu in the room for the Bar and Restaurant, it was a throw back to the early 90s. No seasonally fresh food and what appeared to be an over reliance on a deep fat fryer and pre made sauces and foods from the supplier. With the hotels free wifi and a quick Google of restaurants in Cookstown we were left with very few options. The restaurant down stairs was too over priced for the fried feast and I thought there's nothing here that couldn’t be done better in a McDonalds. We begrudgingly drove the 2 minutes to the drive thru....
With an early start the next day it was early to bed, and given the signs I knew I wouldn't enjoy my Champagne if we had opened it and I did not want to get kicked out! We crawled into one of the most uncomfortable beds I have ever had the misfortune of sleeping on.
We were up early for breakfast, which was included in the price, and met by such enthusiastic staff in the breakfast room. Their attentiveness and smiles were maintained through out the fantastic breakfast. I knew we had made the right decision for the previous nights dinner as I held the sausage up over the serving dish and let it drip-dry while the fat the they were swimming in poured off it. When we were done the breakfast girls waved us off with best wishes for the day in their broken English. I left thinking these girls could teach the receptionists a thing or two...
A quick phone call to reception for an iron and ironing board turned into a thirty minute fiasco with repeated requests to reception. I was dubious about using the burnt-fabric encrusted iron on my white shirt and only just thought I should have ironed it inside out when there was a loud banging on the door with cries of 'House Keeping'.
On opening the door it was not house keeping but rather another member of staff alerting us that the detector at reception had been triggered by the smoke alarm in our bedroom. She barged in while I felt somewhat embarrassed standing there in my boxer shorts. As she inspected the room her eyes met my puzzled look. She suggested that it could have been the iron as the detector was quite sensitive. She asked were we smoking in the room, I replied in the negative and that we had requested a non-smoking room. She told us that if we were smoking in the bedroom there would be a £100 fine and left as abruptly as she arrived.
As I sat on the uncomfortable mattress in utter shock, I relaised I didn't hear an alarm, and questioned why reception did not ring to alert us to the potential fire? I was not the better when I realised that the staff member came the 4 minutes from reception, ample time for a fire to take hold of a room, and that her urgency was not our welfare rather she thought we were smoking in the room. It was at that point that the Glenavon was no longer a hotel rather a 1950s boarding school.
The Wedding reception was, in my opinion, excellent. There was ample space at the tables and the staff serving the food were really pleasant and friendly as were the bar boys pouring wine, collecting glasses and taking drink orders. There were seconds and thirds of all the food. The audio equipment in the large room was very good and before I had realised they had taken the tables away for the dance floor and evening guests with out any fuss or commotion.
We presented ourselves for check-out the next morning. Neither of the two receptionists were pleased that I had to yet again interrupt their catching up of recent gossip. I was really surprised that two receptionists could continue a personal conversation with a guest standing there. I considered raising some points regarding my stay, however I have no doubt that they would have fallen on deaf ears. I was not even asked if everything was ok with the stay.
Numerous people asked me about my stay in this hotel, I’ve told them - If I could divide the Glenavon into a Wedding Venue and Hotel, I would give the Wedding Venue full marks. I would not feel it appropriate to even rate the Hotel. Also, I have advised people not to even consider a stay here.
It’s upsetting to see the Northern Ireland Tourism board doing such amazing work at promoting Northern Ireland as a destination. When Hotels like the Glenavon, it would appear, identifies the fundamentals of a well-operating hotel and systematically destroys any expectations through overpricing, abruptness and rudeness.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.