I had a two night stay in the attached Premier Inn and made a table reservation for the first night at 6.45. I arrived in the restaurant to find just one girl taking food and drink orders, and the order of service is that you locate a table, make a note of the table number then go to the bar to order your "Boil in the bag/micro wave" dinner. As I had reserved a table I assumed that I would need to wait my turn in the que to find where I had been placed. Some 15 minutes later I arrived at the front of the que, and when I told the girl I had reserved a table via the Premier Inn, she looked in the book only to find that this had not been relayed to the restaurant. I was not happy at this stage so suggested that she find me a table as I had already wasted 15 minutes. She looked around the restaurant and found table number 36 was available, so would I have that, I said that as I was now tight on time, I would follow her back to the bar and place my order, as I knew what I wanted. By now the que had grown consiberably, and customers in the que were becoming restless at the wait. I placed my order, and having to listen to the usual rubbish about their loyalty card, the free breakfast for kids, the chance to win £1000 by completing the survey on the web site, and the offer of two for the price of one, I was quickly losing the will to live. I returned to the table only to find that another couple had taken the seats. I was not prepared to join the back of the que again, so interupted the girl behind the bar to tell her that I again had no table to sit at. She got the attention of a young lad, who I think was employed to clean the tables and instructed him to try and find me another table. This he did, but it was in the kids corner, and still had dirty plates, and a mess all over the table from the previous diners. However, by now almost half an hour had passed, and I was minutes away from grabbing a knife from any table in an attempt to slash my wrists, I managed to resist this urge, and sat at the table, with the assurance that someone would be straight over to clear and clean the table and provide me with some cutlery. Another ten minutes passed, still sitting at a dirty table, when by surprise, my starter arrived, presumably having done the rounds of the restaurant to the original table 36. I said to the waiter, that I could not accept the food, as there were still dirty plates, and a mess on the table, plus I had no cutlery with which to eat the food with. He apologised, and shot off, leaving my starter on the edge of the table. Within 3 minutes the waiter, and the lad who had originally shown me to the table both returned with a squirty bottle of water and a cloth to clean the table, but then confusion set in between them as to who should clean the damn table. Needles to say they each cleaned a small section, took away the dirty plates, and left me one knife and fork, bearing in mind my starter was now sitting on the window ledge in order for it not to be sprayed with the water they were using to clean the table, and that I had ordered a main course, just one set of cutlery was provided. I ate my starter, and then after waiting in excess of 20 minutes for my main coarse, I managed to attract the attention of a waiter to ask if my food was possibly waiting for me on table 36, or if not could I have it brought to my table. 5 minutes later, it arrived, looking as though it had just been prepared, so my guess is that the original one either went to table 36, where it was rejected by the couple sitting there so had gone back to the kitchen, or my order had been forgotten about.
On my second night, after the experience of trying to reserve a table proving pointless, I went into the restaurant to find yet another long que, with the same girl trying to cope on her own. I looked around for a table, and had actually brought a coat with me to put on the chair, whilst I had the long wait to order, but only to find, the only tables not occupied had reserved notices on them. I am afraid that I lost the plot at this stage, as going from having no table allocated the previous night, having made a reservation, to not being able to find a table because they were mostly now all reserved, was more than I could endure. I managed to find the same young lad from the previous evening and asked him what the hell was going on, and all I wanted to do was have dinner, this was around 6.15pm. He looked in the "Book" and said that one of the reserved tables was for someone wanting to eat at 8.0pm, so providing I could promise to eat my dinner and vacate the table before 8 I could have that one. I explained that frankly I could not wait to get out of the place, so would eat as quickly as possible and leave.
I am due to stay another 3 nights next week at the same Premier Inn, but I will now find an alternative hotel in fear of me actually causing myself some serious harm from the frustration of using the Gordano Gate. My advice is to avoid this place like the plague, so that when their profits begin to fall Whitbread may decide to put in a proper management team who can handle it.
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