Originally this review was going to be verging on a 5 star review - but within a couple of days went to a 4 star and here we are finally at 2 stars, and to be frank I was on the verge of giving it 0 stars.
I always try and base the review on the hotel, the rooms, the service and the staff. So I exclude things that are not part of the stay or the fault of the hotel. For example:
The shuttle transfer via Novatel is long..... 3.5 hours on the way to the hotel - not including the 2 hour wait as it doesn't run every 5 minutes. A big minus is there are no pit stops - and no toilet on board - so don't drink anything for a few hours before the journey. For us this was a big piece of information missing.....
We dined at the hotel for 3 lunches. We were trying to order outside the 1st time, as were a Scottish couple. We were quite relaxed about our lunch and it's timing, but the Scottish couple obviously wanted to get back out onto the slopes. It seemed that only one person was empowered to take orders, and they were making sure that every order had been served and consumed before another order was taken,....So, despite several requests, and a few dummies towards the table by said order taker - 20 minutes passed before they finally gave up and just asked for their bill.
When we booked, the offer that we were supplied with stated that ski lessons and ski hire was included in the price. When we received the confirmations, neither of these were included. A few emails back and fro - and we were told that a) this was a typo b) we would only be in the Grau Roig for 5 nights (later changed to 7 nights in the hotel - but 2 in an ordinary room). We then tried to cancel the reservation - but were told we would lose all our money. PM me if you require more details - but don't fall for the same scam. I will be commencing small claims court action forthwith.
However, as mentioned, none of these events have a bearing on my score.
So back to our stay. It all started so well - a bit like a fairytale.
As I mentioned we had originally booked 7 nights at the Grau Roig, and after we had booked (and paid) were told that we could only possibly have the rooms we booked (Authentic) for 5 nights. On the day after we arrived the owner/manager(?) informed us that we had the room we paid for, for the whole 7 nights. Okay, we were happy/pleased (not sure why because we had paid for it....) and I wish the travel agency had told us, but the fact the hotel had supplied what we had paid for was positive.
We arrived very very late (see above) around 23.45 on the Monday evening, and really wasn't expecting anything to eat. But what was served to us was a feast - and way way to much for us - but it was greatly appreciated. A great touch (see photo).
The pillows that were supplied were very very hard. A quick word with the guy at reception and the soft pillows were supplied in an instant. Great!!!!
Now onto the negatives that turned the hotel into a 4 star, and to be frank they don't confess to be a 5 star so....
The radiator in the bathroom didn't work despite turning up the heating, turning the knob on the radiator, etc - which meant that towels were replaced twice daily.
The internet coverage/access is patchy - to be kind. I really don't think it's the coverage. Even the PC in the hotel that is for everyone's use has the same patchy access, so I think it's just the internet connection and not the wifi. Needs to be investigated. You either have internet access or not. If you do - it has to work.....
The rooms are not particularly well sound proofed. We heard somebody running a bath at midnight, the contents of normal conversations outside our door, etc, etc. Not sure if anything can be done about it - but we had a room that only had people above us, and on one side. Not sure what it would have been like to have a room above, below and both sides...
However, the best soundproofing in the world will not stop irresponsible parents letting their brood of kids running amok in the corridors at 8am, before dinner and after dinner, and basically using it as a playground. Screaming and shouting kids running like of herd of elephants is 'not cool'. If you don't have the space in your room, rent another room. If you can't control your children - don't have them. A 'shhhhh' after 15 minutes (after which they still continue as before) does not constitute control or being a good parent. All the ambient music in the world and a spa doesn't make up for the cacophony of screams that we endured. The hotel at least should have had a quiet word. A poster in the ski lift stipulating that no ski boots are allowed seemed to work - so how about a sign indicating that running up and down the corridors like a banshee is also not allowed. That would be an interesting sign ;-)
However, the icing on the cake was the Russian residents of the hotel who decided at midnight of the morning before we left, that they wanted to play at 'Dancing on Ice' with their cars whilst playing techno music. What did the hotel do? Nothing....
The food. For me the richness of the food is too much every night for 7 nights. Some dishes are very good one day - not so good the next. My partner had the suckling pig one night - and the crackling/skin was crisp and eatable. Another night it was limp and soggy and uneatable. If you order off menu, beware. My partner wanted the filet steak one night, but wanted something to break up the richness and ask for some chips (in addition to the vegetables that came with it). The waiting staff misunderstood and delivered the steak with a portion of fries, in a plate that looked like it had been created by an abstract artist. All week the food had been presented beautifully, however this 'masterpiece' was something that my school dinner lady would have found offensive. And worryingly after my extended encounter with the big white ceramic thing, a lot of dishes were served tepid or undercooked. The pumpkin soup one night was of an adequate temperature, the next time I had it - cold. The wild boar - and while I like my steak 'bleu', was so undercooked that for the first time I can ever remember in having paid for my food in over 20 years, I sent it back to be cooked more. The 'tarte tartin' was also tepid (I'm being kind, it was cold), and the pastry was dire. The last night, my partner again had the audacity to ask for fries to be supplied (this time we managed to communicate in addition to the dish). They were limp and not crispy...
So why the drop from 4 star to 2 (and if I was in the state of mind on the morning of the 2nd day, 0 stars). Food poisoning....
My partner and I, and another couple, all dined at the Teatre del Vi on the Tuesday night (so basically the evening of the day we arrived). We had a great meal, accompanied by a selection of chosen wines. This carried a 75 Euro per person supplement, however we thought it worth it for one night. Around 1am, I woke up and was feeling very well. I was violently sick all night/morning, getting up every hour on the hour. As I hadn't eaten outside the hotel for 48 hours then I was pretty sure it was the food I had eaten in the hotel. I didn't feel well enough to ski that day nor the next morning. I didn't eat all that day - so didn't have breakfast, lunch or dinner. All I 'ate' was Coke, Fanta, Red Bull and water. So not only had I 'wasted' those meals, but the paid for ski pass, ski hire and also my holiday also went to waste. In short, I lost 25% of my skiing. On the Wednesday I ventured down for dinner, and one of the other couple that also dined with us approached us, and asked us whether we had been ill. They had been very ill too...... That night my partner also was violently ill, and she lost a days worth of skiing.
The other couple mentioned that both they and I had been ill to the sommelier who had hosted the fateful evening, and he approached me and asked me how I was feeling. He apologised - but as I said to him, it wasn't his fault - and more importantly I felt it wasn't his place to apologise - surely it should be the chef or the owner/manager/director to do this? He did ask whether I could be possibly allergic to oysters which I found a bit patronising especially as the other couple had been ill. Surely the likelihood that 3 people out of 4 had never tasted oysters before and were all allergic is almost infinitely small.... I indicated that I had lived in France for many years and eaten oysters for nearly 20 years - uncooked - whereas the one we had eaten was cooked.
Despite all of this, nobody came to see us, ask us how we were, or even horror of all horrors, apologise. We waited and waited and waited. The penultimate night the owner/director/manager came to our table but didn't ask how we were or bring up the situation. In my view, you need to address these kinds of things before they get out of hand. Despite my partner replying to the question on how is your stay by indicating fine apart from being ill - this wasn't followed up or question or nothing. It just seemed like they wanted to sweep it under the carpet.
So we came to checkout. The hotel had not charged us for my 75 euro supplement, but had charged my partner. Bear in mind that the total trip cost was close to 3,000 euros, and we had both lost 1.5 days each of skiing, dinners, lunch, holidays, ski pass, ski hire, breakfast, our lives, etc. When I indicated that my partner had also been ill, the fact it could be the same meal was questioned. Even if it wasn't the same meal (and remember food poisoning takes up to 48 hours to manifest itself), it was something in the hotel, as we had eaten nowhere else up to that point. This questioning was unnecessary Would I really look for a 75 euro deduction on a 3,000+ euro cost for 'fun'. The owner/director/manager also stated she hadn't realised how ill we had been, at which point I stated that she really needs to talk and engage with people and face this issues head on and not wait for people to find her. She also stated the opinion after I had said that it was her hotel that he given us food poisoning, that it was the oysters. I replied that it was the oysters that the hotel had bought, selected, cooked and served. Where does the liability start and end? Does this mean unless a restaurant grows it own's food or rears it's own meat - because they only cook and serve the food, they are not liable? I think not. In the end - she deducted the 2nd 75 euro charge and the small supplements we had incurred on various meals. We shouldn't have had to discuss - it should have been done automatically. If we hadn't have been ill, remember we would have spent more money on drinks during the day and evening and lunch. It all just left a very bad taste in the mouth. I'm considering claiming compensation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- SILENCE, ADVENTURE, GASTRONOMY AND RELAXATION IN A PRIVILEGED SETTING The Grau Roig Andorra Boutique Hotel & Spa, situated in a unique setting, only 10 metres from the lifts of the Grandvalira ski resort, awarded as the best Ski Boutique Hotel in Andorra 2013 at the World Ski Awards in Austria. Newly renovated in 2013 offers 42 rooms with spectacular views. All rooms are decorated to provide maximum comfort and are equipped with the latest technology. Free Wi-Fi, is available throughout the hotel installations. You can sample the wide gastronomic choice at the "La Marmita" Restaurant with its traditional refined dishes or try the mountain cuisine of the "La Vaqueria" Restaurant-Grill, or you can treat yourself to the "El Teatre del Vi" Restaurant, an exclusive space dedicated to wine and champagne tasting, and creative cuisine. The ample wine list contains more than 500 references. The installations and services are completed by the Grau Roig Spa fully equipped, offers the body and beauty treatments available; The Meeting Rooms and the Events Rooms can cater for between 2 and 50 persons. "Jazz room"; the reading room; the summer lounge with its own hydro massage bath on the terrace; the "Kid's Club", a games room for the younger members of the family. The hotel accepts pets. At an altitude of 2,100 m and only a 20 minute walk from the spectacular glacial lakes of Pessons, which link up with the Vall del Madriu Natural Park, a Natural World Heritage site, and only 30 minutes from the main shopping area of Andorra, the mountains can be enjoyed in winter or in summer. You can practice skiing, trekking, adventure activities, golf, horse riding, via ferrata... Our location at the heart of the Pyrenees also provides many options for those who prefer check things out by bicycle or motorcycle. Wake up in the last house right where the mountains begin, situated among the clouds where the skiing starts and from where you can only continue on foot. A place for the family that offers you a combination of silence, comfort and relaxation. Would you like to come visit us? We look forward to meeting you... ... more less
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