When I read the other bad reviews of the this place I thought they were being too harsh, but our experience confirmed everything bad others have said about this place and worse. DO NOT STAY HERE - absolutely NOT recommended. Highway robbery indeed. Have any of the staff had any hospitality or customer service training? My guess is not. Especially the bar manager Chris who is definitely not a fan of 'the customer is always right', or a graduate of charm school. Basic manners have passed him by.
I made a booking over the phone, which was fine and they seemed very friendly (obviously I didn't speak to the politeness-bypassed Chris). Our plans changed and so a few days out we requested that our friends stayed the first night of the booking with their two kids and asked for an extra mattress to be put in the room. This also seemed fine. It turned out the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing - when they showed up the message hadn't got through. It seems not only is there a manners bypass in this place, there is also a marked communication failure. I received 6 phone calls trying to clear it up. Honestly 6! How difficult can it be? It was an extra mattress and we were happy to pay a surcharge.
The next day we arrived and I checked personally that they had got the message our friends would be leaving and we (a couple) would be taking the room for the second night, as originally booked. One person (a seemingly friendly barman/receptionist) told me that was fine and the room would be refreshed and told me to keep hold of the key. What could be simpler?
We got back to the hotel around 8pm to be confronted by the screaming, mincing Chris who practically attacked us in the carpark demanding to know where 'his' key was and informing us that our booking was cancelled and we were out on the street. No reason given other than we confused them by having our friends stay the night before. Apparently this was a 'sub-letting' infringement, a step too far for a professional hotelier (who does this every day of the week) to deal with. I mean blimey, I wasn't trying to buy a house, or negotiate a mortgage. I was just booking a room for a different set of people one night, and another the next. Let me just check the dictionary, but isn't this the definition of the hotel? Not according to Chris. He was very upset - the crime of the century. And then went on to demand the key back, saying he would charge us for the room anyway and threatened to call the police. Interesting. An over-reaction no? We had the key, but then we had made the booking, had been told we would have the room nice and refreshed for us, and were then being told by him that we were going to pay for it anyway. Hmmm. I was looking forward to the Police arbitrating that one - but as it turned out, Chris was making empty threats. Diddums.
A big argument ensued, in front of all his customers in the bar (all 6 of them). They seemed to be quite enjoying it. Maybe this is the chosen spectator sport in this part of rural Oxfordshire. Perhaps there is little better to do and they are in need of this kind of entertainment. (I'm speculating here, granted.)
Chris refused to give us the room. We refused to pay for the second night. We insisted on a receipt for night 1, which he gave us, begrudgingly. And we went off to seek our fortune somewhere else. Somewhere with a customer services policy - or just good old fashioned manners.
Chris, if you're reading this I know you have my phone number. Please don't call. I know you have my credit card details. Please don't use. I will be checking.
And Chris, some careers advice. A customer facing, people oriented environment outside a closed circle of your own mates, is not for you.
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- Also Known As:
- The Highwayman Hotel Kidlington, Oxfordshire