We had stayed in Mercure hotels before and thus figured this would be a safe bet. As soon as we pulled into the car park and were faced with a grimy two storey flat-roofed 1970s style building we knew we had made a mistake. We have uploaded some photos of the hotel.
We were assigned a ground floor room (162 I think) where the windows were warped such that when closed there was a gap at the top letting through a draught and all the noise of the nearby main road. We asked to change and were told that there was no alternative room available until the next day. There is no way we would have been the first guests to point the window issue out and no reputable hotel would put guests into such a room. After both experiencing a terrible night's sleep, we changed the next day to an upstairs room. It was clear that the room we were initially given was sub-standard and that we were not happy with it. We did not kick up a major fuss but the fact that no real apology was given or concession on the room rate made seems to typify the approach considered acceptable in this hotel.
There is no lift in the hotel so we had to carry our heavy cases up the stairs. The upstairs corridors have creaky floorboards indicating the age of the building. Like our first room, there was no air conditioning and our second day was sunny so the room was uncomfortably hot - there was a plug-in fan to move the hot air around the room. The shower only provided cold water - we didn't bother contacting reception as we had resigned ourselves to a sub-standard experience at that point - it was the next morning when by accident we discovered that there was hot water but there was a knack to getting it (you had to turn the shower on when the dial was in the 'hot' zone rather than turning to the 'hot' zone mid stream).
On our first night we went to the restaurant and, despite there being any number of tables available, were told that we could (i) have the same food in the bar area; or (ii) take a seat at the bar and they would come get us within a half hour. We went for the latter option and were promptly forgotten about. We eventually went back to the restaurant and were somewhat grudgingly given a table. My wife's napkin was dirty and had to be replaced. We ordered a beef dish and were then told after a few minutes that all the beef was gone! Our starters arrived before our drinks. We asked for water during the meal and the order was forgotten about. In fairness, we got the impression that the place was totally understaffed and felt sorry for the staff that were there.
The bar area is nice but service is slow as there does not seem to be a dedicated bar person but instead someone who takes room service orders and prepares drinks for the people dining in the restaurant. I waited several minutes to order two drinks (a coke and a water) even though I was the only person at the bar - one was prepared and then I had to wait again for the second while the barman answered the phone.
The breakfast was ok but the tables were not wiped down between guests and there was no jug of water available at the buffet.
The pool is part of a leisure centre at the back of the hotel - you get to it by walking out a fire exit and then into the leisure centre. The pool is nice but the changing rooms are poor enough - the showers are common rather than there being cubicles.
The positives to this hotel are (i) its close to the park and ride bus stop which offers a cheap and regular service direct to the city centre; (ii) the quality of the food is reasonably good; (iii) the bar area is reasonably comfortable; and (iv) the pool is nice.
Overall a hugely disappointing experience and our view of the Mercure brand has plummeted.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Modern Hotel in spacious grounds located in quiet suburb overlooking famous Abbots Well. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ramada Chester
- Chester Ramada