This hotel could very easily have got five stars - the hotel rooms are furnished to a very high standard, there is a great bar and the food is good quality. But unfortunately for us, it was let down by certain aspects of the service.
Having not visited Margate before, we arrived about 5pm on a Saturday night and entered from the seafront (Marine Drive). There was a small unmanned reception desk in the hallway, no bell and no indication where to go. I tried down the staircase but came across the kitchen; I was told to head up to the next level instead (improved signage would have been useful).
We found the main reception up on the next level. The receptionist asked if we'd reserved a parking space although I explained we'd seen nothing on the website saying we needed to do that. She told me the last visitor permit had just gone, so gave us verbal directions to the Morrison's car park where she said we could park overnight. There was no map to show us the way. We then drove to the car park, only to find parking was limited to 12 hours so was no use unless we wanted to leave 5am the next morning!
By this time it was dark and there was heavy rain, thunder and lighting. Using our iPhones, we made our way to another car park but the same restrictions applied. We then phoned the hotel and were finally directed to a third car park at Mill Lane where we could park overnight, albeit the groups of youths hanging around in the stairwell didn't make it a pleasant experience. The whole thing wasted about an hour and left us feeling quite stressed so we returned to the bar for a much needed drink.
Later that evening, we returned to the room and tried to switch on the TV, but there was no remote. I couldn't get through to reception so went back down to ask. Staff apologised but said they had no spares available so we were stuck with Sky News all night! I decided to make a coffee in the room and was pleased to see fresh ground coffee provided (no instant) - but there was no cafetiere to make it in. Staff apologised again and brought one up to us.
Next morning, breakfast was very busy and hotel almost full, but only two staff serving - doing there very best to cope. We were directed to a table although it was about 5-10 minutes before a menu or offer of drink arrived. A bit after 10am, we heard staff on the phone checking if the kitchen could be closed. We had to call over to say they hadn't even taken our order yet! When the breakfast did eventually arrive, it was very good.
Overall, what should have been a relaxing one night break turned into a slightly stressful night away. This has the makings of a very good hotel and should be a great asset for Margate. Whilst a lot has been invested in the building, the management now need to improve the customer experience and also provide enough staff on duty. All staff were very polite so no complaints there. Hopefully these issues will soon get resolved.
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- Also Known As:
- Sands Hotel Margate, Kent