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“Nice enough, but definitely NOT the 'ultimate luxury hotel'”
Review of The Carlyon Bay

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The Carlyon Bay
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in St Austell
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed January 14, 2014

We stayed at this hotel as we were visiting the Eden Project and decided to make a weekend of it. On the morning of our arrival, I called the hotel to ask if we needed to book our table for dinner. I was told that they were quiet and there would be no need to do this till we got there.

When we arrived, it turned out that the hotel was actually very full, and there were only two times left for dinner – one a bit too early and one a bit too late for us. We ummed and ahhed for ages over this, and had a bit of a laugh with the staff on reception about our inability to decide. Finally, we went for the later time and ordered a bottle of champagne in our room in the meantime.

When the champagne came, some complimentary nibbles had been added, to keep us going till the later meal time. We were delighted with this and thought what a lovely touch.

On our way past reception later, I nipped over to say thank you for the nibbles and to apologise for having been a bit high-maintenance on our arrival. So far, so good.

However, when we got to dinner, we were shown to our table, and then Andy (the duty manager?) came past and said to the waitress ‘Watch out for these two, they’ve done nothing but complain since they got here.’ I was utterly shocked, appalled and confused. I have no idea why on earth he said this. I actually said to him that I thought that was a bit unfair and untrue and he completely ignored me. I think he might have thought he was being funny, but it was not remotely funny; it was insulting and rude and a million miles from what I would expect from a hotel that describes its customer service as ‘the ultimate in charming and attentive’. I have stayed in many very nice hotels and never been spoken to like this by a member of staff. His comment almost ruined my evening. Thankfully, our waitress Zoe was absolutely lovely and looked after us beautifully from this point onwards.

Other than this incident, we found the rest of the staff to be great. As well as Zoe, Hannah on reception was particularly friendly, and the guy on the bar (can’t remember his name but he’s from Wales) was lovely too.

So. Andy lost the hotel one point. The other point was lost for the following reasons.

The room was extremely small and the adjoining bathroom SO tiny that you had to go inside and shut the door behind you before you could even reach the sink.

The windows (room 109) were possibly not properly sealed. It was quite a windy night and a screeching sound coming through the windows woke us repeatedly throughout the night.

We had asked if we could eat in the bar, but were told that it only served sandwiches. On arriving slightly early at the restaurant, we were asked to come back in ten minutes. When we went to the bar to get a drink, we saw another couple eating their meal (from the exact menu and the same deal as us) who told us that they had asked if they could eat in the bar, and were doing!

If the hotel didn’t set itself up to have such high standards, describing itself on its website as ‘one of the finest luxury hotels in Cornwall’ these things wouldn’t matter so much. The Carbis Bay Hotel, Scarlet in Mawgan Porth, St Enodoc in Rock – having stayed at all of these are hotels, I would comfortably tell people THEY are amongst the finest luxury hotels in Cornwall. In my opinion, the Carlyon Bay is a very long way from this description.

I would like to point out that most of these problems would not be deal breakers for us returning. Andy’s attitude would, though.

I have noticed that the general manager often replies to negative feedback on Trip Advisor. I very much hope that this review doesn’t elicit a response justifying Andy’s behaviour. A simple apology would have been nice at the time, and would be welcome now. But any attempt to justify his remark would, I’m afraid, be an indication that my genuine upset at his attitude has not been taken seriously. I am not a person who likes to give negative feedback (as you’ll see if you read my other reviews) so I hope that the hotel will take these comments on board and perhaps find a way to prevent future customers having experiences like ours.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that the rest of our experience at the hotel, including breakfast, dinner, the spa and the views – was very good.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MermaidLizzie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BrendHotels, General Manager at The Carlyon Bay, responded to this reviewResponded January 16, 2014

Thank you for your review, may I take this opportunity of thanking you for your kind comments regarding the hotel in general, for dinner and the spa along with your recognition of the service received from Zoe, Hannah and Angwyn. We have fed this back to them and is a great boost to their moral, thank you.
I’m so sorry that elements of your stay were so disappointing,I do hope you will except my sincere apologies.
I have as a matter of course having read your view immediately spoken to my colleague Andy, regarding his comment to you as this is far from the normal reaction we have from our guests. There is certainly no way we can justify such action and all I can say is that Andy was distraught that he had been the cause of your disappointment, and also sends his personal apologies. Unfortunately he made an error of judgement and miss read the situation, as you say, he was trying to continue the ‘bit of a laugh’ with reception and unfortunately over stepped the mark. He is very sorry for this and has learnt a valuable lesson.
It is unfortunate that you felt somewhat cramped in your room, we do have what we know is a small sea facing room (we only have 2 of these smaller rooms) and are very transparent and honest when selling this to customers. As a matter of course we explain that it is slightly smaller than standard and because of this we charge it at the same rate as an inland room. For all the right reasons we try and do our best for our guests and prior to your arrival, as we do as much as possible, we upgraded you to the last remaining sea facing room. As you mentioned the weekend was very busy and our receptionist saw that we had a sea facing room available and upgraded you from the original inland room booked thinking she had done what was best for our guests. Unfortunately we failed to mention a slight difference in size. She was however doing what she felt was in the best interest for our guests. I am sorry for this omission.
I really do value your feedback and although I never like to hear negative comments I do value the opportunity to fine tune our operation that your comments allow.
Having spoken at length with Andy I am very confident that has learnt from this very unfortunate experience and do apologise for the discomfort his action caused you, nothing could be further from our intention. We are focused on customer service and hope you will give us the opportunity of demonstrating this by returning to the hotel in the future. Could I ask that if you were to contemplate a future stay, please contact me direct and I assure you of my every effort to make sure that your stay meets your every expectation.

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1,146 - 1,152 of 1,580 reviews

Reviewed January 12, 2014

I have visited this hotel a number of times and always enjoy my stay. The January weekend deal we had this time was excellent value for money allowing my partner to play in the golf competition and also provided dancing to a disco on Friday and a live duo on Saturday. The hotel was full to bursting and this led to a bit of a problem with the golf. My partner was given a tee time of 1:45pm (nowhere near enough time to play 18 holes even on a lovely sunny day - the hotel assured him he would get round but they were wrong! Also they didn't pair anyone with him so he couldn't take part in the competition anyway). Fortunately he still enjoyed himself. The weekend package also promised a cream tea on arrival. This was very good quality BUT half a scone each is a false economy - we were not very impressed. Our room was lovely with a good sea view and comfortable bed. The evening meal in the restaurant was excellent but again a little niggle - the toast with my starter was burnt on one side ( this had been hidden). What was the person in the kitchen thinking of? We sent it back. The wine list showed a good variety of wines to suit every pocket and the young man who served us seemed to have a good knowledge and was very interested in our choices - a good sign. The serving staff were very efficient and always had a smile. Our experience at breakfast was equally good and we agreed that the food had definitely improved since our last visit just over a year ago. The swimming poll is very good, the little 9 hole pitch & putt course is delightful and the position of the hotel provides lovely cliff top walks or it is a short walk down to the long sandy beach. One final negative, our early morning call on Saturday morning never materialised - it was a good job my partner didn't have an early tee-time. Get rid of the little niggles and there's every chance of a 5-star rating when we return as we surely will.

Room Tip: Always go for a sea view, double aspect if you can afford the extra
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Linda D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Just come back from another New Year break at the Carlyon Bay Hotel and had a fabulous time. We have been to the hotel many times and it just seems to always do it right. It is such a comfortable place to stay for the whole family. The food is excellent, the staff just can't do enough for you and they treat the children as real paying guests which makes a pleasant change from many hotels we have stayed in. The new year entertainment is great and there is loads to do for the entire family. The golf course is very well maintained and the views are spectacular. I struggle to fault the hotel and it is a credit to the Brend family and hotel management that they have created such a gem of a hotel to stay in. We will be going back without a doubt and well worth the 5.5 hours drive from Essex.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Andy A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2014

We stayed overnight on 28th December. My husband asked for an upgrade because our pool facing view was not the most picturesque at this time of year. The hotel obliged and we were not disappointed with our dual aspect view of the sea. Both rooms however were lovely, albeit the first had a kingsize bed and the later twin beds that were joined and were a bit annoying if I'm being brutally honest. The hotel was decorated lovely and was very festive. Meals were lovely, staff were friendly and the spa was most welcome after the Christmas stresses! Would love to return sometime...

Room Tip: Would advise booking a sea facing room to maximise experience.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank LoubyCol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2014

The Carlyon Bay is a very good hotel. For the price it ought to be. We stayed recently, and it was all extremely good. The room was immaculate, comfortable and well equipped with a lovely seaview, which would be stunning in the Summer.
We used the pool and sauna etc which was all top quality and very pleasant.
The dining room tastefully decorated for Christmas complemented the excellent food.
The staff are wonderful, nothing is too much trouble, and they are all very friendly and efficient in all areas.
An excellent experience.
We found out that these top notch staff, who are such a credit to this hotel, worked very long hours at Christmas and were not paid a penny extra for working 9 hours plus on Christmas Day. Most are on minimum wage as well I expect. Considering what this hotel charges over the festive period, I find this very mean indeed.
Shame on you Brend Hotels. These people are the lifeblood of your business and to treat them so shabbily at Christmas, its a miracle they are loyal to you.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Badcat110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BrendHotels, Manager at The Carlyon Bay, responded to this reviewResponded January 3, 2014

Thank you for your review, we are delighted to read that you have enjoyed your time with us over the Christmas period, however I do feel I must correct one of the points that you made. I would agree that our staff are our biggest asset and we are very lucky in having so many key people in our team. We do have a special Christmas payment scheme in place, in that any of our people working on Christmas and Boxing Day receive an additional day’s holiday for both days fully paid, which is in effect double time payment. You may also be relieved to know that all of our staff rates of pay are indeed above the minimum wage.
Although from the outside perspective the concept of working Christmas can seem alien, it is very much part of a working life within the hospitality industry, something which all staff in the industry are aware of and except as part of their day to day work. Whereas the work can be challenging, as you have experienced there was a great atmosphere and enjoyment to which hotel staff are part of.
Because of the working commitments our round of Christmas cheer happened before the main Christmas day. On the 17th December all the staff were invited to attend the Staff Christmas party including a meal, drinks and entertainment, and in addition received a lovely gift from the company (this amounts to 1200 people throughout the group).
I do hope this sets the record straight for you as we never like to think the reputation of the company is questioned in any way.

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Reviewed December 30, 2013

The Carlyon bay hotel sells itself as the best hotel in Cornwall. All I can say is that it can't have much competition. The hotel itself is very nice with a superb location. The staff are wonderful and you do get the feeling that nothing is too much for them. Although we had dinner paid for, the menu wasn't great so we ended up paying for something else anyway. In a way I'm glad we did as the food was excellent. The room was sold as a "Superior" but it's just the same as you would get at a motorway service area. The bed was comfy, the room clean so I can't grumble. Our daughters booked my wife and I a room as a Christmas present and we were over the moon with it. However, if it were my own money and choice I know there are better hotels in Cornwall so I wouldn't go back.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mike P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2013

We stayed for two nights on 13th and 14th December with a group of friends for a Christmas Party weekend. The hotel was very clean and rooms were comfortable with everything we needed. We had experienced a slight problem with the booking of the rooms, each couple seemed to be quoted different deposit amounts and final total amounts, but this was sorted by one of our party to everyones satisfaction. The first night of our stay we dined in the Taste brasserie and we had a lovely meal with first rate service, would highly recommend eating here.
Breakfast was very good and the staff were very friendly. The second night was a prebooked meal followed by a party, again the meal was very good and the evening was a pleasant one.
We fully enjoyed our weekend stay. The only problem encountered was one of our party seemed to get another rooms drinks added to their bill on the party night which took a lot of sorting out when booking out. Other than this a good stay all round.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Julie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Carlyon Bay

Address: Sea Road, St Austell PL25 3RD, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > St Austell
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in St Austell
#4 Family Hotel in St Austell
#4 Romantic Hotel in St Austell
#4 Business Hotel in St Austell
Price Range: $199 - $431 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Carlyon Bay 4*
Number of rooms: 72
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Also Known As:
The Carlyon Bay Hotel St Austell
Carlyon Bay St Austell
Carlyon Bay Hotel St Austell
The Carlyon Bay St Austell, Cornwall

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