We were greeted on Friday afternoon by a sandal-footed gentleman who showed us to our rooms. We had only one bedside table (there may not have been enough room to get one each side of the bed), there was a tap handle coming out of the wall in one corner (photo 1), a hole in the wall plaster (photo 2), a piece of floorboard missing under the carpet, the wall wasn’t straight (photo 3) and there was a hole torn (and ironed) in the quilt (photo 4). The bathroom flooring was unhygienic carpet and the toilet was green from the cleaner that had been left in it. Photo 5 shows its condition after being flushed. The chromed towel shelf was rusty (photo 6; the black is the camera lens) and the grouting round the bath had failed (photo 7). On our last day, Sunday, we awoke to find there was no milk for our morning cuppa. The advertisements implied rooms overlooked the sea, but ours overlooked the car park at the back of the hotel. Our room doorframe was shared with the neighbouring room, which was ok for us as our families went to bed and got up for breakfast about the same time, but if you have room 9 and room 8 are late to bed or early to rise you will have an uncomfortable time. There are more rooms than car park spaces, so car shuffling is necessary at times. Due to the heat, our window had to be left open, so we were lulled to sleep by the sound of shouting drunks and woken by the sounds of screeching seagulls.
Now the good points. There was a lounge on the first floor overlooking the esplanade, with drinks, magazines and a television. The breakfasts were excellent. If the AA system was 8 stars, it would get 4/4 for food and 0/4 for the rooms.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
15 July 2011
I am bitterly disappointed that you did not leave The Esplanade having had maximum enjoyment as most of our other guests appear to do; I only wish that you had aired your grievances at the time of your stay so that I could have personally dealt with your problems.
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To address the points you make, and there are many, I will start with your booking. The person organising your group trip away (not you) booked rooms on the back of the house, and not those overlooking the sea. Obviously all the rooms cannot be on the front of the house with sea views. The back rooms are cheaper and this is what was booked. Although your room may have overlooked the car park, it was private, three storeys up, and not overlooked by any other building.
Re the car park, parking in Weymouth as many people will tell you, is infamously difficult. We are very very lucky to have nine off-road parking spaces on the back of the hotel. I am also able to guarantee you a space at the time of booking, unlike other establishments where it is on a 'first come, first served basis'. As this is guaranteed at the time of booking, it is also explained how the car park system works in that the nine spaces are three behind three behind three, and that there is a game of 'musical cars' every morning at breakfast time. You only park your vehicle when you have finished with it for the day and this way everybody is happy. This process of shuffling cars has served us well for many years and continues to serve us well. Given the constraints of small roads and buildings which were erected in the 1830s, there is no room for a multi-storey car park or an NCP (unfortunately) at the back of the house.
I would also like to apologise for uneven or even wonky walls. I am only surprised that you showed only one photo! Given that the house is nearly two hundred years old, it is my belief that there is certainly nothing straight in the house. In fact the floors of the dining room and the lounge (one bright point from your review) bow so much that the front legs of the furniture are a good 40-50mm higher than the back ones. This, to many is the appeal and character of an 1830s Georgian sea front hotel, that let's face it, whose foundations are built on a beach.
Try as I do, I encourage good weather for Weymouth as much as I can. And yes, one ‘awful’ by-product is the sunshine and the heat. Each room is equipped with opening windows and also a fan. Sadly there is not enough room for air conditioning and I fear I would get more complaints from this notoriously inefficient manner of temperature control, the increased noise level as well as the ruined view of the car park. With regard to the 'shouting drunks' personally I cannot do anything about this save say that there will be far fewer revellers enjoying some Weymouth fine weather and maybe a drink or two at our end of the seafront than at the other end of The Esplanade. I am sure there are many hoteliers particularly closer to the emptying clubs who would gladly swap locations with me. I do not honestly know what to say about the seagulls except what do you expect to see near the sea? I don't mean that in a cheeky manner but the guest house is effectively on the beach where there is also blowing sand and crashing waves (on occasions). For any future guests, these too can make a noise.
Re the hole in the wall, again many apologies and this truly is a legitimate complaint. It should have been fixed prior to the complaining guests staying but due to the high level of guests at the minute, it was felt that the room would be repaired when we had no one booked in to it for fear that the smell of drying polyfilla and new paint would cause complaint. I do not honestly feel it would have ruined the enjoyment of the room but yes it should have been filled and if it had, it would not be sat proudly on the front page of this website. It has been now. Similarly, the hole in the duvet cover. This is very unfortunate and I am disappointed if this was missed by the chambermaids as they always return ripped, stained or damaged linen to the reject bag. I am equally disappointed that I have a massive hole in one of my king size Egyptian cotton duvet covers. However, this could have been addressed in moments, with an immediate replacement from the linen cupboard downstairs if it was mentioned during the stay. I can only think that it got caught by someone during the stay and the hole was opened up.
The stop tap in the corner of the room is also an unfortunate by-product of the way the house has evolved from a residence to a guest house. I have had no complaints from numerous previous guests prior to this. We are currently in the process of upgrading all of our bathrooms and it will soon be replaced once the new system has been tried and tested - we have recently laid a new mains pipe from the lower ground floor, right up to the loft of the third floor, effectively six storeys, in order to enhance the water pressure for the guests’ bathrooms. Once this is found to be working correctly, and tested for the summer, the stop tap will be removed and a less obtrusive isolation valve will be fitted. As well as the new water mains, new bathrooms have been fitted in rooms 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11 (some minor fittings still to be finalised) with rooms 1 and 2 earmarked for after the main season in September (or before - bookings dependent), and rooms 4, 5, 8 and 9 in October. As well as complete new bathroom furniture, shower baths and concealed cisterns with back to wall toilets, there are new wooden floors and floor to ceiling porcelain tiles. Pictures of the new bathrooms will be added to this site and also to a popular social media site so that you can see some of the work that has been carried out to date. The 'unhygienic' yet extremely clean carpet, along with the bath and other furniture, will be replaced in the next quarter. The prices of the rooms with bathrooms yet to be refurbished are currently cheaper than those that have not been. I cannot apologise for having clean, fresh smelling toilet bowls. Quality cleaners are used in the toilet pans so that the bathroom is left feeling fresh for longer and that the cleaner is not lost after just one flush. In my book, I thought that this was a good thing?
Re the lack of milk for tea; if the milk resources were depleted, there is somebody on sight all night to replenish this; all you have to do is ring the bell, 24 hours a day. Failing this, my business card is handed to you at check in and you are free to telephone at any minute to help with any problem, however trivial, 24 hours a day whether it is that you have run out of milk, we have wonky walls or there is an uneven floor. Excess milk, tea, coffee and sugar has now been placed in the lounge so that if guests do run out of milk etc, and do not want to trouble myself for more, they can help themselves from the bar. The stocks are replenished at least once daily, but if depleted, the service bell will have to be pushed.
Similarly I can only apologise for placing a fire door between your door and the stairwell. Yes the 'corridor' is more the size of a cloakroom but these guest houses were once 'Gentlemen's residences' and have evolved in to guesthouses over the years. With changing fire regulations and the safety of our guests of paramount importance, it is unfortunate but the doorways will be close together. They are also fitted with the most up to date intumescent strips and seals and have been inspected by the fire officer.
I enjoy my job and I love my guesthouse, and to get a review as disappointing and as damaging as this is very upsetting. We are constantly striving to reinvest in the guesthouse and take full account of all customer feedback. However, it is even more disappointing that the issues were not raised during their stay and that they left without mentioning any of their displeasure. Many of these points could have and should have been resolved both speedily and amicably. Similarly, at the time of booking, I am consciously transparent re any items that I think may be an issue – in particular the parking. This is also accentuated at check in.
I am glad that the breakfast was enjoyed; I work hard to source local, quality ingredients and to employ local people.
All that leaves is to answer the guests' overriding question, 'How do we get four stars?' All I can say is that I work very hard all year round. I am constantly looking to do things better or to provide extra quality and we are of course always inspected by the AA hotel inspectors on an annual basis. They have always been very pleased with the work we have been doing and in the direction The Esplanade is moving; so pleased in fact that this year we were shortlisted for the Welcome Host of the Year award. I hope that this addresses the points that were raised. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me and please do not let this put you off staying. As you can see we have had many good reviews and I feel that this type of review and necessary management response will be few and far between.
Proprietor and flip flop wearer (apologies)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC