I was looking forward to staying at the Collingwood with a disabled partner. We parked at the front door to register, leaving the disabled badge clearly on the windscreen just for as long as it took to check-in.
The lobby and reception looked very inviting and we felt we had made a good choice; this was soon to be dispelled. The lift to the room allocated was very small with several groups of people all trying to pack in at the same time, making no allowance for others.
Reaching the third floor took some time and on arrival we started looking for the room.
It was down four steps, along a very long corridor, up three steps, several twists and turns and then another long corridor to a small hallway with three doors all facing each other. On entering the room we fell into a tiny bathroom which displayed signs of great neglect. The sink was stained, cracked and dingey, the shower/bath much the same with ripped floor covering and missing tiles.
The tiny double bed looked like something from a dosshouse, slanting to one side with no headboard. The were two stained bucket chairs and no table. The carpets were soiled and forgotten and all in all very poor for amount to be charged.
Returning to the front desk, the receptionist made the usual apologies and after some searching found a another room which she said could only be for half of our four days stay and we would have to move.
Thinking this would be better, we made the arduous journey to another room which was easier to find. This had weather beaten and peeling window sills and frames with the filthiest light switch I have ever seen. The bathroom had been retiled after a fashion but the whole room left much to be desired.
We returned to reception to find the poor receptionist still alone and swamped by several people trying to gain satisfaction with their rooms, together with a persistantly ringing telephone.
I said we would not be staying if that was the best they had for about £400 for four nights, whereupon she said we will have to charge for the cancellation. I said, "we are not late, not a no show and not in default of the Terms and Conditions".
All we wanted to do was see what we were getting, keeping in mind I had asked for them to consider my partner's disabilities, the distances and steps to be negotiated. The receptionist did admit the rooms were ready for refurbishment!
I telephoned the booking agents who told me to leave immediately, if not satisfied.
On returning to our car we found a man inspecting the Disabled Badge with a view to charging us £95 parking fee as we were not registered on his computer for hotel parking. I gave a short explanation and departed. As an Admitted Solicitor of 40 year's standing, just let them try to serve the ticket.
Within minutes I had searched the internet and found a fabulous place for about the same daily rate where we stayed for 6 days and not four, and thoroughly enjoyed the most sumptuous surroundings.
Moral: It pays to check things out. Some of these Old Victorian Hotels need demolition.
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- Also Known As:
- Collingwood Hotel Bournemouth