This hotel feels as if it is run by two different organisations. A hotel and housekeeping company that is top notch and a bar and kitchen with poor organisation and customer service.
We stayed on a Sunday night on the room + eat in deal and were so impessed by the reception staff, our lovely room and the swishest bathroom I have ever encountered that we were already planning on visiting other HDVs before we set foot in the bar or restaurant.Having lounged about on our huge bed, read all the magazines and had a lovely long soak in our roll top bath we ventured down to the lovely bar area to watch the world go by outside the hotel and have a couple of drinks before dinner.
This was where it all started to go wrong. The surley barmaid commanded us to sit down when we approached the bar and then proceeded to ignore us for for getting on for 20 minutes. I could see other guests moving around the room to attract attention or looking frustrated. I complained to one of the other staff and eventually our cocktails arrived. When I'd finished mine I began to think it would have been nice to have some olives with it, just before we went down to the restaurant a bowl arrived. I can understand that HDV want to deliver a good experience but in refusing service from the bar and having 3 very grumpy staff who cannot service the needs of a maximum of 6 couples in the bar is a pretty poor show.
Down to the restaurant where things don't get better. Despite the fact that the rstaurant is not very full all the guests are seated at tables close together at one end of the room as they arrive, we felt a bit inhibited in our conversation because of this. I'd checked the autumn menu before I booked the room as I am vegetarian and wanted to be sure there would be suitable options. There is only one vegetarian option per course and the warm beetroot salad ( well, it sounded a bit more fancy than that) which I had been looking forward to was "off". The only option then was an egg salad from the fixed price menu - an egg salad on a special night out!!!!
All in all we waited 43 minutes for our starters and although my husband's dressed crab was very nice it didn't have anything at all by way of garnish, not a leaf of rocket or slice of lemon. The delay was made all the more pianful as most of the other diners seemed to be wriggling in thier chairs waiting for orders to be taken or the next course to arrive too. After I'd complained things did speed up, and the restaurant manager did not charge us for the cocktails and we had some free pudding wine provided ( rather nice) . I'm posting this because when I looked through previous reviews someone has made almost exactly the same comments about the egg salad and crab in the past and the poor service in the bar and restaurant are also frequent minus points raised. After the really good welcome and the pristine cleanliness of our room we were quite surprised that everything in the bar and restaurant was so below par. This is not an establishment where the kitchen are battling with new dishes every day, there is an "Autumn Menu" which remains constant for several weeks, so it should not be beyond them to get adequate supplies in and serve the food reasonably quicky. The evening was rounded off with coffee back in the bar, where the barmaid had now presumably finished her shift and was parading around in her raincoat talking loudly on her mobile phone, somewhat spoiling the ambiance.
Next morning the reception staff were lovely and full of apologies for the problems the night before. ( though this was a little marred by the receptionist telling me that most vegetarians eat fish!!!!!). We did not have breakfast at the hotel as we were off shopping. We had breakfast at Cafe Rouge, where the service was very friendly and efficient - perhaps HDV could take a few lessons from them.
I would have rated the whole experience as "average" had it not been the prompt and positive response to the complaint.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Formerly the Carlton Hotel and located in the chic Montpellier district of this historic spa town. Hotel du Vin Cheltenham offers forty nine bedrooms and suites, all decorated in inimitable Hotel du Vin style. The wonderfully spacious public areas centered around a showpiece spiral staircase, include a trademark Bistro with extensive al fresco dining, both a Champagne and Sinners Enclosure Bar, beauty treatment rooms and private dining rooms. The general manager is Chris Thompson. ... more less
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