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“The good, the bad and the ugly”
Review of The Imperial Hotel

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The Imperial Hotel
Ranked #25 of 70 Hotels in Blackpool
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
124 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
“The good, the bad and the ugly”
Reviewed 17 May 2011

This may turn into a long rambly review but I think the hotel deserves it.

Husband has stayed here several times on business but this time I came along. Firstly the fabric of the hotel – it is a Victorian edifice of immense grandeur. The public areas are elegant and well maintained – the corridor running from reception to the dining room is particularly impressive, and the no 10 bar is all you would expect of a traditional gentlemen’s club.

We had a sea view de lux double on the first floor which was fine – two twin beds zipped together, flat screen TV and a view straight over road works on the prom to the sea. There were some gorgeous prints on the walls of Blackpool holidaymakers in bygone years. We had a problem with the safe and couldn’t use it for the first day, but as it wasn’t attached to anything, just roaming loose in the wardrobe, it didn’t really matter. The now infamous PAT electrical sticker was still well in evidence on the kettle.

The bathroom was fine – fairly new but traditionally styled, a fantastically powerful, hot shower, but oh, those windows…. The wind whistled through straight from the Irish Sea, making the bathroom very cold. The horizontal blinds did nothing to stop the howling gale. As guests in a de lux double qualify for a robe but not slippers walking on the floor was a cold, cold business. The toiletries provisions were meagre – a small phial of shampoo and one of shower gel – nowhere near enough for two people showering morning and evening. I did overhear a guy on reception telling enquiring guests on the phone that they provided shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, body lotion and a vanity kit – presumably you need to splurge on a suite to get those.

We dined in the hotel the first evening, and had a drink in the no 10 bar first. For such an elegant bar I was surprised they didn’t have Tabasco or salt and pepper for a bloody mary, and that no peanuts or other nibbles were available. At the bar prices these would have been a nice gesture. And so to dinner…

The restaurant was cold – I sat in my woolly jacket all evening. The menu is a set price for 2 or 3 courses, but the supplementary charges were in my opinion outrageous – a goat’s cheese tartlet starter came at a supplement of £1.50 – surely the prawns and avocado in my starter would have cost more than goat’s cheese? And lamb shank was a whopping £7.50 supplement! The food was excellent, but the service poor. We sat down at 7.30, no-one took the order until about 7.50, and the starters arrived at about 8.15. As we were eating our starters the waitress started to clear the surrounding tables and re-set them for breakfast. We did wonder whether we should forsake our main course to let them turn the lights out and go to bed. Mains arrived just before 9.00 by which time the waitress kept peering at our plates to see whether we’d finished. No one offered to pour wine throughout the meal. It was such a shame as the food was really good and the setting very elegant. To give him credit the restaurant manager did discount our bill when we mentioned the issues to him.

Breakfast was good – a comprehensive cold selection and a hot buffet.

The other annoying thing was the cost of wifi – about £6 for an hour or £12 per day. If wifi can be offered free at a £50 per night establishment down the road surely Barcelo could review the charge. Free wifi is available in the public lobby but under a silly system – you go to reception to get a password which only lasts for 30 minutes. They didn’t mention any restrictions on the number of vouchers you could have but only gave them out one at a time!

Reading this through t sounds as if I didn’t like the hotel but that is not the case and I would certainly stay here again– it is just sad that by upping their game in certain areas and, to use that cliché, paying attention to details, this hotel could be absolutely first rate.

And the ugly? I’m sorry any Blackpool residents or lovers of the resort but the award goes to Blackpool itself. I know the work on the prom doesn’t help but the town, most buildings and the piers seemed run down, poorly maintained and totally unattractive.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Nildesperanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackpoolimperial_gm, General Manager at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this review, 18 May 2011
Dear Guest, thank you very much for your comments, I really appreciate the feedback and will be using your comments in our Head of Department Meeting tomorrow.
Barcelo are continuing with it's investment in Blackpool this year with an external refurbishment starting shortly. I read your comments of the guest amenities with interest, as I have just been discussing an upgraded premium offering with our central team this morning which is going to be implemented across every UK property.
I'm glad you enjoyed your overall experience. Once again, thanks for your comments which I can assure you will be used constructively to enhance our service and product. With kindest regards, Alison
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Northallerton
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 May 2011

Round Table and Ladies Circle have just had their end of year party and this year we chose The Imperial. As the organiser I spent more than a year dealing with the team at The Imperial and nearby restaurants. We brought 600 for a long weekend with the Imperial full and half of the Hilton next door too.

The event went extremely well and the hotel could not have done any more to help me ensure that everyone had a great time. The feedback we are getting is excellent and next year we are delighted to be at another Barcelo hotel in Torquay. Of course there were one or two issues but this was a very big event. There are very few hotels in the UK that can host mega parties, meetings and banquet for that number. The age of the hotel creates a character that new hotels just do not have. Specialist lighting was all that was needed to make the impact just right.

If i were doing it all again - yes we'd be at The Imperial and I expect our annual big bash will be back in a few years. Well done - everyone.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank SpeedTripper955i
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackpoolimperial_gm, General Manager at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this review, 18 May 2011
Dear guest, thanks so much for taking the time to write a few lines on Trip Advisor. It was a pleasure to host your event and the team I'm sure will be talking about it for years to come! I'm very proud of the team at the hotel and agree wholly with your sentiments about each of them. Thanks again for the comments, and thanks so much for choosing the Imperial for your event. With kindest regards, Alison
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Waterlooville, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 13 May 2011

Staying for an entire week in one of the better rooms of the hotel we had high expectations.

This classic victorian hotel is full of character and nostalgia but with a modern twist. The facilities and common areas are of an excellent standard and the room we stayed in had a superb sea view on the front of the hotel. The only complaint is the council digging up the tram tracks outside, but we can't really blame the hotel for that now can we.

Overall it was the level of customer service that impressed us the most - from the General Manager down all the way everyone was focused on making sure we had a great time, and we did - in my experience no one is ever perfect its simply how they deal with the problems which sets them apart and they certainly excelled on that element and were on the ball.

To give one example - we missed dinner on the Wednesday evening and the local Indian was closed. The bar staff then set up a private dining area, laid silver service for just the four of us - I've never had a bar menu servered so well :-)

So if you are looking for a hotel with character, a hotel with a great view slightly away from the noise of the pleasure beach then you won't go far wrong with the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool - please pass on my best wishes to the staff.

Room Tip: Book early and be nice to them at check in
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  • Stayed May 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Manners958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackpoolimperial_gm, General Manager at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this review, 18 May 2011
Dear Guest, thanks so much for your kind words, I'm delighted you had such a great time and that the team looked after you well. I've found out who was on the bar that night and have passed on your kind comments directly to Andrew and the boys! I'll be using your comments in our meeting tomorrow so thanks for making it a very happy one! Best wishes, Alison
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Coventry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 May 2011

We came to The Imperial for a Round Table & Ladies Circle weekend. We thought the staff were friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. The newly trained waiters and waitresses on Saturday night were absolutely brilliant. We were very lucky with the weather, being able to sit on the terrace on Friday afternoon soaking up the sun. Yes the Hotel is a little tired in areas but the overall effect is majestic and the staff more than make up for it. We had a fantastic weekend, the food was superb and I would recommend it to all my friends. Many thanks

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank harobed37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackpoolimperial_gm, General Manager at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this review, 18 May 2011
Dear Guest, I've mentioned in a few responses that we thoroughly enjoyed having your event at the hotel, so I'm delighted you felt the same. I wish you a great one in 2012, and we hope to have you back at some stage in the future! with kind regards, Alison
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Blackpool
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 May 2011

We visited The Imperial in March for Sunday lunch in the Palm Court Restaurant . We were very impressed by the staff who were all very attentive and pleasant. We were celebrating a couple of family birthdays and couldn't have asked for better service. It made our day very enjoyable.

We called ahead to alert the staff that one of our party has Coeliac Disease and were very grateful that the lady taking the booking (Alison) took the time to call us back to assure us that this could be catered for by your chefs. This was confirmed by her colleague Hayley, who greeted us warmly on arrival and explained the variety of menu choices available, providing a delicious gluten free roll and gravy, which were much appreciated.

The meal was lovely, the waiting staff were very pleasant and the setting was beautiful. We all enjoyed ourselves and really appreciated the care and attention that we were shown.

It is often the case that, even with prior notice, venues don't cater too well for the gluten free diet. This was not the case at the Imperial and we would have no hesitation in returning and recommending the restaurant to our friends and fellow coeliacs!

Will be back soon...only sorry we don't live further away, then we could justify a stay over!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank NicandIan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackpoolimperial_gm, General Manager at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this review, 18 May 2011
Dear Guest, how lovely to read your comments about Sunday lunch last week! I've passed on your kind words to Alison and Hayley and am delighted that they looked after you so well. I look forward to meeting you and your family personally next time you're in for lunch. With sincere thanks and kind regards, Alison
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United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 May 2011

We stayed at the Imperial as part of a group, the hotel is tired and trading on past glories, quite obviously it was the destination hotel of its day and unfortunately its day was probably 30 or 40 years ago. Its four star rating seems generous. The staff are polite and encouragingly speak English but it is the detail that continually let this hotel down at every level over a long weekend.

Our room was tucked away on the fourth floor and probably not used very often [fair enough we were a very big group taking the whole hotel] but that does not excuse someone else’s hair and hairpin on the floor when we arrived, a kettle that was physically broken, a shower set on scalding, a broken room telephone and a room key that 50% of the time didn't work. The corridor doors bang. Incidentally a review below notes the electrical safety stickers on the lights with a comment from the manager that they would be removed "straight away" - still there in my room. The bed is good for a bad back, I didn't have one beofre my stay and I have now, and why do hotels provide three [poor quality] pillows for two guests in a double? Do management never stay in these rooms?

The fourth floor is accessed by its own lift that is clearly also used as the service lift, please please do not place laundry basket trolleys right outside the lift so you cannot get in or out of the lift. The used food / room service plate left next to lift on Saturday morning was still there at midnight.

On arrival we had arranged a package to be delivered and the front desk swore blind it wasn't there, turns out it had been delivered to the kitchen [!] but the kitchen hadn't sent it up to the desk, come on this is basic stuff.

On arrival no credit card imprint was taken so no drinks could be charged to the room, this wasn't just us but lots of people. We ordered room service [using a mobile via the hotel switchboard because the room phone was broken]. Burger and chips usually comes with mayo and tomato ketchup, not mustard, brown sauce and inexplicably tartare sauce - obviously no-one checked the tray before it left. There was then of course the problem of payment because no card had been pre authorised, the room service steward was a bit miffed that I wouldn’t let him walk away with my credit card to charge it at reception. Still not to worry because half an hour later the receptionist herself arrived [third visit after food delivery to get payment]. I'm booked into the hotel for a there night stay, they have my details and I'm being hassled, so I apologise if she got rather short shrift.

After authorising a credit card all was well until check out when it was cheerfully announced that everything had been charged to my card. No explanation of what had been charged to my card, no invoice, no check whether I wanted the card to be used [I prefer to pay cash on check out]. Poor

Finally we attended a gala dinner on the Saturday, as a veteran of probably 200 gala dinners this was amongst the worst. The tables were so close together the serving staff could not get through, there were a wholly inadequate number of serving staff, they were ill trained, each course arrived at tables haphazardly over a 5 to 10 minute period and plates were almost thrown on the table, one of my fellow diners narrowly avoided a gravy on the lap incident when the plate was half put on a napkin, fortunately the table cloth soaked it all up! The bread rolls had run out by the time they got to our table [I had to ask for them] - three rolls for ten diners? The whole meal took several hours to arrive, was badly served and was poor. A hotel of this quality should be able to deal with a 300+ person gala with ease. On my experience as a guest if you are interested in banqueting then avoid. The shining star was the drinks waitress working the front left hand corner who deserves much praise.

Breakfast is a redeeming feature although when I order tea I usually expect to get milk and not be told to go and get it myself from another table.

The cracks in service and the hotel [don't look up in the large function room or too hard on the outside] are very clear, it’s not a bad place to stay but they desperately need to get on top of the detail, building maintenance and customer service.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank steven_way
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackpoolimperial_gm, General Manager at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this review, 18 May 2011
Dear Guest, thank you so much for taking the time to register your comments on Trip Advisor. I'd be naive to think that we cannot and do not make mistakes and will be discussing your comments about your experience in my Head of Department meeting tomorrow. Thank you again for your thorough review, with kindest regards, Alison
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Camberley UK
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 May 2011

Traditional hotel with loads of character & impressive architecture.Does need a re-furb although bearing in mind the size of the place it won't be cheap. Service is good & staff are friendly & courteous. Bedrooms are clean & tidy but sound proofing is not too good & so you can hear everything going on in the corridors particularly the squeaky floorboards.
My main gripe though was the smoked salmon sandwich off the bar menu. When you're being charged £9 you expect something better than a cheap margarine type spread which frankly tasted horrible.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank caterpillar9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackpoolimperial_gm, General Manager at The Imperial Hotel, responded to this review, 8 May 2011
Dear Guest, thanks for your time in leaving your thoughts on Trip Advisor, we are about to embark on a project which will see the whole of the outside of the building upgraded. The programme includes refurbishment and/or replacement of windows, re-pointing, painting and cleaning of all fixtures and brickwork. The hotel is going to look fabulous. I was sorry to hear the spread spoiled your enjoyment of your sandwich and have passed your comments onto my Head Chef. I look forward to welcoming you back in the future, Alison
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Additional Information about The Imperial Hotel

Property: The Imperial Hotel
Address: North Promenade, Blackpool FY1 2HB, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Lancashire > Blackpool
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Blackpool
#4 Luxury Hotel in Blackpool
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Blackpool
#20 Family Hotel in Blackpool
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — The Imperial Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 180
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The four-star Imperial Hotel Blackpool dominates the North Promenade and was one of the first hotels the Victorians built in the new seaside resort of Blackpool.Everything Blackpool has to offer is right on your doorstep and it’s a great base for exploring the surrounding region. Venture out to discover unspoilt beaches on the Fylde Coast and Cumbria’s picturesque lakes and mountains.This stunning Victorian Blackpool hotel boasts 180 modern bedrooms, 9 of which are stunning suites with sea views, it also has an indoor pool and the No.10 bar, which has served drinks to many British Prime Ministers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Imperial Hotel Blackpool
Barcelo Blackpool

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