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.
- 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