There are several major complaints here which all contributed to the worst experience I have had with a hotel in my life. These concern: room cancelled without consent, failure of staff to rectify this, hotel unstaffed, poor security, lack of care for customers, failure of staff to contact management when needed, failure of hotel management to effectively address the issues. I ended up sleeping on the streets as a result of this.
The night before arrival, I had a late flight, so slept at the at the airport, and then arrived at the hotel the next morning tired and in need of a shower. Upon arrival, I was told that there was nowhere for me to shower, but I could use a public bathroom to freshen up. It was a kind cleaning lady who spoke little English who suggested that I could use a disabled toilet, which would allow more privacy. However, reception staff informed me that this was not a facility for "normal" people such as myself. I am an experienced traveller and have never before not been able to take a shower in a hostel, even in hostels where dorms have ensuite bathrooms. An example of them putting rules before service.
I met my mother at the hostel and said that I wasn't happy and wondered if I should stay somewhere else. I discussed this with reception, who explained that the hotel's policy was that I would still have to pay the full price if I cancelled. With this in mind, I decided to keep the bed, paid the full amount, and received a receipt which clearly states that this is for one night's accommodation. At no point, was I told verbally or in writing that the room was cancelled. The receptionist even commented that once I saw my room, I would be much happier, obviously suggesting that she did not consider the reservation cancelled.
I left my bags at the hotel and then went about my day, seeing friends just outside London. I returned to the hotel at around 20.10. There was nobody on reception and no note to say how to contact someone or when someone would be back. The key for the luggage area was on full display so that people could get their bags from the luggage room. As this hotel has had complaints in the past regarding security of the luggage room, with promises from management that this would be rectified, I was surprised to see the key out on full display.
On her return, about 30 minutes later, before attending to waiting customers, the receptionist took and ate some chocolate from the vending machine - she neither apologised for or explained her lengthy absence. She then told me quite curtly that my reservation had been cancelled. I showed her the receipt which clearly states that it is for one nights accommodation. But despite all evidence, she insisted that it was for a cancellation, and shrugged her shoulders and said "you have a phone, there's plenty of hostels around here". She then turned to a friend to discuss a football match....
She didn't apologise, and refused to contact a manager. Only after I insisted did she go online to look at alternative accommodation (it should be their responsibility, legally, to provide alternative accommodation in this case). However, she refused to contact any of them to check if there was a free room, and given her hostile behaviour, and my tiredness, I had no choice in this situation but to leave, with all my belongings with no accommodation. While I am not making assumptions about the character of this receptionist, I felt she certainly was ill-equipped to deal with this situation.
Sadly, there was no available hostels locally. I spent roughly 4 hours looking for somewhere to sleep, but there were no available rooms that night anywhere. I ended up sleeping on the street.
As yet, I have had no apology from the hotel. They also refused to refund my deposit and called me rude.
Interestingly, since taking this matter to head office, the hotel has suddenly offered to refund my deposit, but it is too little, too late. I certainly should not have had to deal with this. I am not sure why my bed was given to someone else, it was probably a clerical error, but the hotel should take responsibility when they make errors and the whole experience meant that not only was my trip to London ruined, but that I cannot recommend this hostel to anyone.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The MEININGER Hotel is located centrally and even the Queen has visited it. Starting in South Kensington near Hyde Park it's easy to explore this European metropolis. And if you're staying in: there is a large terrace on the first floor for table tennis tournaments. Gorgeous! Lobby, hotel bar and bistro, a gaming area and seminar rooms - MEININGER offers more than just low-cost accommodation. Welcome to London! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Meininger City Hotel London