My boyfriend booked a two-night stay at the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel in Guildford in November 2013 as a surprise to celebrate our second anniversary. Of course he wanted it to be special but unfortunately it was anything but.
I'm sure this hotel is fine if you are staying in Guildford on business but I would never recommend anyone staying here if they want a romantic break. The first disappointment was to find out on arrival that our package of almost £200 per night didn't include breakfast. Our so-called 'deluxe' room had nothing remotely deluxe about it. It was standard and impersonal - and like another reviewer has pointed out, the lighting is so dingy it was impossible to see to put make-up on properly and made the room quite depressing. We had a frosted glass window which felt claustrophobic. There were tea-making facilities in the room but no biscuits, presumably the idea is to encourage guests to eat the Pringles or Mars bar in the mini-bar, priced at an astounding £3 and almost £4 respectively.
The spa was a bitter disappointment. The pool is a fitness pool, which although it says this on parts of the hotel website, in other parts it is referred to as a pool. I didn't know the significance of the words 'fitness pool' - it is effectively a large bath with contraflow jets so you swim against the water, because basically there isn't enough room to swim properly. We were told we would have to pay £10 each to use the facilities on a Saturday and the payment is to stop the spa becoming too busy. This was despite the fact we were spending £130 between us in the spa on treatments the next day - this just meant we didn't have to pay the £10 on the Sunday. I wouldn't have minded the charge so much if the spa had been any good but it is the smallest and least well-equipped I have ever been in. There are only three facilities, the tiny pool, a sauna and steam room. No jacuzzi and no proper pool meant that £10 felt like we were being ripped off, on top of having to pay for breakfast as an addition to our expensive room - oh and £10 per day parking charges (which we saw afterwards was on the website but was still an unexpected extra cost at the time).
We asked to speak to the hotel manager and the duty manager came to see us. We set out everything we were unhappy with and the additional costs that kept cropping up and he said these things were made clear on the hotel's website. I beg to differ. Additional costs are not found in one place, and the website is very uncustomer-friendly to navigate. The duty manager came back to us to say that we could use the spa for free - by this time it was 5.45pm and there were only two people in there. He also said he would upgrade us to a business room which would put us in a quieter part of the hotel. This room at least had a normal window, although the bath water ran so slowly that we couldn't have a bath.
Then when we went to the spa I couldn't use the pool because the water was so uncomfortably cold. My boyfriend used it but found it cold and one of the two contraflow jets wasn't working. There was so much that we didn't like about this hotel that I wrote a letter of complaint but the reply from Peter Wardley didn't make me feel any better and was less than satisfactory with a lot of justifications. For example, for the temperature of the 'pool' he said that it is heated to 30deg but as it is continually going through a cleaning process with bromine the temperature can go up and down throughout the day. We used the spa once a day, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, at a different time each time and on none of those occasions was the water warm enough for me to go in and nowhere like 30deg - my boyfriend who will happily brave swimming in a not very warm pool found it uncomfortable but was determined to use it.
Mr Wardley ended his by saying that by way of apology he would offer us a complimentary upgrade of a future booking over the next year. Sadly, nothing would entice me to dream of staying there again. The irony is that on the piece of paper that comes with your door key it says: "Our goal is 100% guest satisfaction for our guests. And we're so committed to it that we guarantee it. If you're not satisfied with something, please let us know during your stay and we'll make it right, or you won't pay for that service. It's that simple. It's guaranteed."
It goes on to say: "There's something about being treated as an individual that makes you feel special. Our ability to deliver genuinely individual service naturally is what makes us unique. It comes from a Yes I can! attitude that means nothing is more important than you."
The Radisson Blu in Guildford spectacularly failed to give us a Yes I can attitude, to make us feel special or to give us anything approaching 100% guest satisfaction.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A bold landmark on Surrey's most celebrated street, Guildford Harbour Hotel, formerly the Radisson Blu Edwardian Guildford gives the town its first 4 star hotel, and with it a stylish new place to meet, eat or retreat to a serene urban spa. Equipped for business but designed for relaxation, the hotel's sleek glass and cool stone fuses with the fabric of the town and brings a new heart to its social scene. Rooms: The hotel's 183 bedrooms are light, spacious and equally good for work or play with contemporary furnishings. All rooms feature generous workspaces with advanced technology, and high speed Wi-Fi is complimentary. Services: The extensive business and concierge services, with complimentary WiFi throughout, makes doing business easy here. A sleek urban spa, well-equipped gym and choice of dining options lining the hotel's open colonnade also make it the perfect place to take time out. Groups & Meetings: Through the hotel's airy lobby, an expansive conference and event space for up to 200 is complemented by three naturally lit smaller rooms, including a sleek boardroom encased in frosted glass. Meeting rooms surround a light-filled central courtyard, ideal for al fresco drinks from the private bar. Dining: The hotel features a stylish restaurant, bar and al fresco terrace. Local Area: Smart boutiques, ornate architecture and glimpses of surrounding hills complete the picture on Guildford's handsome High Street. The city is set in the rolling Surrey Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty. GLive, Guildford's new £26 million arts venue, is next to the hotel, and the renowned Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is a short walk away. Surrey is also home to some beautiful golf courses. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Guildford Harbour Hotel Surrey