My husband and I visited Billesley Manor on 20/02/2013 for a Travelzoo spa day with treatments and afternoon tea included. The whole experience was a huge disappointment, the service shocking and way below our expectations. In fact, the account I provide below will also, I am sure, fall way short of the Puma groups own expectations of one of its hotels.
Upon arrival at 10.20am we received no warm welcome; in fact on entry to the spa we received no hello or welcome at all. After we had explained the purpose of our visit we were simply given a form to complete and sent over to the cafe style reception area to do so. We completed the form quickly and when handing it over to the lady on reception we were told that we were unable to use the pool and that the electricity was off for a short while. It was also explained that while those in the pool could stay in, at that time they were unable to let anyone else enter into the water. We were not told until later that the electricity was off because the gardener had chopped through the wire, presumably a much larger job than something that could be fixed quickly as initially implied. Had we been informed of this earlier, we would have been able to make an informed choice in relation to staying or postponing our visit. There was some lighting on, provided through a different electrical loop, and also through emergency lighting facilities.
We were given a guided tour which involved who we believe to be the manager of the spa showing us the gym and the two non-electric machines that we could use. We were then told we could change and relax by the pool. We got changed, wrapped ourselves in our towels and went through to the pool. We were very disappointed to find those in the pool were children who, as children do, were having a great time and making a lot of noise. It transpired later that the pool is available for children at certain times during the day and longer on the day of our visit due to it being the school holidays. It would have been courteous to have been informed of this on booking as a quiet relaxing spa day doesn't quite tally with it being open to children looking to have fun! We ourselves have young children who we adore, but our day was about having a few hours peace to re-charge our batteries away from them.
We found the pool area to be very plain and we were not given details of how to use or find the steam room or sauna, let alone advised on whether these facilities were working or not. There were no free loungers as towels and books had been left on these by others who had reserved them and so we sat for half an hour on upright chairs, trying to read our books through the noise. The pool area in this sense is poorly equipped for the number of people using it. By 11am we had had enough and were pleased it was time for our treatments. We had the choice of a manicure or pedicure and both my husband and I opted for the pedicure. Our experiences could not have been more different. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his, had a friendly member of staff and came out with scrubbed and moisturised legs and feet. I simply had my toe nails filed for perhaps two minutes and two coats of polish applied. That was it; it was nothing like any pedicure I have had before. I was in the treatment room no longer than 15 minutes and there was no exfoliation or moisturisation involved. During the treatment the staff member did state that a return voucher would be given to all using the spa that day.
After the treatment, my husband and I met up in the reception area. At this point we ordered hot drinks. Many others were being offered these but we were just ignored. It was getting cold as the heating was out and we were still in our swimwear and towels. Others were wearing slippers and robes but again we seemed to be treated differently and were not provided with these resources. At no stage did the manager or staff ask if we were ok, warm enough or in need of anything. While we recognise the electrical issues were not their fault, a simple apology for the experience and impact on our planned relaxing day would have gone a long way. Yet, our experience showed us that their approach to customer service was shocking. There was no management of the situation or courtesy applied. An example of this is that we had chosen to wait around for 45 minutes after the treatment for the nail polish to be completely dry, and while trying to make the best of the situation and trying to relax, staff left another staff member's phone ringing/alarm going for at least five minutes which was irritating to all parties sat in this area. Staff were also in and out of the door between the hotel and reception, followed by work men traipsing through, and there was also lots of fetching and carrying of towels in wheeled carts going on. Organisation was poor and at no stage were we provided with an update or the opportunity to rebook.
On arrival we had booked afternoon tea for 2.30pm but brought this forward to 12.30pm so we could leave. At 12.15pm just as we were to go and change all of the lighting went out and we got changed in the dark. At no stage were we offered assistance and no comments were made other than a staff member shouting 'Oh no, all of the computers have gone out now'. The manager on the desk said bye when we left but we were offered no return voucher as the lady had mentioned, she simply allowed us to leave with no mention of our experience. She really did not appear to care about the customers at all. There appeared to be very little consideration to health and safety / risk assessment.
We went over to the main reception within the hotel to track down our afternoon tea. Whilst the hotel was also cold and a little dark, the receptionist was very pleasant and explained that although the ovens were working that we might have a short wait. This was fine and she was polite and helpful. Due to agreeing that our experience had fallen way short of our expectations we made the decision to not stay at the hotel as we were very disappointed. What was meant to be a stress busting day for us turned into something that made us feel even more stressed! Rather than staying we asked for a refund, minus the treatment we had had as we felt this was only fair. However, as we had pre-paid through Travelzoo the receptionist wasn't sure of how to action this and we left our number with her as she needed to speak to her manager who was dealing with someone else. This was at 12.30pm and as yet, four hours later, no response has been received. Again, this is not to our satisfaction. Before leaving we were asked how our experience could be corrected. We were offered a pass for a week at the spa and while this was a kind offer, we declined as we have gym and leisure facilities at our local leisure centre, which has facilities that far outweigh what is offered at Billesley Manor.
As a result of our time at Billesley this morning and the poor experience we received I have asked for a response from Management regarding their view of our day and the conduct of the staff. In addition, I have asked for a full refund, etc. This request has only just been sent and I await a response.
Stay away and try Wildmoor, Ardencote of Malvern Spa instead.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 16th Century, four-star Billesley Manor Hotel has 72 bedrooms and sits in 11 acres of beautiful countryside just outside the medieval town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, discover the myths and magic of Warwick Castle, then enjoy a quiet moment in the hotel’s library, where legend claims that Shakespeare penned As You Like It.A beautiful country retreat with a Health & Leisure Club that features an indoor pool and outdoor tennis court. The hotel also has a listed 100-year-old topiary garden and fountain. The 2 AA Rosette Stuart Restaurant serves modern British food made from seasonal, local produce. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Ebookers, Hotels.com, Superbreak UK, TripOnline SA, Evoline ltd, Cancelon and HotelQuickly so you can book your Billesley Manor Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Stratford Upon Avon
- Stratford Upon Avon Barcelo