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“One year on and STILL an unhygienic rip off”

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Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC
Ranked #44 of 118 Hotels in Birmingham
Sutton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
302 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“One year on and STILL an unhygienic rip off”
Reviewed 18 November 2013

I have just returned from a week-long stay at the Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC - and can I just say that if I didn't have to stay there for work, I would never set foot inside the building again.

On the positive side, since I was ensconsed in the establishment for a week for the Show I work on last year, the reception staff have improved immensely since 2012 and did at least try to help when things went wrong - but some of the things they were having to deal with beggar belief when you realise how much people are paying to stay there. And how they deal with them says much about how little they think about the customer while pursuing the corporate dollar.

No 1 problem was the insect infestation in my room - and in several others in my business' party. It is no hint of a lie to say that my first step inside my room, on the fifth floor, was met with a very loud crunch as I stepped on the bodies of literally 25 dead flies. I counted them as I picked them up and flushed them down the toilet. 25. There were more inside the room itself, embedded in the carpet, and a whole family circling the cornicing. Having rung reception, and got not answer, I took to Twitter - and this at least got a call back, at 1.30 AM! (when I was asleep, ready for the working day ahead). No one thought about that while fulfilling the corporate need to be responsive! The chap on the other end of the phone didn't seem to appreciate that I wasn't on his time line.

I went to reception the following morning to complain, and was told it would be sorted with a "deep clean" of my room (which begs the question, why didn't they do that in the first place?)...on my return from a long day at work that evening, imagine my disgust to find seven or eight dead flies still lined up along the skirting board in the bedroom, clearly visible as I stepped into the room. I rang reception, who told me that they must have come in through the (hermetically sealed) window.

Anyway I decided to take a bath to relax after a hard day on my feet, but couldn't work out why the bathroom was so dark - until I realised that all the light fittings were filled to the brim with flies and small black beetles (all mercifully dead). So much for a deep clean.

I complained again on departing for my second full day on my feet at the NEC, and to be fair to the hotel when I returned, they had left a bottle of wine as a gift and had also changed the light fittings....but by the time I left the following morning, three of the six spotlights were already filling up nicely with the corpses of small black beetles. I think there's definitely a huge infestation problem in play.

No 2 problem: the prices. How on God's earth can any establishment outside Mayfair in London think it is acceptable to charge £8-9 for a 250ml glass of wine?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When four drinks cost me almost £30 I felt moved to complain, but was told this was "standard for the area". What area is that - rip off town? A complete case of taking the P - trust me, we didn't want to have to stay there in the evenings, but when you are placed in a hotel for work, that's what you have to do. Total and utter profiteering.

Temperature controls in the bedrooms were a complete mishmash - it was either stiflingly cold or bakingly hot. In the end, I resorted to sleeping with the window open, figuring that the noise from the nearby motorway was at least preferable to the sweating/shivering combo that I was being forced into.

Little things like failure to replace shower gel, clean towels etc started to grate after a while as well - there is no point in paying a premium if one has to constantly second guess the staff as to whether or not they are going to replenish supplies, change towels, remove rubbish etc. and chase them up when they don't do what they're being paid a premium for. It would have been quicker to do it myself tbh.

If I didn't have to stay there for work, I would never set foot on the premises of the Crowne Plaza EVER AGAIN, which I'm sure they'd be delighted to know, as I'm hoping that my complaints at reception were heard by more than the 15 people queuing at the time. There are other MUCH BETTER hotels in the NEC vicinity, and the CP will definitely have to pull its socks up when the new casino opens in 2015 (can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned!).

All in all, a case of "could do better" - but whether they can be bothered when their location means they'll get trade whatever the level of service remains to be seen. My advice would be avoid if it's at all possible - the Arden and the Hilton give much better value for money (and don't charge nearly £9 for a class of wine!).

Room Tip: Visit the Hilton or the Arden - don't bother with the Crowne Plaza.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PRFluffy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David S, General Manager at Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC, responded to this review, 19 November 2013
Dear PRFluffy,

thank you very much for your feedback regarding your recent stay with us.

I am very sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your stay with us at all and that you would not chose to stay with us if you were not here with work.
I can fully understand the frustration regarding the issues that you encountered throughout your stay and that it is definitely not something that you would expect from our hotel.
I know that you made us aware of the issue regarding the flies in the bedroom and I am very sorry that this could not be sorted to your satisfaction. I know that our Guest Relations Manager left you a card in your bedroom and offered you a room move as we did not want you remain in the same bedroom if you were not happy with it

Please again accept my sincere apologies that we did not provide you with the service you expect from us.

Kind Regards,

David
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English first
West Sussex, UK
Level Contributor
195 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 November 2013

Stayed here with my wife during a visit to the Classic Car Show at the NEC

Good
--------

Joanne on the check in desk who was polite, professional and very helpful indeed.
The room was cosy and clean.
Bed was very comfortable indeed.
Linens and towels were of a good quality.
Rest of the staff that we met were polite, hard working and professional.
Food in the restauarant (dinner & breakfast) good quality, tasty and not bad value at all.

Could do better
---------------------

Charges for Wi Fi Internet usage, really? 4* hotel, should be free.

Please negotiate with the NEC, had to pay £10 for parking at the hotel and then drove around the corner and got charged another £10 for parking at the Classic Car Show. Not good if you stay for the whole 3 days which we did not.

4 out of 5.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DWT123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David S, General Manager at Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC, responded to this review, 19 November 2013
Dear DWT123,

thank you very much for your review regarding your recent stay.

I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us.
It is great to hear that Joanne was standing out to you and also that the rest of the staff were polite and hard working.

I am looking forward to welcoming you back to the hotel soon.

Kind Regards,

David
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dundee, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 November 2013

We were checked in by a cheerful young man who even found time to joke with my son, despite being very busy. Our room was a good size, clean and contemporary, with a nice selection of toiletries and generously-sized bath towels. Beds and pillows were good quality and very comfortable. The complimentary water and chocolates were a welcoming touch, too. We didn't eat at the hotel so cannot comment of that. The hotel is in a perfect location, just minutes away from the LG Arena, although there are major building works going on around the hotel which some may not like. However, although our room overlooked the building site, we couldn't hear a sound. It took us about 15 minutes to talk to the hotel from the Birmingham International Rail Station, making this hotel a perfect choice for visitors to the LG Arena or the NEC itself.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank UKTouristScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David S, General Manager at Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC, responded to this review, 14 November 2013
Dear UKTouristScotland,

thank you very much for your positive review regarding your stay.

I am very pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you were happy with your room and the location of the hotel.

I hope you will be staying with us again when you are in the area.

Kind regards,

David
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2013

At the time of check in I asked the lady if it’s possible to upgrade the room due to the rewards club status I have. Then I’ve been given a wheelchair room with so-called lake view which is construction site view tbh without asking me first. I’m totally fine with accessible rooms as long as the check in staff inform me properly. I felt uncomfortable after I realized the room type, but I decided to stay for the first instance. But shortly after when I was in the bathroom I found there’s no toilet paper! Truly that wasn’t a pleasant experience.
So I went downstairs to the reception and ask the lady to swap me another room. The front desk manager Laura offered me a refund of half of the room rate after I told the whole story and I accepted the offer. But 3 days after check out when I was staying at the nearby Hilton Birmingham Metropole I checked my credit card bill and astonishingly I found crown plaza issued the refund firstly but then charged it back! What a joke! So I had to phone the hotel first explain the whole story then walk to Crown Plaza from Hilton and ask for the refund. Seems the management has some issues in dealing with this kind of scenario. Anyway Laura was nice and helpful and thanks for her finally I got the refund back.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NealMK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David S, General Manager at Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC, responded to this review, 14 November 2013
Dear NealMK,

thank you very much for your feedback regarding your stay and I am very sorry that we have not delivered the standard of service that you would expect from a hotel like us, but I am happy that Laura dealt with you efficiently and that she was helpful.

I hope you will stay with us again in future.

Kind regards,

David
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pontypool
Level Contributor
57 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2013

Stayed here for 1 night (thankfully only one), room was cold when entering & then found that the heating / air conditioning did not work at all. Telephoned reception who said maintenance will be along in 10 minutes, 35 minutes later they still did not arrive. Telephoned again & they said maintenance will be there asap. By this time my wife & I were shivering. Maintenance arrived with a portable heater!!! I told him it was not acceptable, he said he could not fix the air con. He telephoned reception to report the fault & we were then moved to another room which was acceptable.
Later we went to the bar area & ordered from the bar menu. I had an Aberdeen Angus burger & fries & half through my burger found it was blood red in the middle. The waiter apologised & did not charge for my meal & offered free desserts which we accepted.
Next morning at checkout I told the receptionist about the faulty room & she replied "well you were moved" & "you did get a discount for food in the bar last night", I smiled at her waiting for some form of apology which didn't come & we then left.
So much for the hype of staying at a Crown Plaza Hotel.

Room Tip: Check that everything works in the room before unpacking
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank poolaboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David S, General Manager at Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC, responded to this review, 13 November 2013
Dear poolaboy,

thank you very much for your time to leave us feedback regarding your recent stay with us.

I am very sorry for the experience you had with us during your stay. I can fully understand that it is very frustrating when you are looking forward to your stay and it is not acceptable that you had a cold room.
Also, I am very sorry about the quality of food in the bar area and that you did not receive an apology at check out.

I do hope that you will come back to us to give us another chance.

Kind Regards,

David
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Suffolk, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
245 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 November 2013

Stayed here on Friday night for Billy Joel concert. Check in was smooth. Rooms are modern and loved the little touches i.e. ice bucket (ice machine nearby) wine glasses, chocs, nice toiletries, face cloth. Really comfortable bed/ pillows. The hairdryer was well hidden - had to send hubby to ask where it was. (it was in the dressing table next to the window - the lid lifted to reveal a mirror too.)
The hotel was so convenient for the LG centre, just a five minute walk via a safe walkway from the back of the hotel. The hotel was really busy after the concert but there was plenty of staff serving at the bar. My husband accidently knocked over his drink, someone came straight over to clean up the mess and they also brought over fresh drink, which was really nice. Didn't have any food there so can't comment. All the staff were very friendly and nothing was too much trouble. We all (6 of us - 3 rooms) loved our stay here and would definitely stay here again for a concert and we could maybe consider using Birmingham airport instead of the London airports.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank calamityjane2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David S, General Manager at Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC, responded to this review, 11 November 2013
Dear Palamino2,

thank you very much for your positive review regarding your stay.

It is great to hear that you and your friends enjoyed your stay with us and I am very proud to hear that our staff has been very helpful.

I am looking forward to welcoming you back to the hotel soon.

Kind Regards,

David
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Salisbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2013 via mobile

Very good rooms with everything you need. Bed was exceptionally comfy and the shower was the best hotel shower I have experienced. The staff were polite, efficient and cheerful. It was a pleasure to be served by staff who didn't seem to mind what was thrown at them. The hotel was packed to capacity and yet there was no reduction in quality. Breakfast was more than sufficient and run to the same smooth high standard. The proximity to the LG arena was brilliant and this made the whole adventure perfect. Would recommend this hotel to anyone - as long as i can still book a room!

Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank trigger21655
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David S, General Manager at Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC, responded to this review, 11 November 2013
Dear trigger21655,

thank you for taking the time and writing a review regarding your recent stay with us.

I am very pleased to hear that you fully enjoyed your stay with us and that you had a good night's sleep and an excellent shower.

I am looking forward to welcoming back to the hotel soon.

Kind regards,

David
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC

Property: Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC
Address: Pendigo Way | National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham B40 1PS, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > West Midlands > Birmingham
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#15 Business Hotel in Birmingham
#21 Luxury Hotel in Birmingham
#33 Romantic Hotel in Birmingham
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham NEC 4*
Number of rooms: 242
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of England the Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC offers a unique contemporary style and simple elegance on the doorstep of the NEC and within close proximity of Birmingham International Airport. Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC offers a luxurious accommodation featuring air-conditioning, high speed Internet access (subject to an additional charge) and TV with movies on demand. A fashionable bar and Pendigo's Restaurant is also available for all residents and non-residents. With 11 custom-designed meeting and banqueting suites, Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC has the flexibility to host events of many shapes and sizes. Set in landscaped grounds overlooking Pendigo Lake, Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC is only 5 minutes walk from the National Exhibition Centre and NEC Arena, 5 minutes drive from Birmingham International Airport and International Train Station, 10 miles from Birmingham City Centre and within easy reach of major UK motorways (M5, M6, M40 and M42).WI-FI Internet Access is available in all meeting rooms, bar and the restaurant. We also have very reasonable Park and Fly packages packages available. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Crowne Plaza Birmingham
Birmingham Crowne Plaza

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