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“Good service but poor safety process”

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Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian
Ranked #54 of 150 Hotels in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Good service but poor safety process”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 September 2013

The door men and reception team were all courteous and quick to give you attention upon arrival. I was particularly impressed with the housekeeping team because my room was spotless throughout my three day stay.

Apart from not having an iron in a room that was booked by my company for me to go on an business trip to Edinburgh, the room was comfortable with every other facility that I could wish for to make my stay run smoothly. However, I would expect an iron to be available in a room of a 5* hotel.

The hotel is in an excellent location to explore Edinburgh. The shops are on the door step, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants within walking distance. The castle is a ten minute walk away.

The food I ordered from room service was of a good qaulity and plentiful. It was also very well presented and served by charming staff.

The fire alarm went off late one night whilst I was asleep in bed. Along with a large group of other guests staying at the hotel, we quickly ran to the nearest fire exit and made our way down a number of flights of stairs to what we thought was the fire exit door that would lead us outside to safety. At this point there was at least 100 people behind me standing up the stairs waiting for me to exit via the fire door I had led them to. However, despite several attempts by both myself and a male guest we were not able to open the door because it was jammed.

At this stage people in the stair well started to understandably panic, especially as the alarm was still ringing very loudly in our ears. We frantically banged on the door as hard as we could in the hope someone outside might hear us. After what felt like a number of minutes a relative of someone who was trying to help me get the door open who had managed to exit the hotel via another door earlier thankfully heard our pleas for help. He managed to get the door open from the outside by kicking it several times. This thankfully seemed to work because after a number of kicks it finally unjammed and we all escaped. This was a very frightening experience for everyone who had been effectively trapped in the stairwell for what felt like eternity.

We then stood out in the street with the rain pouring down on us. No one from the hotel staff provided us with an update on what was happening or even thought to direct us to the designated emergency muster point away from the hotel. Instead all the guests huddled by the doors of the hotel trying to shield themselves from the torrential rain, which prevented anyone else from exiting the hotel. No staff made any attempt to ask the guests to move away from the doors to let others guests get out as they should have done if they had received proper training in what to do in the event of a fire.

Finally after about ten minutes some hotel staff appeared giving out what looked to be a small bowl of silver foil wraps to keep people warm. However, the staff provided no update for what was happening, and when asked they just shrugged their shoulders. They seemed to be more amused by the fact the guests were freezing cold standing in the rain looking dazed and confused. The only thing we could see to indicate that there maybe was a fire was the fire engine that was located outside the front door of the hotel.

Finally after about thirty minutes I heard another guest say we could go back inside the hotel. No staff appeared to be around that I could see in the foyer to let us know if we could use the lifts or not. This caused further confusion amongst the guests who were understandably hesitant to get in the lifts for fear of getting trapped. Instead everyone was crowded in the hotel lobby not knowing what was happening and whether we could go back to our rooms or not.

All in all I think the way this supposedly 5 star establishment managed what looked to be a genuine fire alarm situation was beyond appalling. It wasn't helped by the fact that the guests, which included several colleagues of mine, were provided with a letter the next day from the night management to apologise for the fire alarm going off, and to inform us that they are short of staff on the night shift.

Some of my colleagues informed me that the fire alarm had gone off before earlier in the week when again the hotel staff appeared clueless to what was going on. This information, coupled with the letter I received from the night management team, and with what I had witnessed when trying to escape to safety the night before during the alarm did nothing to instill any confidence in me that this hotel is safe to stay in.

I have since escalated to the company where I work that regularly use this hotel, and to the travel company we use to book it on our behalf my concerns on the processes this hotel has in place for when the fire alarm goes off. I think they need to be urgently reviewed by the company that own this hotel.

I reported the fire exit door being jammed the next day, but despite being assured by the reception team that all staff working at the hotel receive a thorough training programme for what to do if the alarm goes off, it was very evident from the events of the night before that not many staff working the night shift take the fire alarm going off seriously. The few staff I did see giving out the silver wraps were oblivious to the fact that some of the guests were scared, most were very wet from standing outside late at night in the pouring rain in their night clothes, and due to the fact that no one from the hotel had the decency to let us know what was going on there was an element of panic and chaos too. The staff instead appeared to be confused themselves or in some cases amused by the soaking wet guests. It was not the level of service you would expect in such a situation from a 5 start establishment.

Having a fire door jam when you are trying to escape what you think is a genuine fire is a frightening enough experience. However, having staff from the night shift team not think to keep their paying guests informed of what was going on in order to help calm them or think to inform them it was OK to use the lifts again left me feeling very disappointed in the Caledonian The whole situation with the fire alarm was in my view a fiasco. As a result I wouldn't stay at this hotel again because put simply I wouldn't feel safe.

Room Tip: Ask for one that is located by a fire exit door that easily opens!
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KeelyP63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GRMCaleyWA, Guest Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, responded to this review, 17 September 2013
Dear KeelyP63,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review following your recent stay with us. Although the feedback provided by you is generally positive, especially with regards to the service which you received throughout the duration of your stay. I am extremely concerned to read of your panic throughout the fire alarm which sounded in the evening. Moreover, I would certainly not wish for you to remain with these thoughts, therefore I would appreciate if you would contact our Health & Safety Manager, Keith Leahey at your convenience, who will assure you of the safety of our building. Keith can be contacted at keith.leahey@waldorfastoria.com. And I do hope that we will be able to welcome you back to the ‘Caley’ again in the future.
Kind regards,

Chris Logan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2013

Impressive ambience and overall impression. Intensive and polished service giving a high quality of all round experience. The service at breakfast was very impressive. Would look forward to staying there again if I ever come back to Edinburgh.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Waldorf Astoria

Helpful?
Thank Peter F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GRMCaleyWA, Guest Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, responded to this review, 17 September 2013
Dear Peter F,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review following your recent stay with us. I appreciate your positive feedback on your overall experience at the 'Caley'. I am especially pleased to hear of the great service throughout breakfast, as our food & beverage manager has certainly made a special effort on this aspect of the hotel. I do hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you back again in the future.

Kind regards,

Chris Logan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norwich, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2013

Myself and my partner stayed at The Caledonian for one night on the 6th September, and thank god it was only one night! We stayed in Edinburgh for three nights, one at Tigerlily (our favourite), one at The Caledonian (least favourite) and one at Hotel Indigo.

Unlike the other guests that have reviewed we definitely did not receive 'superior' service. We booked our stay with Last Minute 'Secret Hotels' meaning that we paid a smaller price for our room. We also booked with Secret Escapes for Tigerlily, but unlike Tigerlily, our lower price paid did not mean that we received the same service as everyone else...

First, when we arrived, other guests were greeted by porters, we were not, even upon checking in this was not given as an option. We were given our key and this was the only service that we received, we were not even informed where approximately our room was!

The room itself was very pleasant, the design is a traditional design with some modern features including the shower, which had two shower-heads and one as a rainfall shower. We went out for dinner so I cannot comment on the restaurant or the bar, when we returned we were rather tired so went up to bed and settled in.

At just gone midnight we were woken up by the fire alarm, a horrendous noise, and at first unsure of what it was until we saw other guests moving outwards to the exterior of the building. We followed them and stayed outside, with little to no guidance. We were offered foil blankets to keep warm (it was cold & raining), luckily we had clothes on unlike some guests who looked much colder than ourselves! After about 10-15 minutes standing outside we were let back into our rooms, but as we got into reception we were nearly ushered back out again!

The next morning we checked out, and received a similar service to the reception we were greeted with, so happy to leave! At our check out we were offered no reason as to why the fire alarm had gone off, but did overhear one receptionist talking to another guest complaining suggesting the fire came from one of the guests rooms...No apology was offered for the awakening of so many guests. A 'we are sorry for your disturbance and inconvenience' would have sufficed.

I have personally stayed in many hotels in many countries, all over the world, and never received such cold reception (especially in comparison to other guests!). I would recommend others to look up smaller hotels who treat guests in a similar manner no matter the price paid (I would personally recommend Tigerlily on George St! 5* service!)

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Lauren0806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GRMCaleyWA, Guest Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, responded to this review, 17 September 2013
Dear Lauren0806,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review following your recent stay with us. Unfortunately however, you have departed feeling somewhat disappointed with your overall experience, and I apologise for the inconvenience caused. Firstly, to read that you were not given ‘superior’ service, beginning with our porters is certainly far from what I would expect. If you read our past reviews, our Concierge department are mentioned in a positive manner in the majority of them, and named appreciatively on a daily basis. Therefore I can assure you that this would be by no means deliberate, I am sorry you feel this way, and this is certainly not because you booked via ‘Secret Hotels’. Furthermore, you have also commented on the regrettable fire alarm which we had during your time with us. There is no good time to experience this, however, the priority we have as a hotel is the safety of our guests. Therefore a full evacuation was administered under the control of the fire brigade, and no one was permitted to return to the building until the fire officer in charge was satisfied. Thankfully this was a false alarm, although due to the high levels of business with approximately 500 guests in-house, I apologise if you were not given the personal attention that you feel you deserved. The other smaller hotels you have stated in your review cannot really be compared to us on this respect on occasions like this, never-the-less, I do feel that we still provide a touch of luxury that other properties cannot provide.

Overall, I would be disappointed if the issues mentioned deterred you from returning to the ‘Caley’ in the future, and I would hope that you will give us a chance on your next visit to Edinburgh.

Kind regards,

Chris Logan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
33 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2013

From Paris, we flew into Edinburgh. Stayed at The Caledonian". Lovely hotel. Great rooms, really comfortable.The breakfast was really good. Best part is, its like 2 minutes walk to Princess Street, where all major shops are located and close to the Edinburgh Castle. The weather was decent that day and enjoyed the day's stay there.

Room Tip: Seems like all rooms will be very good. Only tip is try to get rooms closer to the elevator, else it...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KRISVACATION
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GRMCaleyWA, Guest Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, responded to this review, 17 September 2013
Dear Krisvacation,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review following your recent stay at The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. I am glad to hear you enjoyed your stay at ‘The Caley’ in particular your room and the breakfast service, as well as the great location of the hotel in relation to many attractions within Edinburgh.

We look forward to welcoming you back to ‘The Caley’ in the near future.

Kind regards,

Chris Logan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milton Keynes
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2013

A last minute booking and boy was it good. I was upgraded to a deluxe room with Castle view - really impressive. The room on the 3rd floor overlooked the main street but it seemed quite quiet with only the noise of emergency sirens reaching the room to disturb me. The bedroom was large with all the usual amenities. The bathroom was big with double sink basins and a working audio system - lots of hotels I've stayed in have this feature but it never seems to work.
Breakfast was excellent - a large range of choices with a very professional coffee/tea bar in the middle of the breakfast area where the staff created teas/coffees or juices of your choice. The full Scottish Breakfast at £20 was more than I usually pay for breakfast but I suppose it goes with the style and impressive nature of the hotel.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bannawell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GRMCaleyWA, Guest Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, responded to this review, 17 September 2013
Dear Bannawell,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review following your recent stay at The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. I am delighted to hear, even though a last minute choice you thoroughly enjoyed your stay with us! I am glad you were able to appreciate a complimentary upgrade with a view overlooking the castle. Thank you for your kind comments regarding the breakfast buffet, I am glad the staff were as expected, more than happy to accommodate any special requests.

I do hope that we have the opportunity to welcome you back to the 'Caley' in the future.

Kind regards,

Dale MacPhee
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clitheroe, United Kingdom
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 September 2013

super hotel staff go out of their way to make you feel special they all work very hard on this.it makes a change from some of the hotels i have had the misfotune to stay in this year the fire alarm went off late on friday night but the staff dealt with everthing well even givig us space blankets to keep warm whilst outside

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Waldorf Astoria

Helpful?
Thank thrblky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
hanoi
Level Contributor
88 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 September 2013

Stayed here for two nights and was fantastically suprised by the comfort of the bed,linen, room and service.
It is well worth staying in the cafe for breakfast for hours the coffee and food are so good! Central location and good deal overall, well worth it for treat.

Room Tip: I got a room at the back and there was no noise - slept like a log
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank furrysporran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GRMCaleyWA, Guest Relations Manager at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, responded to this review, 17 September 2013
Dear Furrysporran,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review following your recent stay at The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. I am glad to hear you were pleasantly surprised with the service and your comfortable room. It is great to hear you were able to relax in the breakfast room before a busy day of sightseeing in Edinburgh!

We look forward to welcoming you back to ‘The Caley’ in the near future.

Kind regards,

Chris Logan
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 Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian

Property: Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian
Address: Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 2AB, Scotland (Formerly Caledonian Hilton Edinburgh Hotel)
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Edinburgh > West End
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Green Hotel in Edinburgh
#8 Spa Hotel in Edinburgh
#18 Family Hotel in Edinburgh
#30 Business Hotel in Edinburgh
#32 Luxury Hotel in Edinburgh
#33 Romantic Hotel in Edinburgh
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian 5*
Number of rooms: 241
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, or the "Caley" as it has become affectionately known among Edinburgh folk, was and still is the epitome of style and excellence. The large, rose-coloured Permian sandstone facade, quarried in Dumfries, dominates the skyline of the city's west end. The hotel has not only remained a focal point for more than one hundred years, but a symbol of the very best of Scottish hospitality. The Caley's pivotal position at the very heart of Edinburgh has always been its greatest asset. Created out of the 19th century railway boom, the five star hotel is looking to the future with confidence and pride in its ability to keep pace with the times. The hotel's reputation is as justified now as it was when the hotel first opened its doors in 1903. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hilton International Edinburgh
Hilton Edinburgh
Edinburgh Hilton
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian Scotland

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