Ben Nevis Hotel, Fort William, Scotland, 18 Sept 09
Thankfully not too often, but nevertheless from time to time, an establishment is encountered that has to be endured, since even at first glance to be enjoyed is out of the question. In the case of the Ben Nevis, it is hard to think of a single redeeming feature.
Externally the buildings comprising the hotel are plainly in need of a thorough “clean and brush up”. It is not helpful, of course, that they are located on a main road with traffic noise all night long nor that the outlook from the front of the hotel embraces an industrial estate. Small, underwhelming grounds are made more depressing by the fact that there is little evidence of maintenance – grass not mown, hanging baskets limp and drooping and a generally dreary unkempt ambiance. This was epitomised by a garden sized chess set. Given that it was located outside and pieces were of plastic, not surprisingly that they looked grubby. Why it is thought that anyone would actually want to play chess with outsized pieces in scruffy surroundings will have to remain one of life’s unanswered questions.
Externalities were matched inside as well. Self-evidently, the hotel had not been refurbished is decades. Carpets were thread bare and holed, walls were marked and scuffed. The hotel does not possess a lift. The largish dark Reception/sitting area was adequately comfortable, but the WIFI seemed not to work – at any rate, for my laptop (modern). The bar was scruffy, unappealing and, for a hotel of this size, small. In the restaurant, although table linen was clean, the furniture was a disgrace. Seats were embellished with smears of what probably had originally been chocolate source, but in appearance could have been something far less mentionable. Service was slow. Food, although pretentiously described, would stand fair comparison with roadside cafes at the lower end of the spectrum. Highlights of breakfast, in particular, were greasy grey sausages, limp pink bacon and eggs that had congealed under arc lamps – unspeakable!
The bedroom (No. 249) was small and poky. Just enough room was left between the walls and the sides of the bed to allow for access. Little space or facilities were available for unpacking. The adjoining bathroom had decorative embellishments which included hairs in the bath from the previous occupant – or who knows, perhaps, the one before that. The shower did not benefit from a mixer tap, and so had a tendency to fly off under excessive water pressure. The shower head was split, and so gushed water in a pattern that politely be described as erratic. Tea making facilities were skimpy and included a mug cracked from top to bottm with a seepage stain a centimetre above the base. Plainly, therefore, this had been its condition for some considerable period of time.
All in all, the condition of and standards evinced by this hotel spoke of two things – (1) an almost total lack of care and (2) indolent and slapdash management. Having stayed in hotels worldwide for over fifty years, I would rate this as one of the ten worst that I’ve ever encountered. Amazingly, it even advertised an appeal for funds to refurbish the establishment; in most commercial enterprises, this is normally taken to be the responsibility of the owners. It was noteworthy also that they "welcomed constructive criticism". My suggestion - bring in the bulldozers!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated just on the outskirts of Fort William, at the foot of Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis & Leisure Club offers stunning views of the mountain and is close to the ski slopes of the Nevis Range. The Ben Nevis Hotel and Leisure Club offers a restaurant, a bar, free parking and a Leisure Club with a heated indoor swimming-pool. The hotel’s restaurant, with its views over Ben Nevis, has a table d’hôte menu. Guests can relax in the bar area, and a full Scottish breakfast is served every morning. Access to the Ben Nevis Hotel’s fitness centre is free to all guests. Facilities include a 15-metre long swimming pool, a sauna, as well as a steam room and gym. All the traditionally furnished rooms have a bathroom. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas and also in Superior Rooms as well as all bedrooms if you book direct. There is also tea and coffee-making facilities and a work desk for guests to use. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ben Nevis Hotel And Leisure Club
- Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club Fort William, Scotland