I've just sent the following e-mail to head office.
I know a little bit about food. I've dined at Lucas Carton in Paris, which was probably the best meal I've ever had, and Marco Pierre White's Oak Room, which was certainly the most expensive, at just over £1,000 for three of us. Next week I'm dining at Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas, which has three Michelin stars.
Today is my 40th birthday. I live in Harrogate and didn't want to travel, so I chose the Hotel du Vin to celebrate with my partner. It being my 40th, the last thing on my mind was the budget, and I was keen to see what champagnes were available.
Shortly after being seated, my partner was asked to remove his "beanie" hat. In perhaps the same way that a small child would be reprimanded by an impatient teacher.
I'm a member of the Chamber of Commerce and a school governor. I was dressed in a formal shirt and jeans. My partner is a research scientist and was dressed in a formal shirt and formal trousers. And the "offending" beanie. There were three other diners in the otherwise empty restaurant, none of whom were particularly smartly dressed.
I called over the maitre d' and asked about the hat policy. He snootily responded that hats were contrary to the HdV policy.
So we left. We ended up dining at the Cattlemen's Association. It was packed all night -- at least fifty covers -- we were lucky to get a table. The service was polite and brisk.
The country is in recession. You have a reservation for a 40th birthday (you knew this was what it was, as I mentioned this when I booked). Your bistro was virtually empty. And you offend my partner over something trivial and ridiculous. It's a bistro. Not a Michelin-starred restaurant.
We would have spent perhaps £150. You lost that. I will never come to a Hotel du Vin again. So you've lost our loyalty. (I've enjoyed staying at and dining in your Winchester branch.) And you can bet that I'm telling all my friends about your pompous and patronising treatment of my partner and me on my birthday.
Good luck with the hat policy. I hope it achieves whatever it is you intend it to achieve. In this instance it's alienated someone who actually knows quite a lot about food, and likes spending money at quality restaurants when he can find them.
You're a bistro. Act like one or go out of business. It's up to you. I'm not bothered -- there are plenty of competitors who are pleased to accept my business and don't feel the need to treat me like a child.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Created from a row of eight Georgian-styled houses that have been used as a hotel since the 1930s, Hotel du Vin & Bistro Harrogate features 48 bedrooms and airy loft suites. Located close to the town centre, the Harrogate hotel overlooks The Stray, a magnificent 200-acre common, and offers a billiards room, cellar snug, a Spa du Vin with its extensive range of treatments and alfresco dining in the courtyard during the summer months. Famous for its healing waters, this Victorian spa town oozes cosmopolitan charm, smart streets and quaint mews. Enjoy fabulous shopping, atmospheric cafés, fine restaurants and plenty of green open spaces. Browse antiques and unusual gifts in the stylish Montpellier Quarter or watch the world go by in Betty's Tea Rooms. Hotel du Vin Harrogate provides the perfect combination of luxury and great food and wine within the cultural and visual setting of Harrogate. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Odigeo, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Ebookers and Evoline ltd so you can book your Hotel du Vin and Bistro 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:
- Hotel Du Vin And Bistro Harrogate, Yorkshire
- Du Vin Hotel Harrogate