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“Nice hotel in great location but let down by unfriendly, unhelpful desk staff.”

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Radisson Blu Hotel Durham
Ranked #6 of 18 Hotels in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
WA
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Nice hotel in great location but let down by unfriendly, unhelpful desk staff.”
Reviewed 21 September 2009

I stayed here for a total of four nights. While the hotel looks very nice, this first impression was immediately spoilt by unfriendly and unhelpful desk staff. I never had a smile from the desk staff during my stay except for the lady who checked me out. I had to lug my luggage to my room - no staff to assist; as a single female traveller with several pieces of luggage arriving from a very long journey I would have appreciated the help.
The room was lovely and had a good view of the river and I could just see the castle and cathedral. The bed was spacious and comfortable. Toiletries quite poor compared with comparable hotels. I used the minibar fridge to store drinks and snacks I bought in town and told the man who came to check the minibar (just 20 mins after I'd removed some of their drinks from the fridge). he said that was OK. I was still charged for the items on my bill and had to point out that all items had been replaced. Wifi internet in room was good.
I broke my stay with 3 nights in Rome and the Radisson staff allowed me to leave my large suitcase there, which was good, but I'd expect that of any good hotel really. I was unhappy that they charged me extra for the night after my trip to Rome. Even though I notified them in advance, they insisted that the one night was a 'new booking' which would cost more than the previous nights I'd stayed. I said, no, that it was the same booking but it fell on deaf ears. It was only an extra 7 pounds but really....! When I returned to the hotel late at night after Rome, they got my large case out of storage. The male desk staff pressed the lift button for me but was not going to help with my bags until I asked him to....Not good enough.
I needed a nail repair and went to the beauty spa. The young lady took well over an hour on one nail and kept asking me 'what do you want it to look like?' and I kept saying 'to match the others'. The result was pretty awful and she confessed she hadn't done 'that kind of thing before'. Still charged me five pounds and it lasted 2 hours...I challenged it at check out but they said they'd need to discuss it with the spa staff etc so I just paid it unhappily.
I went to the restaurant one night. The place was very quiet. The young local lad who waited on me was very friendly and helpful. I was surprised though, that he urged me to have the pizza and pasta buffet special, when I said I'd rather order a la carte. I ordered a risotto which was very nice indeed.
One day, I mislaid my reading glasses and realised I'd left them in the lobby. When I asked about them at the desk, describing the colour of the glasses etc and where I thought I'd left them, I was quizzed about them eg 'what brand are they?'. Luckily I knew the answers! For goodness sake, fancy giving someone the third degree about prescription glasses they knew had been handed in and matched my initial description!!
So, overall - nice room and hotel but shame about the staff - they all really need some customer service training, quickly! next time I'll stay elsewhere. As I said to a friend 'they aren't as good as THEY think they are'.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank dunelm23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 September 2009

Lovely rooms and hotel areas with a great location - enough out of the way to be quiet, right on the river but a 2 minute walk to bars / restaurants and another 5 minutes into the town centre. This hotel should be better than it was. Check in staff were REALLY slow and didn't seem to care. Monotonous voice of the man that checked us in - a bit like a robot, but a slow one! Our room was lovely - spacious with nice little extras - coffee machine, flatscreen tv, magazines and something mouldy in the mini bar!!! took it downstairs and the same guy who had checked us in DIDN'T EVEN APOLOGISE!!! comical in someways their lack of service. Wandered round town which was lovely and tried to book a table at the local chinese / thai place - couldn't so would recommend booking as the area nearest the hotel with lots of bars / restaurants seemed VERY popular. Went for a swim in what was a lovely but fairly cold pool. Nice spa area with saunas, special showers and steam room. Had a buffet in the restaurant in the evening which was very reasonable and very tasty. Slow service though and in another comical twist the staff broke about 10 glasses whilst we were there it could even have been more!!! Basically this is a lovely new hotel with nice touches but with some staff training could be much better.
Loved the swivel sofa seats in the lobby!

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sparkly273
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Swaffham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2009

Just spent 3 nights at the Radisson, great position for everything Durham has to offer. Room was on the 3rd floor with views of river, castle and cathedral. First night we had meal in the hotel which was good though a little expensive. Staff all very helpful and attentive. Public areas are very bright and modern, nice bar (saw Sting there Friday night)
Only down side - gardens front and back need attention, full of weeds, and had to pay to park the car each night in the hotel car park.

Cliff Atkinson

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CliffAscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bay Area, CA
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 September 2009

My husband and I stayed here for 4 nights at the end of August 2009. We booked a standard room with breakfast for £89 per night, but upon arrival we were upgraded to a business class room on the top (4th) floor which we were very pleased about.

We were in two minds about whether to book a rate that included breakfast given all the negative reviews here but in the end we were really glad we went for the hotel breakfast. We had no problems with it; we were shown to a table every day without a wait and then told to help ourselves to the buffet. The buffet included full cooked breakfast, cereals, fruits, pastries as well as juices teas and coffees. We actually preferred this system of not having to order drinks at the table and being able to help ourselves. It was all very efficient. And we enjoyed the late hours for breakfast - until 11AM on weekends and 10:30AM in the week.

The room itself was very comfortable and modern. We also noticed the lack of soap dish but this wasn't really a big deal. The wireless in the room was a good bonus and easy to connect to. The bed had feather pillows but there was a note saying to call if you wanted them switched to synthetic. We did this and they were there within 15 minutes. The lights in the room could only be operated by putting the hotel key into a dock by the door which was a nice touch as it meant energy wasn't wasted by having all the lights on whilst we were out and we also didn't have to go around turning on all the lights when we got in. The air conditioning worked fine in our room, if anything it was quite cool and we turned it off. The room was really quiet - we never heard any noise.

My husband made use of the gym and liked it a lot although with it being school holidays the pool was very crowded.

The location of the hotel for exploring Durham was great. The city isn't really all that big so we walked everywhere. There is a footbridge across the river in front of the hotel. It takes 5 mins to get to "Walkergate" using this bridge where there are quite a few restaurants: ASK pizza, Nandos, Chiquitos, Fat Buddha, Slug and Lettuce, The Bishop’s Mill are the ones I remember the names of.

The parking fee is a bit cheeky but thanks to Tripadvisor we went into it knowing about this so just treated it as part of the room charge. We are used to the US hotels with their $15 "resort fees" which arejust as annoying. The parking fee is per day and you go to the front desk to validate your ticket each time you go in and out (it is not £6.50 per trip as the previous reviewer seemed to think). We never had a wait to get the ticket validated.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and would recommend this hotel.

Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Anon1927
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West of Scotland
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 459 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2009

Stayed here from 3rd September for two nights on a room only basis. We elected to do without the overpriced breakfast bearing in mind what others have said on here about it.

Our greeting at reception was cold and emotionless and not in the least welcoming despite my futile attempts at levity. The check-in process was quite swift and soon we were in our rooms. The rooms are excellent, complete as they are with a large LCD television. There were no grounds for complaints on cleanliness with all parts of both rooms being immaculate. The toiletries whilst not a big deal were pretty poor in terms of quantity. There is no soap-dish and so the tiny bar of soap had to be left on the surface of the wash-basin worktop, leaving a nasty smear.

The kettle and its accompanying tray is located in a beautifully lit alcove however, this alcove has no power socket so the entire kit and kaboodle has to be lifted over onto the desk in order to use it. Bizarre.

The rooms are quite well insulated from noise but if like us, you find the internal air-conditioning lousy, you'll need to open the windows thereby losing any protection from frolicking locals returning home in the small hours who felt compelled to scream and yell odd and quite misleading rubbish.

We did not eat in the hotel as it appeared one would have to take a mortgage out to pay for a meal. I doubt also if the hotel will get into the Guide Michelin!

We did visit the bar in a moment of financial recklessness and were met by a rude, even insolent young barman who quite obviously hated his job, us, Durham and the rest of the world. We witnessed another guest ask him for a Manhattan cocktail and he asked the man what was it made of. Recommendation: Show him the road home.

The £6.50 per night car parking charge is absolutely unacceptable. They trumpet at length about the free spa pool and all the other silly gee gaws yet see fit to soak their guests for the use of the hotel's OWN carpark. Radisson needs to deal with this one fast. We are in a recession and people are right to demand value for money. Our two nights cost us £13.00. It would have cost much more had we used the car whilst we were in Durham and had to check the car in and out.

In conclusion, a nice hotel with really great potential let down by an icy and at times, insolent staff added to reprehensibly extortionate parking charges. We found the tarrif of £70.00 per room per night to be acceptable. Any higher and the shortcomings might mitigate in favour of the Premier Inn across the bridge which charges £63.00 prpn. They can keep their breakfast as there are plenty of excellent cafes nearby selling lovely food for a mere pittance. I would also recommend Bella Roma across the bridge for outstanding Italian food. Try the Cacciatore!!!

It would be nice to think that the General Manager of this establishment read these comments and occasionally responded. Oh well, I can dream can't I?

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank roomless
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minnesota
1 review
Reviewed 30 August 2009

Large hotel that is modern and up-to-date. I had a standard room with two twins put together to form seamless King for 89 pounds a night which included an English breakfast (so expensive). I stayed a total of 12 nights and costed me around 1100 pounds which included several articles of clothing for washing at 20 pounds then 50 pence per phone call which I hung up as soon as I called and each time you touch or take from the fridge it charges you (can add up and expensive). They were more than happy to take off any charges for things I didn't consume at check out. I put my own water in their fridge so each time I took my own water it charged me but they were understanding and worked with me. Just keep an honest log. You can view you charges via the TV in the room. The restaurant inside the hotel has awesome food from the menu but the buffet I found that the pizza was the best thing there to eat. The breakfast is the same thing offered each day. The desserts are yummy as well (the expense whether eating in the hotel or out it costed me 20-24 pounds so expensive). I had the tart twice which changes and I had the Italian cheese twice. If you visit the water you will need a pound coin to use the lockers but you get it back. The hot tub was nice and so was the pool. They also have a sauna and a steam room both of which were nice to try out. Steamy and very hot as they should be. Parking is not free if you stay overnight and should be included you'd think for the price you pay there. You can request river view and it's an awesome view of river Wear and the Cathedral. There is a Market place, shopping and food places within a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel. Saturday morning they have vendors in the square near Durham Market and the Pub. They have a gym which I didn't use and you can pay to have a massage and other procedures. The hotel is in a great location and it's peaceful, quiet and I felt safe. The one thing I did notice was that my sheets were not changed one time and wonder if they were ever. They also knocked on my door and I said that someone was in the room and they let themselves in my room and I told them not to let themselves in and she apologized and asked if everything was okay. I don't know what gave her the idea that something was wrong. So, that was odd. I locked my suitcases anytime I left the room. There was some sort of alarm that went off in or outside our door which was another disturbance. The point is to use the clean my room or do not disturb sign and even lock your door when in the room. Expect to not have screens on your windows. Expect to hear the bells of the Cathedral go off if you stay a few days. Expect your room will more than likely be cleaned between 9-11am I'd say. I was i room 101 my first night but moved from there because I wanted river view and was then moved to 246 after they put me in a room a few doors down which didn't have a window that opened up. 246 had a lovely view and two windows that opened up. I was very pleased overall with my two week stay there. They even arrange for their own personal taxi to drive me to the airport New Castle airport casted an big 45 pounds so don't tip. Room service was fairly quick except when they were real busy with room service one weekend it took about an hour. The one touch phone service if you need something went well and they were very helpful. You can split your payment up if you need to between payment methods. They have free wifi as well. I'll stay there again for sure. Most hotels are in old buildings so you get teeny tiny rooms but these rooms are spacious. Overall the stay was wonderful with only a few hiccups and if you address matters they will correct it as promptly as they can. You can even leave housekeeping a nice kind letter sharing your concern and requesting the sheets be changed as I did and they did it for me. Very nice of them.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank plk1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tarleton
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2009

I stayed at this hotel for 3 days on 24/08/09 in room no 123. On arrival the hotel seems impressive. But after settling in the problems start to show. Firstly every time you park your car you have to get a new ticket and then queue at the reception to have it validated in order to leave each time. The cost is £6.50 per day. The rooms are very spacious but the beds are too soft for a decent nights sleep.The tea making facilities and toiletry products are very sparse.In the bathroom there is no soap dish. The toilet roll was never replaced with a full roll. Passing a room one morning we saw a male cleaner cleaning the tea spoons with his polo shirt!!! On checking out of the hotel the receptionist gave us the bill which included five items from the mini-bar. We told the receptionist we had never used the mini-bar.She deleted the items but with no apology. The majority of the items in the mini-bar were out of date, yoghurts July 09, Coca cola April 09 etc.. It was obvious they had never been checked. For such a large chain of hotels there was a lack of customer care and focus.The in- house management was appalling. It is a shame as it could be such a lovely place to stay. The staff and management let down the Radisson chain.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TarletonRandR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Radisson Blu Hotel Durham

Property: Radisson Blu Hotel Durham
Address: Frankland Lane, Durham DH1 5TL, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Durham > Durham
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Durham
#2 Spa Hotel in Durham
#3 Luxury Hotel in Durham
#4 Romantic Hotel in Durham
#4 Family Hotel in Durham
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Radisson Blu Hotel Durham 4*
Number of rooms: 207
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Overlooking the River Wear, Radisson Blu Hotel, Durham presents a prime location for a visit to England. Voted "Best City in the UK" by Conde Nast Traveller, Durham has all the culture and charm you're looking for in an English town. Find UNESCO World Heritage sites and attractions Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle and Durham University less than 3 kilometres away. The 207 well-kept, modern bedrooms and suites offer 4-star amenities. Collage Restaurant offers a unique twist on the British Brassiere with a range of signature dishes and British fare. The Bar serves a food menu, great drinks and classic cocktails early into the morning. Unwind at the fitness and wellness facilities which include a swimming pool. Enjoy helpful services like on-site parking, express laundry and One Touch Service. The conference space houses 11 meeting rooms which can be used for all types of meetings and social occasions for up to 500 people. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Radisson Blu Hotel, Durham Hotel Durham
Radisson Durham

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