With great reviews on TA, this was an anticipated highlight of our accommodations in Iceland - and all the more disappointing because of that. There was a lot wrong, so have listed:
1. We were told that we had been upgraded to the private 'guesthouse' behind the owners house. But this meant had to park next to the owners cars on their house drive. All other units parked directly on the level outside their accommodation. We had to walk alongside and behind the owners house (which felt unpleasant every time as they were in residence the night we were staying), and also down a number of steps to the guesthouse.
2. At first appeared to be a real treat - four bedrooms, lots of space on two floors. Due to oversight, they had not been warned about my feather allergy - so we had to await the change of all that bedding - which was thrust into my husbands hands and he was left to change it all himself! Unfortunate, but not great problem - although it was handled quite unprofessionally by the staff, with great play being made that the owner had to find bedding from her own linen cupboards for us. Surely we should not have been made to feel we were causing a problem.
3. Once we were left in the guesthouse, it quickly became apparent that it had not been cleaned for our arrival. Bedroom table tops, kitchen worktops and appliances were dirty, and and were marked, sticky and in the case of the toaster, kettle and coffee machine were too filthy to be used without cleaning. But the one blue cleaning cloth provided was too dirty to be used, and no kitchen roll provided. We had a half used pack of coffee, some tea bags and nothing else. Glass fronted kitchen cabinets had marks, stains and drips of other guests use on them, and needless to say, we did not use anything other than two cups which we scalded clean before use and had to dry with paper tissues. No toiletries provided nor any other sign that the guesthouse had been prepared for our use other than a hand wash in the bathroom.
4. The bathroom was beyond disgusting. I had to use the shower as we had no other choice - we knew of no other hotels in the near area or we would have moved on immediately. The amount of mould growing along the shower base and up the tiles - clearly the result of lack of cleaning over some months, not just dirt left from the last user - was beyond gross! Whilst showering, the drain cover came off, the shower tray was flooding as it could not drain water away quickly enough and black dirt from the internal drain floated around my feet in the rapidly increasing water level. I had to stop the shower, wait for it to drain down and then gingerly finish. Needless to say, we did not use the shower before leaving the following morning!
5. The towel rail in the bathroom had so much dust on each rail that we just used paper tissues and some napkins we had with us to try and clean it enough to be able to put a towel onto it. The skirting boards had clearly not been cleaned for a considerable period of time.
6. The bathroom is by the double front glass doors to the guesthouse - although there are curtain rails at the door, there are no curtains or blinds anywhere on that floor.(except the bedroom) With the owners were in residence at the house above us, we were unable to come in and out of the bathroom without being fully dressed as their house windows looked over us - and given that the bathroom was tiny - there were real logistic difficulties in using the filthy shower, finding somewhere clean to put our clothes whilst showering, and then trying to dry off and get dressed before we could leave the bathroom to go to the bedroom. Obviously, we were then unable to use the lounge or the bathroom in our night clothes at all, that evening, during the night or the next morning, so we found it very difficult to actually relax in the accommodation. Not having curtains at the front windows looking out over the view is fine - but at the rear looking out at the owners/road and other bungalows? We noticed the other accommodation all had privacy curtains or blinds.
7. Having driven past all the other accommodations, and seeing their individual hot tubs steaming away ready for the occupants use, we were shown an empty hot tub gull of grit and dead leaves and told how to fill it up. This seemed a further indication that we had been assigned to the guesthouse as a late decision with no preparation for our arrival.
We did eat at Grimsborgir that night - and had an excellent meal - although we were warned that there was a large party staying there, so we were placed in the cosy little dining area. We were told it was a buffet, but once sat down without any warning we were brought bowls of soup with lobster in them. I do not each fish at all, so my partner doesn't either as I hate the smell. But the staff were so put out that this soup should be rejected. They were so unprofessional - the soup removal should have been seamless and we should not have been subject to the great expressions of surprise and it made such a song and dance of! Bear in mind that we then ate little of the excellent buffet choice as we ate no fish. We loved the meat selections and the desserts were to die for.
We had complained about our dirty accommodation when we went to dinner that evening - and were asked if we wanted to have it cleaned 'again'. We refused as firstly, no amount of cleaning that night would remove the build up of many months of grime and mould in the shower and everywhere else should have been prepared already for us before we arrived. Also, we had unpacked our items and were trying to relax at dinner and did not want to have to break our meal to go back over to the guesthouse (the furthest point away and a car drive) and move items around to facilitate cleaning that should already have been done. The staff spent some time talking about our complaint and to say they made us feel uncomfortable would be an understatement.
As we returned after dinner, the owner (Christine?) came out of her house, asked about our complaints and to see the problem areas. Shown the bathroom and kitchen areas she just kept repeating "Oh, my God, Oh, my God..........." , obviously surprised at the dirt. We explained again that by then, around 8.30pm at night, we did not want to go through the upheaval of a cleaning job that was not going to help in the shower and we just wanted to get a nights sleep and get off the next morning. She seemed very understanding and apologetic.
After breakfast the next morning, we went to pay our bill and leave. The staff were surly and uncommunicative - there was no chat, there was no apology for the problems we had experienced, nor any offer to reduce our bill for the buffet the night before. We were stunned at this reaction - hardly in line with the glowing feedback for customer service we read on Trip Advisor. We are grateful that Nordic Visitor have since fully refunded us.
Have attached some photo's which show the horrible mould around the shower area, the dirty shower screen and the filthy skirting board, all of which has clearly built over some time, not just from the last user. Also the dirt on the coffee machine/ where I have wiped down the glass coffee jug to show the difference. I tried to photograph the dirty microwave, but it does not show too clearly. With hindsight, I should have photographed the drain cover and the dirty drain area as well.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Grimsborgir Luxury Apartments and Restaurant is situated in South Iceland, directly at the Golden Circle tourist route. Our accommodation types are hotel rooms, studio apartments and deluxe apartments. Hotel Grimsborgir is surrounded by beautiful Icelandic landscape with mountains and the biggest fresh water river of Iceland, the river Sog. Grimsborgir Restaurant is serving gourmet food as well as traditional Icelandic dishes, for example fresh Lamb Loin, local Salmon and Lobster and the famous Icelandic Meat Soup. Also, we serve coffee and cake as well as lunch - every day! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Grimsborgir Iceland/Selfoss