My husband booked a couple of nights at the Harbourmaster for a birthday treat for me after several recommendations from family and friends. This was our first visit. First impressions were rather mixed - the room at the front of the hotel with sea views was very pleasant, well furnished and clean. However when we arrived we had to check in at the desk in the bar area which was a bit strange The receptionist was rather cool and offhand and offered us no assistance with our luggage that we had to carry up two windy steep flights of stairs.
The walls of the rooms seemed quite thin for an old building and we could hear people in other rooms, TV and bathroom notices from several rooms around us.
We decided to eat in the bar on the first night and in the restaurant on the second night. The bar was incredibly noisy, so much so that it was difficult to hold a conversation. A few soft furnishings or wall sound absorbing wall panels would help reduce the noise a lot.
I am vegetarian as well as needing a gluten free diet so we had checked with the hotel before arriving that there would be a range of suitable food available. We ordered a few entrees of olives, humus etc which were horrible. The olives were weird tasting and the humus had no taste at all. It seemed that some chickpeas had just been food processed with no garlic, lemon juice or seasoning. It's actually quite difficult to get a simple recipe so wrong so this did not install confidence for the following courses. The pear and local welsh cheese salad starter was actually very nice. Disappointingly there was only one vegetarian meal on the menu (there were loads of meat and fish options for my husband) which was a vegetable stew with a slice of goats cheese on top. It looked very unappetising and tasted even worse than it looked. It was just a pile of chopped bog standard vegetable like carrots and peas in a very hot tomatoe sauce. It was so spicy that I could not eat it. A waitress and the manager asked if our food was OK after delivering the food to our table. When I told both of them separately that I could not eat it they both just said 'sorry about that' and walked away. There was no attempt to rectify the situation or offer me any alternative food. We waited ages for someone to come and clear the table and in the end we had to ask - were never visited again to be offered a dessert or coffee so we left and went back to our room. It wasn't even that busy so it was hard to overlook us - the staff were just plain rude and completely unattentive. The service at breakfast was no better and when I asked for three slices of gluten free toast ( that was all I asked for - i wasn't having anything else) I was told I could only have two slices as they had run out! We decided not to eat in the restaurant the following evening and went to somewhere a few minutes away and had a fantastic meal and excellent service.
We gave our feedback to the duty manager when we were checking out. She was very pleasant but all she could say was 'sorry about that - I wish I could do something' and then proceeded to do nothing. She said that all the staff have been trained in customer service and waiting at tables but we saw no evidence of that. I suggested that they visit the other restaurant we went to so they could see what good service looked like.
We will definitely not be returning to this hotel. It's such a shame as it is in an excellent location but the people just do not care about their customers and the food was below standard. If you are vegetarian or need any special dietary requirements, if you want value for money and good service I would advise avoiding this hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Harbourmaster on the quayside in Aberaeron offers you comfort in the most idyllic of locations. This listed landmark building reopened in June 2002 after extensive renovations. We have 13 individually-designed rooms in three historic buildings - all with harbour views. In 2008 the warehouse was opened, providing a further 4 rooms. A harbour facing suite with panoramic views, two west facing sea view terrace rooms and a town view room suitable for disabled use. (lift access to these new rooms) The Restaurant and new warehouse bar specialises in fresh local produce. Come and stay for a relaxing time and watch the tides wash in and out and the sun set over the bay! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Harbourmaster Hotel Aberaeron, Wales