A LARGE number of us booked in here as a place to stay ahead of attending the funeral of a friend the next day.
After a drive of nearly 300 miles, all we wanted to do was unwind and grab a meal and a drink before going to bed.
Instead of being able to do that we were treated to a slightly surreal experience where we went to the bar for drinks and to look at the restaurant menu well ahead of closure time at 9pm.
You can imagine we were slightly taken aback to be told not so much what was on the menu as what they had run out of and which was now off the menu. Bear in mind this was still well before closure time.
We made the best of it we could, but we were then told that the beer we wanted was virtually sold out. In fact, they only had one bottle left of it and even that hadn't been chilled and was naturally warm on a hot night. Shaking our heads, we were forced to experiment with other beers while some members of our party changed their order altogether.
The meal itself was quite good although my vegetables failed to arrive and I had to ask for some, my food losing some of its heat by the time vegetables did arrive.
As you can appreciate, this was a stressful time without trying to cobble a meal and drinks together from what remainders were available.
So -- when various members and other guests chatted the next day -- we couldn't believe the poor night we had all had.
A number of complaints were made about how hot the rooms were. Mine was stifling and impossible to cool because Health and Safety restrictions meant the window didn't open anywhere near fully, presumably to prevent overheated guests committing suicide by throwing themselves to the car park below!
Add to that a stain on my bath towel which was as big as a small saucer and you'd think there couldn't be many more irritations.....but think again.
The worst thing about my room was that the curtains barely came six inches below the windowsill which allowed light to come flooding into the room from below the curtain and from all up the side facing the bed because it was impossible to draw the curtain more than an inch past the edge of the window. This meant my night consisted of turning my back to the window as best I could and trying to grab a bit of sleep while sweat poured off my body.
Management did their best the next day following my complaint and supplied me with an electric fan which left me with a stark choice. Ignore it and get another sleepless night or use it......and get another sleepless night kept awake by the noise of the fan!
The situation was very frustrating because the bed was very comfortable, the sheets crisp and clean and the bathroom very clean. All towels were changed and the room made up, but it was nothing like enough to offset two sleepless nights caused by poor ventilation and very poor curtains which allowed so much light in that I might as well have drawn them and had done with it.
Elsewhere the swimming pool and gym seemed of a good standard, relaxation seating by a television was good, free newspapers were provided in Reception, staff helpfully loaned me an umbrella to brave drizzle and go out for a walk and staff generally were unswervingly polite, friendly and keen to help.
Early morning breakfast was good from cereals and fresh fruit to full English, toast and marmalade, good quality coffee and very attentive service.
But the thing that really interested me about breakfast was that I found myself surrounded by fellow sufferers, some of whom said they had been staying at the hotel for several weeks.
I quietly ate my bacon and eggs, surrounded by other guests whose main topic of conversation was what a poor night they had just had. Complaints were universal about the stifling heat in their rooms and they said the same thing about the fans provided, namely they were kept awake by them. It also seemed that a number of them had complained as well. I could say more about other complaints they made, but I won't mention them as they are unsubstantiated and involved things that I myself did not experience. Suffice to say, there were a few unimpressed people at breakfast with eyes bleary from little or no sleep. For me to face a funeral that day as well was not the best day I have ever had, particularly as I knew I was coming back to more of the same the next night.
Bolholt does not deserve a "poor" rating but, as things stand, it didn't miss it by much and those making a visit in coming days if this heatwave continues should think carefully about making a booking not least because the entrance grounds are covered in thousands of droppings from a flock of Canada geese who crop the lawns!
I had to pay £162 for two nights bed and breakfast and the experience I had did not deserve such a tariff which I felt was charging like a wounded buffalo. I will not be back.
The funeral went a lot better than my stay at the hotel. less