Myself and my husband always go away at New Year for 3 or 4 nights, usually with a local coach company and this year was no exception. With so many years experience of festive breaks, we are used to a certain standard of hospitality, guest experience and satisfaction. Unfortunately the Best Western Royale failed to deliver on all 3 points.
We arrived around 1 pm.
There were only 20 or so people on our coach.
Although our driver had rung ahead with our ETA, on arrival we were informed that none of our rooms were ready. We were ushered into the lounge area. Eventually, tea and coffee flasks were bought out. No food however. The bar menus were on the tables but were ridiculously expensive. As we were not given a time that the rooms might be ready, plus being lunchtime we were starving, we decided to go out and get some lunch. We returned around 3 and our room was by now ready. It was fairly basic but comfortable and after I made a request to reception for a fan, this was bought up swiftly by a very courteous young man.
We came down into the bar for a pre dinner drink. The wine was excessively expensive with the cheapest house white being £20 a bottle. There were glasses of something sparkly laid out and some lack lustre canapés. This was to be the only festive touch we were treated to. We were shown into the restaurant at 7 pm. There were choices of different courses. The starter was ok. We ordered beef for main course thinking it would be in the form of a roast dinner but the meat came out on a plate alongside a pile of steaming hot, odd coloured mash. No sign of a roastie. We had to share a plate of veg with our 6 fellow diners. The meat was quite tough and the mash clearly microwaved to within an inch of its life. The evening entertainment was in the restaurant and there was no bingo, quiz or any other pursuit to amuse us, like we are used to, whilst waiting for the music to start. Bizarrely half way through the evening, the waiting staff began laying out the breakfast for the next day. Nothing was partitioned off so you clearly felt you were in the dining room, dancing around buffet servers and cereal dispensers.
We were taken out to Poole the next day. Unlike our other trips, there was no tea or coffee to greet us on our return and again unlike other trips, no complementary tea and coffee laid out at all after meals, apart from on New Years Day at 4 served with some crumbly slices of dry pannetone.
The New Year’s Eve dinner was far from the Gala dinner we had been expecting. No different than the previous evening and with exactly the same plate of vegetables to share. For the first time ever, apart from balloons on the table and crackers, there were no party hats, party popper or streamers.
The entertainment started and it was absolutely dire. 2 female singers, too full of themselves and singing in the style of Glen Miller. Totally inappropriate for New Year’s Eve. Far from getting people in the festive mood, table by table people retired to the bar including our table. We understand that Best Western themselves book the entertainers, not the actual hotel. Whoever booked these 2, need firing. Thankfully a disco kicked in around half 11 but no MC taking charge of things. Midnight seemed to come and go uneventfully with no balloons falling from the ceiling or the sound of party poppers going off. May as well have been a normal evening. No refreshments offered at midnight as is generally the case wherever else we’ve been. Thankfully the staff refrained from laying breakfast out.
Our itinerary said a ‘brunch’ was included on New Years Day. This was merely the normal breakfast offered an hour later albeit there were some odd little pie things on the servery that were barely touched.
Again, nothing to entertain or feed us on New Years Day. Something we’ve always been used to.
Once back on the coach to return home the following day, no one from the hotel boarded the coach to bid us farewell, again something we’ve always experienced. A friendly and personal touch distinctly lacking.
Why this hotel puts itself forward to cater for a New Year Break I have no idea.
Maybe we had too high expectations.
The trip wasn’t cheap and certainly wasn’t value for money or memorable. less