This was the first of two nights in hotels operated by SGE hotels. A theme quickly emerged.
Check in was slow, a consequence of not having someone manning the reception, at six o’clock in the evening. I mean, who would expect someone to check in at the end of the day?????. If there had been a bell to press that might have helped but as it was all we saw was a very uninterested waitress who was clearly not having a great time serving no guests in the “dining hall” (more of which later), and who was not at all interested in helping us.
Don't book the Imperial if you need a good night’s sleep. The hotel is right by the A82, which doesn't quieten down overnight. That would not be a problem if the hotel had decently fitting double glazed windows, but in our room at least, that wasn't a feature.
Our room itself was very clean and had been fairly recently redecorated - always a good start. However, that is really where the positive experience ended. Walls are paper thin - a consequence of trying to fit too many rooms into too small a space and not wanting to put any sound proofing insulation in. The bar area was what you would call "cosy", and the food very average for the price.
But the piece de resistance was breakfast, and the room it was served in. In the last 20 years I have averaged over 100 nights a year in hotels, and experience tells me that many sins can be forgiven if the hotelier takes the time to deliver a decent breakfast. Unfortunately, the overriding consideration this time was clearly the reduction of cost, and not the quality of the product being delivered.
Breakfast consisted of the cheapest ingredients, served in a “dining hall”, that had been subject to re-decoration and re-wiring of the slap it in and hope for the best variety. The food was much, much worse.
Note to hotel owners – we can tell when you are serving us sausages that can be bought at Tesco’s at £1.09 for 20, and your tinned fruit selection isn’t improved simply by throwing a big can of it into an even bigger bowl. When you are paying a decent amount of money to stay in a three-star hotel, you don’t expect to get a one-star breakfast. If the hotel was to spend just £1 more per head on this meal, it would be transformed. As it was the meal was grim, and a bad way to start the day.
Overall, I just can’t recommend the Imperial as a place to stay. The hotel has potential, but clearly needs a change of management (who were invisible – I didn’t see a single supervisor guiding staff) and philosophy towards it’s guests if it is to succeed in the long run. I felt sorry for the coach party that arrived the following day. less