This is what I wrote to the GM of the hotel following our stay on Friday 13th November - I think it says it all:
Dear General Manager (apologies I don’t know your name),
I have just returned from a weekend away and that first night stay was at your hotel and I simply had to give you feedback as I know now important it is to know when you are doing something right and when something is going wrong.
Well I really cannot express how “right” your team at the Lord Haldon Hotel are doing it!
As you may guess from my job title I deal with Hotels and travel daily and often in the 4 or 5 star rating and on a personal level I also travel constantly with my little shih tzu looking for nice hotels to stay in that are dog friendly so have good knowledge and experience in this industry.
From the first email enquiry to the moment we left we felt like VIPs. Your Duty Manager Tom’s professionalism and customer service is second to none. It felt like he had pulled out all the stops for us, going that extra mile on everything from offering drinks in our room on arrival and specially sourcing some local Scrumpy which my husband was delighted with and ensuring our dinner was booked as needed and just generally informative and helpful. As I say, before we had even stepped foot in the door we felt looked after and were really looking forward to our stay.
The day before we were due to arrive we had another email just re-confirming the details and arrangements which again reassured us that everything was going to plan. The personal approach and attention to detail was amazing.
When we arrived the service did not change as we were checked in, which was nice, fast and easy we were even wished a Happy Anniversary, so clearly Tom had ensured all his team were aware of our special day. The room we stayed in was lovely and clean, the drinks, complimentary brownies, chocs, fruits and soft drinks were very welcoming.
In the evening we had booked dinner in the hotel and normally being with a dog often a hotel can make you feel like a second class citizen but not at your hotel! We had a fantastic table in the bar/lounge area which was within a stunning alcove beautifully lit with Christmas garlands and the table was laid like a five star restaurant with candles, flowers and even table crystals so we literally felt like royalty rather than the dark dingy corner we would normally get allocated!
To top that we also had one of the loveliest waiters, James, he was so friendly both to us and to our dog (whom is my baby!) so that made me so happy to have him pay attention to him also! The service was fantastic, they warned there could be a delay as everything is freshly cooked when we checked in but the service was prefect, not too fast and not too slow and the food was amazing. So amazing that we simply didn’t have room for desert but still we were presented with this lovely plate with chocolate writing on saying “Happy Anniversary” and a selection of mini deserts.
As requested by myself, Tom found the perfect moment to come and say hello with his little dog who was the sweetest pup and I was able to have a little cuddle and we had a little natter about dogs and he was as welcoming in real life as he was on email and the phone.
During our meal our waiter James even asked if we would like the same table for breakfast and when we came down the next morning there was the table nicely laid with a little Reserved signed on for us again feeling so special. The ladies that were doing breakfast were again so smiley and polite and the service was excellent. Hotel breakfasts are often a little dubious but this breakfast was delicious…..you can’t always tell when its going to be a great breakfast and I believe that is when the toast comes out hot! A very rare thing in a hotel! There were even little marmite pots with the jam which again is a little extra most hotels don’t bother with and the selection of juices was endless.
As you can tell, we really cannot rate your hotel team enough. I can only assume your 3 stars are due to the actual hotel building but even that which we saw was of course only our lovely bedroom and the bar/lounge area etc which was lovely and particularly stunning with the Christmas lights. The service your team provide is a very warm and welcoming 5 stars without a doubt…..I’ve stayed in lots of 5 stars hotel and I have never felt as welcomed and looked after.
In addition and what was so refreshing was to find a hotel that was actually “Dog friendly” unlike many hotels that advertise as “dog friendly” but should advertise as “will put up with your dog as we have to”.
Needless to say, we will be coming back without a doubt, my husband seems to have decided that this is now going to be our anniversary treat though I have said to him….we will be coming back more often than once a year or that anniversary will be questionable!
In all seriousness, I wanted to ensure I wrote to whomever had employed the team at The Lord Haldon as people with a real customer care attitude and genuine love for working in the service industry are hard to find. Often you can tell they are there to make some money and don’t love their job at all, however at your hotel I did not feel that at all, they felt like a family and happy to be doing whatever they were doing for us which was lovely.
When I get a moment I will be adding these types of comments to every review website I can, although I am not sure I want everyone to know this best kept secret!
Dee (Gerry, my husband & our dog Paddy!) less