I used to review virtually every hotel I stayed in but now only do so when they are exceptionally good or bad. This one is exceptionally BAD.
Access to bath and wardrobe.
I hit my head several times, once twice in succession and got a headache. To be fair, there are signs that warn you but when you are struggling with space and trying to access stuff, you forget about the head obstacle.
I shifted the bed to gain access to the safe but I need not have bothered, it did not work. I tried a few times but it did not lock which I would have thought was a basic for a safe.
If some member of the staff is reading this, I ask you to give a copy to the manager and ask him to go to room 1117 and hang some clothes in the wardrobe, not just look at it but actually do it, it’s very difficult and this is usually one of the first things a guest does upon arrival. Then perhaps he could also try and operate the safe including reading the instructions for the first time.
Availability of cutlery for breakfast
The first morning I arrived for breakfast and I only had about 15 minutes until my host picked me up. I could not find the cutlery and when I eventually found where it was kept, they had run out, this after about five minutes of searching. I just showed the empty container to one of the staff and they brought me fresh cutlery. I love using chopsticks and have no difficulty, all I wanted was a knife to butter my bread. When I went to get served again and came back the cutlery had been cleared away and I went to get clean supply but still the container was empty. I again showed the empty container to staff and Deja Vu.
The second morning, they immediately brought me knives and forks and I discovered that the cutlery tray was for chop sticks only, fair enough but what about buttering the bread.
Evening meal buffet
Bland, very disappointing, no taste and cold, one of the worst evening meals I have had in China, 1912 street is only a short walk away and you will find tasty food there including very tasty noodle soup.
I ordered a beer at the bar but it was served hot and was not drinkable. I said I just could not drink it and to be fair to them, there was no charge. I subsequently went to the Crown Plaza next door and the draft beer was very nice and ice cold. Next time I will stay at the Crown although I suspect it is owned by the same hotel group.
The combination of bed linen with the air conditioning did not match. The bed linen was very good but too warm and the air conditioning could not cool the room enough to sleep comfortable under the linen. However, to be fair to the hotel, we were experiencing 35 degree days. I tried turning off the air con and sleeping with nothing but then it was too hot. The only way I could get rest was to sleep with the air con turned on and dressed in the bathrobe.
Information on where to get breakfast and info in general
I found it very difficult to get information on where to have breakfast. I searched the booklet and if it is in there, I could not find it. I phoned reception (they had some short-cut symbol for it) but I had to wait until they found somebody that could speak English. This was typical of any queries I had during my stay.
Hotel was busy when I was there, lots of people staying for a business conference and anytime I caught the lift there was a queue. To slow things down even more, during the trip up or down, the lift stopped at virtually every floor even though the lift was full and no one could get in. This really slowed down the service and wasted time. One of the lifts was out of service for the entire time I was there and I was surprised no attempt was made to get it going.
This was the killer punch that led me to do this review. I had spent three weeks travelling Italy and Ireland and after leaving Hefei, I was due to travel in Japan for five days before returning to Australia. I knew I would have no opportunity to do laundry after I left Hefei so I made sure I collected everything I needed, filled in the forms etc and I took it to reception to make sure no one over looked it. This was early the morning prior to my day of departure. The instructions say if laundry is presented by 12 noon, it will be returned by 8 pm that same day. I arrived back at my room sometime after 9 pm and no laundry. I dialled that important symbol on the telephone and waited for about five minutes after the initial, “Please wait a moment”. I dialled again and asked to speak to somebody speaking English. After a time I again hung up and was getting ready to go down to reception when they called back and I explained about the laundry. He said the person responsible was not at work now and I should call back in the morning and then I explained I was leaving early, about 7:30 am in fact. He said he would check and call me back. Shortly after, an English speaking staff member arrived at my room and I explained what had happened (or more precisely what had not happened). We went together to the lobby and I explained where I had handed in the laundry bag and they searched the cupboards in the area but no sign. After some time he went away and after some more time arrived back with my laundry bag still in the same condition in which I submitted it. He explained that some person or other must have forgotten it. I asked if he could organize by the morning and he said it was impossible and I told him I was not happy and would be doing a review on TripAdvisor.
I took back my dirty wrinkled laundry and pondered wearing it around Japan and bought some more clothing when I got to Hiroshima. This is risky as it then puts me over my baggage allowance.
Price for such service not as though this is a cheap hotel, I think it was around 680 RMB per night and the service I received was absolutely atrocious. The place is actually not too bad but the way it is run is negligent. The manager should actually go through the motions of actually doing the things I went through, not just go and look and nod your head, taste the cold bland food, operate the safe, hang clothes in the wardrobe and taste the warm beer and do everything in English only. I have stayed in many Hotels in Hefei, Hilton, Novotel, Swan Lake, Harvest, Westin and this one is the worst for service.
I think things would improve a lot if the envelope presented with the room key were to contain the following vital information in Chinese and English
This will save the staff a lot of time and will improve guest satisfaction and is actually free as you will need to get them printed anyway.
The rest of the room
To be fair, this place has great potential if the staff were trained and spoke English. The rooms are good for meetings as the bed is on an upper level away from the computer living area etc.
Breakfast coffee was very good.
I just loved Faulty Towers, having guests go through such absurd obstacles seemed so funny but I can tell you, being the victim of these obstacles, well not so funny. Next time I will try the Crown Plaza and you should too. This place has got way too many problems. less