Before reading about our experience when we stayed at this hotel in December, it would be worth reading the manager's responses to all negative reviews since 2012. You will learn more about the culture of this hotel by reading the manager's response than you could every learn from my review.
Based on the manager's response to previous negative reviews, I suspect the problem with our experience on our last visit was mine. Having said that, the best I can say is that after staying at this hotel whenever we visited my family in Doncaster over the past 20 years, we will never stay here again.
In simple terms, the culture of this hotel seems to have changed. It has a reputation for being "the place" to stay in Doncaster - and most of the time that reputation has seemed well deserved. On this occasion, we arrived late at night as one or two functions were in full swing. The noise from the functions sounded as though we had walked into two competing discos. There were many guests outside the front doors, some in bare feet, most carry drinks, many smoking, and a lot looking quite intoxicated. There were no staff at the reception desk and we had to walk through the hotel to find someone to check us in. We asked when the noise might end, and were advised that it would stop at about 12.30 a.m. and that it could not be heard past a glass door that separates the function areas from the corridor that leads to the rooms. When we walked to our room, the noise continued well passed the glass door. In fairness to the hotel, the noise was not audible in our room which was situated at the very rear of the hotel.
We had booked a King bedded deluxe room on the hotel's website. The hotel's website appears to transfer to the Best Western site when you click on the reservations button. We have always stayed in a King bedded room at this property, and there are many rooms with this type of bed configuration. To our surprise, we discovered we had been allocated a room with a Queen bed. To make matters worse we eventual found that the bed rolled into the middle. After struggling to sleep on this bed, we spoke with the night porter (who appeared to be the only staff member at the hotel) who advised that there were no other rooms, and that he did not have access to any new mattresses.
Whilst very frustrating, there was a silver lining. We went back to the room and searched for alternate accommodation. We found a wonderful new property - Stable Arches - which is far superior to the Mount Pleasant (see separate review). We thought we would try Stable Arches on our next visit and planned to speak with the manager in the morning to change our room.
After getting to sleep at 4.00 a.m. we were woken at 8.30 by the children in a nearby room. Something that sometimes happens in all hotels. On our way to breakfast we spoke with the manger. To keep a long story short, it was an amazing conversation. He was aware of our concerns about the noise and room allocation. His response is what was so amazing. There was no acknowledgement of these problems - much like the responses to all negative reviews since 2012. We were advised that the property is a fully functioning hotel and, therefore, it is reasonable to expect a lot of noise when there are functions during the Christmas period. We were also informed that the problem with the king bed was one caused by "the Americans." He stated that in America they call the hotel's beds "king beds" when they are not. Interesting. I invited him to accompany me around the hotel while I showed him all the rooms we had stayed in over the years that definitely had king beds. He wasn't interested in taking up this challenge and implied the hotel does not have king beds. It was clear that we were not going to get far when he stated that we would just have to agree to disagree and that there was no point in continuing the conversation. Great example to use in customer service training. He then advised that it was clear there was no hope of making us happy from the moment we arrived. A pity he did not offer to change our room so he could test his theory!
We then asked if we could leave the hotel and cancel the remaining nights of our booking without charge. To his credit, the manager agreed. We then advised that we would also have to cancel a second room that was booked for our son. Our son was arriving that day. The manager said he would not do that, because our son had not check in yet and, therefore, had not experienced any problems. He seem to struggle with the idea that we were a family unit and maintained his position that we could cancel our booking without charge, but our son's booking could not be cancelled without penalty. He pointed out that he did not want to loose 6 nights of revenue (3 nights per room). Its a pity he did not seem to understand that he would have lost no revenue had he acknowledged our concerns and offered to change our room. He did eventually agree to cancel our son's room - but only after he was asked about England's small claims court. We very much appreciated the manager's gesture in bringing our relationship with this hotel to an end without further hassle.
If the normal pattern happens here, I suspect I will be able to read how our behaviour was unreasonable and the problems were really ours. Its unfortunate that some hotel managers struggle to acknowledge when things go wrong - things sometimes go wrong at even the best of hotels from time to time.
The key lesson from this experience - if you book a king bedded room you may not actually get one - even though the hotel has many rooms with king bedded rooms. The problem will be yours and/or the fault of the American's or the online booking system!
If you are looking for a relaxed and special place to stay in the Doncaster region, we strongly recommend you take a look at Stable Arches in Hooton Pagnell. The Mount Pleasant can be a great place, but may also surprise you in an unpleasant way. less