I have visited the hotel twice this weekend, for two afternoon tea's. One for a baby shower and one for my Father's birthday. I have used the spa at this hotel on many occasions and had a really good experience.
The baby shower afternoon tea was good, service, attention, quality of food etc was all good. There was a wedding on the same day but this did not seem to impact on the service we had, overall a good experience, which was making me want to return the following day to celebrate my dear dad's birthday.
How wrong I was...
Having specifically researched where to go for afternoon tea in Cambridge, I found the menu at Quy Mill. It seemed to have a large menu which catered for a number of tastes. One of which was the 'Gentleman's Afternoon Tea'. This version offers pork pies, scotch eggs, chutneys and sausage rolls, with a glass of Ale. The boys of the party were happy, and the girls opted for the traditional with a glass of fizz. I booked a table two weeks in advance specifying our menu request for our party size of 5. I received excellent, prompt email responses from a staff member to clarify this had been agreed and also requested an outside table.
We arrived promptly and waited to be greeted by someone to be shown our table. The staff member seemed a little bemused but checked his list and found my booking, with the pasted version of my email dialogue underneath, all good. As I thought this would make our ordering easier on the day. We were shown to our outside reserved table in a lovely setting in a more private part of the garden, perfect atmosphere for a sunny day. QM has lovely grounds.
We waited a long 10 minutes on an unlaid table before I went back inside to ask for some service we so we could make our order and get some drinks for the hot day. Eventually a waitress come took our drinks order (which is part of the tea) we clarified our order again and the drinks arrived. We then waited a further 50 minutes before I decided to return inside again. I waited at the bar whilst another customer (also having an afternoon tea) was raising a concern about the delay in the orders arriving for her party. So joining the queue I then spoke with the duty manager and explained that we had pre-booked, had waited now 50 minutes, finished our drinks that are meant to be enjoyed with the food and I have had to come inside for a second time to find a member of staff. She apologised and went to find out what the delay was in the kitchen. She then returned to our table where we were told certain items in the gentleman afternoon tea were not available-despite the fact I had booked two weeks in advance. The "gents' were then allowed to pick an alternative item to double up on. Disappointing.
Then continued another load of disappointment where the wrong orders came, there were delays in food arriving, several different members of staff attending to us, so there was little consistency. Crockery was not clean and just overall it really coloured the whole experience. It was also such a contrast to the service I had experienced the day before-despite the fact there was a wedding on.
I spoke with the duty manager again listing the number of disappointments and negotiated a discount on the bill. Although this was the correct result at the end of such a disappointing afternoon, the experience of my dad's birthday was really effected by this. After speaking with the duty manager the difficulties they experienced were due to agency and short staffing, which as someone who works in healthcare can really relate to. However I wish that they had just cancelled our booking in advance if they are not able to cope with the number of bookings that afternoon as we could of gone elsewhere to enjoy his day. less