We arrived Christmas Eve for a three-night break. The hotel is an impressive building with quite a long and prestigious history, located just behind easily-accessed low sand dunes fronting a massive beach, and has been extended over time. The layout reflects the various changes, with several different levels, accessed by short stair runs in places. The Covid requirements take away some of the welcome at the reception desk. Unfortunately, there is a clear need for routine maintenance and refurbishment (faded glory is brought to mind), but given the dreadful economic conditions the last two years have imposed, one should be thankful the hotel has remained operational. Car parking is generous, but seems to be used by locals to access the beach, despite notices of charges: this could be problematic in extremis, but not so during our stay.
The vacation began reasonably well, with a nice sea-view room (the view a little impaired, understandably, by the building yard in front of the hotel for new lodges further down). The opening window had a very effective blackout blind and heavy curtains. The room was clean, the layout good, and had a well-equipped hospitality tray. Plenty of light fittings in the room. The bed was OK, although bedlinen was oversized for the bed: foam pillows and a lumpy duvet were a disappointment. Unmatched furniture was decent, with two night stands, a dressing table with mirror and an occasional table. Two lounge chairs were useful and comfy, given the poor weather. Housekeeping was carried out each day, including the 25th, in a timely manner. The bathroom had lovely thick fluffy towels, a bath with shower over, a generous shelf, and two mirrors. Hot water was almost immediate. The washbasin didn’t have a mixer but two separate taps (not so good for handwashing – icy or hot!) Toiletries were nondescript but sufficient, and fully replenished daily. Heating control in the room was haphazard, and the thermostat valve had to be set just off frost to stop the room overheating at night, but cosy during the day. Sound insulation was ineffective: a nearby room had their TV running all night, which was highly disruptive, even at low volume.
During the stay, the staff seemed uncoordinated, with little oversight. On both Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there seemed minimal staff, with the concomitant need to go on a hunt to find someone if you needed anything. The event seemed like a bouncy castle – fully pumped for our arrival, and then allowed to deflate from thereon in.
The Boxing Day buffet lunch, scheduled for 1pm, started to be laid out at about 1:15, when staff were panicking to place the dishes out: a pasta bowl arrived about ten minutes after the dessert tray was in place. Serving spoons and tongs were in short supply for both the buffet meals.
Morning coffee had to be asked for, again well past the expected start time, and replenishment also needed intervention.
The main meals were of good quality, well planned for quantity given the ‘feast’ occasion, nicely cooked and presented. These were pre-ordered, which enabled the service to be well-managed.
The lounge fire, so pleasant on arrival, was not lit for the remainder of the stay.
The only mince pies seen were a tray of mini-ones, set out at the Boxing Day buffet lunch – we didn’t see a single slice of Christmas cake during our stay. No tangerines, stollen, titbits, nuts or anything festive seemed to be clearly on offer.
Decorations were limited, other than in the dining room, where tables were nicely laid, and an attractive tree took pride of place.
The attitude of the staff was mixed, with a number clearly working hard to make our stay a pleasant one, some wanting to help but a bit out of their depth, and a few clearly not wanting to be there. There was a lack of professionalism, with a mixture of dress ‘code’ running from scruffy to neat black top and bottoms. One guest asked reception if it would be possible for another, who had to cancel for personal reasons after paying the full costs, to be provided with the Christmas gift as a consolatory souvenir: the receptionist said the manager wouldn’t be in until the following day, and she couldn’t make the decision herself. less