“ Address: Ripon Road / Harrogate HG1 2HU / North Yorkshire „
It was a special day for me on Saturday, as after 3 and a half years I completed my degree with the Open University and yesterday, I graduated. The graduation ceremony was taking place In Harrogate, a town I know fairly well as I used to live there and so we decided to make a weekend of it and book a hotel overnight. After a little research I settled on the Barcelo Majestic Hotel, impressed by the grandeur and the central location. The website made the rooms look modern and I was convinced that for a large hotel chain it would make an excellent option for us and our friends and I booked two rooms.
Upon our arrival we didn't have time to take much notice of the hotel, I was a bag of nerves and eager to get to the Conference Centre to be robed and have my pictures taken and so we parked our car in the large barrier operated car park and made our way to reception to see if we could fill in the registration paperwork and pay for the room, as it was only 10.30am. The reception staff allowed us to do this and simply asked for my card so they could authorise the payment for the room. I was about to enter my PIN when I realised that the amount stated £146 and our room rate I had secured through booking.com was £96. I asked the receptionist if the extra £50 was taken as a deposit against any extras we might charge to the room and she confirmed it was, however I was a little miffed that I had to ask for this to be confirmed rather than her just explaining it to me.
We decided to leave our bags in the boot of the car and made our way to my graduation. After we had finished and gone for a family meal, we decided to stay in the centre and have a few celebratory drinks. We hadn't collected our key to our room yet but as it was absolutely chucking it down, we didn't want to get soaked, so as a woman would in this case, we sent the boys to go get it! Upon their return I asked what the room was like and he said it was fine, not lovely or nice but fine. I realised exactly what he meant a while later when we called it a night and made our way back. Our room was on a different floor to our friends and the total opposite ends of the hotel, despite booking the two rooms together. This wasn't a massive problem but was a little annoying. Our friends room was large, spacious and fairly modern, while ours in comparison was the last room on a very long corridor and felt like they had a store room that someone had last minute decided to turn into a guest room. The bathroom was possibly around 20 years old, with a bath that was absolutely tiny (width wise) and a dribbly and pathetic shower. The tap water didn't run entirely cold which was awful when brushing our teeth and the bedroom was basic and dated. Some effort had been made to spruce the room up with modern curtains and a few modern lamps but the effect was just not good enough for a 4 star hotel charging £96 for a room only rate. We had found boutique hotels in the centre of the town offering bed and breakfast for the same rate but we settled on the Barcelo because it was a large chain and it offered to be 'charming and elegant, exude sophistication and basking in its Victorian heritage'. Some areas of the hotel may have offered such grandeur and sophistication but I expect this is mainly from the outside appearance and 8 acres of grounds.
As we didn't get to the room until around 10pm and after the long day we had had we decided to not mention anything to reception but get a good night's sleep and mention it upon check out in the morning. After I checked out this morning, as a paying consumer I have never felt so angry. Upon paying for the room (yesterday they apparently hadn't taken the payment, but again I had to ask this when I was asked for my card again), the receptionist asked me if I had had a pleasant stay and I responded with no we hadn't. When she didn't reply or ask for an explanation I explained that we were unhappy with the standard of the room. I then expected some kind of sincere apology and I would have gone away fairly happy that although we weren't happy with the room, they valued us as guests and were apologetic. I was it seems not going to get such a response and she simply responded with 'ok' and handed me back my card. Too livid to even speak I decided to leave it and not spoil a special weekend. As I was walking away from her, my husband and friends told me that the receptionist had glared at me as I left the hotel. So it would seem that the Barcelo staff are relying entirely on guests expecting no customer service or satisfaction. As I write this I am still fairly angry, however, confident that I will not be returning and I will be sharing this experience with this community as well as my friends and family. How a business can survive by treating customers this way I have no idea.
While my experience may have entirely been a one off, my friends were also dissatisfied with their stay and complained of noisy corridors through the night and fairly average food which they ordered to their room this morning.
The hotel provides a selection of Decleor beauty treatments and spa packages, however we didn't have the opportunity to try these and the excessive price list put me off trying today, with a facial costing around £61. I would also add here that the treatments have two prices, one for peak times and one for off peak which I find extremely cheeky. The hotel has a large indoor pool which was clean and well staffed. Other facilities include a sauna, Jacuzzi and fully equipped gym and fitness studio. Diners can eat in the Majestic restaurant or in the regency bar and between the two there are a variety of dishes to suit different guests. Pricey as you would expect from a large hotel, but with plenty of options including light bites and starters as well as main dishes. The Victorian Regency bar was elegant but again pricey and so we decided not to bother as we had all had a long day.
The outside of the hotel is magnificent and has 167 bedrooms. The hotel dates back to Victorian times and unable to sleep last night after a hectic day, I began reading a book in the room about the heritage of the hotel and it made interesting reading. It has had several major fires and has had many important guests over the years.
For visitors to Harrogate the imposing hotel is situated just behind the large conference centre and minutes from the famous Turkish baths and Betty's Tearooms. Known for its variety of shops, some high end, some high street, Harrogate is a beautiful town with plenty to offer but unfortunately I can't recommend that visitors choose to stay in this hotel unless they get a steal of a room rate.
Such a shame we weren't valued as paying guests.