The main part of this review is a copy of my letter to the owners of this Hotel, for the first part I will give you some details about this particular Holiday Inn.
The Holiday Inn, Exhibition & Conference Centre in Claymore Drive, Aberdeen is owned and run by Holiday Inn which is part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group who have their Head Office in Windsor in Berkshire.
On their website they state that they are a leading global hospitality group, with more than 3,500 hotels and 536,000 guest rooms across nearly 100 countries and territories.
Every year more than 120 million people find a welcome at one of their lodging brands.
Sounds pretty impressive, large company, dedicated to the traveller and lodger.
The Holiday Inn in Claymore Drive Aberdeen is described as a comfortable three star hotel within 3 miles of Aberdeen City. Good so far, just what I need for this trip.
Features: 123 Rooms. Room Minibar. Room T.V. 24 hour room service. Public lift.
Public bar. Public Restaurant. Modem.
Travel: Nearest Train Station is in Aberdeen four miles away.
Location: Aberdeen Seafront with some nice sea views. Hard to find the entrance to the car park from the main road.
Distinctive Features: Ill mannered staff. Dirt. Mildew. Crumbs. Long wait at the bar.
Standard Rooms Between: £68.00 - £88.00
Executive Rooms Between: £88.00 - £108.00
Suites: Between: £113.00 - £113.00
We paid £58.00 for a standard double room on a Friday, We booked through yeego.com
If you go to destinia.com it is listed as a four star hotel with more different prices. And if you look behind the main reception prices start at £75.00 for a standard room. Confused?
Me too various price differences on different websites and apparently a dual 3 / 4 star Hotel!
MMmm where am I going with this, well I have to start my review with the facts and figures as people may wish to know these things, however, you may change your mind after reading my full review.
One gripe that I have is that there was no mini-bar in our room, but no not because I wanted to drink the stuff in there, I wanted to keep my milk for my coffee cool. Ah well, glad I took my wee cool bag.
Here is my letter I have just sent to Their Head Office, omitting my personal details of course: -
15th March 2006.
Intercontinental Hotels Group
67 Alma Road
Attn: Customer Services Department.
Re: The Holiday Inn, Claymore Drive, Aberdeen. AB23 8BL. UK.
On the 23rd of February 2006, I booked a room at the above hotel for the evening of Friday the 24th of February 2006. I booked this hotel as I had previously stayed in it more than once when it was The Posthouse Hotel.
Before I booked I did a bit of research and the only information I could get on the takeover was that it changed licensee to Holiday Inn in April 2002; of course this could have been the wrong information but I decided that as it was only three years since the takeover and I have been a guest many times of various Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Express Hotels (All of which have been excellent) that I would go ahead and book.
When I arrived at the Hotel I was a bit surprised to see it looking a bit dingy and rundown,
I was horrified when I reached the main entrance doors to find them absolutely filthy and covered in hand prints. I was even more disgusted upon entering through these doors to find a glass coffee table covered in very visible dust. Worse was to come, upon entering the main lobby, I was faced with a dirty and dusty floor, the main desk was desperately in need of a new coat of varnish as was the reception desk behind it.
Had I not already paid for my booking, I think I would have left immediately.
The receptionist was not altogether welcoming and as I handed her my voucher that I had been told to print off and sign by my internet booking provider, she just said "what's your name?" and ignored the proffered voucher. She then said "yeah, you've paid, will you be putting any meals or room service on your card?" I said "no" I don't think so, the reply was "right, here's your key, have you been here before?" After giving a positive answer, I was duly handed my card key and given brief instructions to find the room.
Our room was on the ground floor right at the end overlooking the Conference Centre and with a Sea View, not too bad I thought until I walked further into the room. The bedroom area was okay but none too clean, it had obviously had a "round the bed" quick hoover, but at the sides of the bed were dirt and crumbs and food bits. The sheets on the bed were clean, which I am very pleased about. There was also a full length mirror on the wall which was splattered quite obviously with some kind of gunk, no idea what it was and wasn't going to test it, but I have to say it was very obvious in the evening with the room lights on so it must have been clearly visible to the cleaner during the day.
The window wasn't working properly and there was a door stopper to stop the window opening fully, this rubber door stopper was loose and easily removed; a safety issue if a child were in the room as there is a long drop below the window to the basement floor level.
It was too late for us at this stage to find somewhere else to stay as we had a function to attend that evening. I figured that you get what you pay for, although I noted that as the Friday night room rate was £75.00 this didn't really apply to this hotel.
We decided that we would just get ready and I ran a bath. The bathroom was disgusting, the floor had smears from a dirty mop and the tiles had mildew between them, the sink had a large amount of mildew behind the taps (please see enclosed photographs). The toilet was clean looking and the bath looked alright so I just got on with it and ran a bath.
I cannot tell you how utterly shocked I was and how sick I felt when I got in that bath and felt the scum on the bottom of the bath and the ring of invisible grimy granular scum left from when the last guest had had a bath. I did wonder for a minute if the bath enamel was just so old that it wouldn't scrub clean so I tried it and I was able to clean it off, I have never felt so dirty in my whole life. What a nauseating, atrocious, preventable, unhygienic position to be put in when a bit of bleach and a good scrub would have sorted all of it.
In addition, there is a warning that the Hot water is very hot, so hot in fact, pieces of melted rubber bath mat (for when using the shower) had adhered to the bottom of the bath; I was able to get some of this off, so a cleaner using a suitable bath scourer would have no problem removing this residue.
Unfortunately this wasn't the end of the problems with this hotel. After a few hours we went to the bar area to get something to eat, I noticed the carpeted area by the main entrance was still covered in noticeable dirt, again a simple vacuum over would have sorted this out. We went to the bar to order some food and a drink before going on to our function; when we arrived at the bar there were only five customers waiting, twenty minutes later we were still waiting to be served. As more people arrived at the bar, the barmaid continued serving whoever was nearest her, leaving out ourselves and the other customers waiting further along the bar. We gave up and booked a taxi at reception to go to Aberdeen City-Centre.
Before leaving the bar, another gentleman, who was equally annoyed, left to complain to reception about the service, or rather lack of service. My Husband was standing there at the time to ask about a taxi and when the gentleman voiced his opinion, the receptionist was very off-hand with him. When he left reception to return to the bar, she said to my husband "What does he want me to do about it" I was so shocked.
I have never encountered such a lack of hospitality or professionalism in any hotel anywhere in the world.
We left the hotel to go to our function and mentioned to the taxi driver how appalling the hotel was and he said he was not surprised; he told us that the hotel had a bad name in Aberdeen and that the staff were all the same from the manager down. He also told us that the staff didn't bother too much with the cleaning as it was mostly "Oilmen" who stayed there and they didn't really care.
Well I beg to differ, my husband is in the Oil Industry and he likes a clean room and bathroom just as much as I do.
There is nothing that could not be sorted at this establishment; some staff changes or re-training in hospitality and professionalism, a good crew of cleaners, with clean mops and lots of bleach and some maintenance would bring the Hotel back to a decent standard.
We certainly won't be staying there again and would not recommend it to anybody; in fact I'm not sure I could bring myself to book a stay in another Holiday Inn in case it turned out to be as bad as this one.
Sadly when we left the next morning, the glass façade and the main entrance doors were still filthy and in need of a good clean.
It's such a shame as this used to be a very nice hotel.
I look forward to reading your response to the matters highlighted in this correspondence.
I await their response. I'll let you know what happens.
Thanks for reading and avoid this place, need I say more.
Update 28th March 2006.
Today I was surprised to receive not one but two replies to the letter I sent complaining about the Holiday Inn in Aberdeen. The first is from The Intercontinental Group's Head Office which is the address I directed my letter to and the second is from the General Manager of the Holiday Inn in Aberdeen who was obviously requested by Head Office to respond to my letter of complaint.
I will detail below some of the finer details of their responses.
From The Intercontinental Hotels Group Head Office:
Thank you for taking the time to write and inform us of your recent experience with the Holiday Inn Aberdeen. Your comments are greatly appreciated, since they give us the opportunity to uphold our standards and to ensure that we provide the highest quality of service to our guests.
We regret your disappointment and would like to extend our sincere apologies for any inconvenience you may have encountered.
Our department has recorded your comments for reporting purposes and has passed them on the management of the hotel for their review. The General Manager, ******, will be in touch with you shortly, if he has not already done so. We are confident that the appropriate corrective action will be taken where necessary.
They continue with another apology and end the letter.
The second letter is from the General Manager of the Holiday inn and this arrived in the same post and the contents are as follows: Please note I have inserted Blah Blah's in places where copying their letter is not necessary.
I refer to your letter of the 15th March 2006 sent to our Guest Relations Department regarding your stay, Blah Blah Blah. Your letter was forwarded to me on Blah blah to respond to your complaint in my capacity as General Manager Blah Blah.
First and foremost please accept my profound apologies for the unsatisfactory stay you experienced. From you're your detailed and comprehensive letter it is very clear that we failed to deliver the standard we promise to our guests blah blah blah.
I can assure you that as our customer your satisfaction is most important to us blah blah.
I have fully discussed your comments with my Management Team in order to improve our services in future. Your comments regarding cleanliness, condition and service issues have been fully taken on board and will result in action being taken.
In view of your disappointment and by way of apology please find enclosed a cheque for £50.00.
I am very pleased with the response to my letter; it looks to me like someone got their knuckles rapped. It is nice to see that this company did something straight away and encouraged the General Manager to not only respond, but to respond swiftly.
I just hope they do get the hotel cleaned up.
As for me, I'm off to spend my Fifty Pounds before Hubby gets home. LOL