My recent experience (March 2013) at Charlton House has definitely turned me off this and the Bannatyne Hotel group, and their very empty commitment to “exceed my expectations”.
Four miles from Charlton I was rear ended in an unsettling car accident and I was looking forward to a comfortable stay at Charlton after this accident and a lengthy flight from Montreal and drive down through Bath. This was at least my 5th visit to Charlton and, despite requesting at least four times, including that morning by email, that there be no down or feather bedding or cushions in my room I found it with five such cushions that had to be removed. It is a shame that so many hotels are inclined to put in more feather and down furnishings because, even when cleaned properly, they are a serious source of allergic reactions for many people. It is also lumpy and not that comfortable and I have heard many people complain about it. On every single visit I have asked for no feather or down in my room, it has been agreed and every single time I have had to stay in a room that has had feather and down. Unless it is removed from the room before cleaning (or not in the room at all) I suffer with asthma, itchy red eyes, etc. and have to take medication because the hotel doesn’t really give a damn about a request that they have agreed to. For a hotel that has a spa, with the allusion of some concern for a guest’s health, to fail to respect a guest’s specific request is certainly not exceeding any expectations. This and the few places where I was able to sit in the common areas (without down cushions) made for an unpleasant stay.
The spa is increasingly shabby - in my last three stays there has always been something that is not working – a shower, a hairdryer, etc. It is not a very good spa, more inclined to try to sell guests various cosmetics and extras. The dining room is declining in choice and quality and I have a big problem when any place charges more than 10 GBP for a gin & tonic and not mix it as requested. Most of the staff is pleasant but I really have a problem being given a menu and simultaneously asked what I would like. My room had one lamp and the light over the sink not working.
Sometimes a sorry is not enough for things going systemically wrong. I was really looking forward to this stay after arriving from Canada, and it was not great – it was a great disappointment. I expressed my dissatisfaction while there and there was no response. I dropped the GM a note and said that the stay was not worth the charge and I requested an adjustment. The response (without prejudice?) was to question how many times I had stayed, and an offer for a future upgrade, assuming there would be one (and there won’t). I have already had upgrades and it made no real difference. Charlton claims to have had more investment made since Bannatyne took over. I frankly don’t know where. The Monty brand has gone. The spa artwork has gone. The charm and any soul it had has gone. Better to spend more and stay at Babington House, with much more charm, appeal and responsive management – even Charlton’s manager agrees.
Newbridge Hill, Bath
Russel Street, Bath
2 / 3 South Parade, Bath
Lower Bristol Road, Bath
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Address: Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4PR, United Kingdom