dont know how they got marque of excellence
arrived friday evening, had to wait till one of the reception staff appearred, when she did, she had about as much personality as a wet lettuce, could not be bothered, think it might have been end of her shift. Room ok, but bathroom smelt of stale urine, we had to keep shuting the door to keep the smell out of the room. When my husband booked this hotel he was told it was in the centre of birmingham, wrong its about 25 minutes outside and it will cost you 15.00 if you want a taxi to take you to birmingham. Restaurant- the food was ok on a night and the staff in here i did find helpful and cheerful, breakfast was ok but plain and not a lot of choice - stopped in hilton miles better, also food a bit dried up.
first time in ramada - never again will stick to hilton for a more up market hotel.
Ramada Last Resort
As mentioned by others, the outside is fine. The trek to the room was tedious, and the lift system confusing. The corridors give a 'tired' impression, and likewise the rooms, which are in much need of refurbishment and carpet cleaning! Lumps of rotten wood had fallen off the balcony railings, and no attempt had been made to clean them up. The room was very warm, but there was no window that could be opened, only the balcony door, which we did not consider a secure enough option.
We had two double rooms and asked for non-smoking rooms. The receptionist said that unless we stayed in the annex, none of the rooms could be guaranteed to be non-smoking as they all used to be smoking ones. The rooms allocated clearly smelt of smoke, and had ashtrays!
The restaurant was equally disappointing and over-priced. We sent back the cold chips and stale bread roll. At the conference the next day, the buffet was about the worst I have ever had at such an event and served in a cold room with cold plates!
This hotel is not value for money.
Attended an party here and stayed over
Great bedroom with a view over the spectactular lake
Service and food good
Loads of grounds for a good walk and a nice pool if you want a swim
Party went well and we all had a good time
Independent travellers get second class service
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin....
This hotel could have a lot going for it, but the many problems resulted in a stressful experience. They have lots of events, such as the wedding on the weekend we were there, and anyone not part of the events seems to get second class treatment. After many problems, I spoke at length to the manager to raise my concerns. She has only been there 3 weeks, and to be fair, did seem to act upon several of my comments, but there is still a long long way to go.
In the pouring rain, the family had to walk out to our car in the wet because the covered entrance had the wedding's Bentley parked in it - with only a couple of people around taking photos of it!
Later, the main entrance was blocked with smoking wedding guests, who didn't seem to think they should move to allow other people in and out.
On our first evening we ate in the restaurant. The food was very good, but the portions were small and it was very expensive. Two courses for four and a few drinks cost £112. Unfortunately, there are few other other eating places nearby.
On the second night we decided to eat in the bar to keep the cost down, but were constantly disturbed by rowdy, swearing, wedding guests, so after eating we retreated to our rooms.
Then at 10pm, with no warning, it sounded like WW3 had started as the wedding party let off their firework display. It was at this point I went to speak to the manager, to find one of the hotel's neighbours there complaining already. The duty manager was not particularly helpful and we both insisted on speaking to the manager.
I never received a booking confirmation. At breakfast, I was told I would be paying for one of our party as he was under 16. That was not my understanding of the booking, but having no paperwork, it was difficult to argue, and at £15 for breakfast, that was not good news. Having requested the staff member to double check, we were told there would not be a charge after all, but it didn't help our stress levels. After my conversation with the manager, I noticed a big note on the room list the following morning specifically telling them NOT to ask us about payment!
During the first breakfast, my wife caught her finger in the broken chair arm. The only comment we got from the staff was that many of the chairs were in a poor state! After my conversation with the manager, we spotted that many of the chairs had been changed.
The pool/spa is excellent. There is a good sized steamroom, sauna, and jacuzzi. However, you have to take your room towels with you, and since you only get one each (look in the wardrobe for the second), it is a real pain. You can get more towels from reception (if they have any left), but that is at the opposite end of the hotel!
I also spotted that on the Sunday evening (fortunately after we had left) it was reserved for a private event (see earlier comments re. second class guests!).
Saturday morning seemed to be a toddlers swimming session for members of the leisure club - it is not exclusive to hotel guests.
You have to hand over a room card to get a locker key and staff managed to 'lose' one of ours (but then suddenly found it again when the last of our group handed back their locker key!).
The beauty salon was small, but provided a good service. My wife had a massage and said it was very good. However, we were lucky to get a cancellation, so make sure you book direct well in advance.
The staff seem divided into two types. The more mature that understand what service means and try hard, but seem to be in the "junior" positions, and the younger ones in "supervisory" positions that come across as arrogant, and frankly, pretty incompetent. However, I would say that the receptionists were always very helpful and efficient.
The grounds are good, with plenty of green spaces and a river/lake. The hotel itself is quite a sprawling arrangement, and it is quite a trek from reception to most rooms, with lots of confusing corridors and stairways.
The two rooms were bright and clean but one smelt musty. The beds creaked terribly, in both rooms, and the plumbing seemed to make loud 'glooping' noises, seemingly at random times. The sheets were not changed during our two night stay, merely restretched.
The lift by our room was faulty, but I'm not sure where it went anyway!
The car park has a barrier for which you need a code - but no-one told us about that when we booked in. Tip - if you hold the 'call' button long enough, they'll open the barrier for you without having to return for the code.
The TV in the room is a nice big flatscreen affair. Unfortunately, it is positioned very low down, so you can only watch it by sitting bolt upright in bed. It is also difficult to find out how to get the free TV channels and the set-up is biased towards the pay services. (Tip - switch on by pressing a number key, then press the 'tv' button, then select channel using the 'P' up/down button).
In summary, this hotel is geared to events. If you want a relaxing weekend away as a couple or family, go elsewhere. The prices are clearly aimed at captive business clients on expense accounts and there seems quite a blatant aim to extract as much cash from each guest as possible. The manager really has her work cut out to turn this place around to make it attractive for all guests.