Great location, Bad Wedding experience!
Reviews are usually only written when an organisation goes above and beyond or is appalling, in this case, it is the latter. My Brother and now Sister-in-Law had their Wedding at the Macdonald Elmers Court Hotel & Resort on 8 September 2017. Considering that the Elmers Court Hotel has a reputation for holding Wedding ceremonies the Bride and Groom, friends and family expected nothing but the best, but what we received was the complete opposite:
• Upon getting to our rooms, there was no Wi-Fi as we were in the New Forrest and too far away from the Hotel to have any access to phone or Internet signal.
• My Mother liaised with the Mother-of-the-Bride and realised that she’d been overcharged for both of the rooms. (Being a Wedding party, we should’ve received a discount. My Mother quoted the discount code, yet had still been overcharged £60.00 in total).
• We then made our way to the Wedding room and saw a red carpet running in between the chairs. This wasn’t hoovered/cleaned and was therefore covered in mud and grass (obviously from a previously outdoor Wedding event). It also wasn’t laid flat, so the Bride was lucky not to have tripped up upon walking down the aisle!
• Following the Wedding, we awaited for the Afternoon Tea. After 50 minutes of waiting, I saw a staff member take some sugar to the table. I proceeded to liaise with the Father-of-the-Bride and ask what time food was being served, he responded he’d told the staff member we were ready when they were. Another 20 minutes passed, and the same staff member brought in a jug of water. Again I queried this with the Father-of-the-Bride. This time he approached the staff member who explained the receptionist hadn’t relayed the fact we were waiting to him. He then told the Father-of-the-Bride he’d get the food sorted.
• After the miscommunication with Afternoon Tea, we went into the room to wait for the food. Two selection of Afternoon Tea’s then arrived with finger sandwiches on the bottom plates, cakes on the middle plate and scones with cream and jam on the top plate. However, the Father-of-the-Bride challenged this with the staff member and stated that we should’ve also received a third selection too. The staff member apologised and said he’d resolve this.
• The Bride, Groom and Wedding guests began eating and it wasn’t until we had nearly finished the two Afternoon Tea’s that the staff member came back into the room. He then took away the two empty bottom sandwich plates and replaced them with a full sandwich plate and a full cake plate. He then apologised for the delay in serving the third selection of Afternoon Tea. We never received the third scone plate for our Afternoon Tea for which was paid for!
• By the time we finished our Afternoon Tea, we technically had 10 minutes to get back to our rooms, get changed into our Wedding party dresses/tuxedo’s and return back to the hotel for the arrival of the photographer. We, therefore, had to run 30 minutes late for the photographer and literally be ready ASAP. Again wasting precious photo time in which was paid for!
• During the Wedding party, friends and family were going to the wedding bar for drinks whereby there was only one member of staff. As you can appreciate this was getting busy.
• My Cousins asked for Jagger-Bombs, but this wasn’t possible as the bar didn’t have any Red-Bull!
• Friends and family were being charged different prices for the same drinks!
• My Partner proceeded to go to the hotel bar (which was next to the toilets). However, he was told that he wasn’t allowed to be served. He questioned this and was told they weren’t allowed to serve the Wedding party. My Partner responded and asked if they were allowed to serve hotel guests. The staff member said “yes”. My Partner proceeded to show them his hotel room key and repeated his order. The staff member still said he was part of the Wedding party and they couldn’t serve him. My Partner asked to speak to the General Manager, who agreed that the staff member shouldn’t have refused service and my Partner was provided with his beverage as a gesture of goodwill.
• Evening food was served, but none of the friends or family was told that this was being produced. There was also no system to prove that you were part of the Wedding party, so any guest of the hotel could’ve walked outside to have helped themselves.
• The food consisted of burgers, buns, sausages, salad and pasta. However, the sausages were supposed to be gluten-free (this wasn’t the case… It was requested due to allergies within the family!!). The burgers were literally inedible, the buns fell to pieces in your hands, there was no cutlery to take a salad from the bowls and no napkins either.
• No-one was also made aware of when the food was stopped being cooked, so if any friends or family didn’t realise food was being served or felt hungry later on the evening, it was too late.
• Staff was minimal and glasses were slowly but surely collected, as and when, but the food was left on the table for a couple of hours after people had eaten. And when guests were outside admiring the grounds, those who had attended the Wedding could still see that the Afternoon Tea had still not been cleared up either!
• The night ended and we all went back to our rooms. I fell asleep at 1 am, only to be woken up at 7 am with the pipes in my bathroom tapping consistently for 30 minutes. My hotel room was very dated, with wallpaper falling off, the seating cushion on the chair over-used, and stains on the nets and carpets. Being on the ground floor room, I was also able to hear other guests running/walking up and down the stairs (directly outside my entrance door) and proceeding to walk along their balcony to their entrance door.
• I went to have breakfast and was served by one member of staff, rushed off her feet serving the entire Wedding table. I checked in and asked for a full English Breakfast. My plate consisted of a small bowl of beans, an inch-wide hash-brown, half a black pudding, 1 bacon, 1 sausage and a handful of scrambled eggs. I, therefore, asked the staff member for some toast and went to get some juice. I ate my breakfast and had to chase my toast. The staff member apologised for not serving this sooner, she blamed it on the fact she’d asked another male to serve it and “you know what men are like”. I was never offered any tea or coffee, which was paid for/included in the breakfast package!
• I then packed and checked out soon after my mother, who told me that she’d queried her overpriced hotel room with today’s receptionist (9 September 2017). This staff member had given her a helpline number and told her they didn’t know what card number to refund it back too. I asked my Mum to give me her room invoice. I approached reception and explained that I used to work for a Bank and a refund doesn’t mean you get to choose what card to put your money back onto, it goes onto what card it came from, so please can they find my Mother’s pan number and refund her now. They explained they had a number of cards and didn’t know which one to choose from. I replied I’m telling them. They refunded the £60.00 overpayment there and then and provided the Mother-of-the-Groom with a new receipt to illustrate this.
However, if you feel that this is just one bad Wedding day experience, spend a one-off night in the hotel as a “secret-shopper” prior to booking your special day. You will soon see for yourself that this hotel needs some serious updating, organisation and staff-communication, and I’m sure you’ll quickly invest elsewhere.