OULTON HALL – ADVICE FOR POTENTIAL GUESTS
1) Don’t assume that if you book a room, that you will actually get a room.
We booked perhaps 9 or 10 months in advance – rooms, tee times, restaurant times. The tee times and restaurant times were in place when we arrived, but despite the fact that all of these were sent in one communication, the hotel ‘made a mistake’ and had us down for the room bookings two days later.
There was a wedding on, and several indicators made us realise pretty quickly that we had been ‘bumped’, most likely for more wedding guests than they initially expected. Reasons for suspecting that?
– They came up with a plan B a bit too quickly, a plan we believe they already had in place.
– The taxi driver taking us to their sister hotel (in Leeds city centre!) told us that this happened a lot.
This meant no access to a spa, one of the key reasons for booking this place. No explanation was offered for this ‘mistake’, but of course we know what happened. Weekend already pretty much ruined, but it would get worse…
2) Don’t assume if you have booked the restaurant, that you will eat in the restaurant.
We returned to the hotel the following day, thinking they would be keen to make up for already having spoiled the weekend – a forlorn hope. After we had finished golf and went to check in at about 3.30pm, we were told that two of our four rooms were still not ready, despite the rule being that people leaving rooms should check out by midday. We then asked to confirm our dinner booking time only to discover that we had been ‘bumped’ from the restaurant, and were to eat in what is not much more than a ‘snack bar’ by the 18th green. We complained and were given a much later time than what we had booked in the restaurant. We finished eating at about 11, and slept very badly as a result.
3) Expect to be asked to pay for service even when you don’t get any.
When we finally ate in the restaurant, not long before first light, we were handed a set menu with a distinctly unremarkable selection on it – very few of the items appealed. We queried this and were initially told that was all we were allowed. We were then told we could order steaks off the proper menu, but that the prices were such that they wouldn’t stretch to a starter or main. We were told they were sold out of everything else on the main menu – busy night the night before apparently. I pointed out that they have these things called supermarkets that are open every day where you can stock up… We were then served a fairly poor meal, although one of the pork dishes was unavailable and they substituted it with a pork dish from the main menu (you know – the one where everything was supposedly sold out?). At the end of the meal, we were charged for service…no really we were. I told them we wouldn’t be paying that and they took it off. Then during the night, the service bill was pushed under one of our doors. We went to reception and told them again we wouldn’t be paying that.
4) Don’t be fooled by the word ‘Spa’
In essence, the facilities are what you would expect in a leisure centre – pool, steam room, jacuzzi, and what I think was supposed to be a sauna. In essence, it was a wooden shed where the temperature was no different inside to outside. I half expected to see a hoe, a spade and a rake, and a disorientated gardener wandering about wondering who had nicked his shed. Why aren’t these facilities checked?
5) Don’t expect to still be financially secure after your stay.
The ‘champagne bar’ appears to cater to the demographic that the name suggests. Most of us had beers, not pints, they only do some sort of ‘schooners’ – basically two-thirds of a pint. We had a guessing game as to how much they would rip us off for our two-thirds pints – £4.50ish as it turned out.
All in all our worst experience in 15 years of going on these weekends. Major fall from when it used to be a DeVere. We were made to feel like second-class citizens who didn’t matter to them. It’s a shame because the golf course is good, but we will never, ever return, or consider a ‘Q Hotel ever again (Wonder what the ‘Q’ stands for? Questionable Quality?…