Fawlty Towers: a taste of bad hotels

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Some reviews the Good Hotel Guide receives are so bad they would be funny if they were not true. We call them Fawlty Towers reviews after the sitcom of the same name based in a Torquay hotel and run by the infamous Basil Fawlty with his wife Sybil and hapless waiter Manuel.

Here’s a taste of the latest:

‘On arrival left to carry our own bags and find our room. Hardly a welcome either. Room large but very tired. Faded settee, curtains hanging loose from the curtain pole, rusty radiator. I could go on! Saving grace was a small but newly refurbished bathroom, although the bath had a large chip in the bottom, which had not been covered up. Breakfast won the greasy spoon award by a mile, plus cheap orange juice from a packet. No yogurt etc. Had asked on arrival for a Sunday paper. Quickly told the paper shop was a mile away in the Village. As we went through the front door, having checked out, (carrying our own bags) the receptionist called out: “Have you paid your bill?”

‘I had seen a “rate” for this luxury hotel on various websites but it was like pulling teeth to get them to honour it! Not a good start. On arrival we were frogmarched to a room that was frankly appalling. A hole in the ceiling, fire detector ripped off the wall, dark, mouldy bathroom, manky carpet. We dialled for a polite word with Reception. “What’s wrong with it?” was the reply. “How long have you got?” was our response. We were taken to a satisfactory room, with a bit of seating, dreadful lighting . At dinner, nice staff, nice dining room (lots of bulbs out, chipped water jug). The dinner was satisfactory, wine and drinks prices were eye-watering. Next morning, daylight showed the flaws and lack of maintenance in the place. Windows falling out and held open or closed with pegs, knackered carpet, a few flies. I don’t think we will go back.’

‘Standards at this luxury hotel have fallen since I was last there, perhaps 15 years ago. I’m not talking about the hotel which is as good as it was then and possibly better. No the problem is a significant minority of the male guests. Despite gentle encouragement from the hotel, which suggests that gentlemen could wear a jacket and tie, some men think that attire appropriate for a café in a motorway service station is also fine for the exquisite dining room of this hotel. In doing so they completely ruin the aesthetic of the dining room which thus can only be truly appreciated when it’s empty.’

‘ Our main complaint was the constant music being played all day. While having a delightful meal in the restaurant we were subjected to Celine Dion and rapping on repeat play far too loud. Why spoil a lovely environment with inappropriate music? We really enjoyed staying at this excellently run hotel apart from the music.’