Last week while I was on holiday in Scotland we had a fabulous meal at the Ardanaiseig Hotel in Argyllshire, where Chef de Cuisine is Gary Goldie, Chef of the Year, Scottish Hotel Awards 2011. We enjoyed it so much we went back the following day and spent time at the hotel and exploring the gardens. On both visits we received a warm welcome and attentive service.
Compare this to another local hotel. Same star rating, equally impressive location and stunning views across Loch Awe.
Sadly the same could not be said for the impression it left on us.
As we drove up to the entrance a sign directed us to the back of the building. I could appreciate they did not want cars parked at the front, interrupting the views. However, grand as the front entrance was, the back was far from impressive. As we approached the car park, we felt as if we were getting the evil eye from someone sheltering from the rain under the archway, smoking a cigarette. We could only assume form his attire that he was a hotel employee.
On entering the car park, we passed unsightly equipment – a rusting barbeque and other dishevelled tools. The back of the hotel was far from attractive and at this point I almost suggesting turning round and heading back to the Ardanaiseig. We carried on and down the back steps, passing the window to either the cleaning cupboard or kitchen, whose cluttered windowsill was laden with cleaning products. Then into the back corridor, only to walk past the gents, with the door wide open and the urinal in full view.
I’d love to say this could be forgiven had our afternoon tea made up for it – it didn’t. We waiting over half an hour and when tea did finally arrive, it was luke warm!
What a waste. This hotel could have been fantastic, had someone just thought through the customer journey and taken a leaf out of the Ardanaiseig’s book.
Hear it from the experts. Join me on my regular FREE interviews when I talk to hospitality experts and specialists and ask them to share their insights, strategies and secrets that can help to give your hotel a competitive edge. Find out more and register here.