Jeff Barr's Blog

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Do All English Hotels Suck?

I have been traveling to the UK, on and off, for a number of years. I have yet to stay in a hotel which was up to my standards, and my standards aren’t that high.

In the last 90′s I was in London on a regular basis for a series of consulting projects. I stayed in the city a number of times, often near Trafalgar Square. I remember small rooms, dark hallways, and plumbing that was apparently older than the Queen of England. I had a project out in the suburbs once, and I stayed at a truly dismal hotel in a forgotten little town called Burgh Heath.

I’ve been to the offices twice in the last two years, and I’ve had the distinct displeasure of staying in Marriott properties. I stayed in the “regular” Marriott in Slough last year. This time I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott, also in Slough. I haven’t linked either of those, since they deserve no attention and certainly no link love. Both of these hotels “feature” small, cramped hallways with low ceilings, dark and depressing rooms, and not much else to recommend. With the notable exception of the restaurant staff (in both places), the hotel staff were generally friendly and helpful.

Neither hotel is located convenient to any off-site restaurants or shops, and I don’t like to drive in the UK, so I had no choice but to use the on-site restaurants. I don’t know what it is about the Marriott restaurant staff, but there’s really a problem. The staffers are slow, indifferent, forgetful, and lazy. The service is slow, and the overall quality of the food is mediocre. Menu selections are limited, and there’s really nothing to recommend here. In both hotels, guests went unserved while staffers hung around the cast register or chatted with their co-workers.

Bill Marriott has always made a big deal about service, but this message has yet to reach the United Kingdom.