I usually try to measure my expectation of service and hospitality based upon location, numbers / covers and staff levels. My wife and I called in to the Swan after a lovely day in Grasmere. The Hotel is well presented and looks inviting, the signs outside entice non guests to call in and eat. Almost no customers should have been my warning.
We entered the bar and picked up menus and ventured to the garden. We both agreed to opt for the fish Friday offer so I went to the bar to order whereupon the barman told me we are not doing that offer any more, he than told me he had told a colleague yesterday to cover over the offer on all menus the day before (he obviously has ownership issues). I then asked what the difference was between fish Friday and fish and chips. He replied " the price ' i.e. Double the price. Now I'm no skinflint so the price didn't bother me but the tone of his response was just rude and lacking respect. I then ventured back to the garden to offer my wife another stab at ordering something that was available. We chose the steak and ale pie.
I entered the bar again, the barman was chatting to an off duty colleague eventually I got acknowledged so without a prompt I clearly requested two steak an ale pies, one with chips and one with mash. "Where are you sitting?" I replied, "in the garden as before' ! he said " two steak and ale pies, with mash or chips"? I then repeat myself and he then proceeds to tell me the total of my bill. I ask "can I order drinks"? He even got the drink order wrong asking if I want a pint of coke which I told hi no a half, he poured a pint anyway. Eventually I get what I want and leave. Absolutely no open warmth from this experience, merely a difficult awkward exchange of words and money.
Retiring to the garden, I meet the wife and recount my experience. We then wait for almost an hour for food to arrive. Meanwhile, Other customers enter then garden receive food and leave. Our meals arrive with a swift delivery and a statement (not an apology) "thank you for being so patient" we both had plates placed in front of us and the waiter left saying "enjoy your meals". No question regarding condiments and at this point I thought it best to eat and go, my inward anger was clearly not conducive to constructive criticism.... No food check back either.
The pie had no pastry base, the top was cremated and a piece of fatty gristle the size of my thumb inside.
I work in Hotels and I have to provide exemplary service levels, it's easier to get it right than wrong if you have competent trained staff.
This experience would make a great training video on how not to interact with guests.
By the way, three air fresheners on a shelf in the gents to mask the smell of urea demonstrates a lack of attention to detail, cleaning around urinals with the right chemicals will sort this.
Overall, a shocking display of attitude and service levels.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Built in 1650 as a coaching inn, and mentioned in a Wordsworth poem "The Waggoner", Macdonald Swan Hotel, Grasmere is one of the oldest hotels in the Lake District. Nestled in the Cumbrian countryside, with views across the Fells, our cosy and inviting hotel is ideal for walkers and cyclists. With open sunny vistas in summer and blazing log fires in winter, it's the ideal base for exploring the wonders of the Lake District National Park. Afterwards, relax with a delicious meal in our restaurant or enjoy the convivial atmosphere of the Walkers' Bar before retiring to a traditionally - furnished, comfortable room. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Macdonald Swan
- Macdonald Swan Grasmere
- Macdonald Swan Hotel Grasmere, Lake District