Hogs back hotel review Room 221 (6/10) ” Focused on expense and not customer service”.

Good

” Free tea biscuits”.
” Wide range of tea sweeteners including brown and white sugar and sweetener”.
” Customer service – tea replaced quickly on request”.

Bad

” Only tea facilities for 2 teas”.
” Small kettle”.
” Noisy out of town location”.
” Snacks and wine not free but in room ?? !”.
“Keycard required appropriate swipe speed”.
” WIFI speed was poor”.
” Tea biscuits not replaced quickly”.
” £25 mandatory deposit”.

Atmosphere

On entry the staff were polite and welcoming. It was a little frustrating however to have to fill out a form of information. Hotel location was also a nightmare to get to with no tranquil surroundings … Located around 8 miles from Guildford train station entailed quite a trek. The room had a view of a plain carpark and a lot of roadnoise could be heard from the busy road nearby. Soundproofing of treble glazing could potentially ameliorate this.

There was a gym and pool to compensate for roadnoise noise with clearly labelled opening times on a form situated upon the room desk. This was clear and simple to locate and understand which was good.

It also included breakfast times which was good, although prices for all products were extortionately high. For one bottle of local cider produced within walking distance of the hotel a premium of £5.65 was charged after I asked for the best value cider.
The atmosphere at reception was a little awkward after multiple requests for extra sweeteners and tea biscuits. This could have been easily avoided by more generous room servicing. It was exacerbated by staff on reception not having access to the tea biscuits. Staff who did were those on housekeeping who’s English understanding did not seem perfect which just made matters worse. Extra was eventually provided after a wait though which was better than nothing.

Subsequent services only provided one pack of 2 small tea biscuits between 2 guests which were clearly inadequate in number. The room was also serviced very irregularly. When this was carried out, staff were not responsive to the demands for extra tea by providing more. They continued to service the room identically in defiance for customer preferences.

The contents of the room seemed highly impressive however with a provided bottle of Shiraz, one of sparkling water and another of still water. There were certainly a few luxury touches. This was only supplied at a cost however removing all of this appeal. This was only detailed in a small note nearby, clearly aiming to deceive guests.

There was no bar area located which was viewable from reception as it was quite tucked away around a corner. It was not only tricky to locate, but also was not manned without a bell ring suggesting greater wait times due to it’s impractical location.

I was accused on checkout of consuming the entire tray of consumables. Assuming I had consumed the entire tray of consumables this would be fair enough. However I had simply moved them into a drawer to remove temptation. After long shifts and feeling very hungry I believe it was fair enough to do so especially considering high costs.

 

 

Tea provisions

1 border tea biscuit was provided like in the Days inn of Bristol which was a highly welcome addition. It was a shame replacements could not be quickly provided. Why not store these at reception ??

On service, 6 coffee sachets and 4 teas including 2 green twinings and 2 everyday twinings were supplied. This was preferable over PG tips but I was not keen on the green tea. It was a little disappointing to have all tea and sweetening condiments buried underneath all the coffees since I do not like coffee. Whilst I understood this was subjective, room servicing should have factored this in based on what had been used … It didn’t and the tea supplies were not routinely replaced on a daily basis.

A small kettle was supplied but not plugged in and lacked capacity and fullness markers. Fortunately this was larger than the puny vessel supplied at the Holiday Inn Express of holiday street Birmingham but was still a little disappointing. There were 2 average sized mugs which were okay.
4 generously sized semi skimmed UHT tubs were supplied along with 4 brown sugar sachets, 4 white sugar sachets, 2 sweetener sachets. This provided good quality and variety for sweetening which was positive although did highlight a lack of this for full fat milk choices.

It was a bit of a letdown with such a glorious sweetening count to only have access to 2 tea bags which I actually liked. A.k.a breakfast tea Twinings. The tea biscuit was pleasant however.

Snacks

With 2 mini pots of Pringles including salt and vinegar and original this seemed great. 3 Laila shot packets were provided along with the Shiraz and water glass bottles which contained Bombay mix, chilli lemon corn and Balti mix. These would all be pleasant extras if included but none of them were. Beside these tasty treats was a menu specifying the price for all of these items. This again seemed setup to trick and deceive guests into losing their mandatory deposits which I did not like.

 

Community areas

Access to the room from the corridor was quite temperamental. It often required multiple attempts and the appropriate speed whilst swiping. This was not ideal. Fortunately the keycard continued to work and did not wear out as is often the case.

The downstairs conservatory area looked luxurious with a pleasantly landscaped outdoors area which kept things looking nice. It was a little unclear however who was allowed to use this. The bar area was tucked away yet at least it was comfortable in feel and decoration.
Service could have been faster despite the bell and products were all vastly overpriced.

Price

The menu prices were expensive and the in room menu for provided goods that you were expected to pay for indicated a rather expensive stay. The mandatory deposit of £25 was a shame since this put pressure on instantly to spend money which I did not like. The fact that this cannot be returned till 3-5 days after checkout also seems a little unfair considering it is actually your money which hasn’t been used for anything.

£5.65 for a cider is the most I have ever laid and despite being highly enjoyable after a long work day it was still not worth quite that much. The wait at the bar for this for that price was not acceptable.

Washing and cleaning

A small vile of body moisturiser, body wash, conditioner and shampoo were provided. These were a little small and hard to squeeze like at St. Albans. The Copthorne sneezy tubes in Sheffield were far better. That said it was nice to have moisturiser and conditioner since these aren’t ubiquitously supplied.
2 full height body mirrors were provided on a pine wardrobe straight ahead from the bathroom exit. There was a clean and wide top half mirror by the bathroom sink.

Great for self reflection …

2 toilet rolls were supplied with some hand wipe tissues which was sufficient.
Whilst the shower looked as dated as the Hemel Hempstead holiday inn, it had far easier activation with the same outer ring for pressure and inner ring for temperature. Due to this ease of activation it was far more practical. It could do with modernising still though since the shower head height could not be adjusted. Temperature was easy to adjust however and the ability to change shower angle was nice.

The head height was too low for me though which made the shower experience a little less enjoyable. The bath which was present under the shower was good for practicality and 3 neatly laid out towels seemed sufficient for 2 guests. Additionally 2 spare towels were supplied in the wardrobe which was good.

There was a towel rail but this wasn’t heated unlike in some placed i had stayed previously which was a shame.

6 hangers for clothes felt slightly minimal after the 9 of holiday inn Hemel Hempstead although appeared just about sufficient. I liked how these were equally split 3 to each side of the wardrobe.

Spare pillows were also provided in the wardrobe which as good and the beds were made to my personal preference of just one pillow which again seemed great. A hairdryer was supplied which was good and the storage draws were spacious below the television. Perfect for storing not free Shiraz.

There was a bathroom lock which worked well with a nifty button activation system which seemed preferable to the twist lock activation typically apparent. Dust was apparent behind the bedside cabinet which indicated cleaning whilst good may not have been perfect or thorough.
This should have been meticulous considering the infrequent servicing provided.

Chilling in your room

A TV was provided along with 3 chairs and a small table. The roadnoise distracted a little from the viewing experience however which was a bit of a shame. With 4 easy to spot plug sockets, this number felt sufficient, yet a little low.

The TV had great picture quality and was of sufficient size. The signal was not intermittent unlike at the Roundhouse Bournemouth and it was easy to switch on and operate which was good after the issues encountered previously at the Copthorne Sheffield.

The WIFI was adequate for simple Google and Facebook searches and login was simple by a touch selection and subsequent simple tap to agree the terms and conditions. No email or password was necessary for login which was nice.
WIFI for downloads or program viewing however was very inadequate and rather feeble to be honest. This dampened in room entertainment considerably through restriction to mundane day time television.

No padded backrests on the beds was a little disappointing with no in room refrigerators meant a slightly off par stay with the Raddison Blu of Leeds or Holiday inn Hemel Hempstead.
The covers were not too thick which was nice, but why room servicing involved fully opening the windows and curtains I perhaps will never know.

Customer service

Whilst staff were welcoming I didn’t like having to sign forms on entry and having to put down a £25 pound deposit which dampened the mood significantly. Waiting for 3-5 working days for this to be refunded was not great also.

Staff pointed out the direction of my room and were well mannered but could have mentioned where the pool and gym were at the get go for more useful information. They did not have quick access to replace tea biscuits, accused me of consuming the entire on room tray of snacks and wine without even asking me about it and some members did not seem to speak great English. I had to wait for some time at the bar and main reception in the evenings for service and had to ask multiple times for extra tea provisions. The rooms were not serviced regularly and not thoroughly cleaned. Cleaners did not amend practise based on our customer preferences either.

Summary

A slightly dated stay in a hotel with the basics but let down by overpricing, too eager to squeeze guests for money and a lack of regular or effective room servicing. With renovation to modernise, removing ridiculous extra costs and more effective staff training the good range of facilities and accommodation equipment could be made highly profitable. The stay could be enhanced also by a better location and less noisy surroundings.

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