The Majestic hotel, Harrogate review (Room 205) (6/10) ” Quite unprofessional staff, no luxury touches, good setting, but you pay for it”.

Good

” Central location”.
” Consistent WIFI”.
” Gym, steam room and bar present”.
” 2 keycards for room issued”.

Bad

“Short extension lead on kettle base”.
“Squeaky shower pressure adjuster”.
” Room smelt of damp – extractor fan issue ? “.
” Lack of bathroom provisions”.
” Tetley in the home of Yorkshire tea ???”.
” Expensive for the service provided”.
” No special luxury touches or extras”.

Atmosphere

Reception area was fairly small. It was difficult to locate the lifts and bars since they were tucked away around corners. Double tree by Hilton Swindon had no such issues with a more open plan layout providing greater reception appeal.

No keycard was required for the rooms’ power activation unlike in Swindon. I didn’t like the blank design of the keycard however as it felt a little boring. This could have used a design or the hotel logo to increase it’s aesthetic appeal. This wore out after just one day as well which was disappointing.

There was a Long-winded checkin process since the receptionist couldn’t locate my name. I suggested the time and name of my room mate that I knew had checked in earlier that day yet it still took a significant length of time. He insisted on several occasions that my name wasn’t on the system. After several times he finally noticed my name and apologised before issuing me with my keycard. This was quite unprofessional unlike his formal attire, and dampened the experience from the word go.

The central location was very useful though, with just a 10 minute walk to the train station. It was also easy to access the local shops and eateries such as McDonald’s.
There was quirky decor throughout the hotel providing it’s character.

There was a pleasant looking bar and gym with steam room facilities. This kept things on par with Double Tree by Hilton, Swindon. The noise level in the room was low which was refreshing after the automobile symphony of the Hogs back hotel.

Tea provisions

2 ginger flavour tea biscuits were provided which didn’t quite live up to the chocolate cookie and Kitkat of Swindon. It did however alleviate sharing issues such as those suffered in the Hogs back hotel of Farnham, Surrey.

In addition to the 5 sweetener sachets and there were 4 brown sugar sachets which was on par with Swindon. There were also 4 white sugar sachets which is 2 more than Swindon. The count of brown and white sugar was also equal unlike in Swindon, which is a major plus. The total count for sweetening of 13, was also better than Swindon.

The 1 litre kettle capacity was quite average. The dial being present outside the vessel was preferable to inside however. This could have done with being a little larger though, especially considering the generous mug sizes. There were 2 of these large mugs though which was good. It was also nice to have reasonable capacity.
There were 4 caffeinated and 4 decaffeinated coffee sachets resulting in 8 coffee sachets in total. This was 2 more than the number of tea sachets supplied. I was not in favour of this slight but noticeable bias though. It was a shame to not have equal numbers of coffee and tea since this has been the case in far cheaper hotels such as the Angel of Cardiff.

There were 4 Tetley tea and 2 Yorkshire teas from Harrogate. Why they were not all Yorkshire breakfast rather than an inferior brand I was not quite sure. Especially considering harrogate is where Yorkshire tea is made. There were also no fruity flavours as were present in Swindon. Some extra tea flavours such as Earl grey or Chamomile would have also improved the selection.

6 whole milk UHT tubs were supplied which felt like the correct number for that many cups of tea.
There were 2 silver teaspoons of large size which were well married with mug sizes.
The location of the tea provisions however, was poor. They were all hidden away in the cupboard, which meant both the tea provisions and kettle were a distance from the plug sockets which was quite impractical. It also meant you had to move everything out onto the desk to use. The kettle had an extremely short base lead aswell which meant it had to be perched on the edge of the desk and made it tricky to plugin.
Whilst the tea provisions were replaced daily, they were not replaced identically since no sweeteners were supplied for the second day.

Breakfast

The breakfast room was quite civilised, possessing well set tables ready for drinks and plates. The coffee and tea could be ordered when staff approached the table which they did early on in the service.

The coffee and tea was hard to distinguish however, since both were served in unlabelled silver jugs. I therefore accidentally poured myself 2 unwanted cups of coffee.

The cooked breakfast selection was good. Complete with mushrooms, cooked tomato, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, fried eggs, sausages and black pudding. There was also the more continental option of toast and jam.

The plates used were of large size which was sufficient for the works of a full English. Having the cutlery pre-setout made life easier also. At a glance then, dining in a clearly traditional and grand room of large proportion, appeared superficially, rather ostentatious.

After queueing up for a long time however, I was too hungry to actually take much of this in. Then there was the quality of the food and drink itself. On lifting the lid on the coffee and tea jugs, the teabags were left in to infuse the tea, yet weren’t even separated from each other. One of my neighbours got provided with a 50:50 milk/tea concoction which he found did not appease his unpicky palette. Worse still, the mugs supplied were very small, resulting in difficulty picking up and in lack of enjoyment. Clearly low capacity was a slight issue. There were no takeout cups which were supplied in Holiday inn express, Birmingham or paper bags for breakfast. I feel a trick was missed there.

The breakfast trays were mostly full enough, although on both mornings there were no hash browns on my approach. All of the food was of low temperature so the trays clearly were not heated. The sauces were provided via a ladle and bowls following the service line. There was plenty of these, and the selection included HP and tomato sauce which was good.

The fried eggs were as slippery as a jellied eel, so were tricky to pickup and had the texture of jelly which was quite disgusting. The mushrooms were also very greasy, and had no real flavour. The hash browns were rather nice with some lumpy potato inside ,so not totally smooth. This is my preferred texture for hash browns. The baked outside rather than deep fried, helped keep these healthy, which was also good. The bacon had plenty of uncrispy lard around the edge which was slimy and tasteless, yet it was still succulent and not overcooked. It had no real flavour though.

The sausages and black pudding in my opinion were the best 2 items. Like the rest of the food they were both cold, although the sausage was in no way greasy. It also had no gristle and a smooth texture. The flavour was good aswell with a reasonable taste from the cooking juices. The black pudding was tasty and rather standard. It could have just been taken out of a packet though. I think my enjoyment of black pudding in general probably overshadowed my better judgement therefore.

The aftermath of a large full English before checkout made me feel rather sick throughout the day. This suggests that something was not properly cooked or heated and may be a result of leaving food to get cold on the trays.

 

Washing and cleaning

What was rather disappointing was the presence of just 2 bottles of cleaning product. These included one hair and body shampoo and one bath or shower gel. Many of the more expensive hotels have at least 4 products including conditioner and body lotion, as was the case in the Double tree of Lincoln. Some moisturiser or body lotion would have also been nice for face washing.

These products were not replaced consistently either, meaning I could not wash my hair on the second day of my stay. This was quite disappointing.

The presence of a shower cap was useful, although not required on this occasion, and the soap in a box was good for hygiene. The in-box provision showed it had not been used previously, and was of reputable brand.

There were 2 accessible toilet rolls. These weren’t hemmed in, as was the case at the Sheffield Copthorne hotel. These were also quilted, giving the feel of luxury. The 2 large towels on a heated towel rail, when combined with one floor towel, appeared sufficient for drying 2 guests. A spare may have been appreciated though. The heated rail helped buffer this issue however by quickly drying the towel for subsequent uses.

The main issue with the room was the smell of damp. This caused me some respiratory issues during my degree, after prolonged exposure. It can be simply resolved through fitting an effective extractor fan. This had also been encountered in the Roundhouse at Bournemouth, but that was far cheaper so there is no real excuse here.

2 large litter bins were apparent. These were of superior size to most hotels. There was a traditional bathroom door bolt system which worked well.
The shower had good pressure and temperature but was only just warm. Simple to adjust though. It was at the point of quite nice, yet not the guilty pleasure temperature which tempts you to remain for finger wrinkling.

There was also a bath which was operated with separate controls. This made operation of both the shower and bath simpler to negotiate. It was a shame that the shower knob made a noise on adjustment, as this felt a little budget. It was much the same as Hemel Hempstead, holiday inn which was over 20 pounds cheaper.

Chilling in your room

The TV was of average size which wasn’t overwhelming, unlike the huge TV of Park plaza, Nottingham and it had a reliable signal with crisp picture quality. This was far superior to the small and less crisp TV of Days inn, Peterborough.

Plug sockets were lacking with only 2 easily noticeable. This was 3 less than Double tree by Hilton, Swindon. There was also not one located near the kettle. This restricted tea making to the realms of impracticality requiring considerable movement to setup a cup of tea. Many of the cheaper hotels such as Holiday inn express of Birmingham had their plug sockets close by and outside cupboards which helps accessibility and use.

7 wooden hangers were present which seemed a strong count, although park plaza, Nottingham had 16 which were also wooden. This was clearly a better number. It isn’t quite perfect as a count of 10 though since for a short stay you don’t generally need 8 items each hung up.
An Iron, ironing board, trouser press and hairdryer were all present, albeit not the most obviously situated. This was a practical array of items however.
There was no noticeable safe, which is rare for a hotel at this price point. Whilst I did not require the use of this, I felt it should have been present.

For the first time in a while, the beds had padded backrests 🙂 🙂 This is not the case in
lots of hotels such as the Swindons’ Double tree.

The room was spacious and had 3 chairs for relaxing. The most comfortable was strategically placed by the desk, with the other 2 facing the TV. They had a firmer setup for more upright seating. I felt this was good, since I enjoy sitting with a rather upright stance for posture. I do understand though, that for some guests, this may have benefitted from a cushion.

The mirrors were of large size, with one of half height in the bathroom, one of half height in the main room, and a full height mirror on the side of the wardrobe. This was sufficient for reflection, whilst not mind blowing.
Drawers were small for storage, yet numerous. Under TV storage was good, although I couldn’t understand why this was being used for tea !!

WIFI connected automatically with no login information. This was much better than in the Roundhouse, Bournemouth where the password was only available from reception. It was also preferable to the moderately efficient checkbox, of Holiday inn express , holiday street, Birmingham. WIFI speed seemed consistent, and enabled program downloads with no issues. Far superior then, to the ultra slow WIFI of the Peterborough Days inn which struggled with Rick Stein.

The bed was very comfortable and was not too firm. The covers and room were not sweaty or overly hot despite the heated towel rail, and the bed was made well on room service. It was however, made with 2 rather than 1 pillow, which wasn’t my preference. Due to good comfort levels and that just being my personal opinion, this didn’t seem like a problem though.

Price

At a touch over £100 per night, the hotel was the most expensive I have stayed at. With the inclusion of a full breakfast though this didn’t seem too dissimilar from the Double tree by Hilton of Swindon, which was £82 excluding breakfast.

In Swindon there was Apple cider like in most hotels, the majestic hotel had no cider in stock though. This dampened the mood in the bar, since me and a friend couldn’t then purchase their drink of choice. This should be improved, especially considering the high price of the stay. In Swindon there was Apple cider at £3.60 a pint, yet even the Diet Coke was £3.15 which wasn’t far off this.

For the product therefore, I feel the value was reasonable, if a little mediocre.

Customer service

It was good to not be encouraged to sign up for an optional deposit on checkin. This was the case in the Double tree by Hilton of Lincoln.
Staff were polite on checkin, yet rather slow and inefficient due to issues in finding my name. Despite an apology, this did use up a good 10 minutes of my life.

At breakfast, the staff seemed to struggle with directing guests to tables of an appropriate size, resulting in considerable queue length accumulation. On the second day, we were told a table that our friends were sitting at was taken. Clearly we were happy to sit with them. It all felt a little inefficient.

Summary

Desirable location, setting and atmosphere yet underwhelming service and products provided. Clearly some issues with the room and staff professionalism.

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