I was wide awake, having slept deeply for about 4 hours, after arriving from NZ to London, and falling into bed (finally). A 30 hour journey ended with my waiting to get into my hotel room, and so I spent a couple of extra hours walking about the streets of London before obtaining a key to the box I was to live in for the next 2 days.
I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to my surroundings on arrival in my room, but here I was now at some time in the night, acutely aware of 3 things:
- I’d landed in a room with no natural light, windows or fresh air and I was desperate to breathe.
- My room was the size of 2 double beds – I was in a double bed and there was about that much room again for my bags and a tiny desk.
- There was no top sheet on the bed – discovered because I was so hot and I couldn’t work the aircon unit out. Eeewww!!!
I’ve stayed in more hotels around the world than I’ve ever bothered to count, and as I lay there feeling the stuffiness of the room, I was trying to work out why there was no top sheet on the bed, feeling quite icky about the fact. I mean, in a hotel why would I assume that the duvet cover was in fact changed every day? In these days of working smarter and more efficiently this flew in the face of practicallity – more washing and more time for the maids to change the linen. So in my jetlagged, sleepy and hot state, I was literally fixated on the question of how many other bodies of strangers had been in this bed recently – and was I effectively sharing a bed with 10 strangers?
The rational part of my brain would not let this go – as I quickly dressed and headed downstairs for some real air. After pounding the pavements for a few minutes (it turned out to be 3.30am and I had no intention of straying past sight of the hotel doorstep) I returned to my box of a room and to my bed, fully dressed.
The very thought of sleeping for one more night in that room was enough to cancel the rest of my stay and make other arrangements. But I can quite clearly state that this midrange posh hotel (4 stars) in the middle of Londonwas most definitely the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed in. That includes some dodgy spots in Europe, and an old pub in Tauranga NZ. It was so awful that I’m now blogging about it.
You see it wasn’t just the room, and how awful it was being in there, but the attitude of the reception staff was unispiring (I’m being polite), and the restaurant staff were decidedly average in their attention to detail and given that this was a 4 star hotel, opposite the Hilton Euston, and the photos all looked pretty good when I booked it, my expectations were a long way from being met. In fact – I know some pretty average 2 star spots who could run rings around these guys.
So – in terms of customer service – the Ambassador Bloomsbury failed completely to unimpress me (and some others who stayed there too as part of my group).
The worst part is, that for them, I know they will be blissfully unaware of the fact that in this day and age, delivering underwhelming customer service to a person who speaks and writes about this is a silly thing to do, because look what ends up happening. And this is the same for many businesses these days. The ability for customers to share with their friends and colleagues thier good and bad customer service experiences is multiplied so many more times than a few years ago.
Businesses – especially those in the hospitality industries – simply cannot afford to be complacent about this. Customer service is what wins or loses customers, and builds or destroys reputations.