I stay in hotels every single week and every now and then, things go wrong. But occasionally you get a stay that is a disaster from start to finish and oddly a large percentage of these types of stay seem to occur in a Hilton hotel. Indeed I can’t remember a stay in a Hilton hotel that has not resulted in me vowing never to return again.
So I arrived at the Hilton Newbury North around 7:30pm on a Thursday evening in November. Once again, we see that somebody has been to the EasyJet school of geography as this isn’t so much in North Newbury as it is North of Newbury.
My timing wasn’t great as I had arrived just as a bus full of foreign tourists had unloaded so the lobby area was chaos. I had to assume that somewhere beyond the crowd was a check in desk but as there were no staff on the entrance (don’t Hilton employ a concierge anymore) I had to wait (and wait and wait).
Eventually the crowd subsided and after some time I was checking in. I was “upgraded” to an “executive” room (which is always welcomed) and before long I was leaving the still heaving lobby and bar area and wandering down the rabbit warren of very tired corridors searching for my room.
Upon arrival the room itself was of an OK size although was rather bare and unwelcoming. The room had a very strong chemical smell to it and no air conditioning or ventilation. Opening the triple glazed windows revealed that the room is a matter of feet away from the M4/A34 roundabout which is always very busy. Also being on the ground floor meant that security would be a concern. I am guessing staying here on a warm summers day would be impossible.
At this stage I also discovered that my Executive Room did not have a safe and that the remote for the TV didn’t work. It also had a selection of water, wine and chocolate spread out on a side table with no indication if this was complementary or just part of the Hilton ever spreading mini bar. I ended up having to ask at reception to get the answer (it was complementary)
By now it was getting late so I went for dinner. Because of the location of the hotel, your options are limited to eating in as you are long taxi drive from the town centre.
Dinner itself was fairly average but as seems to be the norm for a Hilton, the cost of a glass of wine at £9 is just crazy. After a couple of drinks in the bar, I retired for the night.
In the morning I awoke with a pounding headache which I put down to the very stuffy unventilated room and the chemical smell
I went for breakfast and waited and waited. Plenty of staff were busy clearing tables and kept walking past me and the other guests waiting to be seated but not one member of staff acknowledged us. Would it really hurt to perhaps say good morning and explain that somebody would be with us shortly rather than just ignore us?
Eventually I was seated and ventured over to the hot buffet to find a rather disappointing selection of empty dishes sitting under a heat lamp. I went and helped myself to a coffee from the self vend machine before returning just as a “pot” of bacon was being put out and a fresh plate of fried eggs.
I filled my plate and returned to my table. Why there was no ketchup to be found anywhere is beyond me
The fried eggs were clearly not freshly cooked being totally solid. I have to guess they had been sat in the kitchen for some time. The bacon was very salty (cheap) and seriously over cooked. The rest was just as bad. For £15 this is disgraceful. One bite was enough for me to give up and leave.
Back in my room, I discovered that the bathroom was not only tired and worn but that it didn’t work very well. The shower gave out a dribble of water that was sprayed in all directions (except downwards) and that was at best tepid. I got cold and almost wet but felt somewhat short changed. The hot water in the taps was the same and I ended up having to shave in “almost” warm water.
With no breakfast, half a cold shower and a cold shave I really did not leave my room feeling ready for the busy day ahead.
I did raise these points at checkout but I got the impression the receptionist had heard them all before
So a disaster of a stay.
I thought I had hit rock bottom in Newbury hotels a few weeks ago. I was wrong. It could (and did) get worse and once again I have found a Hilton hotel that I will not be returning to.
It wouldn’t be so bad if this were not one of the more expensive hotels in the area that tries to set itself above the crowd. It fails at this especially when you realize that this is a number of miles outside Newbury.
If you are staying in the town, there are better hotels for less money.