This review concerns the Holiday Inn - Belfast City Centre which is in a fantastic location near to restaurants, bars and the handy Europa Shopping/Transport Centre. I am a regular traveller to cities across Europe and am a member of the Priority Club which is part of the Holiday Inn group. I have stayed at a number of Holiday Inns' and have always previously gained a good experience.
I stayed at this Holiday Inn on Sunday 10th February 2007 for work related reasons. The hotel is easy to get to from anywhere in Belfast and appears to be in a safe location. Upon arrival and tired after a flight and tour, we were greeted (or not as the case will be) by a sole receptionist. The welcome was non existent and bordering on rude and was certainly not a good start. Clearly not happy with her job, I could not see any other hotel staff in the very large but attractive foyer/reception area. We were given a room on the third floor after the only conversation - regarding the location of the lifts.
Arrival at the room did not improve the initial experience. Although the room was spacious with usual city hotel facilities (including good heating/air conditioning) I found the room to be generally dirty. The room did not have much clothing storage space, no in room safe and an empty mini bar. There was however coffee and tea making facilities. The television Pay Playstation handset was on the floor and broken on our arrival.
Now to the bathroom. There were two separate hairs in the bath (of short length, one light brown and one dark brown). I then found the bath to have large soap deposits on one corner. This bath had quite obviously been uncleaned between the last guest and me.
Considering the cleaning standards, we did get woken up by repeated knocks on the bedroom door at 7am by cleaning staff that wanted to see if we had left yet. Check out is at 12 noon...
Whilst visiting the hotel, we used the Spirit Health Club facilities and the main (only) Junction Restaurant for breakfast.
Spirit Health Club:
The health club again is of good size with good facilities. However, this is let down by both staff and cleanliness. Both the receptionist and massage therapist was unhelpful and unwelcoming. The men's changing area was extremely dirty with hairs and fluff across the entire floor. The men's toilets in this changing room had such a nasty smell, I was nearly sick and needed to shower afterwards. The changing room or toilets clearly did not get cleaned since Friday with no visible weekend cleaning staff whilst we were visiting.
Staying with the Spirit Health Club, the steam room was defective and closed. Other guests were complaining about the seven children causing a disturbance in the pool, which the only receptionist did not manage to control (or want to) and I was unable to use the small Jacuzzi due to sheer number of users. Probably a one off, but I was put off using the sauna and poolside shower area due to one male guest spitting.
Junction Restaurant - Breakfast:
Finally, we paid extra for breakfast. We shouldn't have! Breakfast times are between 6am and 10am. We arrived at the Junction Restaurant at 9.20am. The food is served yourself. Food was left on the hot counter. The chef was no where to be seen for the entire meal. The eggs were left hard and greasy and had obviously been there for a while. The beans had formed a hard solid mess and the sausages were cold, hard and partially burnt. The toaster burnt the toast. The bacon was okay though! The waiting staff was clearly embarrassed with the food appearance on my plate. I like my food and eat plenty of it, but for the first time in as long as I can remember; I left it - apart from the bacon. Would we have dinner here or use the bar - nope! We wouldn't risk it.
Check out uneventful. No question of "How was your stay?" but at least this was the first friendly staff member we met.
In summary, this hotel good do so much better for itself. It needs improved cleaners (with watches!), reception staff with customer service skills, chefs that stay on until the end of breakfast (not leave over 40 minutes before), and a new health club franchise - Spirit was awful. Maybe a few more staff dotted around would be good to - there was no apparent concierge, no porter, no duty manager, only one hotel receptionist and only cleaners at 7am!
Reading other reviews, inconsistency is obviously a problem. This was a Sunday stay, but there cannot be an excuse. When they are still taking £135 for a standard room with breakfast, Holiday Inn needs to at least provide a standard service.