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Ramada Encore Bournemouth - Customer Service Needs Improving
Ramada Encore (Bournemouth)
Member Name: anonymili
Ramada Encore (Bournemouth)
Date: 28/08/09, updated on 06/08/13 (56 review reads)
Advantages: Clean spacious rooms
Disadvantages: Customer service levels let the hotel down
The Ramada Encore in Bournemouth is a well placed hotel within walking distance of numerous bars and restaurants as well as the beach and surroundings attractions. At the time of writing there are over 70 Ramada hotels in the UK.
ARRIVAL AND CHECK IN
The hotel was easy enough to spot from the main road as it has a large sign in front to indicate its presence. We drove into the car park at the rear of the hotel and managed to find a parking space. There were also guest parking spaces at the front of the hotel and underground parking available with a lift to bring you up to reception. The car park has around 80 spaces.
We were able to enter the hotel through the rear entrance and went to reception which was just a few yards away. There were two sets of people checking in but we didn't have to wait as one set had just finished as we approached the reception desk which was manned by two members of staff.
We had booked two rooms, one of which was prepaid so we made payment on the other room. We were not really welcomed to the hotel with a smile or any form of greeting. We had to ask which floor our room was on and we weren't given any instructions as to where the rooms were or even advised how to use the room key. We didn't bother asking, we assumed it would be easy enough. We noted that we were not offered a morning newspaper like the other people checking in before and at the same time as us were offered which we commented on to each other whilst we caught the lift to the 6th floor to our rooms. Maybe they thought we couldn't read?
We also noted that they did not mention anything about what time breakfast was or where it was. Lucky for us that we'd looked this up on the website prior to our stay.
Rating for this area: 2 out of 5
THE ROOM AND BATHROOM
It was fairly easy to get the room open with the credit card style room key and we just assumed we had to insert the key in the slot just inside the door when the lights wouldn't work. Inserting the key did the trick and we had a good look around. Our twin room was very clean and fairly spacious. We also went next door to check out our friends' room out which was a double room - it seemed slightly larger due to the double bed not taking up as much space; but it was just as clean as our room.
The bathrooms looked very luxurious on first inspection and clean towels of differing sizes were folded and placed neatly on the glass shelves. What I found interesting and a bit odd was the showers. There was no bathtub or shower room but floor drainage for the shower, I was concerned about water going everywhere before I used the shower but this wasn't as issue as there's a slight dip where the water drains so the water didn't go everywhere. One might say it was a minimalistic shower as there wasn't even a sliding door to close to prevent excess water flooding the bathroom floor - as I said it wasn't an issue for me but my friends staying in the room next door found it quite inconvenient as their water didn't seem to drain as easily as ours and managed to wet most of the bathroom floor whilst having showers. As we'd had a fairly long journey getting to Bournemouth due to Friday afternoon/evening traffic we needed to use the bathroom and were very annoyed to find the water in the sink in our bathroom did not drain. There was no way for us to rectify this so we had to call down to reception. Guess what? The phone in our room didn't work either.
Our TV greeted us as we entered the room and plugged in our room keys but the remote control didn't work. My friend called reception from next door and they said they were very busy and would send someone up shortly to sort out the phone, sink plug and TV remote. About fifteen minutes later someone from reception turned up with a new phone which she plugged in and which worked straight away. Must be a common issue with the phones - I can only guess. She took away the remote and said she'd bring us a new one after checking that it really wasn't working. She tried to get the sink to drain but like us, had no luck. She said she'd be back with a screwdriver. Ten minutes or so later the young man from reception came up to our room with a screwdriver and fiddled around under the sink till he managed to get the metal plug thingy (I don't know what it's called so my technical word for you today is "thingy") to work.
As we were getting ready to go out for the evening we didn't bother chasing reception for the remote again but just in case you are interested we asked again at reception after breakfast the following morning at around 11am and it was after 1pm (after we had called down yet again to ask when we might be able to get to watch the news or any TV) when someone eventually came along to our room with an assortment of remote controls and tried several of them before he found one that worked. We were told that they have a contract with the supplier which ran until September and that they had had lots of problems with the remote control. I said quite politely that they really should have got it sorted by now if it was on on-going contract and someone was supposed to be supplying working equipment. Surely they should have resolved it or gone to another supplier considering they're paying a supplier for something they're not providing?
Aside from these issues, we found the rooms comfortable and the air conditioning system, although someone temperamental initially worked fine for the duration of our stay and kept the room nice and cool. The beds were comfortable although the quilts were rather too thick for the time of year and there were no other bed supplies so we had to sleep with the air conditioning on to stay cool. Each bed had two pillows and as someone who normally sleeps with two pillows I found one pillow sufficient. I'd also mention here that there was a decent gap between the beds compared to some hotels which have literally 6 inches or so space.
The dressing table had the TV on it in the corner and tea/coffee supplies with a kettle. There was ample room on the rest of the table for our needs. As for wardrobe space, there was no actually wardrobe but an area with 8 hangers, 4 on each side which was rather awkward to use. Even at my height I had some difficulty reaching up to put items on the hangers. There was a full length mirror available beside the dresser and hairdryer and ironing board in the room too. A comfortable armchair in the corner of the room to sit on and your own personal safe in the room made the room complete.
As I said earlier, the rooms were very clean - I tend to check the window sills in hotels to see if they're grubby or clean and the window sills in our room were spotless and looked newly painted. In fact, the whole hotel seemed to have been recently redecorated or they could just have very thorough chambermaids/cleaners. Talking about the window sill, there was actually a fairly decent view from our room; if we glanced to the right we could see the sea which was a lovely sight.
The Ramada Encore Bournemouth has 113 rooms all of which have spy holes in the doors and chains to lock the rooms for added security.
Rating for this area: 3.5 out of 5
Our room price included breakfast for the duration of our stay and I have to say this is where the hotel excelled (the food not the service). When you arrive for breakfast you have to give your name and room number so they can tick you off the list but the staff didn't say anything about where to sit, they just assumed you knew what to do.
The breakfast available included:
* Fried eggs
* Scrambled eggs
* Fried tomatoes
* White & brown bread for toast
* A selection of cereal
* A selection of cheeses
* Orange/apple/pomegranate juices
* Cold water
* Fruits such as pineapple and melon
On the first day when we arrived for breakfast, we had to wait for a table. The whole breakfast is a help yourself buffet style, even with the tea/coffee which is a good thing as you don't have to wait for someone to bring over your drinks. On the other hand, the staff weren't the fastest at clearing the tables when people finished eating and there were people waiting around for tables to be cleared on both mornings of our stay.
There were some tables out on the patio where people could eat too if they wanted to smoke during or after their meals. Also I guess this is pretty handy when the breakfast area is so busy that all tables are taken.
Breakfast is available from 7.30 to 10am on weekdays and from 7.30 till 11am on weekends and is included in all room rates. I did feel it was nice to have this extra hour to get down to breakfast on the weekends as many hotels I've stayed at don't offer this.
We did not have any other meals at the hotel during our stay but we bought a bottle of white wine which cost £9 and a couple of other drinks from the bar as well as a Cappuccino which cost £1.80 and came with a very large cookie. The buffet lunch is just £5.95 per head which is a good price but is just available between 12 and 2pm. There doesn't seem to be a full restaurant service for evening meals but there are bar snacks available till late evening and as the bar/restaurant is right next to reception, this area is always manned if you need to order something from the bar.
Rating of this area: 4.5 out of 5
I have to say that the customer service at the hotel really let them down. No one was rude by any stretch of the imagination but I felt very let down by the service we received from the minute we checked in with the lack of greeting at reception, no offer of a newspaper, no directions as to how to get to our rooms or what time and where breakfast was. The fact that we didn't have access to the TV in our room till the afternoon of our 2nd day of our stay didn't help matters. When we advised someone at reception just after breakfast on the Saturday morning that our remote had been taken away and not returned, it wasn't till I read the name badge of the staff member that I realised she was the General Manager! Now if she couldn't get things sorted, who else could? Still it took a further 2 hours before this was resolved and the staff member who brought our replacement remote control to us said there was a known problem with the remote controls and they were under contract with the company until September. I'm sorry but if I had so many faulty items from a supplier I'd be making a fuss about it well before the contract was due to expire!
The night staff were very friendly when we came back from both a Friday and Saturday night out and greeted us with big smiles and a warm "Good evening".
When checking out, the receptionist was the same young lady who had taken our remote control away on the Friday evening, who just couldn't apologise enough for the mix-up with the remotes.
Rating of this area: 2 out of 5
I would be happy enough to give Ramada Encore Bournemouth a slightly above average 3.5 out of 5 stars. The customer service levels let them down but I do think I might actually consider staying there again (just this particular location) as it's a nice clean hotel and decently priced for the facilities available.
* According to their own description of themselves " Encore is geared toward value-conscious guests" but having had rather poor experiences with the Ramada Jarvis in Ealing for our overseas staff it's not a chain I would recommend.
* The hotel seemed to be disabled friendly with the lift being wide enough for a wheelchair and easy access to the front door of the hotel.
* The hotel does not allow pets but does allow guide dogs.
* Each room has internet access available for your laptop and there is also internet available near reception in the business centre (just one terminal though).
* A meeting room is available for up to 16 people.
* Prices are variable with special offers available throughout the year but as a guide the rooms cost about £100 a night (per room not per person).
* There is currently (correct at August 2009) a deal whereby you get 1 night's free stay after you've stayed at a Ramada Encore hotel on 2 separate visits. You would need to check individual terms and conditions with the actual branch you are booking at though to take advantage of this offer.
* The hotel is located at 22 Bath Road, Bournemouth BH1 2NS, tel: 01202 291266, email: email@example.com
Summary: In spite of poor customer service, it's worth it for the price
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