The Loch Ness monster was not spotted by me on this visit to Scotland but as some of you know I am back and forth to Inverness until the end of the month, so I still have plenty of opportunity to have a sighting of the legendry beast. I was on business with three male colleagues (lucky stuff hey?) and returned home last night after a mammoth journey home via Gatwick. You may have seen the reports of delayed and cancelled flights on the news yesterday it was a nightmare. This review is about the accommodation that we stayed in whilst we were there. The Ramada Jarvis Inverness hotel was booked for us by our employer and although I do have some stories to tell, it wasn't an overall bad stay and I would go back again but then again I have no choice as I still have to stay there again before the month is out! ~ ~ Hotel and Location ~ ~ Ramada Jarvis Inverness Church Street Inverness Scotland 01463 235181 web site: http://www.jarvis.co.uk/locations/inverness.html email firstname.lastname@example.org A fifteen-minute drive from Inverness airport in a local minicab was quite a welcoming way to arrive in Scotland. The fare was £9.70 and during the drive the taxi driver pointed out areas of interest and history to us. I later discovered that you are able to hire a guided tour cab from the town centre. I should actually amend town centre to city centre as The Queen recently bestowed City Status onto Inverness and from their tourist information literature I would say that the locals seem pretty proud of this. However coming from London it beats me that the size of the place warrants the word city. Inverness is situated across the River Ness and we joked about the other side of the river being South London. This was because the eastern side of the river seemed to have the most development and housed the usual brand name stores such as Marks and Spencers
and Burger King etc. The hotel it's self is situated on the East side and is accessible from two parallel roads the front is on Church Street which over looks part of the main shopping area and the back entrance opens to Bank Street which funnily enough has the river bank to it's other side. When getting the cab to the hotel we were always delivered to the Church Street entrance which I think is a shame because you immediately think 'Ugh - look at the state of this place!' This is because you have a couple of glass doors, in amongst the other shops and the place does not look too inviting. Whereas the back entrance from Bank Street has the car park, a better image of the building and brings you into the hotel past the gym (which I can't provide any details on as the closest I got to it was passing it for the lift!!) ~ ~ Tariff ~ ~ Again, as our booking was made through a Corporate Hospitality agent we did have reduced rates of £83 Bed and Breakfast. We paid separately for evening meals and these came to an average of £100 per night for the four of us. We stayed in the fourth floor studio rooms and to be fair this was a reasonable price for what we got when compared to other hotels. If you are interested in obtaining up-to-date tariffs for your self then you can visit the website detailed above or alternatively phone the hotel. At the time of writing this opinion a single room is charged at £90 bed and breakfast or £105 for a single executive room whereas a double room is charged at £110 or £125 for the executive option. ~ ~ Arrival and check in ~ ~ A very smooth process as is typical of most chain group hotels. Generally guests are provided with a key to their door and a charge card for adding extras to their bill. We were given a credit card style door key as we were in the executive studio rooms. We were asked if we required a wake up call or morning paper that aga
in is becoming standard practice in hotels. I would like to mention at this point that after Day 2 of our visit the four of us had to have our door key cards reactivated and on Day 3 I had to have mine done again. At time to time whilst waiting for cabs, the bar to open, etc I did overhear other guests having to get the keys reset, not very acceptable really. ~ ~ Facilities ~ ~ The hotel has a spacious foyer with plenty of soft seating areas for guests to sit and read the early morning newspapers or to have a pot of tea. There are two bars, although generally only one was staffed. One was in the restaurant area and the other was the main bar that also had satellite television playing on a small screen. As already mentioned a gym was on the lower ground floor but I didn?t explore this area. This hotel was the first I,d visited that actually broke down the phone charges into minutes, normally the quote is per unit which doesn't really mean anything, after all how long is a unit? This impressed me. Each room also had a television with channel s one to five together with satellite and radio shows. A film could be ordered and watched through the television for £7.50 and could be watched as often as available from 6am to 6pm. Erotica channels were available here but could not be ordered through the screen on the television so guests requiring these services needed to phone reception! Could you imagine sitting there hearing the receptionist shout out 'flick the porno on for room XXX?' ~ ~ Room Décor ~ ~ We had fourth floor executive studio rooms. Which were well equipped compared to the other rooms. The colour scheme was a mixture of light and dark browns that I expect is easy to maintain if they have smokers in them. My room had an open wardrobe to the left of the entrance passageway and a neat and welcoming bathroom to the right. Walking into the main room area I noticed the large
windows that gave an excellent view across Inverness. My room had two single beds, a TV cabinet, desk, chair and modem plug. A small corner shelf by the full length mirror held a basket of goodies such as Mini-Cheddars, Werthers Original sweets, Mars Bars and Peanuts. The tea and coffee making facilities were in the drawer of the TV cabinet, which meant they were well tucked away. The room also had an iron and ironing board, hairdryer and interactive hotel information TV. This is always a good idea as you can view your hotel bill and pick up any discrepancies as your stay progresses. ~ ~ Room Cleaning / Restock ~ ~ This happened daily but in different extremes. The room was generally cleaned but not in areas that they deemed hadn?t been used. I say this as I left a little mud by the second bed that obviously wasn?t slept in and it was still there after cleaning. Each night I'd take a jug of iced water to my room from the bar, the jugs were not removed the following morning and I ended up with quite a collection! The cleaners also didn't check to see if the oatmeal biscuits which were on the coffee tray had been eaten. I think it was assumed that as I had no dirty tea cups out that I hadn't touched them so each night I made a point of leaving an odd teacup about so that I'd have my biscuits replenished. ~ ~ Room Service ~ ~ This is not something that I had the pleasure of trying as I had company with me on this trip but there did seem to be an extensive menu to choose from. The All Day Long section of the room service menu was particularly good as they usually contain cold sandwich options. This hotel however offered Soup £2.95, jacket potato £6.95, Pizza £7.85, Lasagne £7.85. Sandwiches varied in price from £3.95 to £5.50. A continental breakfast could also be ordered to your room providing that your order was placed before 2am using the order form pro
vided (except that an order form was not provided!) From 6pm until 9:45pm dishes could be ordered from the set restaurant menu such starters like Pearls of Melon at £4.00 to Oak Smoked Salmon at £8.95. The main courses varied in price from £9.95 for an Omelette to £18.95 for a Scotch Fillet 8oz steak. All dishes would be ready in 45 minutes and there was a charge of £1.50 per person for room service. Altogether a bit pricey but then room service normally is. A full selection of alcoholic drinks could be ordered to your room, whereas after 11pm the night staff had less of a selection available. ~ ~ Restaurant ~ ~ A full breakfast is served between 7am and 10am during the week and this includes the usual choice of hot porridge, cereals, fresh fruit and juices. The hotplate had a good selection of bacon, eggs, sausage, haggis, black pudding, fried potatoes, beans, mushrooms and tomato. There was an instance where the hot plate/carvery area was being refurbished and the alternative hot plate area did not keep the food hot at all but I will presume this is a rare occurrence. The evening meal was very tasty and there was a set menu to choose from or am a la Carte menu that changed daily. Although the restaurant staff were always friendly in the evening they had their moments at breakfast and the overall impression was on of disorganisation. They ran out of two wines that I know of as well as butter during the four nights I was there. They also had plenty of table spread out but tended not to book you in if they had other residents booked for similar slots towards the end of our stay it was a case of 'when do you want us' as opposed to 'we'd like a table for XX time' ~ ~ Did they meet their five promises? ~ ~ The laminated card in our rooms gave a welcoming spiel from the hotel manager and within this were his five key commitments: · We
lcoming staff · Restful Sleep · Invigorating Shower · Exceptional Cleanliness · Sensational Buffet Breakfast In a way he set himself up for failure as although the staff were welcoming they did and would not do much in the way of over and above so did not deliver a WOW factor at all. An example of this is ordering a coffee floater after a meal to be told 'we only do tea or coffee' the next day we saw the coffee machine in the main bar - Umm how difficult is it to pour some coffee into a glass and add some cream? The restful sleep depended on which side of the hotel your room was! Three of us were river facing and had no complaints at all whereas one guy who was with us faced out onto the shopping area and said he had boy racers charging around in their cars all night together with a good few drunks! The shower cannot be faulted - it was very invigorating and was a very decent power shower that could be used with the very good selection of toiletries on offer that were made by Thomas and Gray and were in grey and white packaging. There were also two large towels and three small placed onto the heated towel rail - gorgeous!! Exceptional Cleanliness - well the place wasn't dirty but they failed my mud test (as explained earlier). The cleaners seemed a little brain dead or robotic, as they'd only replenish supplies that had obviously been used. Sensational Buffet breakfast - yep it was very good, apart from the day it was cold because of the hot plate issue. The only down side was that only certain guests were offered their choice of toast - white, brown or mixed - and we got what we were given! They also ran out of butter which was a little odd and certainly a first! ~ ~ OVERALL IMPRESSION / RECOMMENDATION ~ ~ Well they ran out of two types of wine, two types of bitter 70~ and 80~ from McEwans, butter and the freebies weren?t always topped up. They didn't
go that extra mile to please but at the same time were not impolite or rude. I know much better hotels brands within this price bracket so would not like to reccomend this one to anyone although... I would personally visit here again but if you expect to receive great care and attention that perhaps you should give it a miss as I think this hotel is very much a case of 'What you see is what you get!'