When we arrived at the hotel, the barrier across the car park wouldn't open. This wasn't an insurmountable problem, as there was enough space to simply drive around it. Then, when we got to the front desk, the deskclerk (who had an accent so thick we could barely understand a word she said) was unable to find our reservation - despite being presented with the printout of the confirmation email which clearly stated our surname, the date of the reservation and the confirmation number. Her response? "Sometimes these internet bookings don't make it onto our system." Apparently there were no non-smoking rooms left at all, so we were assigned a smoking room instead. The room was apart from the main hotel building, in a brick block the other side of the car park. As we walked over, it became apparent that the car park was almost empty. In a 65 bedroom hotel, there were maybe 5 cars in the carpark. Unless there's a huge convention of non-car-owning people in town, the hotel is nowhere near full. So why weren't there any non-smoking rooms?
The room itself was less than I would expect for a three-star hotel. The bathroom had hairs in the sink, and only half a roll of toiletroll. The room door- which opened directly onto the car park, had a huge hole in it where a lock used to be, and a new lock installed six inches higher up. So you could peek directly through the door into our room from the car park. There was a dark greasy mark on the carpet at the end of the bed, the wallpaper was peeling and the paintwork was filthy. It reeked too, but since it was a smoking room, you'd expect that.
Needless to say, we have no intention of returning to the hotel. Or to any others from the Forest Dale chain, as the chain apparently also runs the Royal Cambridge Hotel near us, which also has a poor reputation. If I'd known that before booking the room last Friday, I've have chosen a different hotel. I can't decide whether it's worth writing to the hotel manager and/or the chain to tell them we had a bad experience there. There's not really anything they can do to salvage things, and there's no way we're going back there. But if I don't write, then they're not going to learn they need to improve.