The Hotels: A deep-seated culture of mediocrity

Squiggs

TS Team
Even now, it's still really a want rather than a need. It's still only a few days of the year when aircon is a 'must have' in the UK.

That possibly won't be the case for much longer, but it would feel like something of a self-fulfilling prophecy to install aircon at this point, thus speeding up climate change. Obviously that's not just an AT observation - in the UK more generally we have the opportunity to investing in less energy intensive ways to keep buildings cool, there are plenty of options available at this point.
 

petegeorge1

TS Member
Having stayed at CBeebies Hotel on Friday night I wanted to say how excellent it was, certainly different to the experiences others have had in the other hotels.

Firstly, this hotel is very welcoming and makes the kids feel like rockstars. The place was spotless, everything was working (if you've not been there are buttons and flaps everywhere for kids to press, music in the lifts etc...) and I've felt these are the first things to go in the other hotels. We had a swashbuckle room which again was spotless and the kids loved it (nice air con system too), for some reason the bathroom is a little noisy from a fan or ventilation system but you are starting to nitpick.

The check in system could do with improvements as they only have one small terminal and not everyone is familiar with QR codes etc, in busy times this could become very frustrating after a long day on park. I understand the terminals are in all hotels but a) why would you go via ATH if you are staying in CBeebies b) surely those terminals will be being used by ATH guests. You do "check in" online beforehand but still need a physical room card and key etc and I could see this being quite frustrating.

Food was fine in the Windmill, £18 for a very average prawn linguine, you just accept it isn't good fayre. The entertainment in the hotel really is brilliant, the staff do a great job of getting all the kids up, involved, interacting etc, it changes every 20-30 minutes so perfect for short attention spans.
The bar was understaffed, mainly one chap doing everything and later in the evening glasses were stacking up. Additionally, for a purpose built bar, the layout of the bar it seems like there is no proper glasswash area and empties are just dumped on the side, this also exacerbates the slow service as they don't have a clean glass or spirit/wine measurers and when someone orders two cocktails you might aswell sit down. If they had a 2nd member of staff I think people would spend more, you could see other guests looking at the Q of 4-5 people and deciding against another drink. One extra round of £25 would cover a person for a couple of hours so it seems odd they don't maximise this. I appreciate the challenges the hospitality industry faces but even at £20 per hour for agency staff the hotel would still profit from the additional drinks served.

Onto the breakfast, again I have to say I was very impressed. I've stayed all over the world, and the breakfast ranks with a good business hotel; marriott, hilton etc..
Plenty of options in the buffet section, fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals, (kids love a little box of frosties :)), juices etc... decent coffee machines for the hot drinks, and the cooked breakfast was perfectly acceptable (see attached), I actually went back for more sausages :)

As it happens we had a medical incident and the reception and medical teams were brilliant, unfortunately due to the medical situation we couldn't go swimming but reception were great, they validated our waterpark passes for use at any point in the next 12 months and we took advantage of the £10 park tickets so went back to the park instead of swimming.

I recognise that the vast majority of people on this forum are not going to stay in the CBeebies hotel but it appears to be an outlier in the resort overall.

This next assessment is potentially controversial and so I'll choose my words carefully. Having read the previous comments on the folk in the hotels over recent months; behaviour, general standards, littering, rudeness etc... I would say the general clientele in the CB hotel are; well behaved, polite, respectful, middle class folk who have their young children on a tight leash, the kids themselves were well behaved, treated everything with respect, and cleaned up after themselves etc..... All in, our trip was probably £800 and I'm not suggesting money is any guarantee of class but generally people spending that kind of money for a couple of days away with their kids are decent folk.

It seems clear from this thread that AT still have an awful lot of work to do especially in the other hotels; improving the F&B quality, speed of service and the need for some adults only space etc... and there are some niggles with CB; check in, average food and some slow service but overall it is a brilliant setup for kids.

Fundamentally you are staying there for all the cool stuff for kids; the character meet and greets, cool rooms, evening entertainment etc and yes there are some sacrifices on quality but when your kids see the swashbuckle room, or meet Bing, or pass the Octonauts cadet school etc it really is very rewarding. My kids will be talking about this far longer than I've thought about how long it took to get that 3rd pint :)
 

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GaryH

TS Member
With regards air con it’s not just about the heat but people like me who have hay fever find it very useful in the summer months to escape the symptoms thanks to the filters in the air con systems.

But if they were building hotels 30 years ago with air con then why not the hotel in Alton towers.

Anyway we stayed at chained oak and it was lovely and cool even without air con in the room.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
But if they were building hotels 30 years ago with air con then why not the hotel in Alton towers.

Outside of cities they weren't building hotels with aircon 30 years ago. Generally it was expected that in a countryside location such as Alton Towers opening the window is sufficent.

Lots of Premier Inns and similar built in the 90s don't have aircon. Although the one nearest to AT has upgraded some rooms to add it.
The former Hilton near Bromsgrove, looks a similar age to ATH, fairly rural location, no aircon just heating

It wasn't needed back then as standard.
 

Burner

TS Member

jon81uk

TS Member
To be fair, Britannia Hotels are the Pontins of the hotel chains. You're lucky if you get a bed.

It was a former Hilton (until 2015) when first built sometime in the 90s, so I picked it as its of similar age to ATH and a reasonably similar design.

I understand its no longer a Hilton and not offering that level of service, but more the fact its a 90s built rural hotel with no aircon.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
CBeebies is prioritised.

The other hotels are second fiddle.

Sent from my SM-G991B using Tapatalk
 

Alsty

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Shambhala
Is there some contractual agreement with the CBeebies Hotel that means they have to maintain a higher standard else face penalties from the BBC? Or is it just because it's their newest, most exclusive hotel that they make an effort?
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Is there some contractual agreement with the CBeebies Hotel that means they have to maintain a higher standard else face penalties from the BBC? Or is it just because it's their newest, most exclusive hotel that they make an effort?

I expect a mix of both, poor reviews would lead to the BBC withdrawing the license even if there isn’t a specific clause about how the hotel needs to be run. Character presentation standards would be stipulated though.
 

petegeorge1

TS Member
The price to stop over in CBeebies is also way way more than the other hotels, so I guess those staying will expect a lot more, you don’t want to be issuing £800 refunds do you.
Absolutely, the starting price for the themed rooms is £500.

By way of an update they called me today to ask how my wife was feeling. In addition to the 12 month waterpark passes we would received complimentary park passes and we could stay over in a standard room for just £100. They know full well I'm into more overpriced food and a good spend on the park etc but imo it is worth recognising exceptional service when you feel it.
 

Skyscraper

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
Bearing in mind the high prices to stay in the hotels, people on Tripadvisor are now saying they are being charged a £5 deposit for the room keys!!!!!!! Can’t recall the last time I had to pay to obtain a bit of plastic to let me into a room I had just paid a fortune for….
Maybe they've had a few issues with keys being lost?
Would be better to charge for replacement keys though.
 

AT86

TS Member
Bearing in mind the high prices to stay in the hotels, people on Tripadvisor are now saying they are being charged a £5 deposit for the room keys!!!!!!! Can’t recall the last time I had to pay to obtain a bit of plastic to let me into a room I had just paid a fortune for….

I think this is a mistype by the reviewer and a misunderstanding of what the ‘charge’ is. It is a £50 hold on your credit/debit card that is released after check out and is very common at hotels all over the world. It has been in the T&Cs for a number of years at Alton Towers.

In addition, a credit/debit card must be provided and authorised for £50 at Reception before checking in; this will be refunded on check out. However, Merlin reserves the right and you hereby authorise us to charge your credit or debit card for any damage incurred to your room or the Accommodation during your stay or for any items that are missing when you leave.

On arrival at the Alton Towers Stargazing Pods, we require a key deposit of £10 per pod, this will be refunded when your key has been returned to Reception before 10am on the day of your check out. If paid on card this will take 7-10 working days.
 

Craig

TS Administrator
The last few times I’ve stayed in March and last month I’ve been charged a £5 pre authorisation as opposed to £50, so that’s definitely what they’re going on about. Looking back at my booking confirmations, they seem to flip flop between mentioning a £50 pre auth for a booking have this September to a £5 pre auth for a booking I had for opening.

There’s definitely not a specific separate charge for the room key though, unless as AT86 mentioned you’re staying in the pods where you have the physical one that must be returned (still such a mistake to do that instead of key card locks!).
 
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