The Grange Hotel – St. Pauls, London

Being a blogger who deals with people’s livelihoods isn’t always easy. There are some bloggers who choose to always talk about only the positives and skip over the unpleasant experiences of travel, service, and food. But I don’t think that is fair to our readers, and frankly, I don’t feel like its fair to the places who give great service. My reviews need to clearly reflect my experience without being wishy-washy or sugar coating it. Sometimes I do give businesses a partial pass if it’s an extra busy night or the service was great but they messed up my food, and every other aspect was great. With hotels, maybe my room wasn’t ready but they made up for it with graciousness and hospitality. However, when every part of the experience is lousy, you just have to call them out on it. The Grange Hotel, I am talking about you.

When you pull up to The Grange, you are greeted by old-fashioned doormen dressed in top hats and tails. They greet each car coming in with a charm and courtesy you don’t see often today. They have a nicely staffed concierge desk, which seemed ready to assist one’s every need. The hotel also has a fantastic location combined with spacious and modern rooms.

I have to give kudos to the housekeeping staff as our room was spotlessly clean. The bathroom amenities are plentiful and are of good quality. I’d say the decor of the room was pretty bland but nice enough done in browns and taupes.

The Brit comments: On my first trip, there were two nights that I came back to a room that had not been made-up. The second time, I was given a drink in the bar for my troubles, so I returned for a second visit a few months later which was fine. This third trip with California Girl was less impressive.

The Brit had stayed at The Grange a couple of times before and he had issues both times. The first time he was locked out of his room and sat outside the door for 45 minutes waiting for a maintenance man to come fix the situation. (There is an issue with the design of the doors.) This made a very jet lagged sleep deprived Brit extremely grumpy after a long day at the office. He also ate at the hotel bar and was underwhelmed with the food and the service there.

This time it was a comedy of errors. Our room was located on the 7th floor with partial views of St Paul’s Cathedral. Going up the elevators to the 7th floor and stepping onto the landing one couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming heat. It must be 100F degrees up in the common areas. I immediately started to sweat it was that hot. The Brit had the room air conditioner cranked up to its coldest and it can barely get the room down to about 80F. It is that hot. The temperature outside is a cool 59F.

I threw myself on the bed, and it was a rock! I mean ROCK. The bed, the pillows – ROCK. My body was aching just trying to lay there and cool down. Yuck. I looked around and there was no water in the room. The mini-bar was locked so we couldn’t buy any, and there was zero to drink. That meant going down to the first floor to the bar for water.

There are a couple of things that strike me as weird about the architecture of the hotel. One there is a column in the center that lights up with advertisements. Yeh, a little weird. Secondly, the architecture space is structured weirdly. Some places feel oppressive with low ceilings and dark spaces, and others are open and airy with glass ceilings. Odd.

The next day I went to breakfast and my frown deepened. With our room came complimentary continental breakfast. The croissants were so stale I could hardly bite into mine. The cheese was so stale that it was dry. The cold cuts of meats looked either dry or oily as id they had been sitting there too long. I managed only a couple of bites and decided to eat a banana and be done. Even the coffee was unappealing, the creamer had curdled bits floating in it. Gross.

I decided to ask the manager for something to make my bed a bit more comfortable. He was extremely accommodating and saw to it that there was a pad put on the bed. He asked me to wait while housekeeping went up and took care of it. I also mentioned that it was really uncomfortably hot in the common areas. His reply? “Madam, people in England don’t usually complain that places are too hot, only too cold”.  Ok, then…

While I was waiting for housekeeping, I decided to get some refreshments in the bar. I saw tea, cakes, and champagne and thought it looked like a good idea! So I went to the bar and asked for afternoon tea. The girl suggested I take a seat and wait to be served. I sat down and waited for 20 minutes without anyone coming to help me. I was so aggravated I went to the Starbucks stand and grabbed a coffee and a cookie instead. To my utter horror, however, the girl pulled out my cookie package and they were all broken. Now I started to get grumpy. I had to search around in the glass bucket for a package of cookies that weren’t completely smashed. Wow, just wow.

I then looked around for somewhere to sit, because the little place for Starbucks was uncomfortable bar stools. I then noticed the beautiful Atrium space and thought how nice to sit out on the lovely warm day! I walked out there and walked right back in as the stink of stale cigarettes overwhelmed me. There were ashtrays overflowing with cigarette butts everywhere. Niiice.

Disgusted I went back up to my room, only to find a party going on in the common space on the 7th floor where I was staying. And guess what? Suddenly for the party, the room temperature was pleasant for the party goers….  šŸ˜

Back in my room, I sit on my still uncomfortable bed as I type this review. I think it goes without saying that I won’t be staying at this hotel in the future and that I will be discouraging The Brit’s business from using it further.

4 Comments

  1. I can appreciate the honesty in this review. Great job – fair and balanced – giving kudos where earned. Nicely written and thanks for the warning!

    • Thank you, Elisa! It’s so hard to talk about someone’s business in a negative way. But here is the thing. I hope they go back after reading one of my reviews and work to fix their mistakes. Maybe they didn’t realize what they were doing. People need both types of feedback. It serves absolutely no one to keep it all full of sunshine.

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