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The Little Haven Hotel

October 7, 2009

This is on TripAdvisor, but I feel that I have to share it with you too.

Eileen, my lovely wife, is from South Shields, and on the occasion of her 40th birthday, she asked me to take her back to her roots. For that purpose she chose the Little Haven Hotel, right on the mouth of the Tyne; to be frank I’d rather have gone to the Malmaison, but what she wants she gets, so I booked in and arranged a dinner party for the six of us who were in on the secret.

I’d have thought that Bank Holiday Monday would have been a big day for any hotel, but that was far from the case. The impression we were given from the moment that we checked in was that we were in some way an inconvenience. Before we were seated in the dining room, we were told that we would have to be finished our meal by 9pm, because ‘the chef  is going home then’. Having gone along with that I expected that he would extend his best efforts, but what was put before us was mediocre in quality, and served by staff in the manner of  McDonald’s counter clerks. ‘Plonk! There you are.’

The wine service was incredibly bad. The Little Haven needs to learn the difference between a barman and a wine waiter, and so does the individual.

When a wine waiter brings a bottle to a table, he will assume that the guests wish it to be opened and poured.

A proper wine waiter will uncork a bottle of red anything at the table, and offer it for approval before pouring. He will not present it with the cork already pulled, then stuck back in the neck of the bottle. Nor, unless he has been specifically been asked to do so by the guest, will he bring it in an ice-bucket!

Finally, although I have no prejudice against white wine with screw tops, in this day and age a wine waiter will not leave even the most robust of guests to unscrew the thing himself!

Having gone through those experiences and then slept very badly in an uncomfortable bed, I had low expectations when it came to breakfast, and again the Little Haven lived down to these, indeed below them. When I feel nauseous even before I leave the table, I know that something is not right. On reflection, it may have been the fact that the corridors smelled faintly but persistently of curry, even though there didn’t appear to be any on the menu.

All that w as bad enough, but when I got home and unpacked, I discovered that the uncomfortable chair on which I had been seated at dinner had ripped the back of my best jacket. Yes, this was taken up with the hotel; when it became clear that I wasn’t going away, I was promised a full incvestigation by a chap who identified himself as The Manager.  A full investigation should have taken five minutes, but it was four weeks later that he denied responsibility, on the ground that I hadn’t discovered the damage on his premises.

All that said, guess what angers QJ the most?

My ruined jacket? No; I have other jackets.

The mediocre food and beverages and appalling service? No; I survived.

The fact that my wife chose the Little Haven for a big day in her life and it let her down? Yes. That I will not forgive.

I’ve given the management every chance to mollify me … not even with money, for a simple apology, or even the faintest indication of concern, would have been enough … but they haven’t taken it. That being the case, I intend to use every means at my disposal to discourage my world-wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and every one else I can reach, from ever darkening the doors of the Little Haven Hotel.

Categories: Uncategorized
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