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darmal Aug 23rd, 2007 08:06 AM

Avoid The Stewart Hotel, Scotland
Our itinerary said we were to stay 2 nights in "the beautiful city of Oban", but instead, we were put in a disgusting hotel 30+ minutes drive from Oban, called The Stewart Hotel. The problems are far too numerous to list here, but just a few: no heat, no hot water, the light in the bathroom was a bare bulb hanging on an electrical wire, no mirrors (my husband put in his contacts using my lipstick mirror!), no clock, radio or TV (although they were listed in the brochure), the slider to the deck was broken, construction dust was everywhere, no porters, bar prices were extremely high and varied according to who served .. . I could continue, but I'm sure you get the message.

It was abundantly clear that no one from Trafalgar had visited the hotel, OR, if they did and accepted it as suitable accommodations for passengers, then it makes a lie out of the statement on their web site: "A good night's sleep and a comfortable place to relax are invaluable when on vacation. All Trafalgar Hotels are carefully selected so you'll enjoy comfortable rooms and quality amenities. "

Padraig Aug 23rd, 2007 08:24 AM

I am constantly surprised by the phenomenon of people whose first post to a travel forum an "avoid x" message.

Pinchme_iam_dreaming Aug 23rd, 2007 08:36 AM

Have you contacted Trafalgar to explain your experiance or are you trying to get results here?

jewela Aug 23rd, 2007 09:15 AM

Looks like it's under new management....and the new owners are not doing a very good job.
Always check Trip Advisor.....they will usually have the scoop.

janisj Aug 23rd, 2007 10:21 AM

yet another hit and run first post.

(How on earth would tripadvisor be of help? - darmal has a complaint <u>with Trafalgar Tours</u>. TA isn't much help if the tour company chooses the hotel . . . . )

suze Aug 23rd, 2007 10:30 AM

People on the forum would pay more attention to your complaint, if you weren't brand new here, and this is the very first thing you have to say to us.

That's why lots of people don't go on organized tours, because of lousy hotels included.

Next time, plan your own trip and avoid the disappointment.

nytraveler Aug 23rd, 2007 10:30 AM

I would ask for a partial refund from Trafalgar.

Did you complain at the time? Take names? Take any photos? All would help strengthen your case.

If that doesn't work try Conde Nast Traveler ombudsman - they often get results.

Wekiva Aug 23rd, 2007 10:45 AM

&quot;yet another hit and run first post.&quot;

Isn't it a bit early to dub this a &quot;hit and run&quot; post seeing that the OP posted only a few hour ago?

Some can't post and check for replies at I'm doing...doh! :)

janisj Aug 23rd, 2007 10:58 AM

It IS the first post. darmal registered to post this.

Now IF she had taken the time to tell us about their trip - or ANYTHING at all other than this, we might not be so skeptical.

Wekiva Aug 23rd, 2007 11:11 AM

Fine...I'll agree with the &quot;HIT&quot; part...just not the &quot;RUN&quot; part yet.

janisj Aug 23rd, 2007 11:14 AM

fair enough . . . .

flanneruk Aug 23rd, 2007 12:04 PM

Why so sceptical?

We all occasionally encounter rotten goods or services. I'm sure all of us feel pretty strongly tempted to proclaim the rottenness of the good or service from every real (and cyber-) rooftop on the planet.

Not always the most productive way of going about things. But very often the first thing that comes into our heads.

It's certainly true that darmal ought to be moaning about the pillocks who booked him or her in. But that's no reason for doubting his or her bonae fides. I've stayed in enough McFawlty Towers in Scotland to find it pretty easy to believe The Stewart's a dump.

I'd strongly recommend a motto for all of us:

By all means correct other posters. But, unless there's really good evidence to the contrary (like those &quot;I've just discovered this wonderful hotel in Tuvalu&quot; posts from someone with an email address ending in .tv), assume good will. Though not necessarily sanity, accuracy or familiarity with the English language.

caroline_edinburgh Aug 24th, 2007 03:15 AM

As others have said, you need to resaech where you're going first, even if - or especially if - you are trusting someone else to choose it.

Anyway, treating this as possibly useful advice... Scotland is an actual country you know, not that small and I dare say there is more than one Stewart Hotel - which one do you mean ? the one in Appin ?

If it's any consolation, Oban is not a city and I certainly don't regard it as beautiful - I'd say Appin is nicer. Sorry the hotel wasn't nice, though.

hetismij Aug 24th, 2007 03:26 AM

I would guess from the Trip Advisor reports that it is indeed the one in Appin. It sounds from those report as if Basil Fawlty is alive and well and owns the Stewart Hotel, Appin.

audere_est_facere Aug 24th, 2007 03:50 AM

The Trip Advisor page is worth reading for it's comedy value alone:

Looks like the OP's problem was not unique!

MelJ Aug 24th, 2007 04:20 AM

I have a hard time understanding why it is considered bad form to post a complaint here, when posting for the first time. Perhaps darmal told a friend about the hotel and the friend recommended posting it on here to warn people. Perhaps several of the Trafalgar travelers talked about the problem and named various places to vent and warn others. Why do some people see negative posts as suspect? And why be so mean and proprietory (about this forum) in responding?

This isn't called &quot;Fodor's Happy Posts only Until the Regulars Here Get to Know and Trust You&quot; Forum.

Geez, I've been posting on here for about 8 years and I'm just fed up with people telling newbies how to post, how to title their post and checking all new names to see if they have ever posted before, then &quot;outing&quot; them as new and, therefore (for some reason), not to be trusted. There's no logic in that line of thinking. It only serves to make new contributors feel bad and keeps others from posting negative (and possibly helpful) information.

Padraig Aug 24th, 2007 05:25 AM

MelJ, I think much of your ire (if that is what it is) is misplaced.

A number of regulars advise newcomers on how to post, and particularly on how to title their post, so as to have the best chance of getting useful responses. That is good rather than bad. Yet when I first joined this forum a few months ago I was not &quot;outed&quot; or told how to post; perhaps that is because I have years of experience in online forums, and know my way around. Some people seem to need guidance, and others do not.

I presume my response to darmal's post was one of those that you find objectionable.
- First, I would point out that it was a general remark made in conversational mode, and not any kind of attack on darmal.
- Second, people here are influenced in their decisions by what they read here, even though relatively few of us know one another personally. I would generally give more weight to the opinions of regulars about whose tastes I have had the opportunity to make some judgement. Is there anything wrong with that?
- Third, it sometimes happens (not very obviously on this forum, I admit) that a negative comment is posted by a competitor rather than by a bona fide customer. One needs to be alert to the possibility that the motive for *any* post might not be fair-minded and honest.

Anyway, I see nothing wrong in our discussing the workings of this forum. That's what you have been doing, isn't it?

nanabee Aug 24th, 2007 05:53 AM

According to Trip Advisor's reviews 11 out of 15 reviewers rated the hotel as awful or very bad. Sounds like the poster has a legitimate complaint.
I think this poster was trying to warn others so they can avoid the problems they encountered

rogerdodger Aug 24th, 2007 06:56 AM

Thanks for the heads up. Sounds just really bad. Surprised that a well know travel company wouldn't refund part of the cost of the trip. Have you and others expressed your thoughts?

Bloom Aug 24th, 2007 07:13 AM

Well said, MelJ.


caroline_edinburgh Aug 24th, 2007 07:14 AM

darmal, was this the 'Scottish Highlands, Islands &amp; Cities' 14 day tour ? If so, according to the Trafalgar website you should have been staying at a specific hotel, the Caledonian in Oban. Or have they changed the schedule since you went ? If not, presumably you should have grounds to claim a refund - there doesn't seem to be anything about substituting other hotels.

Holly_uncasdewar Aug 24th, 2007 07:39 AM

To MelJ: AMEN !

caroline_edinburgh Aug 24th, 2007 07:45 AM

And thanks for reminding me to post a Tripadvisor review about the horrible Scottish hotel I stayed in a few months ago :-)

GSteed Aug 24th, 2007 08:15 AM

A Ha! Was this tour bought because of the price?
Anna and I were in a hotel in Częstochowa and encountered many of this same problems. We laughed at each other and went out to enjoy the city.

fnarf999 Aug 24th, 2007 08:54 AM

I especially loved the Tripadvisor report where the owner shipped all the adults out to other B&amp;Bs because of overbooking, but found a way to let all the young girl students stay -- in his personal quarters! Hey, ladies, you can use my bathroom!

It's also very comforting to read about any business establishment where the manager likes to scream abuse at his staff in front of the customers. So professional.

Honestly, I've seen every episode of Fawlty Towers so many times, it's time for some new ones. Please, if you do go, take some surreptitious video!

audere_est_facere Aug 24th, 2007 08:57 AM

It does make you want to go doesn't it?

321go Aug 24th, 2007 09:16 AM

farnf999, I especially liked the review that said it smelled like something out of a graveyard. :D

fnarf999 Aug 24th, 2007 09:19 AM

The one positive comment says the new owner &quot;has a Ph.D degree which tells us that he is highly educated&quot;. Which is, uh, undeniably true. But my worst nightmare is staying in a hotel where I am made aware of the owner's educational attainments rather than, say, the whereabouts of the bathroom mirror.

The young waitress whose &quot;belly bulges out too far&quot; and the barmaid with the bleeding finger sound lovely too. Apparently the staff are all Polish girls who are forced to live in a falling-down trailer on the premises!

Who can argue with a place where the manager sacks all his staff and then announces &quot;a blind man could cook the full Scottish.&quot;

Another: &quot;Unsere Entt&auml;uschung war grenzenlos!&quot;

&quot;[...] the bar has been completely wrecked with cheap laminate flooring, poor quality furniture and even kitchen worktop as a bar surface.&quot;

Apparently there's a peacock. And &quot;plans to build a drying room&quot;. Comedy gold!

Is John Cleese still alive? No, we need a Scotsman. Who is the leading angry Scots comedian these days? Surely Ricky Gervais knows somebody.

audere_est_facere Aug 24th, 2007 09:23 AM

It sounds like its being run by Rab C Nesbit.

321go Aug 24th, 2007 09:24 AM

farnf999, yes I just read that one, too. The reviews make hysterically funny reading - as long as you haven't actually been a guest there I suppose. Have you gotten to the review titled &quot;And then the staff walked out&quot; which tells about how the guest had to ask for toilet paper?

Yep. Definitely a sitcom in the making.

Christina Aug 24th, 2007 09:28 AM

I think sometimes when people have a really bad experience, they may do a little googling and run across websites with forums or complaint sections, that's all. Maybe Fodors would even show up if you googling on that hotel name, who knows.

I find it odd also, but more when it is an ad than a complaint. This complaint is pretty detailed, so I'm not sure what some are suggesting -- that is just fabricated by someone out to get this hotel?

I also think the real complaint is with Trafalgars, not the hotel (which is what it is, maybe it's cheap). That is a wellknown tour group and that certainly does not sound like proper accommodations by any type of pricing structure. I have taken two tours and had no complaints at all about the hotels, they were very good, and I was quite happy. This was a company priced a little lower than Trafalgars, probably (and they gave hotel names -- but could switch if necessary, I know that all do that). I researched the hotels named and found out their level and location.

So if this hotel was presented as 3-4*, this is a real complaint. It sounds like a 1* and I don't think Trafalgars does that (if they do have a real cheapo package and named the hotel, then I don't think complaints are in order). But the complaint is for Trafalgars, mostly. I sure would have complained if I'd gotten a hotel that sounds like that on the tour I took, and it was a budget tour.

audere_est_facere Aug 25th, 2007 01:39 AM

The stars are based in things like en-suite bathrooms and tellies in the rooms.

A place can get the stars and then be taken over by Basil Fawlty - they will still have the stars as they stil have the indoor khazis etc.

flanneruk Aug 25th, 2007 02:42 AM

If you read all the Trip Advisor reports, then google the hotel, you'll see it really may not be entirely Trafalgar's fault.

The TA reports were OK in 2006, when the hotel was run by people who had experience in the hotel industry. It was then bought around year end - by someone who actually signals his doctorate: not an obvious indication of hotel experience, but frequently a good sign of obnoxiousness. Incidentally, for around &pound;400,000 and it's got 26 bedrooms. You can hardly get a rabbit hutch for that where I live.

Then the reviews get grisly - and there's some evidence the previous owners might have messed up reservations. So what should Trafalgar do? Review reservations every time a hotel changes hands? Reroute the whole tour? Metro Oban's not exactly stuffed with hotels.

True, after a while you'd have thought reports would have filtered back, and darmal ought to suing the bejaysus out of Trafalgar if he'd been dumped into the place recently. But on this occasion, I must confess to a bit of sympathy for Trafalgar.

Wven if, by referring to &quot;the beautiful city of Oban&quot; they're clearly using the same ignoramus to write their copy (and using equally untravelled subeditors) as Fodors uses to write about London.

Padraig Aug 25th, 2007 03:11 AM

flanneruk wrote &quot;...darmal ought to suing the bejaysus out of Trafalgar if he'd been dumped into the place recently. But on this occasion, I must confess to a bit of sympathy for Trafalgar.&quot;

darmal's complaint is, however, against Trafalgar because they are the ones with whom he or she contracted. True, Trafalgar might have been caught out by the changes in the hotel but they, in turn, can sue the hotel.

sheila Aug 26th, 2007 06:56 AM

Well, it's 3 days later and s/he hasn't been back, but I would urge you to take the warning to heart.

I have known the exterior of the Stewart Hotel for many decades and have never been moved to stop. I find I'm not shocked by the fact it has no web site.

llamalady Aug 26th, 2007 10:02 AM

Since the thread following this one is
about the 'albergo di purgatorio' -
I'm thinkin' the Stewart must be the
'hotel in Hell'!

Wekiva Aug 28th, 2007 10:59 AM


I guess you could now call this a &quot;hit and run&quot; thread.

fnarf999 Aug 28th, 2007 11:04 AM

More of a &quot;stand over and pummel&quot; thread, I'd say.

ShelliDawn Aug 29th, 2007 03:25 PM

Who is the leading angry Scots comedian these days?

I'm not an expert in Scottish comedians, but I'm thinking Billy Connolly might be a good choice.

lennyba Aug 29th, 2007 04:02 PM

Not an angry comedian, but I can totally see Craig Ferguson in that role.

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