Hashtag first world problem but AIBU?

(20 Posts)
BoffinMum Tue 31-Oct-17 15:19:15

So I have spent my savings on hiring a small stately home in a very posh tourist area of England for a 50th birthday weekend with my best friends and family. I rarely have a birthday party and this was meant to be really special. It's taken a long while to organise and round everyone up and it's meant to be quite a reunion.

It is costing a fortune. The property is supposed to be picture perfect with a lovely garden and beautiful views.

There's a fortnight to go. We then get an email saying they need to do some work on the roof and half the building at the back will be covered with scaffolding and green mesh during our stay, and one of the bedrooms will have two of its windows blocked by this. We are supposed to just suck that up and not mind. No apology, no refund, nothing. To late to book anywhere else, of course.

I think they should have done a proper audit for repairs in the summer and blocked out time for this rather than expecting paying guests to feel like they are staying on a building site, when a LOT of money is being sent.


OP’s posts: |
BenLui Tue 31-Oct-17 15:20:16

I would be expecting a discount to be honest.

iseenodust Tue 31-Oct-17 17:17:14

I would wait and see if they try to make it up to you while you are there eg champagne in fridge as you've booked for a big birthday. If nothing over and above expected/agreed at booking then I would ask for a discount.

Floralnomad Tue 31-Oct-17 17:18:21

I wouldn’t wait , I’d ask them now what compensation they will be offering .

cheminotte Tue 31-Oct-17 17:21:50

I wouldn't wait but ask them what discount they will be providing as this is likely to reduce your enjoyment of the event (there's a proper legal term that people quote when the holiday hotel is still a building site - hopefully someone else will be along to provide it).

mummymeister Wed 01-Nov-17 09:28:00

They are just expecting you to suck this up and have deliberately told you this late knowing that you wont easily find somewhere else. I would do two things:

1. write back immediately to them and say that this is unacceptable. that they must have had the works programmed in for some time as it involves scaffolding etc and that had you known the situation you would not have booked with them. make them reassure that no works will be in progress during your stay and ask them what discount they are going to offer. give them 7 days to respond.

2. start looking on other websites for an alternative. bigholidayhouse.com and groupaccommodation.com as well as looking at the national trust and some of the treasured places type websites. You need a plan B because really you don't want to be there if they are going to work during your stay.

I would also say that scaffolding and stuff on it rattles about something awful when its windy and this would ruin your weekend away.

they have a duty to offer you what they showed and advertised in the pictures that you saw. Its an awful thing to do - they knew it would cause upset but haven't bothered to consider their bookings.

MyKingdomForBrie Wed 01-Nov-17 09:36:29

What mummy said, for one thing you don’t want workmen crashing round at your party!

BoffinMum Fri 03-Nov-17 14:42:47

Sorry I have taken a while to get back onto here - I have had trouble logging on using my usual computer.

There won't be any workmen there during our booking, but there is apparently quite a bit of scaffolding on two sides of the property. DH is telling them off and we have been offered a 10% refund, but really that is not enough considering they market this place as a premium exclusive perfectionist sort of venue.

One of the problems is that the owner clearly didn't do a full inspection of the roof when he restored the property a few years back so a problem that should have been dealt with previously has only come to light now. He is also very OCD about repairs and is insisting on it being done a certain way, which will take 6 weeks.

Quite frankly I am still underwhelmed by their response. I keep being told 'it's historic buildings' but I used to live in and run a stately home considerably more prominent than this place and we never organised ourselves in this way. We also had builders on a retainer at key times so things could be done very quickly.


OP’s posts: |
PricillaQueenOfTheDesert Fri 03-Nov-17 14:50:06

Just ask them outright what discount they will be offering. You’ve not got what you’ve paid for, what do you have to lose by asking for a discount?
You do have time to cancel and find somewhere that won’t be a building site although it will takesome organisation. —thinking of Don’t tell the bride—

Floralnomad Fri 03-Nov-17 15:15:27

I’d cancel and do a posh dinner at a hotel near home , everybody will understand . It would be such a shame if your weekend is spoilt by this

LittleWitch Fri 03-Nov-17 15:25:13

We had something similar happen when we booked a family Christmas at a very lovely hotel in a stunning part of the country. I visited the hotel in the August, was shown round the whole place, was assured that the large scale redecoration of the entire downstairs would be finished by Xmas, that the huge room we were having would be trimmed for Xmas with lights, tree, decorations, open fire etc to make it cosy.

Needless to say, none of that happened. The room was a scruffy, empty, cold, echoing barn with a tiny (2ft) tree in a pot in the corner - no lights, fire or anything. The room hadn't been redecorated and the owners claimed that there was never any intention to decorate it as part of the wider project, even though they told me that the entire ground floor was being done.

Our family was put on one huge table in the centre of this empty room and another table was put in the corner where a middle aged man and his elderly mother sat in silence all through the Xmas dinner hmm confused.

It was an absolute disaster. In addition to the dinner fiasco, DBiL and his DP tried and failed to get the hotel to supply towels and soap to their room for the entire stay. They ended up getting us to buy them from the supermarket (we lived locally) and bring them in.

When we tried to get some reduction in the final bill, the correspondence rapidly became extremely hostile and quite threatening from their side. Basically they denied, denied, denied and in the end we gave up.

Having had that experience, if I were you OP I would cancel and rebook elsewhere.

BoffinMum Tue 07-Nov-17 14:38:47

God that's horrendous. Why do people think that's OK, to be so mean?

It's was too late to rebook when they announced this and the company refused to transfer our booking to another property (although there was one that was big enough in roughly the same area). We had already paid in full. Our insurance doesn't cover this kind of thing (none would, as they could have decided not to do the repair with guests in situ).

DH is in communication with them to regarding their measly 10% proffered refund which is ridiculous.

I have however learned a LOT about the lettings firm, from someone close to events, and I will share much gossip on my return, in MN coded terms to we don't get sued. And so you know who to avoid in future.

OP’s posts: |
BoffinMum Thu 09-Nov-17 15:13:31

Ok, this event was probably not meant to be in karmic terms or something. It's now not just the scaffolding.

Literally half the guests have dropped out, including three in the last 24 hours. One family who said they could definitely make it just before we booked a couple of months ago have now said their children are involved with things. Another family have done the same, and then one person has said he has been a bit busy at work and doesn't fancy coming any more and he forgot which weekend it was anyway. Cousins have said they don't fancy coming for the whole weekend but only half of it now. Another couple had a previous engagement that they didn't tell us before we booked, so they are also only coming for half of it now. (Another couple have a very ill MIL so we will let them off).

We are now going to be rattling around a large building. I have also paid caterers per head for a sit down dinner with two serving staff and it's too late to change numbers and get refunds at this notice. Another friend has organised all the wine and it's sitting in my hallway ready for a load of guests who won't be there now. I have a huge birthday cake in the fridge that will hardly get eaten as well.

One person who originally said she and her husband couldn't come because they were going to be on holiday has just texted me to ask if she can take DS3 out to a film this weekend. I had to remind her that this was the weekend we had invited them away for a house party. She has gone v quiet now.

I have phoned around a few understanding work friends to see if they can make up numbers but despite their clear enthusiasm, it's just too short notice and they have other things on (it was a long shot anyway).

If there was a social leper emoticon I would be using it right now.

OP’s posts: |
Ttbb Thu 09-Nov-17 15:24:58

I'll come if you want me wink

BoffinMum Thu 09-Nov-17 15:30:10

I would have been better off funding the mother of all MN meet ups quite frankly, or arranging for some of the people on here who never have anything nice happen to have a lovely time.

OP’s posts: |
iseenodust Thu 09-Nov-17 16:40:20

There's a travel problems letter section in The Times....mention to the hotel you are a regular reader but have never yet been a correspondent...

I hope you have a great birthday with those close to you that count. flowers

BoffinMum Thu 09-Nov-17 17:25:29

It’s not a hotel, I’ve booked a small stately home.

OP’s posts: |
iseenodust Thu 09-Nov-17 17:40:45

Sorry, they may feel more inclined to want to preserve their 'name' than an corporate chain though ?

BoffinMum Thu 16-Nov-17 15:59:41

Right, thought I ought to feed back on how it went.

The scaffolding did look awful and the house itself had one or two other problems as well, but we had a lovely time nonetheless!!

OP’s posts: |
Dowser Fri 15-Dec-17 21:23:35

I’m pleased it went better than you expected it too.

It was only a Travelodge but I insisted I was given all my money back for not being told serious work was starting in the hotel the time we were there.
This was really important to me as we’d left a building site at home.

For my 60th I organised a big party and catered for 90 people.
50 turned up.
We were eating beef, fresh salmon, and gammon for days.

Never again will I do that again. It was only a £1000 but in future me and dh go for a meal, a break or a holiday for a big celebration.

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