alleged "tired" "need refurbishment" hotels on tour

Except for the Savoy, the other hotels on the ESW tour during the summer 2019 have a not insignificant number of reviews saying they are tired". "past their prime" and "need refurbishment" and should not be considered true 4 or 5 star properties.
My wife and I have booked the tour for July. I am very interested in hearing any comments on these reviews and your assessment of the hotels used during your tour.

Comments

  • We did this tour 3years ago. We found no issues which negatively impacted us. One needs to remember.....location, location, location.
  • We did this tour in 2017 staying in the same hotels listed for 2019. Here is my opinion on them - good and bad.

    Sheraton Edinburgh - very modern, clean lines, not opulent, don't expect toiletries to be replaced (Scotch thriftyness), very nice staff, check in process included doorman in kilt, single malt and excellent shortbread (in fact the shortbread was always available in the lobby), the best buffet breakfast on the tour, good location

    Langdale Hotel - my least favorite of the tour as far as the room (the furniture showed some wear/tear and the rooms are in a separate bldg from the restaurant), but the location was lovely, the food excellent (especially the sticky toffee pudding), the gym was a bit tired but the other public spaces were very nice, has a country posh log cabin feel

    Quay Hotel - we (along with about half our group) lucked out and got suites with water views, very nice, food was ok not great, it's located a ways from Conwy and anything else without a long walk

    Randolph Hotel - very historic property right in the heart of Oxford, don't bother with the elevator unless you absolutely can't take stairs, a bit of a rabbit warren of a building that you kept having to refer to direction cards to get between your room and the lobby, once you found the room is was very nice (clean, well maintained, nice amenities), food was good

    Francis Hotel - like the Randolph this is a very historic building in a great location (Jane Austen once lived in the same square), room was small but very nice with quirky features like a painting attached to the ceiling, food (especially dinner) was excellent

    Savoy - yes the poshest of the lot - our only problem here was the breakfast is ala carte and the portions are large, it was a constant battle to avoid wasting food (we stayed here for 3 nights at the end of a Seine cruise then back again 2 weeks later for the end of ESW so lots of attempts at getting this right - food was outstanding

    I wouldn't worry too much about food issues as everyone has different opinions, try different things on the menu and this could easily change after 2 years. We had plenty of other outstanding meals on this tour including the Welsh Food Centre, lunch in the pump room in Bath, and the dinner with the MP (although he was boring). In general, avoid American staples like pancakes in the UK - they just mean something different from what we are used to. Plenty of other better choices.

    We'd do this tour again in a heartbeat.
  • What one person calls "tired" others call "historic" or "Quaint." Except for London and Edinburgh, all other lodging is in smaller cities and towns- there may not be new, fancy hotels, and frankly many, including me would rather stay in a centrally located historic or quaint hotel. That is true of a lot of lodging on US and European land tours.
  • edited February 2019
    Last summer, we went to England with a large group of friends to perform. The main place we stayed was a tourist town but not one that you might expect to get Americans staying. The hotel was central but all the descriptions that Alan mentions. But we could walk everywhere, there was a great breakfast, it was clean and everyone in our group ranging from early twenties to around eighty could afford to stay there. On arrival, a mature member of our group made a terrible scene when she saw her room. She went up to the check in desk and was unbelievably rude to the staff. So rude, that being the only member of the group in the lobby that had an English accent, I had to stay behind and apologise for her behavior because the manager was so upset, as was the other former English member of the group when she had to speak to the manager later. She had organized the tour and had formerly been in the travel industry, had negotiated great rates and put an AlanS type detailed itinerary together for us that was wonderful. The person put a terrible review on TripAdvisor. I had to join Tripadvisor to of course make my comments.
    Tauck always says it gets the best available hotels, but that can indeed mean a good location or historic building. Even in the US and traveling with Tauck, we have stayed in quirky hotels, but they have been historic and central to the action and let's face it, they are only a place to sleep. So as long as the rooms are clean, I am good with that. In fact, I should add, as long as you don't keep rolling out of the bed because the mattress is so old, like the hotel I mention above ...which is what happened to me in the full size bed we had. It added to the fun and we were getting to bed so late after parties that it didn't matter. No, I was not drunk! Our 'friend' was moaning she didn't have a king bed, an English king bed is what we here call a queen.
    So, to the original poster, you can get in England what is available for tour groups of Tauck size unless you stay in London and miss out on the wonderful charms of the real England, Scotland, Wales etc. I talk to Americans all the time that ask where I come from and I say England, they immediately assume I am talking about London, some are even confused when I explain that London is not a country, yes really.
    When you travel to other countries, you have to make compromises and that is often on accommodation. After all, the reason you go is to see the places, not moan about a bit of tired looking furniture in your hotel room.
    Please enjoy your tour.
  • The Langdale is definitely a case of the best they can get in a location. As our TD said, the lake district has mostly smaller inns that can't easily handle a large tour group.

    The Randolph and Francis were older and definitely quirky but in excellent condition. The Sheraton was nice but I would have liked something more historical like the Balmoral.

    As long as things are clean and I can sleep (bed, temperature, noise issues) I'm fine.

    Again, a great trip well worth going on.
  • We did this tour in June, 2018, and I think we can sometimes be a bit fussy about hotel rooms (can't stand dark rooms nor ones with a smoky odor). With that said, we had no complaints about any of the hotels. I am pretty much in agreement with Claudia's assessment but will add a few comments on specific hotels:
    Sheraton Edinburgh: Great location, wonderful wait staff who love it if you are game to try Blood Pudding and Haggis, And the most confusing interior lights I have ever seen! And, Claudia, the trick to replenishing amenities is to put the half used bottles/ containers out of sight before housekeeping arrives!
    Langdale: The trip to the location in a large coach on a very narrow road is an experience in itself! I would liken the rooms to one of the better national park lodges, but the setting is lovely. trying to conquer the safe will give your group lots of laughs...don't miss the opportunity to walk, along a trail, back to the hotel...wonderful!
    Quay: great! more modern
    Randolph: It can't be too shabby if Russell Crowe is staying there at the same time! Enough said!
    Francis: Absolutely charming, and I loved the way the hotel honors history by posting plaques about what was on this spot originally (we were in the site of the 1739 garden of No. 5 Queen Sq. which subsequently became Whitting's Garage, destroyed in the 1942 air raids)!
    Savoy: Check out the film "Stan & Ollie" as they stay at the Savoy and there is a bit of film of the entrance and some of the interior...again, if it is good enough for Premier Netanyahu, it was good enough for us! And, again, what a great location!
    What you need to remember, kmk58, is that Tauck does not always choose the slick, modern business hotels that we are so familiar with in the US. Tauck uses many of the "Leading Hotels of the World" in Europe and those are unique and well-located.
  • Yep, Joyce is right about the lights at the Sheraton. We knew we were in trouble when the TD who had stayed there several times still hadn't figured them out. The haggis ceremony was great, the eating of it not so much. Although the vegetarian haggis at the Whisky Experience dinner was excellent. I still had toiletries leftover from 2 weeks on a river cruise and 3 nights at the Savoy so weren't really worried about more at the Sheraton.

    And my husband locked himself out of the the safe in the Langdale. Had to call the front desk for help. Darn that whole reading the directions first thing....

    Ok, I'm jealous about Russell Crowe. At least the Randolph has been redecorated since the early Morse episode that featured it.

    Will have to make of point of watching Stan & Ollie. We watched the movie Gambit recently. It stars Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, and Alan Rickman. There's a fairly long section of it filmed at the Savoy.
  • joycesw wrote:
    Sheraton Edinburgh:the most confusing interior lights I have ever seen!

    Yes, yes!!! Eight tours later, the Sheraton still takes the award for most confusing lighting!! : )

    A good example of the impact of hotel availability- about 8 or so years ago there was a big forum discussion about the Ultimate Alps Tour hotel in Cortina d'Ampezzo. A number of people were unhappy with the lodging. The next year Tauck changed hotels- many were still unhappy. Since we were scheduled for that trip, I researched area hotels. Cortina is small but a really big deal in the skiing world ('56 Olympics, World Cup, etc.)- hotels are booked solid all winter by skiers so they quickly show their age. All the hotels in town I checked out were of similar age with similar accommodations- TripAdvisor reviews were consistent between them- ok but not great. So what can a tour company like Tauck do when there are no hotels in the area (within 100+ mi.) that are top notch? They contract with the best available, provide the hotel with their expectations, and switch to another hotel if the hotel fails to meet expectations.
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