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Weekend pamper sesh in Berkshire

This weekend the girls (Eileen and Toni) and I decided to spoil ourselves for Eileen’s dirty thirty birthday. We booked ourselves into the Macdonald Berystede Hotel & Spa in beautiful Berkshire. I flippin’ love a pamper session and promptly booked myself a full body massage and a top notch pedicure. Because, hey, I work hard. Well, I work. I mean, I turn up.

In the end it felt like we spent the weekend at Fawlty Towers

We met at Waterloo at 12noon, coffees in hand, overnight bags packed and all in need of a wee treat and a bit of indulgence. We’d decided on the picnic idea for food Saturday night, so stocked up at the supermarket on cheese, cold deli meats, nuts, crackers, hummus and carrots, plus of course red wine and bubbly to get us through.

On arrival everything was great, we checked in to lovely clean rooms and ordered some ice from room service to chill our bubbly. While the bubbly got frosty we hit the bar for a light bite and a cheeky cocktail. The wait staff were comical. In that you’d ask them something, they’d forget 10 minutes later and you’d have to re-ask. This happened more than twice, and with every waiter or waitress we encountered. That espresso martini was the worst cocktail I’ve ever had. It looked like dirty pond water and didn’t taste much better. The scoop of coffee beans floating on top didn’t help.

We decided we wouldn’t risk another £9.50 dirty-dish-water-in-a-glass cocktail and instead retired to our rooms to open our first bottle, after asking the waitress for champagne flutes twice, of course. Laughing about our awful cocktails, talking about men and sipping on our bubbly we decided it was time to hit the spa pool (hot tub) before we pulled out our picnic dinner.

Swimsuits on and down to the pool. We’d been in the (what we thought) lovely spa pool about five minutes when two maintenance men turned up and got IN TO THE SPA with us. They were cleaning it, apparently. We had done our homework and knew the spa closed at 9pm, so we’d arrived at 8 with plenty of time to soak. We hadn’t planned on soaking in other peoples filth like a toe-jam, dead-skin soup. REVOLTING. I asked them why they were cleaning when the pool didn’t close until 9. “Yes, closes at 9” they replied. This conversation wasn’t going anywhere… After a steam in the sauna and a quick dip to cool off we retreated to the sanity of our room. Thanking God that we had our spa treatments booked for the next day, so we could enjoy and unwind.

After gorging ourselves on cheese and polishing off a bottle of Malbec we decided it was sleep time. Toni had her massage for 9am the next day and she’d need to be up early. Or so we thought…

Fast forward to 9.15am – I’m lying in bed watching Sex and the City on my iPad as Toni comes back through the room door – the masseuse has called in sick and now everyone’s treatments have been moved around or cancelled. What the actual fuck?! How is there no system in place to cover such things?! Right. I was up. We all marched down to the spa reception to find out what had happened. Apparently everything had been moved around and we had been notified. Ummm, no, none of us had had a notification for a change. Mine and Eileen’s treatments were still going ahead, however two had moved times. After demanding to speak to the Manager we made it clear we were very unimpressed with the way the hotel was run (including the spa cleaning men) and asked for a resolution. As mine and Eileen’s were going ahead, they stayed as is. Toni was given a 30 min massage (should have been an hour) and a full refund and some products from the spa. We also managed a free late checkout on our room.

The next test was breakfast. The hotel offer a buffet breakfast in their restaurant. Toni was in her robe (ready for her massage) so they promptly refused her entry. We told them we’d not be taking this and they could then seat us elsewhere – they set up a table for us near the bar and we were perfectly happy. The girls ordered coffees which again looked like dirty-dish-water. Eileen’s flat white looked like somebody had washed their muddy foot in the cup and then snorted a snot ball on top – zero foam – just a weird light coloured substance. Perhaps the barman had had his thrills seeing Toni in her robe…

After asking the waitress for salt and pepper twice, she returned with two salts. Fail. Luckily the next guy was clued up. The whole thing became so comical we could only sit and laugh amongst ourselves. How a hotel who rates themselves as 4 star can operate this way bemuses me.

Overall if it weren’t for the lovely two ladies whom I get to call my best friends – I would have lost my shit. But being able to laugh about it with them really made the weekend for me. Will I be returning to this hotel? No. Never. Would I recommend this hotel to anyone? No. Never. One would be better off spending their weekend in a tent, and pouring themselves coffee from a muddy puddle.

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