A Fawlty Hotel in Scotland; a night to forget

By the morning I was exhausted, finding it hard to believe I’d had such a bad night. So I went across to get breakfast. A fine misty rain dampened my enthusiasm further and the place seemed deserted. There was no-one about except a sullen-looking Polish guy who spoke little English. Actually, he was mumbling so I am not sure how well he could speak, when he was bothered.

There was no-one else in the dining room – but three tables bore the signs of some early breakfasting – no cutlery, lots of crumbs, butter papers and general mess. It was 9am Sunday. I had been kept awake most of the night.

I ordered porridge, kippers and tea. Then waited. I calculated how long it would take me to microwave this lot – and waited some more. I heard the microwave pinging. Tea and toast arrived. I drank some orange juice and looked at the pathetic white toast. I waited. A sound of crashing alarmed me – was my porridge destined for the floor?

As boredom and sleep deprivation were about to suck me dry like death eaters, out came my porridge and kippers, at the same time. Original I thought.

The porridge was swimming, like a white blob of yesterday’s stuff, amidst a bowl of milk. This didn’t look good. I couldn’t even raise the spoon – and I had just done 3 nights camping for Christ sake! The kipper was over-cooked, dry and hiding beneath lovely green sprigs of parsley and lemon, nicely curled, demonstrating some ability. But my first mouthful was cold.

I had had enough! I knocked on the kitchen door, disturbing a conversation in Polish – all the hotel staff turned out to be Polish – and they were the ones who had kept me awake with their swearing, barfing and eventually, when that all failed to provoke me, they had barged into my bedroom! (Remember, I was a paying guest). One of the ‘staff’ was the one who had come into my room (with a spare key) at some dark hour of the night when guests should be sleeping. So, I was not happy to be told the owner was still asleep. I demanded to speak to whoever was in charge. I stood and waited but with time to calm a little and plan my words.

Eventually, In came the owner, who had been all smiles the night before. He was unshaved and in the process of tucking his shirt in. I cannot type this all but I said it was not good enough. He made excuses, pretended to be appalled but I could see £ signs in his eyes. I told him of the night intruders and he tried to explain it away. I told him I was not going to pay the £40. He said “ok”, how much would I pay? So I asked him what he thought it was worth, given the circumstances. He said £30! I laughed “no!” but then I offered £20, to cover cleaning costs. I knew this would upset him more than asking for a 100% discount – and it did – he did not seem comfortable with me being rational, calm and helpful (he knew of my running accommodation). I felt in total control of the conversation – quite a new experience!

I had made sure I had a £20 note in my pocket and pulled it out, tempting him with it, but before I handed it over, I told him “if you accept this, I warn you, I will be writing a report to VisitScotland and sites on the internet, to warn potential future guests of what they can expect here!”

I went on to tell him how if he knew his business he would never let me do this – and that in his situation I would be trying to do damage control, not look greedily at a £20 note, which I still had in my hand. And so it went on. In his hung-over state he fumbled along in a pedestrian, dumb way. I told him I had not paid to argue either and having had his staff wake me by barging into my room at 3.30 in the morning he had done more than enough damage – and it was clear he too had been awake at that time for he knew of it – yet had just gotten out of bed.

Then, he tried the old “if you’d like another breakfast” routine, which prompted more laughter from me! I told him I just wanted to get the hell out of the hotel but I had waited to see him to do the right thing and try to put things right for the future. I then told him if he was not happy with my £20, he could see me in the Small Claims court where I would love telling in full detail the experiences of my stay.

At this point he saw red, said he did not want to argue over £20 and, taking my wrist, pushed my hand away. So, I said “goodnight” (for I was tired and confused) and I left.

I then went to *********** and made sure to recount this to Mark, who said “thank you” for informing him as they have put people up in the hotel. He then went on to say “actually, Gerry is a twat”. I still have my tourist page to write up. Maybe I shall quote that!

So, I end up with a good story to tell. The hotel concerned is in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and remains nameless because there is nothing exceptional about this story. I stayed in 2007 and needless to say, I feel sorry for tourists who encounter such wrotten places to stay. Ignore the 3 star rating.

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