The Second Time Around – La Tour

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To me, hotels and trips away are the ‘wonders of the world’, experiencing life through different cultures in cities, towns, villages and more around our own hot-spot – the UK and the other places this wonderful world has to offer.

Last year, I decided to take a break in the lovely city of Birmingham and as usual I searched my favourite site, booking.com to find the perfect getaway hotel and came across Hotel La Tour. As we know, booking sites will use the most flattering images of the places they offer their unique rates and this isn’t always a bad thing – La Tour definitely lived up to the promotion.

When we arrived to Birmingham and parked the car just outside our home for the night we started our adventure at Hotel La Tour. Unfortunately, the experience was pretty unsatisfying. Don’t get me wrong, the hotel was absolutely stunning as to be expected, however the service came as a bit of a shock. Don’t be put off yet, this experience i’ve began today’s blog on isn’t the experience which i’m about to share in fact, the poor experience has been shared already on the famous Tripadvisor, seen by many and since then turned right around.

Here’s the story which you’ll definitely want to read.

Now, after our stay which we were left feeling unhappy about I received a phone call and e-mail from the General Manager once my Tripadvisor review was published asking to discuss my recent stay in more detail. Of course I was more than happy to explain everything further in regards to my post and why i felt it couldn’t wait to be published.

Andy, (the GM) took a call-back from me later in the evening that he had sent his e-mail to me and demonstrated nothing but professionalism. In his e-mail he apologised for the experience I had explained that this is not their usual practise (the hotel staff on this particular day were going through a very stressful, unexpected circumstance which cost the hotel a lot of unhappy customers) now the GM didn’t use that as an excuse, we were well aware at the time of stay but my points in the review were valid nonetheless. I was offered to return to La Tour for a complimentary stay to allow the hotel to restore our faith back in what they pride themselves on – great customer service and a five-star stay.

In my review, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be returning to La Tour however, we had stayed once prior to this and everything was perfect (pretty much) and felt sad that it had came to this but after the 20minute phone conversation I had with the GM and after his e-mail I decided to take the offer in hope that I could enjoy my time at his hotel once again and be reassured that the poor experience was genuinely a one-off.

The Service

Upon arrival at Hotel La Tour, we were greeted with a smile and the lady on reception had note of our stay and why we were returning. She made point of this to me during check-in and she sincerely wished us a much better stay. After she checked us in, she went on to tell me about our room, where everything is in the hotel, the services they offer and confirmed the time which we will be eating at Marco Pierre White’s English Chophouse (the hotel restaurant) I thanked her and went to our room instantly feeling better about the service we had received and acknowledged this right away.

We got to our room on the 7th floor and found immediately that the beds were so much comfier, immaculate as always and very modern – high tech. After unpacking we headed out to the superb Bullring shopping centre for some post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s eve outfit shopping. (this all after a quick prosecco and some nibbles to prepare us for the big shop in the hotel’s beautiful bar, of course.)

When the shops made us ready to drop, we returned to the hotel bar for one more tipple before getting ready for our 8pm reservation at the MPW Chophouse restaurant.

As we arrived at the restaurant, we again were greeted with a smile and much professionalism as we were shown to our table and handed our menu’s to decide on which meal to get stuck in to. As we browsed the menu we were served to a drinks order – Chianti was the wine for the evening, our most loved bottle of red (which goes very well with a steak!)

The service at the restaurant was unforgettable and I don’t exaggerate this one bit. Our waiter was called Luis, he was a young man and it’s very evident he has high ambition and thrives to provide the best. The service you would expect was exactly what we got, nothing annoying, no disappointment and even a few laughs! I really do wish the best for his career.

After a wonderful three-course meal later of the Camembert, Steak (medium rare) and a lovely chocolate dessert (my ultimate weakness) we headed back to the bar to finish off our bottle of Chianti and enjoy the rest of the evening, which we did.

We had a great night’s sleep back in our room. Now this could have been much assisted by the bottle of red we shared or because the General Manager was true to his information and the hotel had all new mattress toppers put onto their beds and it definitely made the world of difference. I’m pretty sure it was the toppers (and maybe a bit of vino influence) but nevertheless, there wasn’t an opened eye until it was time to get ready to check out.

The next day

My partner headed down for breakfast as I began to get ready and pack for our 11am check out time. (I do at times indulge in the hotel breakfasts but for me it’s rare – I’ve just never been a ‘eat first-thing’ person). My partner assures me that the breakfasts are great though and I’d take his word.

We were finally ready and headed down to the reception to hand in our keys and thank the reception staff for a lovely stay.

I would like to take this time to thank Andy, Hotel La Tour’s general manager for recognising my negative experience previous to this one, for making contact and for offering for me to restore my faith in La Tour as this is exactly what happened, we will be returning and I wish the best for the hotel in the future.

As much as a disappointing experience is inevitably off-putting, poor customer service can, at times be turned around and mistakes do happen. In every job there’s people who are there because it’s a passion and others because it’s a pay at the end of the month. Once you receive the service from the passionate of staff and they get their reviews, how much do you think the end of the month cheque is better for those employees?

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