After a very busy Christmas period at work, I was in desperate need of some R&R. But where to go? Where could I get a few days’ relaxation and not break the bank? I looked at possible winter sun destinations but I only wanted to go for three days. In the end, I settled for a hotel on my doorstep: Merchant’s Manor in Falmouth. Here are my thoughts on the hotel.
My very first impression of the room was that I must have received an upgrade. Firstly, because I booked the “Cosy Sea View” room category but I couldn’t see the sea out of the window, and secondly because I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the room. It was very spacious for a hotel’s “cosy” (i.e. box room) category! So my very first impressions were positive. Yet the décor in the room didn’t match the hotel lobby’s elegant style… And all of the furnishings were generally mismatched. There was a massive mirror with a metal frame on the wall beside the bed, then a mirror with a plain frame in the alcove in the room. The television was tiny and the phone was ancient.
There was not enough information about breakfast and room service in the room itself. Sometimes you find little booklets with need-to-know info in your hotel room, but there was nothing. The magazine on the desk advertising the restaurant was two months out of date with a voucher that expired in December 2016.
Oh, and the carpet was like straw. Walking around the room barefoot was really uncomfortable!
The bathroom included a bathtub – a definite bonus – but was otherwise pretty bog standard.
Even though this room was on the ground floor on the corridor leading to the Gym & Swim facilities, the noise did not travel. You could hear people chatting in the corridor as they walked past, but not the noise from the facilities.
The spa facilities
The spa is open from 6 am until 10 pm, but the facilities are pretty basic. Which is a shame, as it’s the main reason for booking my stay. The spa features a small pool, a Jacuzzi, a steam room and a small outdoor sauna.
The square Jacuzzi attached to the pool was bizarre. Jacuzzis usually have a raised seat, but this one didn’t. You had to prop yourself up against the wall and sit with your legs straight. When I talked to regular guests, they said the sauna used to be better, and they seemed confused as to why the hotel replaced it. I didn’t even notice there was a sauna at first. As it’s outside, the floor leading up to the patio doors got pretty dirty with people walking in and out barefoot. Having said this, the experience of stepping out into the cold, then into the hot sauna, back out into the cold and through the patio doors into the warm pool area was quite nice!
The gym and pool are separated with frosted glass windows, so you can see shadows of sweaty runners on the equipment from the spa area.
Don’t bother with the lockers in the changing rooms. I locked my valuables in two different compartments and managed to lock myself out both times as the keypad refused to accept my code. The first time it happened, a member of staff was milling about and a friendly swimmer nudged him to help me get my stuff back. “Happens pretty often, I wouldn’t use the lockers if I were you,” he said. OK, well where do I put my stuff then? Another woman said I should put my belongings in a locker and just close the door over without locking it. But that’s not really the point of a locker!
The second time it happened, no staff members were around, so I rang reception using the spa’s internal phone line. They said they would send somebody down to help. So I waited. And waited. And waited. I rang again, they said someone was on their way. Again, I waited… In the end, I marched to reception wearing a bikini, a towel and a face like thunder. The staff finished chatting and came to help then. Not really what I call good service.
The breakfast buffet was good. There was a continental selection with croissants, fruit, toast, jam, marmalade, etc. You could also order hot food. I don’t like fried breakfast so I didn’t take them up on that offer, but pancakes were also on the menu. The breakfast staff were very friendly and the view from the breakfast area was beautiful and serene.
I ordered room service from the restaurant menu on my last night. The food arrived promptly and the waiter was very nice and accommodating. I highly recommend the duck, it was delicious. And totally worth the price.
The massage treatments
The hotel offers a range of massages. Prices are available here. Make sure you turn up at reception ten minutes before your appointment. Nobody told me I had to be there early, and I received a hasty phone call to my room asking whether I still wanted the massage. Not exactly a relaxing start to my treatment! I chose the Explorer’s Rest. It was lovely but the therapist gave me a concerned look at the end, told me my back was out of alignment, and said it was really rare to see that in someone of my age. So not exactly a relaxing end to the treatment, either.
The after-sales service
After I checked out and was on my way home, I realised I had left my glasses in the room. I called the hotel, and the lady on the phone confirmed that they had been handed in. I was relieved to hear this, but it took about 10 days for my glasses to reach me in Plymouth. During this time, I sent several emails to the hotel, but staff couldn’t really tell me much more than the parcel had been sent off for franking and should be on its way. And when the parcel finally arrived, it had been torn and a note from Royal Mail apologising for the state of the delivery was taped to its outside. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a good job the glasses were securely bubble wrapped, otherwise they probably would have been damaged.
Would I stay again?
If I’m ever in Falmouth again, I might consider it.