Hotel des Consuls: Castelnau de Montmiral
We had a diabolical experience at the Hotel des Consuls in Castelnau de Montmiral. The manager/owner of the hotel made it very clear that he had the “contract and duty” to extract one night of tariff from us, but he had absolutely NO contract or duty to be on reception to check us in when we arrived; he had absolutely NO contract or duty to have a functional telephone answering system as a standby for the absent reception; he had absolutely NO contract or duty to inspect the rooms prior to occupation to ensure that they were clean of hair in the bathroom and dust balls in the bedroom and that the toilet roll holders were not falling off the wall; he had absolutely NO contract or duty to ensure that the beds could be slept in and that the springs had not collapsed (think sway back pig) and the base frame legs were lose and bent giving the bed a 5 degree tilt to one side = no sleep all night (so what were we paying for?). And No the manager did not need us to show us the problems, he conceded that we might have had issues, BUT he did have his contract and his duty to take our money. And he did have lots of excuses which outweighed any service to us; its nearly November; we have been too busy fixing the bathrooms; we are going to renovate over the winter; if he had been contacted at midnight we would have been moved us to another room (see the problems at reception); he was having an argument with his wife and daughter, and so on. Get the picture? The management at this place makes Fawlty Towers look 5 star. This is one hotel to avoid.
We just can’t stop writing about this place!
Castelnau de Montmiral has a lot to offer. The little Bastide is quite cute and the town sits at a high point surveying a productive local wine region. The central square is perfectly set with medieval buildings and the Hotel des Consuls has pride of place. A good start. But that is where it all ended. At 3.30 pm the reception desk was vacant and the telephone instructions were not working. There was no one to admit us, no consul at hand. We finally manage to communicate with another local in the village … “sacre bleu, it happens all the time”! (he is sick of the inconvenience) The manager is contacted, … he is “delayed” we should check ourselves in, he would see us later. Stage one of the self service hotel The nominated rooms are confused, it could be one of three. After an hour and a half we think we have a solution and allocate ourselves a room. About 5.00pm the manager arrives. He will see us later, do we want the self service breakfast, it is only 11 Euros? Maybe not. The manager, his wife and teenage daughter are having a row, time for low profile. The wifi works, just, very slow. The manager is good with that, he will see us later. The room seems pretty marginal, there are dust balls all over the bedroom floor, hair and dust on the bathroom floor, toilet paper holder falling off the wall, the balcony is liberally covered with pigeon poop and feathers … a no go area. The family war in the greater hotel continues, we slink of to our room, a bit of reading, lights out by 10. Discover the beds are terrible, a little matter of collapsed springs. One bed is collapsed on one side, and the legs are beginning to collapse. It is like being on starboard tack. The mattresses are also very dusty, allergy is aroused. Not much sleep tonight, tired and sore all over.
The manager is stunned to hear that we did not get any sleep. Shocked to learn that his beds were in bad repair. But, no he did not need to come up and check, he accepted our complaint. And he would have changed rooms for us, yes at 11.00 pm after he resolved the family feud! And as much as he felt sympathy for us and would have liked to refund some money for our discomfort, he just couldn’t. He was bound by his “contract” to take a significant amount of money from us … but somehow did not seem to be concerned with his contract to provide a reasonable degree of sleep comfort for his patrons. Mister manager had excuses aplenty; they “were” in the process of refurbishing the whole hotel and just had not got around to the beds yet; it was a new bed a few years ago; damit, I can’t check everything (we were the only guests on the particular evening); surely it was someone else’s fault; if only we had complained to him at midnight (his phone system was not working, Dear Henry). No responsibility.
Categorically, the Hotel des Consuls provided us with our worst evenings accommodation experience over 4 weeks in France. Most places have been rather good and proactive in their management. And maybe it takes one really bad experience to keep the constant traveller wary of the pitfalls of not researching out all the travel options properly. The message hear is clear, certainly check out the village and the wine trail, but avoid the hotel at all costs.