Saturday, 24 April 2010
The Inspector Calls
It was a beautiful sunny morning in the New Forest and Spring was in the air. The Cloud Hotel was busy as usual when two of our guests who had stayed the night at the Hotel checked out and announced they were the AA Hotel Inspectors. My morning meetings had to be postponed so I could sit with them to hear their comments and the report of their stay. I'm always slightly apprehensive at the start of a meeting with the AA Inspectors although I have been the Proprietor of The Cloud Hotel for 34 years. However on this occasion I could not have experienced a more positive and encouraging meeting and in no way did I feel intimidated. I was able to express my concerns about the Star ratings and how they are perceived by the general public. Bed and Breakfast establishments, Guest houses, Public Houses and Inns used to be awarded Diamonds and Hotels were awarded Stars. This was changed a few years ago and now all accommodation establishments are awarded Stars but are judged on what level of accommodation they provide. For example a Bed and Breakfast establishment can be awarded 5 stars but based on Bed and Breakfast facilities, likewise for Guest Accommodation and Public Houses etc. I feel this is confusing for the general public. The Cloud Hotel has 2 AA Stars based on its facilities as a small hotel, for example the hotel does not have a lift, a night porter or offer a laundry service but the Inspectors gave the hotel a first class report for service, cleanliness, food, efficiency and my friendly and loyal staff and increased the Cloud Hotel's Merit score to 84%. The merit score is often not recognised by the general public but it is awarded for the quality of the services offered by the hotel as opposed to the facilities. I was delighted to have such positive feedback by such professional and encouraging Inspectors. Having good feedback lifts everyone's spirits and encourages everyone to do even better in the future. Seeing the sunshine,the fresh green shoots on the trees and the foals grazing outside the hotel as well as a newly born donkey trotting by staying close to his mother as people try to get a photo of him adds to the surroundings and atmosphere of a very good day at The Cloud Hotel.