We live locally and visit the hotel to eat and drink at least once a week. We regularly use TaTa bar, the rooftop conservatory and Sanders Kitchen because we love the hotel, the food and drink, the atmosphere and, until today, the service.
We met a friend for Sunday breakfast at the Sanders kitchen and looked forward to a cosy time as usual. The English-speaking male waiter seemed pleasant at first but I should have known problems were coming when he said if we want breakfast we need to hurry and order as the kitchen was closing. If a guest has arrived 20 minutes before the official end of breakfast I don’t expect to be told to hurry up. No big deal, we thought nothing of it, and quickly ordered some food.
The big problem revolved around something as simple as a coffee order. I ordered a second café latte when the food arrived. Nothing arrived for about 15 minutes and then the male waiter returned with a cappuccino. I told him I had actually ordered a café latte but no big deal I will take it anyway as I had been waiting. He then told me he could take it back but all he would do to make it into a latte was to pour it into a bigger cup and bring it back. A ridiculous comment (cappuccino and latte are totally different coffees as 99.9% of the world’s population know) which I ignored anyway and I took the coffee. He apologized and we thought nothing more of it.
My partner and friend then ordered two americano coffees. A longer than normal wait ensued and then he brought just one americano. We were amused that such simple coffee orders were being messed up and called him back and reminded him we ordered two americanos and not one. When he came back with the second coffee our friend very politely explained that we were disappointed they kept getting the coffee orders wrong. Constructive polite feedback for him to relay, that’s all. The male waiter became instantly angry with us. He said his colleagues were responsible, that they had someone new working there (how experienced do you need to be to make a black coffee??) and it was not his fault. We explained it was not a personal complaint against him but he became progressively more angry and aggressive. He then accused us of attacking him. Quite ridiculous. I attempted to calm him down and explain it was simple feedback on genuinely poor service but he kept shouting over the top of me and then snatched my coffee away from in front of me and stormed off even though I asked him to bring it back. Bizarre.
When he returned he was still angry and argumentative for no apparent reason. He refused to listen to us and looked enraged that we had dared to complain about the silly coffee order mistakes. As he was impossible to talk to and close to losing control I told him to get the manager. He initially refused until I said I would get them myself if he didn’t. At this point a polite, professional female colleague of his intervened and was marvellous. She listened, comped the coffees and fixed a simple problem the way it should be fixed. The food as usual was excellent.
But the damage is done. We were left shocked at how a hotel like Sanders can have a waiter who berates guests aggressively because they dare to raise a minor complaint. He is unfit for not just this hotel but any hospitality position. It was bizarre, slightly amusing but at times threatening. Not what you expect over breakfast. I doubt we or our friends will return as long as he is employed there.