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A return visit to Exeter

When I went to Penzance in May, I stopped overnight in Exeter on the way home, simply to break the journey since Penzance is such an awkward long trip especially by public transport. I picked the hotel in Exeter on the basis of convenience and price (or as work would put it, “value for money”), and indeed it was one of those modern chains so beloved by work. They are usually entirely acceptable but hardly luxurious, and this one was a rather ugly multi-story block well located within a short walk of the Cathedral Green. My room was on the fourth floor, with a really good view of the car park through a large picture window. Too good a view in fact – the window opened but wouldn’t close again! It was one of those windows with a catch that’s meant to stop it opening by more than an inch or two, allowing in air but remaining secure. However, the catch was on the ground in the car park, four floors below and the window swung wide open, hanging on by just one corner! It was, without exaggeration, a death-trap.

To do the hotel justice, they were suitably horrified. The receptionist, whom I initially summoned up to have a look at my broken window, quickly decided that this problem was well above his pay-grade. He called for reinforcements in the shape of the duty manager, who swiftly decided that I most certainly couldn’t stay in that room a moment longer. I’d pre-paid for the room, and that was immediately refunded, and I was moved into an upgraded room for a free overnight stay with breakfast (which since I hadn’t originally paid for breakfast was a very good deal). I was also offered a free overnight stay for a return visit, to be used at a mutually agreeable date.

Well, I’m hardly going to turn down a free night away, so I was pleased to accept the offer.  I settled on a two-night stay in Exeter over the August Bank Holiday, with the first night free, and the second at a heavily discounted price. Even better, there was a bottle of wine chilling in the room, and an envelope with vouchers for free coffee, some free drinks from the bar, and money off all food and beverages for the duration of my stay.

Things always can and do go wrong, but it’s how a company responds to put things right that makes the biggest difference. And in this case they did a good job at sorting out the problem and recompensing me for the trouble I’d had.