Use the following sections to discover more about what we do and how we run the Camilla House in Penzance.
At the Camilla House Guest House we take feedback from our customers very seriously and encourage it whenever possible; if there is something we can do to improve the experience and service we offer then we will try our best to implement it. Over the last 10 years the vast majority of our guests have come up with positive ideas and constructive comments even when they have an issue with what we do - that is fully expected in the hospitality business - however by the law of averages that cannot last and we get a review such as the one below which we would like to share.
The review was posted by Mr John Diamond of 'The Providence, 23A Mill Street, Ludlow' after a stay in September 2012. We have included all his comments (in red coloured text) for the sake of completeness (please ignore the grammatical and spelling mistakes).
'We chose the hotel by its location to our friends, our stay was quite good apart from the room we had was up 4 flights of stairs an attic room, as i have mobility dificulties with my legs this was very uncomfortable for me, and also we thoght that an attic room should have been cheaper as there were no lift so was not 5star accomodation.
As the room was of odd proportions we found the bed a zipped together two singles occupied to much of the space, and the cushions were not usefull.'
With regards to what Mr Diamond liked about the Camilla House his response was 'The location' and his dislikes were summarised as 'Only that I think they should say that they have no lift and that you may be allocatted an attic room for the top price. Not a good value for money Hotel'.
This was followed by these comments to us 'I think your hotel has bad taste in its furnishings and if you proffes to being luxury then you need bigger bathrooms and better use of space for the user and not your own needs.ie either a double bed or two singles but not one that does both.'
Needless to say, Mr Diamond has indicated that he would not recommend us to a friend.
So, while we fully accept that the internet gives people the power to express their views in whichever way they see fit we thought it only fair to reply to Mr Diamond's comments. Our full response (in blue coloured text) is below.
We are a Guest House, not a Hotel. Mr Diamond seems fixated with the idea that we are a Hotel, which quite clearly we are not - we do not market ourselves as such, we do not pretend to be a Hotel and we are regularly inspected by the AA and graded as a 'Guest House'. The official AA signage at the front of the Camilla House Guest House states 'Guest House' and both our online and printed media emphasises the point very carefully.
We seem to recollect that Mr Diamond actually visited the Camilla House last year to see where we were in relation to the person he wished to visit (being a near neighbour), and being somewhat acquainted with the area he would have recognised the nature of the type of property we are, i.e. a Georgian period town house that has been converted from a private residence to utilise the rooms as a Guest House. Such conversions include the provision of en-suite facilities, but because we are not a 'new build' this often requires the creative use of existing space and consequently they are not as large as may be found in a purpose built generic Hotel.
The vast majority of our guests have the ability to differentiate between a Guest House and Hotel, and to assist in making this clear to those who are perhaps unfamiliar with the terminology we have on our own web site sections titled 'You May Like' and 'You May Not Like' (please see links on the left of this page). We would always recommend that a guest takes the time to research where they are going to stay - this is also known as 'personal responsibility', particularly if it is important that features like a lift and disabled access are present. Every page of our web site also has a link to an 'Access' menu that details the nature of the steps and stairs involved in accessing rooms.
Considering the emphasis placed by Mr Diamond on the inconvenience of having no lift and the resulting necessary use of stairs we are surprised that he made no mention of his requirements for a lower level bedroom at a time when we could have happily done something about it. Options to do this exist during the on-line booking process; when he was shown to his room on check-in; any time during the stay and indeed a comment could have been made at check out - interestingly none was. Had we been made aware of the fact that this was such an issue during the stay we would have gladly arranged to move Mr Diamond to an establishment such as the 'Queens' - which is a nearby hotel and does have a lift (but costs considerably more than we do). Mr Diamond thinks we should say we don't have a lift - in fact we do mention this, frequently.
Mr Diamond considers we shouldn't be graded as 5 star (because we don't have a lift). As a Guest House we are graded by professional inspectors who work for the AA, their experience in the hospitality industry allows them to assess establishments against very strict criteria that apply to the type of property in question, in our case as a Guest House. We have been awarded 5 stars as a Guest House since 2006 and we believe that guests are more likely to relate to that than the opinions of an 'arm chair expert' who probably spends most of the day watching repeats of 'Three in a Bed' or 'The Hotel Inspector'.
We use 'zip and link' beds to provide the flexibility of either twin or king size doubles for guests - a fact that is mentioned on our web site. This enables us to cater for differing requirements in each room as requested by the guest - it has nothing to do with our own needs as such facilities actually take more of our time to change from one combination to another. As for the number of cushions, we have never before come across somebody with a phobia for cushions, had this 'problem' been brought to our attention during the stay we could have easily removed the offending cushions from the room. It was not mentioned until the review, i.e. after check out.
Curious to know if other guests have an issue with cushions we have been asking if they consider them as dangerous or menacing, interestingly most of the responses we have had when we explain why we are asking about cushions are too inappropriate to print here.
The issue of being good value (even though we are a Guest House and not a Hotel) was raised, our prices are inclusive of breakfast, service and VAT and are well publicised - particularly if you are booking on-line. If we compare the Queens Hotel (which actually is a Hotel with a lift) we find the rate for a sea view room is exactly double what we charge- i.e. £178 per night. Maybe Mr Diamond is referring to the kind of prices that a chain like Travelodge charge - the headline rates of £25 per night (excluding breakfast) are often eye-catching but perhaps a quick check of the business news recently will highlight why running a business into debt to the tune of £500m, which it is unable to repay, is not a good idea. We have no intention of running our business in that way.
Mr Diamond has indicated that he would not recommend us to a friend. On the basis that friends tend to share the same attitudes and character traits, we are mightily relieved.
Finally, the rather personal remarks about our 'bad taste' in furnishings. The internet provides a wealth of images about the interior of Camilla House - some taken by ourselves, others by guests. If the taste of furnishings in our rooms causes so much offence to Mr Diamond we suspect that says more about the individual than the interior design itself that is used at Camilla House.
So we are left wondering what possesses a person to spend three days at the Camilla House Guest House, enjoying our hospitality and service and during that time not once utter a word of complaint or concern to us when we had the chance to rectify the situation. Perhaps a general lack of moral fibre? Perhaps we are too intimidating to talk to? All we know is it is a shame as we would prefer our guests to enjoy their stay at Camilla House Guest House rather than 'suffer in silence'.