Thursday, 19 July 2012

Gone are the days of faceless, heartless, soulless businesses ...

The hospitality industry goes through tremendous challenges which are not simply restricted to adhering to the traditional tools of the trade so to speak.  While necessary to implement and maintain the quality and quantity of your products and services, keeping your economic efficiencies in sight, today’s highly technological world of global connectivity imposes a slightly bigger burden on those in the hospitality business.

Gone are the days of faceless, heartless, soulless enterprises and the corporate aloofness that comes with it.  Gone are the times when indifferent executive attitudes towards consumers do not account the “human” value in measuring the worth of their product.   

Rafayel believes that hospitality is about serving “people,” about cultivating relationships with them; about being transparent with them; about admitting mistakes; about finding success in its failures; about exchanging meaningful dialogue with their customers; about honesty and integrity.

As an operating business, we are proud of our guests’ patronage, both the old and the new.  But like any establishment, we are not impervious to praise or criticism whatever the case may be.  Our policy is to publicly express our deepest appreciation to compliments, or address any guest criticism or complaint, as and when they come.  This is the reason why we take the extra effort to explain any inadvertent oversight on our part, or rectify misconceptions that our guest may create unknowingly based on their unique individual taste or character.

No review on our hotel is unimportant; not a single guest is insignificant for us.  We are proud to share our guest comments and the quick-time way our management reacts to them, which substantiates our open-door policy of meaningful and productive dialogue:

Guest Review
“Poor location, good food, noisy restaurant, trendy room
July 17, 2012

My wife and I stayed here for 2 nights whilst visiting Wimbledon, staff were very friendly,curteous and attentive, the reviews are slightly misleading in that it is in a poor location, not somewhere you'd want to walk around and also the train/tube stations are too far to walk to and you have to wait at least 10-15 minutes for a taxi, they have an hourly scehduled taxi service to clapham junction, which is Ok if you plan to travel on the hour. Restaurant is well positioned and food is lovely,but it is very noisy, not sure if that's to do with building, the sounds seems to reveberate and the barmen insist on throwing empty bottles from a great height to create the sound. Ok if you want somewhere to stay not very romantic.

Rafayel Management reply
July 18, 2012

Dear Guest

We thank you for your review and are glad to note that overall you enjoyed our product and services.

It is disheartening and rather annoying that some people keep talking about where we are located and we have to keep repeating ourselves that this is highlighted in all our websites and that you are taking an informed decision when booking to stay with us. Specially more so when you get a room which is twice the size of a normal London room with large bathrooms in return. We take pride in that.

However we reiterate that we are not far away from stations. Infact in good weather conditions many of our guests prefer to walk to Clapham Junction Station which could be reached within 8 minutes rather than using our shuttle which by the way is every 30 minutes and not hourly as you have mentioned. Further, Battersea square with a variety of restaurants is just 5 minutes walk from the hotel and a brisk walk will take you to Kings Road, Chelsea within 12 to 15 minutes...So we are not in an isolated location after all.

We are glad to note that you enjoyed our food and services in our restaurant. Banyan on the Thames is one of the rare busy restaurants in Battersea. When it’s busy you say it is noisy and when the restaurant is quiet it’s said that it has no soul. We are sorry about the noise made by the barman. It is against Health & Safety to throw bottles, and we have checked on CCTV and found that it was the clanging of bottles in a busy bar environment and not throwing them away.

We have beautiful views of the River Thames and Chelsea Harbour across the river, and you could walk undisturbed for miles along the embankment which could be very romantic indeed.

We thank you once again in the hope that you will visit Battersea and Hotel Rafayel in the near future.

Guest Review
“Beautiful in all aspects”
July 15, 2012

We only stayed here for one night but I wish that it had been longer. Our suite room was very large and amazing! It had a working area with a desk, a relaxing area with a sofa and table which we used to eat our deliciousdinner from the room service menu. The bedroom area had a large tv which we could control all of the lights and the air con from which was very handy throughout the night! It was a shame that we had a first floor room as we only had a view of the car park out of our massive window opposite the bed which seemed like such a waste. Very good value for money, we booked the night before through a coparison website which definitely helped with the cost! We would both love to stay there again and i am most sure that we will, the service was outstanding and the spa and resteraunt were exceptional.

Rafayel Management reply
July 18, 2012

Dear Guest

We are glad you enjoyed your stay with us and experienced the hospitality of our Restaurant and Spa too.

We are encouraged and motivated when our guests are happy and appreciate our services.

Thank you for your review, and we sincerely hope to see you soon !

 Guest Review
“Such a let down”
July 13, 2012

I  really cant see the point in complaining about the hotel's inconvenient location - this is made very clear on their website and on the main booking websites so it is unfair and pointless to complain about this. However, I do agree that the area is just - well, drab. My heart sank as we arrived in our taxi, all I could see was what I later realised were private apartments and it just looked so messy - the full glass windows meant you could just see weird piles of clothes and furniture - it was just horrible. The reception area is weird. I agree it is like a loading bay and again I just felt so disappointed when I walked inside it was just really small, no glamour or slickness it was just like walking into a department store - really weird.

Our room was also really irritating, The docking station didnt work (took nearly 1 hour to get it sorted and when it did you could hardly hear it). We decided to use the TV music system instead and that was a complete joke it was as if the remote was from another TV - complete waste of time so the build up to going out and getting ready was just completely flattened. The bathroom (without a bath) was a massive disappointment and why it does it not state "shower room" is wrong - I have a skin condition and showers aggrevate it massively so this was a real annoyance. There was no proper area to get ready - one of us had to use the mirror inside the wardrobe and I tried to use the bathroom but it was so dark it was just pathetic. The main lightbulb had also gone but I got fed up of ringing reception and getting no answer so just put up with it.

Although we had a partial view of the river, we were directly on the main road with a view straight into someones office and a builders merchant - it was really really depressing - plus the helipad started to get on my nerves after a while considering I couldnt even drown the noise out with music! As the room layout is long and thin you cant really help but be on view to the road, builders merchant and girl sat at her desk so had to keep the blinds closed - pretty pointless having a room with a view then - maybe vertical blinds would be more sensible instead of roller blinds DRRR?! at least then you could see the nice bit of the view and still have some light and privacy.

The room is SO badly appointed. I never stay in anything less than 5 star as not going away often I would rather make the most of it and have stayed in some beautiful places around Europe and this place defintely is not 5 star any day of the week. There were so many basic things missing and what was there was just rubbish - hairdryer without a nozzle/broken lights/broken docking station/stupid TV/no fire exit instructions (great!) and loads of other things. It just had no panache and you didnt feel like you had treated yourself. I felt like I was in an office block - when you approach you will see what I mean. I expect it looks impressive from the water front but as we were not arriving by boat (!) then you cant really appreciate this.

Have not stayed in many London hotels so cant compare but I really didnt enjoy it. The view out of the bar and the bar itself is lovely but thats it. Maybe if this was owned by a chain then it may have a chance but it just felt like an old office block trying to be a hotel and not really working! I cant complain about the price but so wish I had paid more for an established brand as I couldnt help feeling like a fool. How this has got 5* rating I have no idea - even the spa was weird as the jacuzzi was right next to the window in the corridor and when I walked past I just got some guys backside in my face - it was so wrong!

What should have been a treat just didnt feel like it in any way at all. It was amateur and strange and although I could sit here nit picking and moaning I can only sum in up by saying how disappointing and depressing it was and lots of irritation which is not how I should feel about a 5* hotel in London. It has no personality, no warmth and no hospitality - like an office block!

Rafayel Management Reply
July 17, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for posting your review which we find to be totally unfounded and hyped. We are what we are but we are not what you have tried us to portray. It is such a letdown to work 'so hard' and face with such a debilitating kind of criticism that has little merit. As is our policy, we are always keen to exchange dialogue with our admirers and critics alike, taking their recommendations and suggestions to heart in our continuous quest to improve the quality of our amenities and services, or to rectify misconceptions as the case may be.

Unfortunately, most of the points you raise or the description of the area you highlight do not in any way reflect the quality of our hotel or the environs we are set in, neither does your review suggest any constructive criticism to help us serve you better. On the contrary, it gives a reader a completely distorted picture of our establishment which serves no purpose other than imperiling our business.

Battersea on Thames is anything but drab. We are sorry to learn that you found the area “drab” and that the reception area was “weird.” Every individual has a different sense of aesthetics or glamour and perhaps it did not appeal to yours. On the contrary, most of our guests have highly praised our lobby/reception areas, among other things, with all its floral arrangements and artistic pieces that decorate the place. Rafayel is a boutique hotel uniquely designed with state-of-the-art amenities that have earned it remarkable awards and citations not in the least the 2011 Wandsworth Green Business Awards. The analogy to a department store is unfair and misleading, and we also find ourselves bewildered over your statement that it was like a loading bay.

Battersea has come a very long way from being a “dogs and cats home” to becoming one of the most upcoming and expensive properties in London or, as some have termed it, the “Monte Carlo of London.” Hotel Rafayel, located in the landmark Falcon Wharf building on “the sunny side of London” with its beautiful views of the River Thames, will also enjoy the prestige of being showcased as one of the 700 of the city’s best buildings in Open House London’s architectural event due in September 2012. Your individual review is such a stark contrast to the kind of professional accolades and individual praise we have received, and continue to enjoy, that we can only attribute it to your personal taste.

We are sorry that you were not happy with your room. We take great pride in the fact that our rooms are equipped with the most advanced innovative technological VDA Micromaster touch systems. Even the most technologically-challenged guests have been nothing less than impressed. In the last 2 years since we opened we have lost 180 iPod docking stations and TV remotes and many that suffered abusive use, which regretfully we cannot complain about, however, we believe our helpful staff was prompt in their assistance.

With regards to your complaints on the shower, our website highlights in its rooms introduction section that baths are available in some rooms. Had you informed our staff you had a skin condition that could not tolerate showers (even though our faucets have multiple jettisoning options), they would have been happy to recommend an alternative arrangement. As far as the lights are concerned, please note that the hotel is fully fitted with Philips’ eco-friendly innovative energy-saving LED lamps. Hotel Rafayel has been used as Global Philips Corporation’s case study for being the first hotel of its kind to use this technology. We would happily send you web links to review these unfortunately posting terms and conditions do not allow such publicity, but please feel free to search for reference.

We would disagree that our rooms are badly appointed. All our guests have enjoyed the immensely spacious luxury of Rafayel rooms and bathrooms which most hotel rooms in London lack. Our windows, which are highly insulated and specifically designed to keep out outdoor noise, offer better views than many hotels in London that mostly consist of unsightly rooftops and chimneys. Your comments on the spa are unjustified too; the Jacuzzi is well-positioned and well concealed to respect the privacy of users. We are proud to say that River Wellbeing is a boutique spa in a boutique hotel but offers treatments and facilities that have earned it high ratings.

It distresses us when any of our guests take the extra effort to mock and criticise our facilities when they pay the most economical rates with zero service charges in the current financial environment. With the rates we offer, it seems unfair to pass judgement on the whole location, the hotel’s design concept, and completely disregard the quality of our services. We are still a new business but have achieved tremendous success with what we are, how we are, and where we are. We cannot discount the thousands of professional and individual acknowledgements and recognition of our establishment over your review, but believing that every guest is important, we take the liberty of addressing your comments in the interest of fairness, transparency and honesty.

We thank you once again.

Guest Review
“Wish we could have stayed longer”
July 10, 2012
We only stayed at this hotel for one night after returning from Paris at 10pm on a Monday night however I wish we were staying for at least a week. We got a great deal through last booking 2 weeks before with a total cost fo £129.00 per night.

The reception was serene and beautifully designed and the reception staff incredibly helpful and polite. We were given a ground floor room (a shame as I was looking forward to seeing the London skyline) however it did not matter in the slightest the room was AMAZING!!!!

We were given a complimentary upgrade to a double deluxe, the room was huge, the carpet was obviously very new, super soft and bouncy, the rain-style shower was fantastic I could have stayed in there all night and the bed was beautifully comfortable - a massive struggle to get up in the morning.

We also made use of the complimentary shuttle service in the morning to Clapham junction at 7:30am, having our own car to take us was a great help and ensured that meetings were arrived at on-time and stress free.

A fantastic hotel - I will definitely be going back.

Rafayel Management Reply
July 11, 2012

Dear Guest

We are delighted you enjoyed your short stay with us. It's a shame you didn't have the opportunity to experience our Restaurant 'Banyan on the Thames' and our 'River Wellbeing' Spa.

We look forward to welcome you back very soon for a longer stay.

What a delightful review to read !

Guest Review
“Great potential, poorly managed.”
July 15, 2012

A frustatingly mixed review.... Great potential, if managed better - I think the website does this hotel lots of favours and they could start by managing peoples expectations....!

Firstly, the location is a bit of a headache, not really a stone throw away from anything, more of a helicopter flight away (which is probably why theirs a heli port on your doorstep at this hotel (probably the owners - he has thought it through).

but if location isnt a concern, then you'll get an amazing room at a budget price with excellent food, so no need to even venture out!

great for getaways where the room is more important than locations and things to do!

Rafayel Management Reply
July 17, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your positive comments on your stay at Rafayel. We try our best to incorporate and implement our customers’ recommendations which helps us to enhance the quality of our services.

We very much appreciate the fact that you highly rate our room and food, two very important factors that are attributed to a well-managed and efficiently operated establishment. Therefore, we are confused with the cryptic and ambiguous caption of your review that it has “great potential but is poorly managed.”

Our website goes the extra mile to let people know exactly who we are, what we offer and where we are located. We disagree that it misleads people’s expectations as our website carries more information than is the norm. We are perfectly aware of our limitations, in terms of transportation and commutes, which we have tried to mitigate by offering free shuttle services to Clapham Junction and Clapham Common, with Bus 170 at our doorstep which takes you directly to the heart of London within 20 minutes. We also offer car parking at £15/day in a non-congestion zone, which you will not find anywhere else in London.

Your oblique reference to the helipad and the owner is improper as there is no connection between the two. This sounds very personal. With a small business like ours it’s a battle of survival.

We have great faith and pride in Battersea – an area witnessing the kind of development that has put it on the map, let alone the fact that it has fast become the urban social and dining hot-spot, with Kings Road being a mere 12-15 minutes’ walk away. When you chose Rafayel, you took an informed decision so to imply that it is in the middle of nowhere is unfair and gives the reader a false impression.

We thank you once again for your appreciative comments on our facility and look forward to your repeat visit soon.