Condoms, stains, stale smoke and misery in Malta
We were part of a 10-day wedding package holiday booked through Travelcare in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. There were 13 of us each paying around £500 each.
According to the Travelcare website: “The Topaz Hotel is one of the best in its category. The award winning performance is the result of careful attention to detail and standard of service”. Each room has “a mini bar” (nope), “cable TV” (there are two English channels), “fitness room/gym” (err, no) and “tennis courts” (there is one volleyball court).
1. We arrive at 2am to be told there is no room service and therefore we can’t have any alcohol to toast our arrival. Apparently room service is ‘peak season only’. So, we ask for water and are told it’s available to buy from a Pepsi machine. And why is there no tea/kettle facilities in each room? Surely that’s basic for a four star hotel!?
2. Within 60 seconds of entering our room we find a USED CONDOM by the bed. Has the room been cleaned at all we wonder? Whose germs will we be sleeping in tonight? Added to that the patio door doesn’t lock. There is a roof below so it’s a clear security risk. In the morning we report the condom find and are told by the receptionist ‘are you sure it was there when you went in the room?’ Unbelievable. She then says she will have it cleaned up. No. We insist on a room change.
3. The next room we move to is thankfully condom free and the patio door locks. But like the other room and all others in fact, looks like a YMCA. The hotel is badly outdated. It has been a long time since there has been a refurbishment. Clearly.
4. We have to leave a deposit to hire a remote control for the television. A small, very basic TV. It has TWO English channels.
5. We have to pay for the safe in our room. Not a deposit - an actual hiring charge.
7. The swimming pool loungers fall apart, are filthy and very dated. When was the last time they were replaced? Or even cleaned?
8. The hotel bar -- The Royal Oak -- smells of stale cigarette smoke. It is now ‘no smoking’ but has clearly not been refurbished since the ban came in to force. Or, one assumes, since the 80s.
9. The food in the restaurant is adequate (sometimes very good, other times poor) but the dining room is, again, outdated. There are some very visible stains on a few of the chairs.
10. As well as ourselves, 2 other members of our (wedding) party of 13 insist on moving rooms. One moves three times in three days. This includes the bride and groom. Complaints include: pubic hair in the ‘cleaned’ shower and another unlockable patio door. It is noted that hotel reception is keeping a WAITING LIST for unhappy residents wanting a room change.
11. As part of the wedding package it was arranged that the bride and groom would have a welcome pack. The groom had arranged that his bride-to-be would find in their room flowers and champagne. There is nothing.
12. Three members of our party, us among them, are keen gym-goers and looking forward to the gym facilities in the hotel AS STATED IN THE BROCHURE. Only to find the gym closed. None existent in fact. As a result we sign up to a local gym (I use the term loosely) at £18 each for 7 days. It is so poor -- effectively a room with cheap machines and maybe a dozen free-weights -- that we attend once never to return.
13. Noise in the hotel is phenomenal. Not because of rowdy guests but down to the carpet-free floors and corridors which amplify the slightest sound. The look of it reminds us of a hospital.
14. The games room is basic, shoddy, inadequate.
15. There are three internet terminals in reception -- that you have to pay for.
16. During our 10 day stay we heard of four incidents of guests getting trapped in the veteran lifts.
Aside from the hotel misery, there was little relief to be found in Bugibba itself, a beach free resort that had the look of Beirut - a building site that one wondered was either half finished being built or demolished. And virtually every bar/restaurant bathroom was a despicable sewer.
Following a detailed letter of complaint to Travelcare and their "investigation" in the turd in the crown of Malta, they offered no apology, no refund, no real explanation as to why this appalling hotel remains in their brochure.