Travel Reviews

The Owls in Builth Wells

Checked in for 2 nights, left after 1


H is for Hmmph 😠

I am not one to readily complain and I do always try and give praise where praise is due. When I started our big travels last year I had fully intended to review all accommodation we stayed in, but as we have been on the move so frequently I just haven’t had the time. I do however always give appropriate online feedback via Tripadviser, or such like. We have stayed in some amazing properties these last few months (My absolute favourite being ‘The Fox Inn’ in Banff) and we have been greeted with fantastic warmth and hospitality.

I wish I had time to write more detailed reviews of everywhere we had stayed and I will make more of an effort this year as we will be staying longer in each location.

Tonight however I am just feeling the need to rant…..!!!!

My parents have lived in Builth Wells in Mid Wales since 2002 and hence I have stayed in many B&B’s and Hotels over the years of varying standards. I have one which I especially love and where we have been regular guests for many years, which is Pwllgwilym in Climery. Whenever we return there we are always welcomed back as if we are old friends and it now genuinely feels that way.

Back in November 18 they were unable to accommodate us however when I brought my son up to see my parents and brought up a new B&B I hadn’t seen before ‘The Owls’ in the main High St of Builth Wells. Looked nice and was even closer to my parents so I thought we would try there.

It was an older property but very central and had a lot of potential. Our room was spacious, clean, comfortable and certainly nothing to complain about. If I had just one small niggle it was that in the very tiny shower unit there was no rack or shelf to put your shower gel & shampoo etc. so you had no choice but to put it on the floor of the shower and hence when you try and keep bending down to pick up what you need either your head or your backside is half way out the shower door!!!!!

The couple running it Jo & Ian seemed very pleasant and explained how they had recently moved from Kent and re-opened the B&B which had not been operating as a business for some years. I fully appreciate that when taking over any new project like that there is always going to be a big ‘to do’ list and it can’t all be done in one go. They seemed to be hard working though and making a good go of their new business.

We were booked in for 3 nights. Breakfast was OK. again absolutely nothing to complain about but in terms of selection and quality it did not match the standards of other B&B’s we had stayed at in the area – FACT.

On the second morning we were the only guests in and whilst eating breakfast we could hear Jo yelling at Ian from kitchen, this went on for quite a few minutes before he seemed to reappear sheepishly and quickly disappeared. Jo then reappeared in the Dining Room all sweetness and light and very chatty. Sorry to say I thought the fact that she was yelling at her husband in full ear shot of paying guests who were trying to enjoy a leisurely breakfast was totally unprofessional.

The 3rd morning Cameron my 7yr old son turned round and said he didn’t want to go down to breakfast in case the scary lady would be shouting again. This is NOT how I want my son to be feeling when we are staying anywhere, let alone when we are paying to stay! Anyway we checked out and I left similar feedback as above on HOPING they would find it useful and help them to improve their new business.

I know we can all have a bad day, so when I decided to have a flying visit to my parents this month before we head off on our next travels again I thought I would show my support to Jo & Ian as I know they are working hard to get their business established and book their again. (BIG MISTAKE)

They obviously didn’t recognise my name on the booking, which in all honesty I didn’t expect them to given the amount of people that anyone in that line of work must meet. So when Ian answered the door to me he looked rather taken back and said “you’ve stayed with us before with your little boy” – “yes” I replied, “back in November”, I was then rather shocked to be greeted with a rather somber “oh and you’ve returned” rather like a bad smell!!!! Not “welcome back, nice to see you again, thank you for staying with us again” etc in which most other establishments would greet returning guests.

Anyway after that he was very sweet and showed me to my room which was the same one I stayed in before (still no rack in the shower!!).

When I walked into the Dining Room this morning Jo was in there chatting with some other guests, she saw me walk in, glared daggers at me and very deliberately turned her back on me, not even so much as a ‘Good Morning”. It was the other guest who pointed to another table which was laid up and said “I think that’s your table”. Jo then turned and walked out to the kitchen, once again not so much as acknowledging my presence. Ian I have to say was very gracious and took my breakfast order and nothing but charming. Jo came back into the dining room after the other two guests had left but once again completely blanked me.

If she wanted to very deliberately wanted to make a guest feel uncomfortable and unwanted then she very quickly succeeded. I finished breakfast, went back to my room, threw everything into my suitcase and then went across the road to the bank to draw out the money I owed for 1 night stay, I put it on the dresser with the key and I left.

I have stayed in literally 100’s of accommodations throughout the world over the years both for business and pleasure and never before have I checked out early due to the rudeness of a host, or I should say hostess. Now not only does Cameron think there is a scary lady at the Owls, I have to agree with him. Except her glares and silence are even more scary than her shouting!!!

If you are going to run a hospitality business, then it really means that you actually have to be hospitable to your guests, not scream and yell at your husband in front of them and not be blatantly rude and ignorant when they return to help support your business.

Thankfully I was able to book into Pwllgwilym Farm again at just a few hours notice, where as usual I was greeted and welcomed back as an old friend, and I am looking forward to sitting down to Richards home cooked breakfast in the morning, which without any shadow of a doubt is the best breakfast in Wales!


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