We visited The Drawing Rooms in Ampersand Hotel after one of our meetings in the area. We wanted some comfort after a long day. Needless to say, we didn’t get any of it and left feeling more stressed and tired than before walking in.
We have entered through the main hotel entrance and approached one of the hotel staff placed awkwardly in the front of the lobby. You would assume he was there to create great first impression and help you to find what you were looking for. He was doing his job adequately; that’s all I can say.
We went into the cafe/bar area and were struggling to choose a place to sit. They have these amazing velvet red chairs that look absolutely indulgent. However, they are placed just under the walls on the tiled section of the floor on which staff tends to walk. Tiled flooring generally makes people move faster than carpeted floor so no surprise that no one was really sitting on these gorgeous chairs. Who wants to come to a comfy bar and feel like they are on a busy train station?!
This is unfortunately how we felt even though we chose sits more to the middle of the bar, placed on a carpet. The hard tiled flooring coupled with fast walking of the waiters and the swing doors to kitchen area certainly did not help us to relax. Add to this a confused temperature of lighting and no wonder we left stressed. What I mean by that? There were some lights that had a quite cold temperature yet were very bright and others that were very warm in temperature but not giving too much light. The lighting should be of roughly the same temperature or at least make sense with the space design. This one was neither; not to mention its effect on consumers’ psyche.
Was all of the design bad? Not really. I certainly liked the bar and cafe area as it looked like you were in someone’s salon which should create an atmosphere of relaxation and personal touch. But if you won’t couple it with such an ambience and service, you won’t get the effect that the design seemed to be intending.
Service. That was yet another story. We weren’t even acknowledged by the waiters when we walked in; not to mention the long wait to even get a menu once we’ve sat down. When we were finally approached the interaction was so basic and impersonal that I was seriously wondering whether we should leave.
The complete lack of rapport building skills and an unwelcoming and disregarding body language were just some of the things we’ve noticed in the waiters. That combined with long waits to be served, very ineffective way of serving (the waiter approached us 3 times to serve a couple of teas; once with cups, then tea and then sugar) and mannerism that you could easily call abrupt made that experience worse and worse.
To escape all that, I went to the ladies. It always surprises me that the toilets are usually placed all the way downstairs in most of the new hotels. What if a customer is disabled or simply in heels and slightly tipsy? Do you think they want to walk all the way down at least 30-40 stairs? Anyway, I walked down and passed a small hall combined with business centre. I must say that the colouring, textures and lighting made this space very Zen. The toilets were also designed quite well although they were slightly too dark for my taste.
There was a maintenance man working in one of the cabins and when I was leaving the ladies he held the door for me like a true gentleman. I must admit that he had more grace, flair and ability to build rapport than the waiters.
Refreshed by a truly lovely interaction with the handyman, I returned upstairs to the ever stressfully buzzing bar. Looking at it again you could certainly see that it was designed to be fairly informal, creative yet very elegant and luxurious. The uniforms and clientele followed that description to a dot. However, everything else was just simply unpleasant. So unless you like feeling stressed while sipping tea and you have a particular interest in being mistreated by waiters, I would not suggest a visit to the Ampersand Hotel Drawing Rooms.