Lairbeck Hotel

, Keswick, United Kingdom
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Lairbeck Hotel

, Keswick
2 star

Rooms: 14

Vicarage Hill,Keswick. - Keswick - England - CA12 5QB - United Kingdom Hotel Website | | 44 01768773373
96 Traveller

Reviews - Lairbeck Hotel

Seriously rude after giving me food poisoning
Submitted by: Paul in 03/06/09
  • Age Group: 41 - 50
  • From: United Kingdom
  • Traveller type: Business Traveller
Seriously rude after giving me food poisoning
The small hotel is located in a nice quiet area with great views of the hills, and appears to be intimate with a quiet and polite ambience, but don't be fooled by this initial facade as you're likely to get more than you bargain for.
The rooms are very small and over all appear clean; but I was given my first concern when I found that my bed pillow smelt of not very nice old ladies perfume, obviously from a previous guests use and it having not been laundered before being put back on my bed.
Dinner in the evening though turned this stay into more than just an unpleasant experience.
My starter was the Apricot and Pork meatloaf, this actually tasted good and so far I was impressed.
The main course of Beef medallions with vegetables was however quite simply disgusting.
The 2 slices of beef were pale grey with the band of sinew around the edges, stacked on top of each other, they were sandwiched around a slice of egg plant which was badly burnt and a slice of tomato which had disintegrated to pulp, and these were then covered with a cream, mushroom and bacon sauce which was totally tasteless and watery.
Accompanying this plated stack of hard grey meat was a selection of microwave vegetables consisting of green beans which had simply shrivelled and imploded into themselves to become so hard I could barely cut them with a knife, and biting them produced little more than a dent in the skin, making them inedible. The carrot slices sitting with the beans were hard and had turned white from over cooking and age, they were more like pale orange cardboard chips than vegetables, the broccoli was actually fresh and cooked well 1 out of 3 not bad'.
Then there was the dome of mashed potato which was far worse than the other vegetables, it had been either grilled or oven baked with another pulpy piece of tomato on top, the outer skin that had formed was like dry paper, breaking past this revealed a mix of watery lumps that had a simply stale taste produced from using potato that was obviously beyond any satisfactory eat by date, if you imagine very stale instant mash with little lumps within it, then you get close to that delight.
The beef was almost impossible to cut with the knife, with great effort it was 90% possible, as some areas were so tough it was actually impossible to cut through, the sound of the pale grey sinew and gristle tearing was almost enough to put me off, but having succeeded in removing a lump from the main slab, I tried to eat it, the chewing was the last straw, as it was like having watery hard jelly in the mouth and impossible to eat, there was no taste from the meat or sauce, obviously it was a very cheap old cut of meat that had been prepared very poorly.
Being too tired to get into a discussion on the matter I decided to just leave the dining room and go for a walk rather than make a complaint, it was then that I was approached in the lobby and asked if I was not going to have a desert, at this point I explained I wouldn't as I was not at all happy with the meal.
The owner was called out to me, I again explained what was wrong with the meal, and even apologised for having to make any complaint, I declined a replacement dinner and went out.
Within 2 hours I started to get severe stomach cramps, and had to return to the hotel as quickly as possible, walking past the dining room, those people I could see in there, had similar looks on their faces to what I must have had 2 hours before, as I had attempted to force down a meal my dog would have turned its nose up at, I then spent the rest of the evening in the en-suite evacuating what was obviously an organism my body should not have ingested.
That night the cold tap in my room stopped working, but as I was just glad to be only staying the one night, I simply put up with it and looked forward to the morning and my exit from the establishment.
Eating my toast for breakfast, as I was unwilling to risk any further stomach upsets, I was asked if I required anything else, to which I quietly asked if my water bottle could be filled up for my journey home as the cold tap in my room had stopped working. This was done and the owner informed of the tap not working.
When I went to pay the bill, the owner took me into the bar, explained the tap was now working and then simply said I'm seriously concerned that you appear to have a hidden agenda within your stay here' asking what would make him say this, he suggested that by making a complaint about the dinner, which had been done very low key and not initiated directly be myself, and then complaining about a tap in the dining room, I must be trying to cause trouble.
I told him my only agenda was to do my work in the area, have something to eat, get some sleep and then to drive home, at no point had I asked for a refund, and had actually said I was happy to pay for the meal the night before, even though it was so poor, as it was my company paying for it, not me.
As for the tap not working, it was communicated as a request for water with an explanation of why, in the presence of two other breakfast diners at the far end of the dining room, not a complaint.
He stated that 9 other diners had eaten the same meal as me, and either said it was either the best meal they had ever had or was simply delicious, I found this hard to believe and he then confronted me with are you then calling me a liar', yes I am then' was my reply either that or they are simply so old they have no taste buds left in their mouths'.
I reminded him how refrained and polite I had been up until this point, but he was having none of it, and then started to fabricate fictional parts of our previous conversations until I reminded him word for word what had actually been said sadly for him, I have what is the equivalent to a photographic memory for conversations and remember word for word what was said between us'. After he conceded on the points of our prior conversations I then asked him to accompany me to my room to test the tap, he turned it on it worked, I turned it off and on all was fine', off and on again and bingo it was no longer working' now you see that I am telling the truth I said, but he simply said you must be turning the tap too hard in the off position, there was no recognition of the fact I was telling the truth, I had BTW only turned it until the water stopped flowing hardly misuse'.
Going back downstairs to the bar, he proceeded to try and defend his hotel, and again implied I was trying to cause trouble, regardless of the fact I proved the problem with the tap, and also after admitting he had not inspected my meal to confirm my complaints accuracy.
I again offered to pay everything on the bill in order to prove that there was no financial reasoning behind my complaint, but he refused to take full payment saying that he would never expect anyone to pay for something they were not happy with'.
After some time, and discussion about the facts, I had to insist that I was not prepared to spend all morning discussing this with him, and that he should simply give me my bill and let me go.
To be fair the owner did initially come across as polite and courteous, which is easy until his establishment is called into question, but as soon as you do question or complain about anything he takes it personally and becomes defensive and downright rude, he was far happier to put his head in the sand to block out a genuine complaint than accept the problem and deal with it, his behaviour showed a childish trait of denial along with sulkiness rather than one of professionalism and real concern for his guests.
Personally I would suggest giving the Lairbeck Hotel a wide berth, as the owner shouldn't be in the business, and is obviously more concerned with superficial trimmings and pretending to be a hotelier rather than ensuring the place is up to standard and the food safe and enjoyable to eat.
Submitted by: Gordon Dickson in 08/05/09
  • Age Group: 51 - 60
  • From: United Kingdom
  • Traveller type: Mature Couple
Over the years have stayed exstensively in the Lake District with preference made for the Keswick area. Found Lairbeck Hotel on the net and booked for a 7 night stay half board and what a fantstic stay it was.
Everthing about this hotel,staff and it's management were superb. Would we recommend Lairbeck?- most certainly. Would we go back? - can't wait until September.
Hospitality, accommodation, comfort, food, location, staff just superb
Submitted by: Alan in 24/06/07
  • Age Group: 60 +
  • From: United Kingdom
  • Traveller type: Mature Couple
The quality matches the price.I doubt whether this family run hotel can be beaten anywhere. The owners have strived for perfection and have I think surpassed it. The cuisine is superb with ample choices to suit all tastes and all served up by excellent staff. Everything about Lairbeck is just spot on.

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Excellent Literary Festival Every February/March the Theater by the Lake at Keswick hosts a first rate 10 day Literature Festival. Big names appeared this year such as Tony Benn, Joan Bakewell, Kate Adie, Dan Cruickshank, AC Grayling and many more.It's a great time of year to be in the Lakes as it is so quiet and you can get a good deal on hotel rooms too.

Good Taste Cafe Simply a great place for a coffee and more in the heart of Keswick

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