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Terrible Christmas experience

We booked a Christmas lunch at the Harbour House Hotel for three people two months in advance of Christmas. We paid in full after inquiring whether it was possible to offer vegetarian options on the menu for us.

We were assured that this would be possible, (the only vegetarian main was broccoli bake, which we didn’t want for a Christmas main). We also requested an outside table, which was pre-booked for us. On Christmas day, we arrived with my Mom, whom I had not seen for two years and who had travelled from Durban to be with us, and we were shown an indoor table.

When I raised this I was told in no uncertain terms that it was not possible to change the table. I explained that we had booked two months in advance. After some “to do” we were shown to an unset table outside. The table was not even subsequently set in a festive way.

As for the menu, there was no option for us. After many requests, we were offered the main menu to choose from, with only a salad as a vegetarian option, my daughter ordered a caesar salad – later to be told there were no ingredients – we were finally brought two unrecognisable dishes that were cold and congealed, completely inedible, which no one told us they would be bringing.

At this point we decided to leave and request a full refund. We had to wait in the reception area for about 30 minutes for a form and then make an application.

The manager wrote us an email afterwards apologising and promising a speedy refund. After two follow up emails to him with no response, we have not yet received this promised refund three weeks later. All in all, a ruined Christmas day for us and especially for my 80-year-old mom.

I was promised a refund and here is the promise by Charl: “I have only recently taken over the hotel and I assure you I have my standards set high to improve the overall service standards of the hotel. I would also like to ensure you that your refund has been processed. Because of all the public holidays and long weekends, I would like to mention it might take a couple of days. Please contact me if there is any delay.”

Since then, I have sent two follow up emails that have been ignored.

Not happy. Harbour House’s Charl Schoeman responds: Dear Ms Knox. Firstly, again, please accept our sincere apologies for your unsatisfactory stay. I can assure you this is not the service level we strive to deliver and we’ve learnt from it. Your refund has been processed, as requested and promised.

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