Radisson Blu Galway – I’d avoid for events

Update as of end of April 2010: After a long time going back and forth and escalating this to the general manager for Radisson Group Ireland, the Radisson and I came finally came to a satisfactory resolution on this matter. Many lessons were learned by all sides.

Update: Staff members of the Radisson Blu chain are swarming around this blog post, one has even left a fake comment about his love for the Radisson Blu Dublin

I’ve been back and forth with the Radisson Blu Galway for over a week about the crap service they gave for the Blog Awards. Below is a list I sent the hotel of what I have subsequently been told were “minor issues”. I unfortunately trusted others that I would be guaranteed good service from the hotel, instead I got the worst service of any hotel I’ve done business with in 6 years of running various events. All these complaints have been forwarded to the GM of the Radisson Blu Group but I have yet to hear anything from them either. So much for good quality hotels in Ireland. The amount of additional stress added on to myself and others on the night of the Awards because of the below was uncalled for and should not have happened. This is what you don’t want for a conference or an event.


Lack of delivery of contract and prices until a few weeks before the date.
Despite choosing the hotel and going over details for the event, it was just weeks before the event that a contract arrived.

Staff wanted Twitter messages deleted
When I rang to clarify some issues, the main number for the hotel rang out. I noted this on Twitter. Later a staff member rang me back and answered some of my questions then said my tweets made them look bad and appreciated if I deleted them. When I said no I got a smart “well that’s your prerogative”. Further explanation from me that I’m not in the business of deleting tweets got the same “your prerogative” reply.

March 26th
We checked into the hotel, with a distinct lack of “hello and welcome”. A handover between two staff members for the event was amateur and the most up to date details and contract couldn’t be found. One of the Blog Award volunteers was assigned two rooms instead of one so had to correct that. I got asked at the handover what media coverage I would get for the hotel, does this post help? πŸ™‚

The power sockets blew in my room on late Friday night leaving phones and laptop dead on Saturday morning.

March 27th
Tried to ring down dozens of times over the space of two hours to complain about power sockets. All numbers were engaged almost all day. Resorted to charging phone in someone else’s room. Walked to reception and it was swamped with people, could not find a staff member to complain to. Eventually had someone in housekeeping get an electrician. Electrician came to room and fixed sockets, they blew again later that evening.

Blog Awards Function
Function room was set up for 250 not 300, despite the handover on Friday making this very clear. I had to correct this with the staff who seemed unimpressed with my telling them. Staff were unpleasant to me and others.
Lights blew in VIP section of the function when lights tested by staff, had to be replaced by an electrician.
Unsafe wooden steps for the stage put up, yet had previously been promised proper steps in runthrough earlier in March. No proper steps were put up.
The stage was dirty with rubblish left there from previous event and rubbish was not cleared by staff.
Curtains at left of the stage had very large and obvious stains on them.

March 28th
Complained to John W on checkout about power in rooms. No record of any issues was sent down by electrician or housekeeping. Rooms was comped over power issue. Supposedly. Banqueting manager not around to discuss other issues or deal with payment.

March 29th
Chatted to Karen J on the phone about list of issues, outlined bedrooms were comped by John W. Outlined all the other issues I had. Told Karen J I would be paying

March 30th
Invoice for event arrived and I was charged for supposedly comped rooms

April 1st.
Without permission, hotel took 1000 euros off my credit card.

Data Protection Breach
Hotel has sent a survey to numerous Blog Award attendees despite them ticking box asking for no contact. Hotel has added many Blog Awards guests to their mailing list despite people opting out on check-in cards.

April 6th, 7th
Issues raised with Radisson Blu Group Manager – waiting for response…

April 8th.
Hotel writes me a letter, comping my room. Again. Pointing out issues were minor. Offering me a voucher to stay in hotel.

68 Responses to “Radisson Blu Galway – I’d avoid for events”

  1. Gianni Ponzi says:

    I think they got the media coverage they deserved πŸ˜‰

  2. Is this going to be an on-going saga? πŸ™‚

    You’d think, though, given that hotels are doing particularly badly out of the ol’ Great Depcession, that they’d be a little more accommodating…

  3. Kate says:

    I’m having serious issues with 3, can I send you on the details and get it up here too!?!?! Well done – sick of hearing about people be screwed over by staff who don’t know their arse from their elbow when it comes to basic customer service.

  4. James says:

    Poor poor show. Granted morale must be shockingly low in just about every hotel in the country and they had the CPSU event at the same time maybe? Ultimately, IMHO, it’s a management issue. My best hotel experiences are down to service which is down to good management. We all understand things can go wrong, it’s how people sort things out and the attitude that are all important. Here clearly there’s an issue with staff attitudes, professionalism, systems, the buck stops with the manager I’m afraid!

  5. RebeccaM says:

    This should be an interesting one to watch! The hotel’s electrics sound like they could do with an exorcist πŸ˜€

  6. SinΓ©ad says:

    Did I ever mention to you that I had an issue with the Radisson on Golden Lane in Dublin, where the Web Awards was on? On the night of the Web Awards Jen’s camera was stolen from the table in the small bar just off the function hall. Despite noting there were CCTV cameras in the hotel, the Radisson claimed they could in no way help with this issue and would not release any CCTV footage of the evening in question to try track down the culprit.

    I had a few minor issues with the Radisson Blu in Galway too – staff told me that they were “too busy” on the Saturday morning when I tried to flag an issue with them. Then on Saturday evening, room service that was ordered at 6.30pm had to be canceled by me because it still hadn’t arrived by 7.45pm. 15 minutes before the Blog Awards. Half way through the event I had to leave the hotel and get fast food. After paying a small fortune to stay in that hotel I didn’t expect to be eating fast food at 10pm on a Saturday night surrounded by the drunks of Galway.

    I personally don’t think I’ll ever stay in another Radisson again. Totally over rated. Over priced. No thank you.

  7. The Beer Nut says:

    Arrived 2.30pm. Told room wouldn’t be ready for another hour. Returned at 3.30 and made wait another half hour for a key.

    Housekeeping called to the room three times during the evening because, supposedly, a previous guest had left something behind. They hadn’t.

    On complaining, was offered lunch, and settled for 30% off final bill.

    Last I heard, Galway had the most expensive hotels of any Irish city. Of the six Galway hotels I’ve stayed in, not one has been complaint-free.

  8. TUG says:


  9. Willie says:

    Took be about an hour to check out of the hotel one Sunday morning because of huge queue. They had my credit card details, I had paid in advance. Why did I have to queue for so long?

  10. Lisa O'Dowd says:

    more reviews like this needed for event planners! that hotel was always a nightmare! well done, hope they are happy with their review! πŸ™‚

  11. Donna says:

    Similar treatment from the Radison SAS Royal for the IWA’s. Booked 2 rooms, only had one for us, staff very short and rude when asked for change at the bar or anything else for that matter, check out was CRAZY, no hello’s, goodbyes, anything really….Radisson, tut tut tut

  12. Michaell says:

    A nightmare

  13. Aidan says:

    All down to bad management, or they just dont give a fu*k. And they really milked it on the bar that night, and dont get me started on that piano player

  14. Sweary says:

    My better (long-suffering) half worked with Radisson for a number of years, and the funny thing is, they put great stock in their 100% Guest Satusfaction promise and staff go through loads of this Yes I Can! training and related mumbo-jumbo. Fuck knows how that corporate sugarshite translates into your experience with the Blog Awards.

    Someone should ask them.

  15. Tom Raftery says:

    That’s terrible service Damien.

    And surprising considering it is the Radisson, I would have thought. I know that the Radisson Little Island were very accomodating for the it@cork conference in Nov 2008.

  16. Joanne Fennell says:

    Shame that the hotel says that your issues were ‘minor’ – how patronising. An issue is an issue regardless of whether its major or minor. Does the hotel classify their issues into minor or major and then decide how and if they want to address it? Fully agree with previous comments about it being down to management – delivery of excellent customer service should come from the top down.

  17. Marie says:

    I didn’t stay here for the blog awards, but a month earlier had stayed for a different event. I nearly got electrocuted by the iron in my room – the plug was faulty! Also took us a long time at check-in and check-out.

  18. Paul Mooney says:

    I was considering Galway for the ILUG event in November (400 guests). Actually looked at the details of this hotel. Glad I didn’t choose it now.

  19. Conor Byrne says:

    Incredible to think they wouldn’t be falling over themselves to impress you and every other guest that goes to the hotel. I studied hotel management and it was beaten into us that every unsatisfied customer tells 9 others of they negative experience, you have blown that stat out of the water.

    I live by the motto that there is nothing wrong with the money I hand over to any service provider and so I expect what I’m promised. It’s pretty simple.

    Well done for telling this story Damien, shame on Radisson for how they have dealt with it.

  20. Niamh says:

    This makes me very glad that I couldn’t actually afford to stay in the Radisson, quite happy with my €50 B&B πŸ™‚

    That’s really bad service Damien, shockingly bad. Really all that separates one hotel from another these days is their staff and how welcome they make you feel and they failed miserably at that by the sound of things as well as at the details of the event.

    They seemed fairly short staffed on the night but many places are short staffed – the good or bad attitude of staff makes all the difference IMO.

  21. Michele says:

    Sounds like a total shambles. I wasn’t overly impressed with their Dublin hotel last year – my jacket vanished. I was promised callbacks and never got any.

    On the plus side – it’s not as if there is a shortage of hotels in Ireland .. .

  22. Steve says:

    Sounds shambolic…glad I didnt make it now πŸ™‚

    Must speak to the missus and make sure her company dont use it for event πŸ™‚

  23. Steve says:

    BTW…as my wife pointed out, it appears they have no respect for the Blog Awards. Obviously they dont know what bloggers actually do.

  24. Ronanob says:

    Funny that they’d choose probably the most likely media to get them business, the internet community and let their staff tell the customers how they should react to their service…

  25. Had been considering Radissons for a series of events in Ireland and UK but after Damien’s review I’ll be talking to Jurys or Novotel.

    Very basic failings here around management of information about the booking, personal information about guests etc. and the DP stuff is basic.

  26. Yet another example of shite customer service, it makes me furious.

    How much does it cost to offer quality customer service compared with the costs of this sort of bad publicity?

    When are people going to cop on?

  27. Hairs says:

    From the other side of the curtain, from a man who spent many years as a hotel manager:

    1) The manager knows what you’re going to complain about before you check in. This is because 90% of things are out of his control, despite what you might like to believe. Electrics blown in the room? Oh dear sir, my goodness, I’ve no idea what’s caused that. I’ll have maintenance have a look at it. Circuit breaker might have tripped, did you have a hair dryer running? They can be buggers for tripping switches unfortunately. (ps: The hotel owner knows the electrics are buggered but it’s too expensive to fix. Next time you go, the same problem will happen. 5 years from now.)

    2) Staff bored and uninterested in your problems? They’ve heard it already 50 times this week. There should be 4 other people helping them today but there’s nobody on the roster. Hotel owners like to staff things aimed at 30-40% occupancy (as that’s the average). Go over that, and everything breaks down. But that only happens every second weekend. So that’s ok. Hotel fully booked? You’re all screwed. No chance. Forget about it.

    3) Never order room service. It’s never, ever, ever on time. It’s always cold. This is because there is usually only one room service waiter. More likely it’s a waiter that’s pulled out of the dining room for 5 minutes when the plate gets shoved through the pass. The kitchen hate room service because it interrupts the flow of the rest of their cooking, and they can’t plan around it. You’ll get it when you get it. You think there’s an actual dedicated room service kitchen and crew? You’re delusional. Ordering room service in a full hotel when a lot of the guests are going to the same event at the same time? Do you want a backrub and a happy ending with that as well? Not going to happen.

    4) Room not ready at 2.30, which is checkin time? Inexcusable! What’s that? You want to check out at 12pm the next day, ie as late as possible? Why, what could possibly prevent the rooms that were only vacated at 12 being ready at 2.30? Housekeeping aren’t miracle workers unfortunately. They can’t switch on spy cameras to see who’s left the room and teleport from one room to the next with their trolly. Each room is a 20 minute/half hour job, if things go well. They don’t. If you all want guaranteed rooms at 2.30, then you’re going to have to force every single one of the previous occupants out at 8.30. Can’t see that happening.

    So yeah, your experience at the Radisson sounds awful.
    Totally standard procedure I can assure you, but awful.
    Their big mistake was handling the fallout. That’s where a good hotel manager makes his stripes.

  28. Rob says:

    Hairs, there’s just so much wrong with what you said (bar point 4). While it may be what happens in hotels, it doesn’t make it acceptable. You pay to be there, you expect a certain level of service. If that service can’t be provided, then it shouldn’t be offered.

  29. […] The fourth annual Irish Blog Awards (which takes place in a different county every year) will take place in Ireland’s “Culture Capital”, Galway. The blog awards, run by Damien Mulley (Is there anything he isn’t involved in?) is set to be a night of fun, frolics, recognition and … well, cool awards. Redfly is also sponsoring the best group blog category. Good luck to everyone who makes the shortlist! *This event was held in the Radisson Blu in Galway. […]

  30. Adam says:

    Staying there wed-sat witth the PSEU conference.. will be watching for such issues.. sounds appalling.

  31. Cian8 says:

    The Radisson Blu in Galway has to be the busiest hotel in Ireland, and the most expensive four star in the world, so they obviously don’t give an f*&K about what service you get. I am a Gold Elite member of the Radisson loyalty programme and I can’t get a room mid-week! in April! in Ireland! in the worst recesssion ever!

  32. Hairs says:

    I totally agree Rob – hotels advertise one thing and often deliver something else entirely. It’s utterly wrong.

    But the truth is the truth – I am willing to bet that if you visited the Radisson Blu Galway when it was 20% occupied and there was no event on, you’d have exactly the experience they sell you in their ads – the staff would be friendly, unhurried, helpful, your room would be well situated, clean, working and quiet, your room service would be on time and hot, there would be no queue for breakfast in the morning, and you’d be offered a late checkout if you wanted it.

    Unfortunately hotels are a numbers and “personal service” (serfdom) game. When you stay in a hotel, what you are actually paying for is for a bunch of servants to wait on you hand and foot like the lord of the manor – even if you’re not actually *doing* that, the reality is that that is what is *required* in order to provide “hotel service”. It requires actual people to do a hell of a lot of work, most of which you’ll never see front of house, for anything to get done in a hotel. In order for the hotel to run properly, there has to be the right ratio of staff to guests (I don’t mean the staff you see like receptionists either). The Burj Al Arab has a staff:guest ratio of 7:1. I would estimate the average hotel is staffed in a ratio 1:7 (and that’s if the hotel is half empty).

    Some examples off the top of my head:

    Hotel A I worked in had a hot water problem. If I walked in on a Friday night and saw people on certain floors in a certain part of the building, I knew that those people would have about 1/2 an hour of hot water in the morning, followed by nothing. Of course, if things were staggered out, and the rest of the building wasn’t too busy, you might get away with it. But not very likely. (This problem was solved eventually. By rebuilding the hotel.)

    Hotel B I worked at had “heaters” in the form of combined air con/heating units like you might find in an office. Naturally these would conk out after an hour or so as they weren’t designed for permanent use. Naturally this was a big surprise to the manager on duty who was careful to cover up the battered fuse socket on the wall as he would nonchalantly use a key to pull the fuse out and reset it – for another hour. (This was… not solved to the best of my knowledge.)

    Hotel C I worked at had 3 reception desks. A previous hotel I worked at also had 3 reception desks. Hotel C had 3 times as many rooms. The owner would get genuinely indignant if there was a queue at the desk.

    This is what you the customer, and him the manager are up against.
    Hotel owners don’t like spending money and they don’t understand why the 20 staff who can deal with 50 customers can’t do the exact same job with 150 customers.

  33. sounds like the sort of hotel that would send you a wake up letter, rather than a wake up call!

  34. John Reynolds says:

    The electrics sound like a death trap.

    If it was me I’d request at least a 50% refund given the issues you experienced.

    In an ideal world perhaps it would be an idea to take your business to an independent 4 star hotel that isn’t part of one of the big chains.

    Whether such a thing exists in Galway I’m not sure.

  35. Emma H says:

    And don’t even get me started on those lifts.

  36. Ian Doyle says:

    [Editor Note: This comment was sent from the Radisson Blu Cork work computer address range]

    I use the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin every 2 weeks and it is the best hotel I have ever worked with like ever! Service is flawless so find it hard to beleive all the comments above…..nothing like a bit of hype to spur on over the top drama!

  37. Kudos for sticking to your guns and complaining. Keep following up with them until they do something about it.

    Too many companies get away with murder because people can’t be bothered to complain. Poor service is not acceptable, no matter what the circumstance, and particularly not when you’re staying in a supposedly luxury hotel.

    Hope you (eventually) get some satisfactory resolution from them.

  38. Barry Hand says:

    On the flip side, myself and Mrs.Baz grabbed a last-minute (;)) deal for about 1/3 of the Radisson and had room service in 15mins (Wings btw), full Irish brekky and none of the nonsense listed above.

  39. sorry to hear about this Damien, you got my feedback on Twitter yesterday. We are actually planning to launch a review tool on our site in the coming months and based on the amount of discussion on this point I think it is really need to help event organisers get honest feedback on venues.

  40. Ian, you’re a Radisson Blu employee, your computer is on their network. Surely you should have put in a disclosure there? Is it policy of the Radisson Blu to leave fake comments supporting the hotels on blogs?

  41. Barry Somers says:

    Very foolish for the Radisson to act poorly in respect of the blog awards, didn’t they reliase that people will blog and twitter about anything thats good about the hotel and bad (in this case).

    Incrediably foolish for an employee to comment on this thread from the work network as well and if its a manager who did this or an employee who was advised to do so by a manager then they need to be told off for being idiots and only making things worse.

    Regarding Hairs’s comments, well coming from a B&B background what you said wouldn’t have been acceptable in that business so I don’t see why it should be acceptable in a hotel where your paying a hell of alot more.

    In addition if I did have an issue like I once did in the Middle Park Hotel Co Cork, I’ve experienced excellent customer service in respect of resolving it which imho was beyond what they needed to do.

    Makes me happy I stayed in a B&B when at the blog awards πŸ™‚

  42. Mark Webster says:

    Was in Galway that weekend, not at the IBAs and stayed in the Clayton – it’s about 3 miles outside the city centre. Rooms big, shower excellent, nice staff, really really good, it’s a little pricey but there are deals. All you can eat buffet (with fry-up) for brekkie. Highly recommend if anyone’s heading to Galway.

  43. Sylvia says:

    I stayed at the Radisson Blu in Budapest twice in the past year and had excellent service at probably a fraction of the price. The standard at Irish hotels generally is not up to scratch, especially for the price you’re asked to pay. We need to demand more, complain more, and publicize our complaints if they’re not dealt with satisfactorily or in a timely way.

  44. Aidan Cuffe says:


    Im sorry but in this day and age, i dont personally care what state a hotel is in, what problems they have, Hotels charge a premium for this so called service. I cannot legislate whether the hotel is full or half full. I wont know prehand and hotels CERTAINLY do not charge accordingly

    I have never had a hotel tell me “actually sir we will only charge you half price, we probably cant provide a satisfactory service today”

    You might be a manager looking at it from the other side of the curtain, but as far as im concerned if you think if ok to continue with it because “The truth is the truth” then your part of the problem. Effectively its false advertising.

    Regarding the check-in times. If the hotel cannot be sure of having a room ready for 2.30pm due to late checkouts. Then they can either not offer late checkout, push the check in time back to 3 or 3.30pm or put more staff on. I personally amn’t paying them for excuses.

    Regarding Room Service, im sorry but again i personally do not care weather the chef/ his staff or anyone involved in the kitchen find it an imposition to the flow of their work. It’s their job, deal with it, If they cant provide the room service in a timely matter, get another job. Lets see how they do then.

    Regarding Uninterested staff because they have heard it all numerous times and are short staff, i used to work in retail sales, never enough staff compared to people looking for help, always the same questions even if i was standing there answering the same question for one guy and the next was standing waiting listening, he would still ask the same question. Did i give them attitude, look disinterested, drop my smile. No
    Why….. Because unlike some people i can be professional

    Your saying we want lord of the manor 1 on 1 service from hotels, but damien hasnt once said that. What he has asked for is a reasonable service from an expensive hotel that advertises a top experience.

    He got a lot of problems to the euro spent and regardless of situation it is the hotels duty to provide the service they are charging for or they will get feedback like this.

    Also in regard to your examples of problems in hotels you worked in, its a disgrace that any of those problems exist, there should be a standards office where complaints can be registered and the hotels for each level of * rating should be subject to a standard of service and if they cant meet it. They get their rating knocked down.

    Excuses be damned, im sick of accepting less than what is advertised for stupid amounts of money. They have got away with it for far too long and deserve all the bad press they have generated from this.

  45. maca says:

    Find it hard to believe the statement that 90% of things are out of the manager’s control. Ridiculous. What the hell is he/she there for??

    1) If the electrics are such an issue get it sorted. Managers responsibility.

    2) Staffing aimed at 30-40% occupancy is fine on a normal day but where there’s an event happening you bring on extra staff to cover the OBVIOUS additional demand. Management DO have control over staffing.

    3) What’s the point of having room service and in many cases advertising a delivery time if you can’t deliver as advertised? It’s a resource issue and again the responsibility of management to have sufficient staff.

    4) Room not ready at checkin time? Again it’s a resource issue.

    I’ve stayed in a ton of hotels all over the world, many a lot bigger than the Radisson and have never had problems. I call that good Management.

    Good management isn’t about handling complaints, it’s about putting the right resource & systems to provide the advertised service and avoid complaints.

  46. Justin Mason says:

    I’m not a legal type, but I do believe that leaving astroturf comments is illegal nowadays. Let’s hope that’s not what just happened, eh?

  47. Brian Greene says:

    I found the staff very helpful (except check in). But i got the impression staff had similar issue with management, like not knowing what was going on.
    I rang twice or 3 times and went to reception once trying to load at the loading bay where I had to wait 25minutes to learn that the loading shutter wouldnt be opened for me.
    I was brought to the conference hall which was still uncleaned after CPSU then I had to wheel my rig back about a quarter mile to the venue.
    Curtain stage right was mouldy looking, stage was dirty and those steps and the replacement steps were dangerous.
    My booking was messed up and not per contract. But Im glad I stuck to my rule on house sound. At least I was not reliant on house for P.A.
    The House projection was solid.

  48. > I’m not a legal type, but I do believe that leaving astroturf comments is illegal nowadays. Let’s hope that’s not what just happened, eh?

    I don’t know if it’s actually illegal. In the US the FTC now has the power to fine shill bloggers and commenters, but we don’t have something similar here. It might be considered fraudulent, perhaps?

  49. Ivan says:

    Unfortunately the hotel service in Galway is a product of the city hosting every hen and stag party in Ireland where nobody cares about standards e.g. a twin room booed in Jury’s Inn (in Sept, not for IBA) turned out to be a single bed and a camp bed. Complaint resulted in an offer of a free breakfast.