Hotel scoops top prize as guests get special treatment

The Chester Residence in the Capital's New Town
The Chester Residence in the Capital's New Town
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GREETING a hotel guest with a lookalike of his favourite singer is a surefire way to make them feel right at home.

And there’s no doubt a stay at one West End establishment is a memorable one after it was honoured by a travel website.

The Chester Residence, in Rothesay Place, has been crowned the “UK’s best small hotel” by renowned reviews site TripAdvisor for the second year running based on the opinions of worldwide travellers.

That’s a feat in no small part down to the hotel’s determination to make guests welcome, with one Jon Bon Jovi fan left stunned when an impersonator of the veteran rocker laid out the red carpet.

Owner Graham Wood, who opened the cluster of apartments with wife Gillian in 2003, said staff routinely went out of their way to make sure guests enjoyed a memorable stay.

He said: “We’ll go and get contact lenses for guests at 2am, but it’s about more than that.

“The staff researched one guest on Facebook and saw he was a mad keen Bon Jovi fan.

“When he was due to turn up, they had a Bon Jovi look-alike there to greet him and Bon Jovi music playing in his room.”

Staff have also been known to arrange a horse and cart for a bridal party who found themselves stranded after their wedding car broke down and they stepped in when four Welsh rugby fans lost their tickets to an international match.

Mr Wood said: “They had lost their tickets and asked us where they could get more tickets from. Whereas most hotels might have just told them to go to Murrayfield, we went to Murrayfield for them and queued in the rain to get them as a surprise while they were having lunch.

“It was great to see their faces when we turned up with the tickets.

“That’s the kind of ethos we pride ourselves on. Our guests’ time with us is important to us so we try to do whatever they ask. As long as it’s legal, why shouldn’t we?”

The hotel is made up of 23 serviced apartments, with guests given access to a bar, concierge and a even a private chef or butler.

The apartments were also ranked fifth in Europe and 11th worldwide in the poll for hotels with fewer than 30 rooms.

Former IT boss Graham, who is now based in Aberdeen, said the award was down to the dedication of his staff.

He said: “It’s the staff that get the reviews so it’s brilliant for them to know it is appreciated. Some hotels won’t go that extra mile and there’s plenty that do and we are one of them. A lot of it is about problem solving but we like to make it fun at the same time.

“If we do a fantastic thing for a guest then they will remember that when they come back. Returning guests are great and that’s what we really want – people who come back time and time again.

“It’s good for them as well as we already know a lot about what they like and can continue to improve their stay.”