Watch out for the Ice Queens A review of Merchant's House Hotel
We stayed at this hotel from 22 to 28 December, with Christmas lunch pre-booked. We had high expectations of this hotel, as it is supposed to be one of the best in Talinn. In terms of decor, it certainly stands out, and the paintwork, bedroom furniture and bathroom looked very new and clean. I particularly liked the antique Chinese furniture dotted around the hotel, and the two therapists that we had for treatments were wonderful. There was a computer with free internet access in the lobby, which came in handy. The one time we ordered room service, the food was excellent and the service fast. Another nice touch on Christmas Day was the Christmas stocking (actually a pair of traditional Estonian knitted socks) that we found hanging on our door in the morning, filled with chocolates. The reception desk staff were always friendly and helpful as well. However, the icy and blatantly rude service at breakfast that we received from two blonde waitresses was beyond belief, and after two days of it, we skipped breakfast for the remaining four mornings. The first day of breakfast stressed us out so much that the day was ruined. Christmas lunch food was good, but there was no menu explanation, the buffet wasn't ready and my husband had to ask for the vegetarian alternative. The gravy wasn't ready either, so I had to eat most of my meal minus the gravy. The British chef Charlie Aird kept walking past us but never stopped to ask if the food was alright, or even to say hello. We didn't bother staying for the dessert. The room cleaning was fast every day, but there was no replacement of products and one bottle got thrown away before I had even finished with it. The hotel is British owned and managed by a Brit called Jonathan Poole, but he never said a word to us during our entire 6 days there, until we left ("Do you need a taxi?") even though he knew we were British. Not exactly a welcoming presence, considering most of the guests were also British. So a mixed review from me.