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Hotel owner dismisses Chris de Burgh's "mysterious" cyber-rage

The owner of Halswell House responds to a scathing TripAdvisor review – and says the singer was a far-from-perfect guest.

Chris de Burgh: A negative review of a private country manor on TripAdvisor has provoked a strong defence from the venue's owner.
Chris de Burgh: A negative review of a private country manor on TripAdvisor has provoked a strong defence from the venue's owner.
Image: Barry Coombs/EMPICS Sport

THE OWNER OF a guest house given a savage review by singer Chris de Burgh on travel ratings website TripAdvisor has hit back at the singer, saying his online complaint was an unwarranted “extreme response”.

De Burgh stayed in the stately Halswell House in Somerset, owned by Glenn Bond, on Thursday August 19  along with his daughter, former Miss World winner Rosanna Davison, her boyfriend Wesley Quirke, his wife, mother and two other sons. He rented four rooms in the private venue for £180 each per night.

They had been staying in the private venue – which can only be rented out in its entirety – for the wedding of de Burgh’s niece.

When he arrived back in Ireland after the wedding, he tweeted that Halswell “gets the prize for the WORST guest rooms in more than 25 years” – though not before saying that he had enjoyed “great food and fun afterwards at Halswell House, Goathurst.”

However, yesterday’s Sunday Times revealed that de Burgh took to TripAdvisor almost two weeks later to condemn the hotel, leaving a stinging note under the headline, ‘What a dreadful experience, avoid at all costs, change your wedding plans!’.

“This place is shabby, vastly overpriced, and poorly run,” de Burgh wrote, under the name ‘cdeb100′. “From the mud at the entrance to the piles of dirty plates left on the table at breakfast, the whole experience was ghastly.”

He continued:

Amongst [sic] the problems; no hot water in the morning, broken glass on bathroom floors, low light in the bathrooms, no light in room vestibule,(a replacement bulb was requested on arrival, it never happened, ) several doors in public areas on heavy springs banged repeatedly during the night, making sleep very hard [...] our room stank of drains,and at about £180 per room, this was an utterly dreadful experience .

And try complaining; after four emails over a two week period, not even the courtesy of a reply. However, I will use all available means to seek redress.

Glenn Bond, the owner of Halswell House, told TheJournal.ie today that far from having ignored de Burgh’s four emails, they had been in constant correspondence with the Lady in Red singer before he had taken to the internet to vent his fury.

Family values

“The jist of our place is that it’s a stately home,” Bond said. ”He thought he was in a five-star London hotel.”

Because the venue can only be reserved in its entirety, “doors banging in the night is literally the party having a bit of a wild time. We don’t control guests because if they want to stop their own party, they can. Most venues close at 12; we have a 3am licence and if guests want to sit up later than that, we allow them to.”

Bond claims de Burgh had become so annoyed with the sound of the wedding party banging certain doors that he had jammed open the door with some toilet roll.

Only one to complain

Bond stressed that the only complaint about the stay came from de Burgh himself.

His daughter “was an absolute delight to deal with,” and had apparently not felt the need to complain about what her father had termed “low light in the bathrooms”.

Bond insisted the complaint about the light blowing in the ‘vestibule’ was untrue, as the bulb had been replaced immediately after it was complained about. “If it was, it must have blown again, but nobody told us.”

The singer’s behaviour ultimately it had overshadowed the family occasion, Bond said.

“[It was an event where] everyone knows each other, because it’s all part of the same family gathering,” Bond opined.

It wasn’t his day, is the way that I see it. He ended up hijacking the day.

My own manners would be such that even if I wasn’t happy, I’d put up and shut up, because you wouldn’t really want to shadow things for the bride and groom. My staff ended up becoming terrified of him. Eventually I said to myself, ‘We’re a private venue, we don’t have to take the corporate line of pandering to bad behaviour’.

Far from a fond farewell

Even his departure from the hotel on the Friday afternoon was acrimonious.

He wouldn’t allow anyone to carry his bags. At one point, one of our porters picked up one of his bags and was loudly told to put the bags down immediately.

Bond claims that when the manager on duty bade the travellers farewell and said, “I do hope you don’t miss your flight,” de Burgh responded with an annoyed:

It’s a bloody private jet, it’ll wait for me.

Hallswell House, which dates from at least the fourteenth century, has a county Wicklow connection through the Tynte family who owned the house from 1645 to 1950; most of the agrarian family’s agricultural wealth was based in the county.

Six of the twelve other reviews posted on the venue’s TripAdvisor profile gave it an ‘excellent’ ranking, while two others had ranked it as ‘terrible’.

Hotel owner dismisses Chris de Burgh's "mysterious" cyber-rage
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Gavan Reilly

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