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Online fame for hotelier … just don't mention the boar

It was a response inspired by Basil Fawlty at his most manic, and has already entered Scottish tourism folklore.

THE REVIEW: Eileen S's tirade prompted Mr Scrivenor's response.
THE REVIEW: Eileen S's tirade prompted Mr Scrivenor's response.

For the actions of a Callander hotelier are being lauded as a blow against difficult hotel visitors and their scathing online comments.

Victoria and Alex Scrivenor took over the Crags Hotel in 2007. According to their website they have sought "to create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere that appeals to families, sportsmen and travellers".

But neither felt relaxed about a recent entry on the TripAdvisor website from a couple who stayed at the hotel on St Valentine's Day.

Someone called "Eileen S" warned guests to "Stay clear of this hotel [it] was the worst experience ever. Very poorly managed extremely disappointed :( Was a nightmare from very beginning as they double booked our room and continually lied to us about the booking … "

The comments apparently came from a couple from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, who were joined at the Trossachs hotel by their friends from Newcastle.

Mr Scrivenor, 41, admitted the angry couple had wanted a bedroom with a four-poster bed, but it had been doubled-booked due to a fault in the hotel's computer system.

In his online response to their feedback, he said St Valentine's Day had always held a special place in his heart. But he then switched into the mode of the eccentric hotelier Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese in the classic 1970s BBC comedy, and added: "However from henceforth I will remember Valentines as the miserable day that I had the misfortune to meet you, your husband and your friends from England!"

He said he said he had been trying to be more understanding and "less 'Basil' like" and "in spite of my desire to rage against this review, I will attempt to be balanced … let me try and set the record straight."

He said he understood Eileen S was angry with him: "To arrive at a hotel and be told that you can't have the room you booked is frustrating! I get that! That is why I gave you a free bottle of wine … and £15 off the room … and a free night's stay in March!"

His forbearance continued: "I appreciate that having been given a different room you then felt the need to lock yourself away in your room and become incoherently drunk …"

Then there was the money, which he described as the crowning cherry on the "Cleveland Steamer" that was their visit - "the fact you gave me fake credit card details … so that when I tried to process payment for your outstanding bill of £400 it was declined…"

As to the suggestion the Crags was poor value, he wrote: "May I courteously remind you that you didn't actually pay a single, tiny penny! Despite having sat in our restaurant, gorging yourself on wild boar and pinot grigio at my expense! £400 of my money which I will never retrieve."

Yesterday Mr Scrivenor was in a more reflective mood. He thought that while TripAdvisor was open to abuse, the review had been beneficial, with guests booking because of his response. The offending comments had also been taken down from the site.

"Eileen S of Airdrie" could not be contacted yesterday, but a spokesman for Police Scotland said: "A 45-year-old man was charged with vandalism following a disturbance at a hotel in Callander on February 14."

On TripAdvisor, the Crags Hotel has received 127 reviews, and has a rating of 81%.

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