Wellesley Hotel charges businessman Edward Heaton £75 for three small bottles of water

The water came to £16.50, and a service charge of £8.33 was also levied on top of the £50.17 minimum spend

When Edward Heaton sat down on the terrace of the sumptuous Crystal Bar of the Wellesley Hotel in central London and ordered three small bottles of sparkling water for himself and a client, he understandably expected them to cost a little more than the 60p each he would pay in his local supermarket.

But the 44-year-old property adviser has promised he will “never set foot” in the boutique Knightsbridge hotel again after the bill for his modest order of three 500ml bottles of San Pellegrino came to £75.

The businessmen did not realise that the five-star Wellesley, which charges upwards of £300 a night for its most modest room, operates a minimum charge of £25 per person for customers using its bar after 4pm. The water came to £16.50, and a service charge of £8.33 was also levied on top of the £50.17 minimum spend.

“For £75, we probably could have had a nice glass of wine each or maybe even a bottle of champagne,” Mr Heaton said. “But three bottles of water? I wasn’t angry. I was just totally bemused. 

“I spend a lot of time in central London and I have a lot of meetings in the top hotels. I am pretty well versed in how these places work but I have never had this before. I will never set foot in that hotel again.”

Although he paid the bill because he “didn’t want to make a scene” in front of his client, Mr Heaton later emailed the hotel to complain about the “extraordinary” bill, claiming that nobody had explained the minimum charge to him and that there were no menus on the tables. He also vented his frustration on Twitter, telling other users to “avoid” the hotel and posting a photograph of his receipt.

Responding to his complaint on the social network, the hotel wrote: “Thanks for letting us know. We will make sure our policy at the Crystal Bar is dazzlingly clear to all in future. All the best.” But the tone of the reply did not go down with other users, with one describing it as a “pathetic response” and another calling the hotel “a disgrace”.

Mr Heaton added: “I have no issue if they have a minimum charge, but they need to make it clear. It is the lack of transparency that I have a problem with.”

In a statement issued later, the hotel said: “The Wellesley applies a minimum spend of £25 per person as standard after 4pm for guests occupying the hotel’s cigar terraces where Mr Edward Heaton held his business meeting on 17 July 2014. Guests are made aware of this policy on arrival and the rates are printed on the menus distributed on the terraces.

“The minimum spend of £25 per person is comparable to similar venues across London. Mr Heaton did not raise concern at the time of his visit but did send an e-mail of complaint the following week.

“In response, The Wellesley’s management team replied on the same day to offer its sincere apologies to Mr Heaton for an experience he deemed less than satisfactory and we would like to take this opportunity to apologise again.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Citifocus Ltd: Product Development - Asset Management

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with significant product d...

Citifocus Ltd: Credit Ratings - Banking Sector

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Leading global bank seeks experienced credit analy...

Citifocus Ltd: Economic Crime Investigation & Analysis

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with a high degree...

Citifocus Ltd: Snr Risk Analyst - Capital & Liquidity

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with superior academics an...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital