Has anyone ever paid £65.00 for a taxi to go 5 miles!!! ???? Ouch! That's what I just paid and had difficulty getting a driver to take me to Marriott Windsor/Heathrow! I did find out later that I could have taken a bus but who would ever think that it would cost so much for a taxi to go 5 miles. Flat rate of £65.00 (pounds) and that is if you can get a taxi driver to take you from the airport.... Windsor/Heathrow is very nice as far as Marriott full service hotel go but it's not very easy to get to and there is nothing close. This hotel seems to be out in the boonies! I won't stay here again!!!
Ouch is right! I'm sorry to say that I think you may have been "taken for a ride." I have never been to London or anywhere outside of LHR, so I don't know for certain, but in my experience (elsewhere), I have learned that there are two types of taxi services: 1) legitimate and 2) unscrupulous. My first trip to Rome (Europe, actually), we wanted to hire a taxi to take us from the main train station (Termini) to the Marriott (we didn't know exactly how to get there; it was less than 2 miles away), and the taxi driver wanted to charge us 28€! I was so mad, I refused, and figured out how to take the metro to Barberini and then walk up the hill using a paper map. It was sweltering and by the time we arrived at the nice hotel, we looked like a "hot mess" (but that's another - actually quite comical - story). Later, in Sorrento a taxi driver tried to charge us in excess of 50€ (can't recall the exact amount) to take us - again less than 2 miles - to the hotel. After I told him off ("Do you see a giant letter 'N' on my forehead (for naive), Buddy? No you do not, so scram, skidaddle."), I bought a 4€ map and sorted it out for myself, and we walked (another interesting story). By that last leg of the trip, I had been preyed upon by scammers enough to be sick of it. Anyway, I learned that at airports and train stations, you have to find the right queue (where the legitimate taxis line up). Or give the hotel a call and ask them for assistance with hooking you up with a legit service.
I hope that our Insider London/Heathrow experts will weigh in.
Although I don't think the Concierge ordered the taxi in the OP's case, this is a pet peeve of mine: If the hotel ordered a cab that ripped you off, report this to Marriott and put it on TripAdvisor. (Or Starwood, where I've also had this happen in the last year.) Why would a hotel do something like this? Why would the hotel want you to spend more money on transportation? The likely and obvious answer is the hotel, or someone at the hotel, is getting some of that money in his/her pocket. The hotel should be shamed. Even if they aren't getting money (not likely) they should be shamed.
I asked the Birmingham Marriott to order me a taxi a few months ago. I asked while checking in, and was told it's best to arrange this the night before rather than that day. The next day, I went to the lobby and found a Towncar with driver. Hmm, that's not a cab. Then, the hotel manager gave me one of the biggest lines of crud, "It's the same price." I've fallen for that before. I've taken cabs from the airport that were half the price of the limo the hotel ordered for the retur that I'm being told is the same price.* And that's in cities where there is a fee to go from the airport that's not charged to the airport! Plus, I cannot show up at a customer site in a limo. The customer will think I'm charging too much. When confronted, the manager said they got a limo because it's better and the hotel wants me to have the best. I pointed out it's easy for him to be generous on my money. He should have asked. He then said he got a limo because most guest prefer a limo. I pointed out asking me would be a better way of knowing if I wanted something other than what I asked for. My asking for a taxi should have been an indication I prefer a taxi. I do know the words limo, car, Townecar, etc., and could have used those words if I wanted a limo.
Ultimately, I refused to get in the limo. Hopefully the hotel paid him, as he had expense due to the hotel's mistake. I also stopped staying at that hotel. It turns out there is a very nice, much less expensive Springhill Suites a few blocks away, where I have now stayed several times. I stayed there this week and have three more nights booked for next month. The Birmingham Marriott is starting to show its age and is cutting corners, so it turned out to be a good move.
*In Detroit, a limo from the airport is almost the same price as a cab. This isn't true in most cities.
As you all know, I live in the UK, and regularly go to London and the surrounding area. May I just say that the OPs experience is not the norm. Taxis are expensive in the UK, that is true, but they don't usually rip you off. I genuinely think (hope) that the OP was unlucky, and that because of their accent, was taken advantage of. There are many decent, honest taxi drivers in London. Unfortunately, the OP seemed to get one of those that was not.
Although I haven't traveled to the UK in several years, I recall that the traditional 'black' cabs were more expensive than local cab/car services. Their drivers had to go through extensive training and testing, including riding scooters around the city to learn where everything was. These were the best and most consistent taxis I have ever taken anywhere, but the costs were significantly higher than some of the local companies. I think the black cabs from Heathrow were even more expensive because of airport fees. For that reason, I typically used the black cabs for short distances around London, and local car services (recommended by my work colleagues) for longer trips. Is this still the case in London?
Thanks everyone for he responses... I have gotten over the shock of having such a terrible taxi experience but all is well in the world now. Concierge here at Heathrow/Windsor have been great and I have learned to rely on them to get an acceptable and appropriate taxi for the rest of my outings! The staff at this hotel are very enthusiastic in promoting good customer service and for that I am very appreciative. I will definitely stay at this hotel again,.!!!!
Teatree - it is more of an issue with the taxi licensing than the Marriott.
If you pick a taxi up at Heathrow from the taxi rank to go outside of London you get really stung, for some reason Heathrow which is 15 miles outside London is classed as inside London for taxi licensing.
If you taxi had taken you into London, you would not have been hit by the £65 flat rate, which is for going outside London!
I have had experience of this before. Now I always call up the hotel to get them to book/send me a taxi. A much cheaper option!
I have just realised something from the original post. You mention a "flat rate". Just so other MRIs don't get conned as well, how did you come to be quoted a "flat rate"? Did you book in advance, or was this at the airport? There are 2 types of taxis in the UK. Those with a meter, such as the London black cabs, which can pick up a fare anywhere, and "mini cabs" Mini cabs cannot pick up a fare at a taxi rank, or by the side of the road etc. They must be prebooked. So the ones the concierge at a hotel books for you in advance are usually a mini cab. I have just looked at various websites, and prebooked cars with driver from Heathrow to the Marriott are quoted at around £25, which is perfectly reasonable.
To be fair, I have always found the black cabs in London to be honest. There are very few nowadays that are unscrupulous as they are so heavily regulated. But of course, the meter ticks away in traffic jams and other incidents, pushing the price up. Personally for anywhere other than a short journey in London, I would always get the concierge to get me a car if possible, as the rates they charge are always fair.
One thing that I have learned from my mom is to ALWAYS get a taxi ordered from a hotel or official taxi stand. She made a mistake in Moscow (even though after years of traveling she knew better) by hailing down a taxi from the street. She was basically held 'hostage' (doors wouldn't open) and the taxi driver was demanding a lot more money than they even had on them. It was VERY scary but a good reminder to all of us.
I remember on a cruise that we were advised to get taxi's within the confines of the fence surrounding the ship and not one outside of the fence. They said you would be priced gouged as well as taken to the other side of the island and not come back to get you.
Definitely have to be aware when using taxi's.