We appeared to be having a superb evening at the wine class in the French Paradox until the bill arrived, which left a sour taste in our mouths (no sour wines were served).
We had booked a private wine class for 6 people a few days previous and were quoted €35 a head as is also quoted on the website and which includes a small tasting plate of bread, cheese and ham (In fact we confirmed this price 3 times in separate phone calls). We had a great time tasting wines with our french wine instructor (not sure if we got his name or if it slipped the memory after the 4th wine). Anyhow, we proceeded to order a number of other tasting dishes to share and ordered another bottle of wine, all the while chatting away to our friendly and informative wine instructor.
At the point the food was finished and the wine bottles empty we asked for the bill only to find an extra €50 plopped on for the 'wine tasting fee' (on top of the €35 per head, plus extra food, plus 12% service charge for parties of 6 or more). Slightly confused, we enquired about this extra charge and were informed that this was the rental fee for the room (we were in the bar area where there were other diners not taking the wine class). Now we were never told about this extra fee and it is mentioned nowhere on the website (They tried to claim they mentioned it in an email but we had booked over the phone). Also intriguingly, it was charged as two charges of €25. Our instructor told us that he would not have spent 2-3 hours with us without charging this fee. We mentioned the 12% service charge but this was dismissed. Furthermore, a few of us had gift cards to pay. After the curfuffle they tried to claim they could only take 1 gift card, we didn't attempt to argue and politely declined this rule after which they conceded.
Anyhow, it seems to me that if you book a set menu in a restaurant or even just order off a menu, you are not charged extra for occupying the space that you are sitting in. If this was mentioned to us when we booked, we would still have considered it a sneaky add-on but still may have accepted it, but the fact it was slapped on at the end without comment seemed like a stab in the back of 6 friendly yet amateurish wine-tasters.
In defence of the staff they removed the charge after an awkward exchange yet the experience left a sour note on the evening, so much so that we probably wont go back. The wines were delicious though.
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