Guests slam £120-a-head awards event as ‘absolute shambles with inedible food’

Guests who attended an awards event in Manchester have claimed they were served “inedible” food despite paying £120 per person.

Beauticians from across the country travelled to attend the Nail, Brow and Lash Awards at the Mercure hotel in Piccadilly Gardens but were left disappointed by the organisation of the event.

The event to celebrate salons across England that ‘deliver services to perfection’ drew nationwide nominees, from salons in Portsmouth, Hants, to those in Carlisle, Cumbria.

But guests said the night ended almost two hours late as the main presenter did not show up and organisers failed to hand out trophies.

At some point, the host from the organiser, Oceanic Events, stepped in for the no-show presenter and asked for the awards to be returned so they could start.

Lauren-Ann Lee, a salon owner from Waterlooville, near Portsmouth, travelled for seven hours with four staff members to attend the “shambles” ceremony which she described as “a huge waste of our time and money”.

The 25-year-old said: “We thought it would be amazing. It was such a big deal to us.

“But it was a huge waste of our time and money. I wouldn’t have paid £4 for that food in a café, I would have sent it back.”

She added: “It’s the longest I’ve ever driven before. When we got there, we were waiting in a bar area for ages. There were only three people on the bar, so the queue to get a drink was ridiculous.

“The awards evening was due to begin at 6pm, but they kept us waiting in the bar until 7.30pm before entering the main room.

“There were 26 tables with 10 people per table – so there were about 260 people all in this tiny room.”

The woman said a tomato soup, which was served as a starter, “tasted like a tin of Heinz and had a layer of skin over the top.”

She added the main course, chicken, was “really dry and inedible”, adding: “The beans tasted like they were out of date, and the potatoes were rock solid. The four carrots were the best part of the meal.

“The quality of the food we received wasn’t up to the industry standard. The host told us the awards presenter hadn’t turned up, and didn’t even acknowledge how late it was getting.

“At 9.45pm, people were so fed up of waiting they went up to the front and took the awards themselves, without them being announced. I can’t believe the organisers just left them all unattended up there.”

The event was supposed to finish at 10.30pm but lasted until midnight.

Then, the organisers said there was an afterparty and tried to encourage the attendees to go to another venue.

Miss Lee said that some people at the event got the train to Manchester and missed half of the awards to return home.

The beautician said they asked for a refund, but Oceanic Events refused which left her team “fuming”.

Oceanic Events said: “We appreciate our attendee’s feedback in regards to the food served by the hotel. Having hosted many events in this venue, this is something we have never experienced before. We share your disappointment.

“We have a high standard that we aim to achieve with every event. For those of you who have never attended before, we would love to see you in the future to show you what an Oceanic Event really looks like.”

A spokeswoman for the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel apologised, saying: “Our event space was hired for an awards ceremony. On the night, event organisers faced external issues which resulted in a substantial delay to the planned event schedule.

“As a result, organisers requested that food service was delayed to suit the new event timings. We regret that following this, some attendees felt the service did not meet our usual high standards and apologise for any disappointment caused.”