Holiday Inn Regent's Park review
This is my first time staying at a Holiday Inn hotel. I wasn't expecting much to be honest, but it's actually quite nice inside. The reception area is quite swish, like a posh hotel. They had a pretty bird behind the desk when I walked in, which is always nice when you step through the door. And she gave me a Jacob's Club biscuit as well -- do you remember those little bars of biscuity chocolate that you had in your lunch box when you were a kid? She gave me an orange one of those -- no joke! Apparently they give one to all of their hotel members. So that's the Holiday Inn for you... at a fancy 5-star hotel you get a bowl of fruit and a pot of tea and a bottle of something bubbly, but here you just get a Jacob's Club biscuit bar, ha ha. I think I prefer the biscuit bar.
I definitely think they should change the name of this hotel though, before I forget to mention it. Because calling it the Holiday Inn Regent's Park makes it sound like it's north of London Zoo, or up near Camden Town somewhere, but it's actually south of Great Portland Place station. That is quite a nice place to be. But when I say 'nice', I don't mean pretty. This area is definitely not pretty. I just mean that is within easy walking distance of Madame Tussauds, King's Cross and Oxford Street.
The bedrooms are almost within walking distance as well -- the corridors are colossal! They are about a mile long. I am in room 432, which gives you some idea of the size of the place. Every time you turn a corner you see a never-ending cream carpet stretching all the way over the horizon. I am reminded of that shot they do in horror movies, when a victim walks down a tunnel only for the tunnel to continuously expand before them, disappearing into the distance. That is exactly what it's like -- only without the horror. If you replace the horror with a bit of cream carpet then that is what it is like.
The room is okay. It will do. Put it this way: you are not going to die in here, or anything like that. It's not exactly The Ritz but it's got a toilet and a TV, so you can't complain. Give me a bath and a Jacob's Club biscuit and I am happy. It's also got a bed, some carpet, a ceiling, a desk, a window, a dustbin, some handles on the doors so you can open them, some lights, a floor for you to stand on, a mirror so you can look at yourself, a spy hole in the door so you can check for hoodlums, an emergency exit leaflet in case the hotel bursts into flames, a Gideon's Bible in case you want to say some prayers, and a menu for the minibar. I think that just about covers it. And oh yeah, a teapot and some cups and an ironing board for the wife, a hairdryer, some toilet paper, and a safe to keep all of your valuables (what valuables?).
I always like to record the number of teabags and the minibar prices when I stay at a hotel (I'm starting to go mental). Because then you can see how tight and stingy the owners are. The Holiday Inn is better than most. A can of Coke is only £2.04, and a Kit Kat is £1.85. I have stayed in places that charge triple that. You get four teabags, four milks and a few sugars too -- hallelujah! I think this is the first hotel that I have ever stayed at that provides the same number of milks as teabags. That is my number one hate in a hotel -- when they give you four teabags but only two milks. So the Holiday Inn has straight away found a home in my heart.
The view out of the window is fantastic. And I am saying that in a very sarcastic voice, by the way. They have given me a room on the inside of the building, so it just looks into a little prison-like courtyard of concrete walls. A load of other rooms are staring into exactly the same spot, so it's just a ring of five floors and seventy-five windows (I counted them) all looking into this zone of nothing. Imagine if we all stood and stared out of our windows together... one hundred and fifty faces at the glass... what a scary scene that would be.
I am going to have to mark them down for the bar as well, because they are playing Simply Red on the radio, followed by Wham and The Bangles. Oh dear. The only people who listen to Mick Hucknell and Wham are big sisters from the 1980s. The bar is okay though, and they sell Starbucks coffee (which is actually labelled as Starbucks), so I am happy. It doesn't take much to make me happy.
The restaurant room is nice enough. It's a bit like a branch of IKEA - all pine woods and spotlights. Everything is either grey, yellow or wood. The breakfast is alright too. It's all self-service so you get your normal cereals, rolls, bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage, coffee and fruit juice etc. It wasn't the best breakfast I've ever had, but it will do. It was very busy though. I went down there at 6:45 AM and the place was already crawling with business types. Not many tourists about. It was all suits and shirt cuffs.
I've been here for two days now and I must say that their Wi-Fi is totally rubbish. I'm guessing that everyone in the hotel is using it at once, because it's like being back on dial-up twenty years ago. I'm sitting here eating my Jacob's Club biscuit bar waiting for it to work. If this page doesn't come up soon then I am going to storm downstairs and shout at the first person I see (no I'm not). I'm going to start smashing things up (not doing that either). I'll tell you what I will do... nothing. Absolutely nothing. Because I'm British. I'm just going to sit here and eat my Jacob's Club biscuit bar.
So in summary... it's alright. It will do. It's nothing special. I wouldn't rate it as a 4-star though. Apparently that is what they call themselves on the front door, but for me it's just a 3-star.
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