Shaftesbury Piccadilly West End review
The problem with most 5-star hotels is there's too much pressure to be posh. You can't relax and have a walk around because you feel like you're on trial. You have to press your shirt and shine your shoes and straighten your tie for breakfast, and I hate all of that. I don't like people striking up a "how are you today, sir" conversation every time I get in the lift. It's all right if you're trying to impress somebody, but I'm not -- it's just me. (It's always just me.) And that's why I like the Shaftesbury Piccadilly West End -- because it's a bit more normal and homely and there's no pressure to be posh. It's a posh hotel for non-posh people.
The room is quite small though (it's actually tiny), and it hasn't got a bath either, but I don't care. Everything else is nice. You get a big TV about the same size as my dining table, a fat bed that is deeper than a swimming pool, and a Nespresso machine. But let's check out the tea bags... that is how you gauge the true quality of a hotel.
You get six tea bags, four coffees and a hot chocolate too... but only four milks. But some of the tea bags are of the watery oriental kind, like green tea and lemongrass. Are you supposed to put milk in those? They've got Jade Sword and Ginger too -- I haven't got a clue what that is. It comes in a net instead of a tea bag. I guess I've still got some learning to do if I want to be posh. I think I'll just stick with the Nespresso machine, because I know where I am with that.
You also get a minibar full of booze and mineral water. Let's have a look at the prices: £2.50 for a fun-size can of Coke, £5 for a tiny bottle of red or white, £5 for a tiny bottle of vodka, whiskey or rum, £6 quid for a peanut-sized tub of peanuts, and another £3.50 for a cup-sized tub of Pringles. So... yeah. There you go. Those are the prices -- if you've got money to burn then it's perfect.
The bathroom is nice enough. It's got a toilet and a sink to brush my teeth -- that is all I need. And some soap. And a bottle of shampoo. And some scales. And a mirror. And some towels and a flannel and a few rolls of toilet paper. What else can I find in here... a shower cap and a vanity pack. Do you want to know what is inside a vanity pack? Some circular cotton wool things which I presume are for wiping the make-up off your face, plus some ear buds and a nail file. So that is what vain people spend half-an-hour doing in the bathroom every morning -- sticking ear buds up their nose and filing down their toenails.
Do you want to know how much I weigh? I may as well stand on the scales seeing as they are here. This is not the usual kind of thing that you get in hotel reviews, is it? But what the hell... eleven stone and a little bit. That's not too bad is it? I'm quite proud of that -- I might have that tub of Pringles in the minibar now.
You also get plenty of pillows and a safe, an iron and an ironing board, a sewing kit (safety pin, needles and thread and a couple of shirt buttons) and a shoe mitt. This is the second time that I've stayed in a hotel with a shoe mitt, and I still haven't got a clue what it is, so I'm going to open it up and have a look... it looks like a cross between a glove and a hanky. I think you are supposed to buff up your brogues with it.
Their 'restaurant' is really just a breakfast room which is no bigger than a little office -- it only has seven tables in it. But the breakfast is okay. You get all the usual kind of stuff: sausage and beans, scrambled eggs and hash browns, mushrooms, cheese and hams. And some cereal and toast too.
The best thing about this hotel is its location. It's halfway up Shaftesbury Avenue, about two minutes from Piccadilly Circus. So you can walk to Leicester Square in five mins, Trafalgar Square in ten mins, and Big Ben in fifteen.
Just to show you how screwed up the hotel rating system is: half of the websites call this a 4-star, and the other half call it a five. The hotel unsurprisingly call themselves a fIve... but I think it probably warrants a four.
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