Craig’s review… The lobby was packed solid when I arrived. They’ve situated the cafe and bar area right next to reception so everybody was sitting around eating and drinking and there were piles of bags and suitcases all over the place. It was like a madhouse. But a happy madhouse.
The room is okay for a 3-star hotel… or is it? I’ve been staying at a lot of 4s and 5s recently so I’ve been totally spoiled. You get a shower (no bath), Freeview TV channels, a kettle and teabags, a hairdryer… what else… that’s about it. There’s no personal safe. No iron. No minibar. No butler. No masseuse. No limo service. (I told you I’ve been spoiled.) I’m not sure that I trust the lock on the door either. I want a proper chain and a padlock on the door, preferably with 10,000 volts attached, so I might have to resort to that old ‘chair wedged up against the handle’ routine.
Let’s deal with the teabag situation… I always like to count the number of teabags in my room because that’s a great way of gauging the quality of a hotel – by the number of tea bags and milk cartons they provide to the guests. This place has done okay: they give you two tea bags, four coffees and four milks. But they only give you a flimsy little plastic spoon that looks like a toothpick, which is a bit annoying. Because have you ever tried to eat a Pot Noodle with a plastic spoon that’s only four inches long? The tub is bigger than the bleedin’ spoon! (So remember to pack your own spoons.)
The view outside the window isn’t the best I’ve ever seen… it’s one of those interior views that looks out into a cube of windows. I’m on the eighth floor so there are probably about sixty rooms to peer into. But they’ve all got net curtains, of course, so there’s nothing much to see: just a solid wall of windows and air vents with brown drip stains coming out.
After yesterday’s madhouse at check-in I thought breakfast would be heaving with hundreds of people so I went down nice and early but it was just the cook, the waitress and me, plus a couple of Chinese ladies chatting about their grandkids. The breakfast room doubles up as the restaurant and it has a strange collection of bar stools, sofa seats, office chairs and garden furniture – it’s as if they couldn’t make up their mind which chair to buy and just bought every one.
You get all the usual fare for breakfast: sausages, bacon, eggs and beans, toast and ham, cheeses, cereals, yoghurts, etc. (All the stuff that you never have at home.) It’s funny how we accept fruit salad and vanilla yoghurt as being a breakfast at a hotel. On any other day of the week it’s a pudding. Beans, sausage and scrambled eggs is called dinner at my house. We only have them for breakfast on Christmas Day.
One of the things that I like about hotel living is that after a few days in the same place you start to recognise who’s checked-in and who’s checked-out. People tend to be creatures of habit and always occupy the same seats at breakfast, so when Mrs New Face is suddenly sitting in Mr Blue Shoes’ seat you can say to yourself: “A-ha, it looks like he’s packed his bags and left.”
Oh wonderful… loads of Americans have just walked in so that’s the end of the peace and quiet. The whole room is listening to their conversation and by the time I leave I feel like I know them.