Craig’s review… As soon as I arrived at the Travelodge Covent Garden I knew I wouldn’t like it. It took me approximately five seconds to decide that I’m never going to come back here ever again. It looks like an ugly concrete office block, like a 1960s tower block – the kind of residential tower block that has some kicked over dustbins out the front, a busted lift and stinks of p*ss (it doesn’t – but that’s the first thought that entered my head when I saw it).
When you walk through the door it gets even uglier – like a student union office and bar. It took me ten minutes to check-in and then when I tried to go upstairs the stupid keycard wouldn’t work (you have to use a pass card to enter the lift). So I trooped back to reception and she fixed that, and then I went upstairs again and discovered that she hadn’t given me a Wi-Fi code either, so back down I went and she sorted that out. When I finally had a look around the room I found it to be darker than dark. Of all the hotel rooms that I’ve stayed in during my life, this one is totally unique in that when you open the curtains, absolutely nothing changes. It is still the same gloomy room that it was before.
I hate this place already and I’ve only been here for thirty minutes. I’m lying on the bed watching the car lights creep across the ceiling. I think I might go and sleep under a bridge instead. I’ll find the nearest homeless guy and offer to swap places with him and he’ll say: “What, at the Travelodge? Are you having a laugh?”
I was staying at the Ibis earlier this week (another 3-star hotel) and a Premier Inn before that so I know exactly what a decent 3-star is like. The only saving grace is that I’m here to do a review so I don’t really care if it’s rubbish, because at least that gives me something to write about.
I suppose I’d better do my duty and tell you about the facilities, just in case you’re nuts enough to come here. The bathroom has got a shower in it (no bath) and a towel… which reminds me… have you ever noticed those signs in hotel bathrooms which say: “Help save the planet! We will only wash your towel if you leave it on the floor.” Well that annoys me as well (everything is annoying me now). We’re not idiots! Everybody knows that that has got sod all to do with saving the planet, and everything to do with keeping the hotel’s laundry bill down. They just slap all of that eco-nonsense on there to guilt trip us into using dirty towels. Well, I’m not falling for it this time… I’m sticking the whole damn lot on the floor: the towels, the bed sheets, the pillowcases, the curtains, the carpet… I’ll make them wash the lot.
You get a TV with a lousy choice of channels. There’s no Sky News. They don’t even bother to give you the Freeview channels like Dave. And there’s no way of bringing the time up either (so no wake-up alarms). Now I know why rock stars throw their TVs out of hotel windows – it’s because they stayed at a Travelodge.
You get a waste paper bin. You get a chair. You get a mirror. You get a kettle with four milks and two teabags. That’s it. You don’t even get a bedside table! The nearest table is the desk – five feet away. So if you want a cup of tea in bed then your only option is to balance it on your head.
The restaurant reminds me of a staff canteen. I used to work the nightshift at Sainsbury’s and it’s a bit like that. It has the same plastic chairs and a silver tea urn and a big metal serving desk full of dried-up scrambled eggs that have started to curl up at the corners because they’ve been sitting under the hot lights too long. Yum yum. They have beans and bacon and sausages as well, and some bread and cereals.
The only decent thing about this hotel is its location: twenty seconds from the top end of Shaftesbury Avenue. Covent Garden is about five minutes away, and you are within easy walking distance of Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
London: A Visitor’s Guide
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