Sunday, 30 October 2016

City Continental - Earls Court

11-13 Penywern Road, Kensington, SW5 9TT

Rating 1/5
Hot, tiny rooms, surly staff, awful breakfast

The fact that the address says "Kensington" yet the hotel is just a stones throw from Earls Court Underground station should be a warning of the hotel promoting it as something it is not!

We arrived a little early and had hoped we might be able to check in. The surly girl on reception mumbled (literally mumbled so we could hardly hear her) that 2pm was the only time we could check in. If you work on the front desk of a hotel, it is important that you smile, that you treat the guest as though they are the  only one staying there and that you do NOT act as though you hate every minute of your job.
A smile and a "I'm really sorry but the rooms won't be ready until 2 o'clock" would have been enough for us to go away happy and come back at the appointed time!

So we went away and when we got back, check in took an age! It was NOT helped by the girl still being so surly and STILL mumbling, as we had to ask her to repeat everything. There was a group of four people ahead of us and it took the receptionist forever and a day to complete their check-in.

Finally, armed with the key to our room we headed upstairs to the 4th floor (the lift only went to the third so we had to lug the case up 2 flights of stairs) and our fears were realised as it was an attic room.

Attic rooms are HOT! Hot air certainly does rise! It was late October, and even with the window open it was still sweltering.

The bathroom was a T-shape, with the sink at one end of the top T and the toilet at the other. There was literally space only for a tiny sink and the loo... no arm room at all. The hot water dribbled out of the tap, yet the cold was a torrent!

The bed was OK. At last a plus point!!!!

Breakfast the following morning was included in the price of the room and was set up in the basement. The place was packed and there was clearly more guests than seats in the room. We ended up sharing a table with other guests. Due to the number of guests, access to the breakfast items was a struggle, not helped by the layout which did not allow a natural "flow".

Not seeing what was actually on offer, I grabbed some cutlery and noticed there were no forks. I asked the girl who was clearing the table next to us if she could get some forks. What I got was a monosyllabic "no". No explanation, just a "no". I was not sure if she had understood my request so I asked again and she said "no" again. So I tried a 3rd time and said, "you mean you never have any forks"! Her response "no" and she walked off.

What was on offer was basically a continental style fayre, very similar to what you get in an Ibis - toast, croissants, prepacked cheese, yoghurt and tea, coffee and juice. Unless you want a fork to eat the fruit salad, then there is no need for forks! My bad!

The next day (after we checked out) we had breakfast elsewhere.

We had believed our room was small due to it being in the attic, but we met the party of four who had checked in before us who were on a lower floor and they were actually complaining how small their room was.

Small, independent hotels can sometimes be good bargains and quite comfortable, This one was not! Next time in London we will opt for a "chain" so we know what we can expect.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Travelodge - Reading Central

Oxthorn House, 60 Oxford Road, Reading RD1 7LT

Rating 3/5
OK for an overnight stay

We've never really been to Reading before, and we booked this for an overnight stay so we could see a gig nearby. The hotel choice was really down to location - the venue for the gig we were seeing was only a short walk away.

This hotel is located in the centre of Reading, near Broad Street, with the shopping centres on the doorstep. So if you want to shop whilst you are in town, you are sorted.

The surrounding area is quite run down. The hotel itself does not have a bar or breakfast area (you can pre-order breakfast boxes with continental type breakfast in them) so other than your room, there is no where to relax. There are plenty of places to eat nearby, so you won't starve.

The room itself was typical of a Travelodge........ although the chair was a bit of a better standard than the usual plastic one you normally see in the room. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put the mirror on the side of the cupboard space, was an idiot. Unless you leaned totally to your left, whilst leaning over the table area, you couldn't use it!

Plug sockets are not great in any Travelodge and the number and location of the ones in this room were typical of every other Travelodge we have slept in... however, the lighting was good.

This hotel has the new style bed, which we have to admit is extremely comfortable.

The view from the window was of a side street.

There is no parking on site at the hotel, but the nearby Q-Park does the job. And at only £10 for 24 hours (using the discount voucher from the hotel) it is quite reasonable.

In all the hotel was fairly quiet, but the chatter of the housekeeping staff and rat-a-tat on the doors in the corridor outside was a tad annoying in the morning

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Bridge Hotel, Greenford, Middlesex

Rating 5/5
Great overnight stay

Located on a busy roundabout, this Young's hotel next to the A40 in Greenford,  is a prime location and you could be forgiven for thinking it will be noisy being so close to a main thoroughfare. We have stayed here a few times and never had our sleep interrupted. It is surprisingly quiet.

Arriving a few hours before official check-in (as we were planning to be out and about until late evening), we were pleasantly surprised that we were able to "check in" in that we had our room allocated and were able to register our car with reception........ all we had to do was pick up our key from reception when we returned later that evening. Very simple, very quick. No hassles.

The bar closed at midnight, and at last orders, we were offered the chance to buy more drinks before they shut the bar if we wanted them and stay in the bar to drink them after closing - no chucking out time.

The staff were very friendly and they acknowledge you if they passed you around the hotel. They also had knowledge of the local area so were able to give us tips about the local public transport and advised us not to walk through the underpass that runs under the neighbouring roundabout late at night.

There are 3 floors - no sure if there is a lift, as we took the stairs to our allocated room on the second floor. The room we had was very spacious and similar to the size of room we have had on previous stays, so this is probably the norm. The beds: huge with a mattress that just envelopes you and make you want to stay snuggled under the duvet forever! Extremely comfortable and luxurious. There were plenty of power points and good lighting too. The desk drawer had a hairdryer.

The bathroom was well equipped (although we did not have any soap) and maybe we were lucky on this stay, or maybe it is common throughout the hotel, but the towels were still quite new, which meant they were really fluffy, white and clean.

Our rate included breakfast. Served until a reasonable time over the weekend (until 10am), the breakfast room had obviously been busy in the run up to the time we entered. There were a few tables with discarded plates and cups where people had vacated the space, but we did find a free table. Breakfast is the usual fayre....... cereals, fruit juice and hot items cooked to order. The staff were happy to take bespoke orders. The only gripe? The baked beans were quite cold. Tea was served in a pot.

Chucking out time is 11am, which given that breakfast finished by 10am was fine for us.

Will we stay there again? Sure we will