11-13 Penywern Road, Kensington, SW5 9TT
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.