Thursday, 10 May 2007

Hotel Blues

Well it's been nearly two months since I posted anything here and it feels a lot longer. We've been back from our holiday for three weeks. (all the tourist pictures are on my Flickr account).

We had a great time except for the hotel we booked in London. The Albion House Hotel in Kings Cross seriously over sells itself on its website. They say it is "contemporary, stylish, elegant, luxurious", however reality is very different.

They say "The Albion House Hotel offers an unobtrusive yet attentive and genuinely warm level of service." They claim to have 24 hour reception when they actually have none at all. There's a grumpy guy eating a take-away in a different hotel in the square who'll give you a key once a departing resident lets you in the front door and you figure out that the dimly lit room on the left is supposed to be reception. This was not late at night but around 8.30pm.

They say "The Albion House Hotel is a brand new boutique hotel, with 13 spacious en-suite bedrooms. " It did seem fairly recently decorated and it may well have had 13 rooms but I didn't climb the precipitous stair case to count them. The room we had was tiny for a so called double. There was just enough room to walk round the bed and no more. There was no space for a chair between the bed and the shelf/desk/dressingtable thing. The only thing to sit on was the bed, which was two small single beds with at zip up the middle. The wardrobe was stuffed full of things so you couldn't hang any clothes. The TV was on top of the wardrobe as the only place it could be positioned. The toilet/shower room had no shelf to put your washbag on and nothing in the shower to lay the soap on except the floor.

The security of the building is worrying and the theft disclaimer in the office amounted to a charter for pilfering. The arrangement of rooms, doors and staircase was scary when you thought about what might happen in a fire. The fire doors seemed to open the wrong way but if they'd opened the other way they'd have been in the path of people coming down the steep stairs. The building really didn't seem fit for purpose.

They say "The hotel situated in a tranquil square..." Midnight was the start of an incredibly loud outdoor party two doors along that kept us awake until three in the morning. There was no telephone in the room to call what passed for reception in order to complain without getting dressed and crossing the square.

Breakfast was pretty poor (stale coffee, white toast, cornflakes) . The watiress couldn't understand the difference between "coffee for two" which we wanted and didn't get and "coffee and tea" which we said more than once we didn't want but did get - I guess that party had kept her awake all night too!

We spent a sleep-deprived Sunday worrying about our stuff and annoying our friends with our troubles but did eventually find a much nicer hotel called the Mermaid Suites just off Oxford Street, for a similar price and moved early that evening. Of course, we lost the money on the first hotel so it worked out costing us double for two of our three nights. Thank you Scott, Emma, Waterloo Station Hotel booking place, and the Mermaid Suites for rescuing our London visit.

Right now I've got that off my chest I need a coffee and some lunch. The good bits will come in the next post!

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