Why this hotel?
I was staying overnight in London and this was the hotel (and I use the word ‘hotel’ VERY loosely here) I inflicted upon myself. Never again will I make this mistake.
Arrival at the Hotel
The entrances, from what I could see, were BOTH up a set of steps so not very convenient if you are a wheelchair user or have other mobility problems. Now there might be other ways in so I won’t necessarily hold this against them but I could not see a way in without steps.
The entrance hall was clean and tidy with a number of check in stations so there was little waiting for check in. This process was fine and the person at the desk was efficient and friendly so that was a good start but it would not last.
Going from the reception to the lifts was via a door which needed key card entry which was a bit inconvenient but I do understand the use for added security. This took me past the vending machines where 500ml bottles of drinks were £1.80. Now I always know these machines are over-priced everywhere so this was not a shock, however, the price and the fact the machine was not working meant I was not going to buy from it
The lifts were clean and reasonably fast, although this can vary depending on how many people are using it at a time. Naturally they have the usual ‘persons limit’ posted. I often think that that many people could only fit in the lift if they were VERY good friends.
Here is where the issues started. Firstly the room was VERY small for the price they were charging and the tiny window did not let in much in the way of natural light either. One of the first things I noticed was the lack of a phone in the room. OK most of us have mobiles these days but in emergencies being able to get in touch with the hotel reception quickly is important and the lack of a phone in the room makes this impossible. OK they have one of those ‘pod’ coffee machines which may be a step up from instant coffee but the pods are not easily, if at all, recyclable so more points lost on environmental grounds.
The bed did have clean linen, as you would expect, and it was comfortable enough. There were, however, dirty marks on both the chairs in the room and the light fitting bit in the top of the headboard had a layer of dust on it. Now this was clearly not just a day or two build up it was at least a week or two as I could leave a trail in it with my finger.
The shower room (there was no bath so I can’t call it a bathroom) was clean except there was perhaps the beginning of some mildew/mould on the bottom of the shower curtain. Replacing this with a glass door would be far better. Now there were no little bottles of shower gel etc provided as Travelodge no longer provide them so that did get some environmental points back BUT the shower gel dispenser did not work – something I found out whist I was using the shower. I did go down to reception (remember there is no phone) to ask if there were any shops nearby where I could by some shower gel and explained the problem. The person I assume had managerial responsibility said he would fill them up, which he did but they STILL did not work after this. I also pointed out the dust on the bedhead which he then cleaned off with toilet roll – but at least it had been done. Now the lack of shower gel began to bother me far less when I smelt the hand wash in the other dispenser. It stank something awful so bad in fact that if I had been sprayed by a skunk I would prefer to smell of that than this hand wash. This was obviously a cheap as chips generic brand – the fact the 5 litre containers the manager used to refill the dispensers with had no labels on them also did not fill me with much confidence. Then we have the shower its self which was underpowered and the shower head was showing an encrustation of lime scale. It may have had 3 ‘settings’ if getting you damp, slightly damper and might get wet if you stand there for 30 minutes are settings.
The iron provided in the room was a cheap generic ‘made for hotels Corby’ branded one which was vastly under powered and was next door to useless for ironing anything. Still I gave it a try on the half size ironing board which only had one height setting. Now as someone who is 5’10” I am not tall but this was far too low for me.
Now there is Wi-Fi at the hotel – if you are prepared to pay an additional charge for it. Whilst you do get 30 minutes free I feel the fact I was paying over £150 for the night (it was the early May bank holiday weekend, hence higher than normal price) should have included unlimited access to the Wi-Fi (under fair usage etc.). I have stayed in other hotels, both chain and independent, many cheaper than here, and the Wi-Fi is included in the room price. I know the price was only £3 for 24 hours but it is the principle rather than the cost.
The Food Available - Dinner
Now I don’t usually tend to eat in the hotels I am staying in and my stay here proved why. The only reason I did this time was that I wanted something quick as I was going out for the evening and would not have time to eat later.
The ordering was odd as you ordered at the bar then had the table number handed to you, or in this case almost slammed on the bar in front of you then after placing your order you went to any vacant table to sit at with your table number. Having fixed table numbers would be much better and may make things faster as the servers would not have to go on a search for the table numbers. A wait time of 20 minutes for a burger and chips was bordering on unacceptable but this was possibly due to there only being one person serving at table as well as clearing tables, wiping them down etc.
Now the food I opted for the ‘The Works Burger’ as it was listed as ‘our favourite’ well if this was their favourite I dread to think what their worst would be. The three thin burger patties had all the texture of wet cardboard and frankly the cardboard would have tasted better. They were clearly cooked from frozen and were of a very low quality to start with. Now I accept the fact they cannot make all burgers from fresh in house here but they can get better quality fresh NOT frozen ones bought in. The chips were a child’s portion (in my opinion) and undercooked by a couple of minutes and certainly not double fried as good chips should be. The bun it was served in was frankly about the only really edible part. The only thing they got fully right was that I asked for no mayo and it was mayo free. If I had not been as hungry as I was and as pressed for time as I was I would have sent it back. If you are staying here and want a burger I advise you go to one of the two well-known chain burger places. The burgers there are cheaper and taste better. The price tag in excess of £10 for what I was served was unacceptable – had I the choice I would not have paid more than £6 for it – and that is only as it was in London.
The Food Available - Breakfast
Frankly this was not much better than the dinner. They claim it is ‘prime bacon’ but it is clearly bulk buy cheap cut bacon and it was, for my taste, undercooked. The Cumberland sausages were of an average quality at best (no other sausages were available when I went in for breakfast) and the scrambled eggs looked like a congealed inedible mess – I don’t eat eggs so I can only say what they look like. The only reasonably good bit were the hash browns – however, these were probably cooked from frozen. The beans had also run out so it is clear that things were not being kept an eye on and not being topped up as the breakfast time went on.
The toast was also self-serve, which is fine, and this and was done with one of those conveyor toasters. You know the ones where the first pass through gives barely warm bread the second pass and it is burnt to cinders. The bread was generic cheap as possible sliced bread but at least there was the choice of white or wholemeal. There was the option of butter or spread and a limited choice of jams. The marmalade, which I went for, was of a poor quality but I as my gran used to make this from scratch I know what really good marmalade should taste like. What was provided here was a tasteless gel in comparison.
The coffee was from a bean to cup machine which was of a reasonable standard and there was a juice dispenser for orange, pineapple and apple juice. Not being as juice drinker I did not partake but I suspect it was the usual long life pasteurised stuff rather than fresh.
For what was provided the near to £10 price tag was excessive.
The Night's Sleep
Well this is partly where the main issue started. The bed was comfortable enough but the lights would not fully turn off. No matter which switch I used there was always a dim glow from at least two of the bulbs – right over my head in the bed.
I did get to sleep only to be woken by a very loud screaming match between two couples probably the worst for drink (going by the slurring of certain words) right outside my room’s door this at 3:30 am in the morning was not good. As there was no phone in the room I could not contact the reception about this and I was not prepared to open my door to go past them to get someone. This screaming went on for about 5 minutes. Although I was able to get back to sleep this did not make me happy – but would it make anyone happy?
This is where my real issue began.
On check out I did mention the disturbance and was met with a frosty response. The conversation went something like:
Receptionist: (after a huff) well we have security on duty down here you should have called reception and we would have sent someone up to deal with it.
Me: I couldn’t call down as there is no phone in the room.
Receptionist: We have a phone down here you should have rung it.
Me: I couldn’t ring down as there is no phone in the room.
Receptionist: There is a number posted in every room which you can ring if there is an issue.
Me: There is no phone in the room and there was no number posted.
Receptionist: (sighs and rolls eyes) Well, sorry, that’s it, you can go now.
This customer service – or rather disservice is beyond unacceptable. It is clear that the receptionist had no intention of taking any complaint seriously and clearly saw assisting customers and dealing with complaints as completely beneath her. This combined with the poor food, lack of dusting in the room, the poor shower, no free Wi-Fi and the very small window means I will NOT be staying here or in any other Travelodge. There are cheaper and frankly better hotels in the area, I would advise you try there.
Room cleanliness 3/5
Room facilities 2/5
Sleep quality 3/5
Checking in experience 4/5
Checking out experience 0/5
Overall 2/5 (rounded to nearest whole number.
Room facilities included the windows (or lack of), the lack of a phone to call reception, ironing board too low and underpowered iron, the poor environmental rating of the pod coffee machine (pods are not, to my knowledge, recyclable), the light cannot be fully turned off and the fact the Wi-Fi carried an extra charge, the lack of water glasses in the bathroom and so on. Frankly a 2 here was generous.
Naturally this is based on my experience, yours may differ.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 mikec1978