Monday, 16 September 2013

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.

As some of you will know, I decided this exam sitting to stay over in Birmingham when I have weekend classes as it would be so much easier than trying to get over on a Sunday.

I asked for some recommendations of places to stay and also consulted Trip Advisor.  I settled on the Lionel Street Hotel, which at the time of booking was a Holiday Inn Express.  I booked the five separate nights that I needed at a total cost of £202.  

I arrived the first weekend after my Saturday course and the hotel felt so welcoming.  The staff were excellent and check in was quick and painless.  The room was clean and well appointed, in fact the mattress on the bed was so thick I could have done with a step ladder.  My only complaint was that the room was too warm. and frankly, that really cannot be counted as complaint as I am used to an unheated bedroom.

Breakfast was a self service buffet, but there was so much choice; fruit, cereals, cooked breakfast, bread for toasting, pastries, rolls, lots of tea, coffee and fruit juice.

I discovered last weekend that the hotel was becoming an Ibis Style hotel, but I really didn't think it would make much difference.

I was wrong.

As soon as I walked through the front door, it just felt wrong and I thought 'I don't want to be here'.  I don't claim to be psychic or have special powers, but I am sensitive to atmospheres, and this just felt 'not right'.

There was a queue for check in, and it was not moving.

There was a man trying to check in a group, it was either a stag weekend or a birthday, and despite him having all the paperwork, they were adamant that he had only booked two rooms, not four.  He was still at the desk when I eventually checked in.

I had made these bookings over a month ago, and they were all fully paid, but for some reason I had to leave a £25 deposit on my credit card in case of damages, this was to be refunded once I had checked out, the room had been assessed and a communication sent to my credit card provider.  In other words, probably just in time for the next weekend I have booked there.

I eventually made it to my room to find that my key card would not work, so back to the queue at reception I went (the man trying to check his party in was STILL there), my card was reset and I tried again.

This time it worked and my room was pretty much a duplicate of the one I had had the previous weekend.

I noticed a door stop on the floor by the television shelf and thought it was a random place to put a door stop.  Then I realised that the room had a connecting door with the next room.  In such a huge hotel, why would you put a single female in a room with a door that connects to a stranger's room?

The breakfast was nearly as good as the Holiday Inn Express offering, but not quite.

But it all just felt wrong, to the point that I was thinking about cancelling the remaining bookings and losing the money.  Still, only three to go.

The walk up cost is £129 per room per night, which is a good £100 more than it should be.  

It is also described as 'all inclusive'.  Now I may be wrong, but I understand all inclusive to mean bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and all local drinks, not just bed and breakfast.  

Despite the fact that it is only about two minutes walk from my training provider, I think for next sitting, I will be looking elsewhere.

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