travel postcards, practical advice, images and snippets of randomness

Mainly for work reasons; I get to stay in a lot of hotels at the moment.
Most of these hotels are rated at 4 stars, but what does that mean? Mostly; not much…

Some places are just fine: clean, everything in the bathroom works and the bed is comfortable. Others have proved to be less than acceptable, not only for claiming their 4 stars, but frankly at any level.

I have just stayed at a well known chain hotel in Bristol, where the fittings were quite worn and there were hair trimmings in the sink (presumably from the last guest) – these findings were made slightly worse, as when I arrived in the room there was a manager in there with a clipboard, allegedly doing a quarterly check. He didn’t seem to notice these things – but then I didn’t get to see the clipboard; maybe they were noted – as being OK.
My prize for the worst hotel visited during the last year goes to the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow. In return for about a £100 a night I got: half an hour queue to check in (some sort of convention in town – but they could have had more staff), twin beds in the room – the one I chose first was a totally unusable ruin of a bed – I’ve seen better on skips.
Bathroom horrors included a filthy shower curtain, black mold around the bath edge and a sink tap that was free to spin rather than being anchored. The crowning glory of this unchangeable room (sorry we’re full) was the spectacularly loud air conditioning units on the flat roof outside – merrily whirring away all night… and this was four star accommodation.
Given that the conventional system of hotel rating only runs to 5 stars, 4 star should be about as good as it gets – somewhat at odds with my experiences.
The star rating has lost all value to my mind, you can stay in a four star dump or choose a no star Travel Lodge type place that is at least as good, and probably a lot newer and cleaner. The only difference is that the lodge type places tend not to have restaurants – sweet relief in most instances, but that’s another post.

One final observation; the crappier the hotel, the more they want to charge for ancillary services. The Bristol hotel wanted £5.99 for one nights Internet access (using your own laptop). Quite a lot considering Internet access is now perceived as a utility – like heat and light, and most of us have it free or almost free at home.

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