Friday, March 31, 2006

More Hotels

I have been away in the principalities for a couple of days. Well, only one of them because it would have been rather nonsensical to say "I have been away in the principality" as that would have given the erroneous impression that I was referring to my own one and I'm a long way off that yet having made only £40 last week.

Wales. It's very nice and I go there often as it's only half an hour down the road. Admittedly it was of a bit of an on-spec decision to go and I hadn't made arrangements about where to stay and as I set off some time after sundown, the first stop ended up as the Oswestry branch of that fine British institution, Travelodge. Unable to take advantage of their noble scheme that allows you to have a room for £10 if you book a month in advance, I was forced to part with £46 for a night of unassailed luxury. Do all Travelodge receptions smell strongly of gin after 10pm? I switched on the telly ready to tune into Quizmania but nothing worked. Change rooms. The worst thing about Travelodge is that whereas every other craphole in the land gives you a free breakfast , they don't. Why not? I couldn't even wangle a discount off the Little Chef next door.

Where to next? I like Llangollen. It's in hills so the mobile doesn't work and it's nice and compact with plenty of cafes, guesthouses and stuff. It even has a taxidermist who specialises in roadkill. I could have earned myself a few bob by hoicking up the freshly dead badger on the road in but never thought. I must keep my wits about me next time and replenish the supply of plastic sacks in the boot. I usually stay at the "World Famous" Britannia Inn at the bottom of the Horseshoe Pass but it's £65 a night and the food's a bit overpriced (although Anne the landlady and the rest of the staff are great. And that even goes for the world's most morose barman, who I think is called Derek, from Essex).

This time I thought I'd try the Abbey Grange Hotel, just a couple of hundred yards back down the road into town. I've tried to get in there before, attracted by the sign outside promising £17.50 per night but it's always been full. Result! They have a room. The receptionist even asked if I'd like to see it before booking in which I must say was a surprise. I was a bit taken aback by the room though.

"How much?" I asked, having been tricked by cheap signs before. Most recently here

"£17.50"

"Really? You're on."

Double four poster bed; dressing table big enough for the laptop; two decent chairs; a telly that worked and had a decent picture; clock radio; two bedside lamps and a proper bathroom. Usual tea and coffee stuff AND a china teapot. There was even a big coffee table and one of those slatty things you put your case on. A pot of pot-pourri was a nice touch and there was a shelf by the door on which you could leave your keys and other pocket crap. Outside on the landing was an ironing board and Kirby press (they're disappearing fast, get one while you can) and a huge dresser laden with blue and white that would have had Sharon salivating wildly. The bathroom was decent if a bit 70s. And, in even starker contrast to the world's worst hotel (The White Swan in Barton-upon-Humber), it was spotless. The carpet looked as though it had been laid earlier that morning and there wasn't a speck of dust anywhere, not even on top of the wardrobe or the curtain rail. Well, ok on one picture frame and one rail of the four-poster. It even had a window. Don't get me wrong, I don't make it my habit to do this but any opportunity to rub the world's worst hotel's (The White Swan in Barton-upon-Humber) nose in it will henceforth be taken.

They did a fine pint of Marstons in the bar, too. And the pork chop I had for my dinner was the size of a T-bone. The background music was nice and eclectic, too. It's the first time I've heard Free and Florence Foster-Jenkins on the same tape. Two nights in this fine establishment, complete with two huge dinners, several pints of good ale and sandwiches at lunch came to less than £80, which more than made up for the occasional rumble from some bar-type equipment directly below my room. I will certainly add this to my list of favoured bolt-holes for when the pressures of home life (and PMT driven bits of loose fitting) take their occasional toll. I even got some bloody work done.

8 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Sharon J said...

See. It's worth getting chucked out now and then if only because you get to sleep in a four poster and don't have to cook for two days, eh?

Loved the way you slipped in "The World's Worst Hotel - The White Swan in Barton-on-Humber".

~Sharon x

2:49 am  
Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

Move over Michael Palin.

6:34 am  
Blogger Geoff said...

Have fond memories of the Travelodge in Rugeley, near the roundabout where the Echo and the Bunnymen drummer died.

12:35 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

Do you think I've found my métier then, VS? Bill Bryson next?

Did you stay in the Pete de Freitas memorial suite, Geoff?

2:05 pm  
Blogger Betty said...

I like the anonymity of Travelodges. There is one near Dudley with one of the most awful views out of the window and one in the New Forest in fairly nice surroundings (notwithstanding the huge rat that was sniffing around outside our window at one point). The worst situation is to be the only people staying at a bed and breakfast, where the landlady tries to make polite conversation and ask you stuff about yourself. This seems to have happened to me on a number of occasions in Wales.

6:33 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

I would have begged for company at breakfast at The World's Worst Hotel (The White Swan in Barton-on-Humber). I was there on my own in a freezing cold function room sitting at the corner of a table that could seat 20. I had to make my own toast or have some cereal and also had to make my own tea. That constituted a "continental breakfast." Actually, that's just bloody toast and marmalade and I had to do it because they were too bastarding lazy to do it themselves. I bet Michael bloody Palin doesn't have this trouble

12:42 am  
Blogger Sharon J said...

Richard. Do you remember the hotel up in the peak? Where was it...err...Bakewell? Somewhere around there. What Betty wrote reminded me. We had that landlady jaw with us all through dinner and then all through breakfast the next morning. And we'd gone away to have a romantic weekend alone! Big hope! ~Sharon J

11:26 am  
Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

Dawn would have appreciated the badger. Scoop it up next time and Fed-Ex it to Canada for her.

11:15 am  

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