Friday, 31 July 2009

Red Cow Roundabout – No Cows, No Roundabout

My hotel claims that it is ideally suited for a break in Dublin as it’s “Conveniently located for the tram” without being in the city centre (i.e. it’s cheap).

And to be fair to them, it is relatively conveniently located for the tram, with the stop being less than five minutes walk away, at the quaintly sounding Red Cow Roundabout.

It’s only having arrived at the tram stop that I realised that the name is wrong on at least two counts.

There are no cows, it is on the red tram line, it’s not a roundabout.

It’s a massive motorway interchange at junction 1 of the M50 with multiple lanes of motorway, slip road, access ramps, park and ride schemes and the tram depot, a quaint country roundabout it isn’t!

Labels: , ,

Friday, 1 May 2009

Mouselodge - An Update

Back in March I had the misfortune to stay in a mouse infested room in a Travelodge near Liverpool Street Station.

Now to give fair dues to Travelodge they did, eventually, get back to me to apologise and offer a refund.

With their recent sale the refund for one night equated into three nights in November in Coventry.

The hotel only opened a couple of days ago

Will there be enough time before November for the mice to move in?

Will I regret this comment when I am kept awake by the elephant infestation?

Labels: , ,

Friday, 23 January 2009

The (other) hidden costs of Ryanair

Flying Ryanair you always expect there to be hidden extras.

A fiver here to checkin at the airport rather than on-line, £10 for a bag, £20 for a decent meal (£25 if you want Oxygen in the event of an emergency – not yet, but they are probably considering it!)

However, I’ve just been stung by yet another hidden Ryanair cost, caused by their happiness to change the schedule at will.

I’m due to be going to Granada in March, and originally my flight would have been at a 5pm, meaning I could go into work in the morning, leave at lunch to be up at the airport before 3.

However, last week Ryanair e-mailed to say they had made a “minor” amendment to the flight times. A half hour, or maybe an hour I thought, oh No, I forgot this is Ryanair, the company that thinks that 100Km from the airport to the city you think you are flying to is a “short distance.”

The change was more brutal than any I’ve encountered before. Rather than leaving at 5pm the flight now goes at 8am. Checkin is a 6, and for someone living in South London, and who doesn’t drive, that’s the 3am night bus into town and the first train of the morning.

So, not only do I have to take an extra day’s leave, I now have to consider do I get up at 3am and get the night bus, or do I stay in a hotel and get up later. In the end my brain overruled my wallet and I decided to take the hit and pay for a night in a hotel, except there are no cheap hotels anywhere near Stansted, that aren’t a 20 minute expensive cab ride away, so I’ve ended up with a compromise. A night in the Travelodge at Liverpool Street station with two hours extra sleep on coming from home, and the first train of the morning to the Airport.

Thanks Ryanair, I’ve just doubled the cost of my flight!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, 1 August 2008

Be careful what you book, you may get exactly what it says

When I booked my Hotel in Luzern I had a couple of options. The one that looked most intriguing was the converted jail.

It was a working prison up until 1998 and was then converted into a theme hotel, with the cells turned into bedrooms.

The problem is, I can’t see where the conversion is. If anything it was worse. Prisoners got TV’s and (at least in the UK, I assume it would be same in Switzerland) would have had their lawyers onto the case about the sharp metal edges to the bed that I managed to scrape several layers of skin off on my way past

All in all, it would have been cheaper, easier, and more pleasant (probably) to have been arrested and taken to the proper jail for the evening.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, 27 July 2008

An Ode to AirCon

I’ve just wandered down to breakfast, and on the way walked passed an open door. I thought for a moment that a heater must be on the blink as the wall of heat that engulfed me for a second or so was un-imaginable.

Just in case I decided on a closer look and discovered that the source of the heat was approximately 8 light minutes away being the large glowing object currently rising high into the sky.

On walking back into the hotel I was hit by the cooling sensation of air-con set to “freeze” mode.

I dread to think what it has done to my carbon footprint (ignoring on the one had the obscene number of flights I make and on the other the fact I have never owned a car), but with the temperatures, and more importantly the humidity at these levels at 9am I am glad for AirCon.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Architectural notes 2

Ibis architects strike again, when overlooking a major tram junction and converting an old Soviet office block, you could sound proof the rooms, or you could just leave them as they were so that every tram can be heard, even down to the bell sounding to announce the doors are closing.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, 21 July 2008

All aboard screaming air

There were just a few babies on the flight (at one point I counted five separate sets of screaming coming from different parts of the plane!), and with a bumpy take off and landing they were more screamy than normal.

Still, despite that, the flight was comfortable, and more importatnly on-time. My luggage managed to keep it's almost unbroken record of being about the last off the plane, but it meant that I only had to wait a couple of minutes for the bus into town.

Room wasn't instantly ready, but after a quick cup of tea and a read through the key bits of the guidebook to Gdansk it was. Very nice room, balcony overlooking some parkland. It's all gone rather too smoothly, but I am happy for it to stay that way. Now I've just got to find a cash point which will take my bank card...

Labels: , , , , ,

Key concepts in architectural design

When building an airport hotel, consider, if it is at the end of the runway, fitting something a little more sound-proofing than bog standard double glazing.

A bit of a disturbed nights sleep with regular take-offs until well after 11pm, a bed that creaked quite a bit (an achievement in a hotel less than two years old) and air-con that was either off or sounding like a jet engine!

Still, I got up a 5:30 instead of 3am, which I would have to have done if I had come from home.

Very quickly through Check-in, scarily smoothly, something is bound to go pear shaped!

Labels: , , , ,