Thursday, 21 January 2010

Not drunken Stag parties

The problem with Travelodge’s are that they are fantastically cheap, and consequently are first choice for anyone looking to book lots of rooms.

This does mean that in some towns (Newcastle, Edinburgh) you can be woken up at 2 or 3 in the morning by the sounds of groups of drunken people coming in from a stag or hen do.

Things at Holyhead are a little different.

I can’t think that anyone who’s not from Holyhead, or the surrounding area, would actively choose the place for a Stag/Hen do. It’s a very nice town, but it’s not renowned for its range of bars or nightlife (unlike a Newcastle for example).

Consequently you aren’t woken up in the very early hours by people coming in from bars. You are woken up though by people on their way out.

Both yesterday and today I’ve been woken up at 4 am by people leaving.

For this is the curse of a port town. Whilst there may not be stag parties, there are people hoping to catch the 5am sailing to Dublin, and if you don’t live in Holyhead, or want a night kipping in the departures lounge, then the hotel is probably your only choice.

I’d just wish some of them would realise that not all of us want the ferry to Dublin, some just want their sleep.

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Thursday, 13 August 2009

Things not included in your Travelodge room

To be turned out of your bed by a fire alarm is bad enough, especially at gone 11pm.

But it’s really taking the biscuit when it happens again at 8am the following morning, when you were intending on having a lie-in to make up for last nights disruption.

Last night it was someone smoking, they obviously ignored the signs in all the corridors, lifts and rooms that said “No Smoking”, but I don’t think they were expecting the full Travelodge fury of a £200 fine and being kicked out of the hotel.

With that having taken place so publically, you would have thought that nobody would have risked anything setting the smoke alarms off again.

But no, this morning off go the alarms, and the reason – someone burning their breakfast.

This would be just about reasonable if it had been in the cafe bar, but no, they were attempting to cook breakfast in their room.

Travelodge is a hotel chain, not self-catering apartments.

All the duty manager could do was shake their head, expect signs shortly letting you know that you can’t cook in the lifts, corridors or rooms of any Travelodge hotel.

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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Introducing SpideeLodge

After my experiences in the London Liverpool Street Traveldoge, I’ve become a little cautious about the chain.

Since then I have stayed in a couple of other Travelodges (both on Holiday and for work), and haven’t had anything to complain about.

This morning, after having my shower I stepped out of the shower area and went to grab the towel.

On picking it up my first reaction was, urghhh, that’s a bit dirty, it looks as though its still got some hair on it from the last time it was used.

I was about to go and brush the “hair” off when I noticed it move slightly, up over the fold of the towel to reveal a large spindley legged spider.

It’s not what you want to see at 8 in the morning when you are dripping wet. I suppressed the urge to let out a scream (I’m not a fan of spiders, I’m not scared of them, it’s just I don’t like coming across them unexpectedly), and very carefully took the towel out into the room and let the spider down onto the carpet, where it immediately headed for the skirting board in the corner.

You can’t really hold Travelodge liable for the spider, but I do wonder, as I have several more bookings with the chain, what other wildlife I will experience in their rooms in the future. Look out perhaps for ParrotLodge in Newcastle, or maybe ScorpionLodge in Hollyhead?

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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?

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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Introducing Mouselodge

5:10 and on a train far earlier that I was intending to be. I had spent the night in the Travelodge at Liverpool street so that I could get up at 5:30 and wander leisurely over to the station to pick up the train to Stansted, rather than having to get up at 3:30 to get the night bus.

In the end I shouldn’t have bothered. My room had a mouse in it, except I didn’t discover this until about 3am, until then I’d been kept awake by strange noises and rustlings which at first I thought was me hearing things.

By 3am, having got no sleep I spotted a small brown rodent running along the skirting board behind the bin. I waited a while to make sure I got a photo of the offending beast, as I was certain that Travelodge wouldn’t believe me if I said there was a mouse in my room.
I finally got a decent photo about 4am, by which point I decided to get up, have a long shower and then check out of the hotel via a formal complaint.

So here I am, on a virtually deserted Stansted Express, heading through the Lee valley as dawn breaks over Southern England, more knackered (and near £40 lighter) than if I had just stayed at home at got up at 3:30.

Someone is supposed to be calling me today regarding my complaint, lets see what Travelodge’s excuse is!

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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!

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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Holidaying in Britain, it’s all the rage

So as the pound nears parity with the Euro the whole concept of popping across to the continent for a short break starts to look fiendishly expensive.

So it is with great joy that I was up early this morning joining the hundreds of others taking part in the sales. Except, I wasn’t buying DVDs, or the fixtures and fittings from a bankrupt Woolworths store.

No, today I had my cyber elbows sharpened as I dived into the melee of the Travelodge Christmas sale.

Whilst I have several objections to Travelodge, my experience with their London City hotel being my main negative against them, you have to agree that a £9 a night for a hotel room your principles can become a little looser than normal.

Given the number of times I got the “Server Busy” message and had to repeatedly hit reload, it would appear that they were doing pretty brisk business.

But still, I managed to walk away with some stunning bargains.

Consequently I’m going to be spending a little more time exploring my own country this year (or until such time as I get a 100% pay rise [impossible], the pound surges to record highs against the Euro [almost impossible], or just recovers so it’s back around the 1.20 mark [still highly unlikely]).

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