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Dene Hotel (Chester)

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95 Hoole Road (A56), Chester, Cheshire CH2 3ND. Tel : +44(0)1244 321165. Fax: +44(0)1244 350277. Email : denehotel@btconnect.com

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      04.02.2001 22:11
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      Operating as a Consultant, based in Edinburgh, but with most clients outside of this city, a significant proportion of my time is spent travelling and staying at hotels. On many occasions, I may only stay a single night ever in a particular city, so that I will only experience a single night in a particular hotel, and I would not consider it fair to either recommend (or to 'damn') a hotel on the basis of one stay. Furthermore, hotel management and staff and even the policy of a hotel group may change, so that what might have been a good (or bad) experience on the first stay, may not be the same even a month later. Thus, again, if I spend only 1 or 2 nights at a hotel in a city or town that I visit regularly and they are flawed in any way, then I would not coinsider it fair to damn the establishment for this experience, unless it was so bad that it would make even Farty Towels seem like the Ritz. I have been serving a client in the Chester since 1996 and I now visit there regularly, on a 4 to 8 week cycle, each visit taking from 3 to 5 days. As you approach Chester from the M56/M53, on the A56, you enter an area called ‘Hoole’, which is where my client is based and Hoole Road (which is the A56) is stashed with hotels. Indeed there is a signpost on the A56 roundabout that directs you to the ‘Hoole Road Hotels’. There is a wide selection, several of which I have stayed at once (and so will not comment upon at this stage). Said to be the ‘best’ of them is The Dene Hotel, on Hoole Road (01244 321165). The charge is (I think) now £45 a night bed and breakfast (single). This hotel is very well known to ‘commercial salesmen’ shop-fitters and sales engineers (these being the most common occupations of those who I have met there in the bar). Another group of more generic interest is featured below (hey! Hey!). It is an Edwardian ‘pile’ with extensions set in gardens and a car park that is only ‘just big enough’ to house the vehicles of all the guests. The hotel is really in 3 parts – the ‘central’ part; the 2 storey ‘extension; and the separate group of ‘motel-style’ rooms to the right. The latter are possibly the ‘best’ of what is available. There is a bar where reasonably (and edible) bar snacks can be bought, and it generally has a good atmosphere. The restaurant is ‘French’ in ‘flavour’;, with reasonable, attentive service but mediocre food, so i would not choose to eat there unless desperate (or to satisfy my accountant who likes to see just one bill for accommodation and subsistence). As you may gather from the ‘flavour’ of this opinion, I am not enamoured with The Dene Hotel. The service is reasonable; the breakfasts are ‘reasonable’; the rooms are well-decorated, clean, and reasonably large (indeed some in the central part are family rooms with 4 or more beds in them. Unfortunately, the problem is with their bathrooms. Almost every one of them has a strong smell of mould (and usually with patches of mould visible), probably due to inadequate ventilation. If the same problem was experienced by a person living in a council hose, then it would be featured in The Guardian and on local TV, it is so bad. Several of the people I have spoken to in the bar detest the place because of this (but others do not notice – usually those who live in ‘timber-framed’ houses in the western parts of the UK, where it tends to rain more). The best way of escaping the problem is to complain and to ask for one of the motel rooms (although some of these are affected by the problem). One of the most amusing incidents happened at The Dene about 2 years’ ago. I picked up my key (to one of the rooms in the centre – I had complained, but nothing else was then available), when I no ticed two guys (one dark-haired, the other as bald as a coot) and 2 ‘gals’ checking in, with a load of aluminium suitcases and tripods. When I say ‘gals’ this is a bit of an exaggeration. “Loud, Old Scrubbers” is more like it. One Blond (and big – I mean BIG); the other brunette and more ‘lithe’ shall we say (OK ‘scrawny’). When I ‘repaired’ to my room, I heard laughter and ‘bangings’ in the corridor, and quickly realised that this ‘crew’ downstairs were to be in the room next to me. I groaned because I had loads of work to do (and because the proverbial penny had not ‘dropped’). Sure enough, when I returned from the bar meal, there was a ‘party’ going on and obviously the ‘gals’ were enjoying themselves (with shrieks of loud laughter) and this went on until at least 1.30 in the morning. Well, I was up all my S’s completed and down eating my breakfast at 07.45, when one of the ‘gals’ (blonde) and the dark-haired guy appeared both looking very much the ‘worse for wear’. I nodded to them and smiled but all I got back was a scowl from the blonde. Just as I was to enter my room to pack, the door next to mine opened and the other two occupants were coming out. Then I noticed that the room was set up as a photographic studio, with a large professional video camera and a Hasselblad set up on tripods and a whole load of lighting equipment. Obviously, I thought immediately, they were a Hollywood Film Crew (NOT) out on location and perhaps they might audition me for a 'part' in their next production. But sanity fortunately prevailed. So if you ever see one of ‘those’ movies (or possible buy ‘those’ magazines), and any mention is made of ‘Chester’,. Then this may have been where the ‘action’ was !! Oh ? The best hotel in Ch ester ? Well the best value is probably “The Brookside” (01244 381943) in Brooke Lane, about a mile from Hoole Road, where you can book a short break (2 nights or more) of dinner/bed/breakfast for £45 per night. It is quiet, clean, reasonable Table d’Hote menu, and with good bathrooms. There is also a 'Travel Inn' just opened near the local Sainsbury's that I must try (who knows I might meet the 'film crew' again, and perhaps it will be Sharon Stone in their next production ?).

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