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The convenience factor
Express by Holiday Inn (London Greenwich)
Member Name: Cat19
Express by Holiday Inn (London Greenwich)
Date: 17/04/10, updated on 17/04/10 (48 review reads)
Advantages: Handy for O2 arena
Disadvantages: Basic and overpriced
I booked the hotel months in advance and the rate obtained was £150, or so I thought. As the day approached, I read the booking documents again and despite this being a confirmed booking that needed to be cancelled with notice, I realised that the rate was subject to change on the day! Perhaps this is normal for Holiday Inn Express establishments but I have never stayed in one before and I found this a highly unusual arrangement. Indeed I was quite alarmed as I thought that plenty of people attending the concert would have the same idea as me and hence push the price up. I realised I did not have much of a choice by this time though so we went along as planned.
We drove down from Hertfordshire on Saturday afternoon, it was a rather unpleasant drive once we arrived in London but the hotel was not difficult to find and had plenty of parking spaces available. Hotel guests pay £5 a day for parking.
Stepping inside and first impressions were favourable. The lobby area was bright, new-looking and the décor modern in shades of coffee, truffle and cream. There was a large seating and bar area which looked very comfortable, although I did not see anybody making use of it during our stay and neither did we.
There was nobody else waiting to check in when we arrived and after completing the formalities at reception desk we headed up to our allocated room. The public areas we passed through seemed to be well maintained and in good condition and I was so far impressed. As we walked down our corridor on the seventh floor, the spacing between doors indicated to me that the room was not going to be of palatial proportions and indeed it was not.
I must admit it was the smell and not the size of the room that first struck me upon opening the door though. Not a musty smell, more like poor drains. Not overpowering and we decided that opening the windows for a little while would deal with the issue. We had a good look around wondering if the smell was indicative of more serious maintenance and cleaning issues, but we found no evidence and so decided it was not worth making any kind of fuss about.
The room was pretty small and the furnishings extremely basic. The bed was low, too soft and not very large. The desk was made out of cheap wood and the TV an old fashioned 14 inch portable. The seating was a sofa bed, so for the budget conscious I assume it is ok for more than two people to occupy the room. The walls were quite thin and before we went out we did hear noise which was a little intrusive but thankfully when we retired for the evening my neighbours were quiet.
We managed to kill an hour or so, before walking down to the O2 arena, which was perhaps 20 minutes walking, although I didn't make a point of timing this accurately. After the show we wandered back and went straight up to the room.
I had quite an uncomfortable night, the bed was soft and I kept rolling into the middle as well. The duvet was flimsy and the pillows overstuffed with no discernable difference between the labelled hard and soft pillows. I was quite cold most of the night as the heating / air conditioning unit did not work too well on heat.
In the morning, I decided against breakfast and just had some coffee from the in-room supplies (don't think there were any biscuits), my husband decided to go down for something to eat. He came back unimpressed; the hot breakfast buffet only offered scrambled eggs and sausages, the cold buffet some cereal and yoghurts. At least it was included in the room rate.
This was not a hotel I wanted to spend any more time in than absolutely necessary, so there was no leisurely lie in for us. We were on our way by 8am. The hotel was clean, functional and certainly very handy for the O2 arena. The staff were pleasant, polite and friendly. But at £180, which was the amount I ended up being billed, it was ridiculously over-priced.
Summary: Paying for location
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