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Cheap and cheerful in the Chinese Quarter
Member Name: ermintrude
Date: 08/12/00, updated on 08/12/00 (501 review reads)
Advantages: central location; reasonable price; excellent breakfast
Disadvantages: basic facilities; otherwise none
The ground floor has an odd, vaguely unwelcoming layout - reception is off to one side, with a high counter, making it difficult for the staff to greet you as you come in, and pretty much impossible for wheelchair users I would guess. They're friendly enough, but have a disturbing habit of singing along to the songs on the radio, which they have tuned to the local commercial station. This meant I spent my conference with the strains of Westlife running through my head - not nice. Most of the ground floor space is taken up by the canteen-style breakfast area, reminiscent of a motorway service station, albeit a half-decent one and without coachloads of old dears off to Rhyl.
The rooms are a decent size - well, you don't scrape your shins on the bed as soon as you get through the door, anyway. Facilities are basic but adequate - pod-style loo/shower, desk and chair close to electricity and phone sockets, adequately sized wardrobe (considering most people probably just stay one night and don't unpack), and small TV (no cable channels) perched on a wall stand. The tea and coffee facilities comprise a kettle, and the usual little shelf holding packets of instant stuff - horror of horrors, there are no biscuits and the "milk" is Marvel dried stuff, betraying the "budget" nature of the hotel.
My bed was fairly comfy, although the mattress
was foam, meaning it got a bit hot, and it stayed moulded in one position all night. Still, the room was quiet, despite being in the city centre, and I managed to get a good night's sleep. The disturbing bit was being woken by a sneeze so loud I thought it was in the same room - either the walls are pretty thin, or I had a neighbour who could sneeze for England.
The shower looked dubious, but was actually very good, not a pathetic trickle like I feared, and plenty hot water as well. Continuing the "cheap" theme, there were no freebies (unless you wanted a loo roll), although a shower gel/shampoo substance was provided in a dispenser similar to those found in public loos. Since the stuff smelled somewhat like what you find in public loos as well, I used my own.
Breakfast is the bargain, really. For just £3.95, you're treated to a no-strings buffet continental-style, including such delights as cereal, yogurt, rolls, hot crusty French bread, ham, and cheese (including brie!) . With a bit of craftiness, you could sneak yourself a sandwich for later ;) There's also decent coffee with *real* milk, to make up for the abomination provided in your room. The interesting bit is the combined soundtrack of MTV and business talk, which is far more interesting than the free newspapers from yesterday.
There's not much in the way of other food. A few cursory items are offered on demand before 10pm, but at about £3.50 for a sandwich, you're better to head nextdoor to Cafe Dome. Ibis guests get 10% off their bill, and the food is an eclectic mix of French and Chinese, accompanied bizarrely by an R&B soundtrack. Good food, though, and they're evidently used to business travellers as they don't treat lone diners like lepers. Just take a book to read, though, because the service isn't so fast.
Overall, the Ibis is a reasonably priced, functional hotel. If it's plush or cosy you're after, look elsewhere,
but for a place to lay your head as you pass through, it's ideal.