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This Juror says "Guilty as Charged"
Jurys Inn (Brighton)
Member Name: koshkha
Jurys Inn (Brighton)
Advantages: Close to the station, nice public areas
Disadvantages: Dreary rooms and ridiculous parking arrangements
~Good and Bad~
I have very mixed feelings about the Jury's Inn chain of hotels. I've been in one which was dreadful in Birmingham and another that was rather nice in Newcastle. My expectation was that I was more likely to be disappointed than delighted. I didn't have much of a chance to work up any sense of concern since the colleague who was booking hotels for a meeting in Brighton didn't actually make the booking until about 12 hours before I arrived.
Finding the place was the first challenge since neither the street it stands on nor the post code existed in my Tom Tom. Thanks to getting myself accidentally into the taxi rank at the station and spotting a sign pointing to the hotel (though not followable since it was down an alleyway) I got a rough idea of where I needed to be and took a big detour to approach the station from the opposite side. Fortunately the hotel is big enough to spot from some distance.
~Car Park Chaos~
When I found out where we were going to stay, I quickly went on line to check out whether it had a car park and found to my disappointment that there was only 'parking nearby'. On the plus side it's REALLY nearby since the hotel faces one of the railway station's car parks. There was plenty of space and I could park in a well-lit area close to the hotel. But on the down side paying for the parking was one of the most frustrating and annoying things I've had to do in a long time. If you arrive in the day time it's not too bad because there's a booth with a human being - a very pleasant and helpful one - who's clearly rather embarrassed by the crazy system and the shocking prices. But at 11 o'clock at night you have to buy by telephone or internet and you must pay within one hour of arriving.
Confused, I left the car park and headed into the hotel. First impressions were that it looked rather swanky and the lobby and bar area were stylish. But that wasn't to last very long. My colleague checked in for his room whilst I continued trying to work out how to pay for the car park on a phone system that could challenge BT's Indian call centres for lack of user friendliness. I cracked the Krypton Factor system at the 4th attempt, but not without muttering "I'm never ever ever coming back to this horrible town again" several times over. Parking the car from 11 pm to 8.30 am cost me about £14 which is utter robbery.
Car park finally dealt with (well at least for the first couple of hours - I'd have to go and pay the man in the booth for the rest of my stay) I was able to check in. Jury's Inn do that annoying thing of charging your card but not really charging it so that if you do a runner they can get their money back. I find it rude and unfriendly, especially when we've booked through the company travel agent and the rooms are guaranteed on a credit card already.
~Room for Improvement~
I headed up to my floor, stepped out of the lift into a corridor with a carpet of shocking ugliness and into my room. If I'd paid £40 to £50 for the room I probably would have judged it to be OK, but I hadn't. My room was costing £97.50 and looked to be very poor value.
The room was bland and disappointing. The walls were magnolia and the 'matchy matchy' carpet, curtains and bedspread were a bit too much for me. It was quite large, with room for both a bed and a sofa bed, but it looked oddly bleak and minimalist. Minimalism can be stylish when it doesn't just look like the room is short on furniture but that was exactly how this looked. The double bed had a wooden head board with 'wings' on either side to form small bedside shelves. Unfortunately these were so small that with a hotel phone on my side, there was barely room to perch a glass of water and my mobile. The bed itself was comfortable enough and I slept well. Jury's Inn like to offer different hardness pillows and the spares are on top of the hanging unit though I couldn't be bothered to change mine.
In addition to the bed and the sofa there was a coffee table placed about as far from the sofa as it could possibly be. A small desk was home to a flat screen television and had a couple of drawers below, one of which was home to a hair dryer. A strange wall mounted shelf held a kettle and coffee and tea supplies. There was a suitcase stand and a hanging area. I can't call it a wardrobe since it has no doors and if you like to travel with lots of clothes, then you might find 4 coat hangers to be a bit on the mean side.
The bathroom was a bit dated in style but had a shower with good water pressure but poor temperature control. The toiletries are provided in wall-mounted dispensers which will disappoint those who love to take the little bottles, though these dispensers are pretty typical these days.
Wi-fi was available but at a charge. I arrived so late that I was not willing to pay £10 for internet access and kicked myself that I'd left my Vodaphone widget at home and so couldn't use that instead.
~I'm not a morning person~
A sign in the lift warns guests about the busy times for breakfast so I was expecting it to be busy. The sign even suggested that at certain times there might be a wait before we could be seated. I'm not a morning person so if that had happened I think I'd have told them where they could put their breakfast. Luckily there was no queue and it didn't take me long to track down a couple of my colleagues.
The tables are completely empty and you will have to find everything you need before you can eat. I find it intensely irritating to be expected to work out where everything - from napkins to cutlery to 'where the heck did they put the milk?' is just too much fuss. If you like black coffee, you're in luck. That's what comes out of the machine. If you want milk to add to the coffee, then good luck - it's probably over the other side of the room by the cereal. If you love a good fry up then Jury's Inn will be right up your street - if you want anything else, you'll have to go foraging like Bear Grylls in search of all the components. I didn't like the breakfast layout. How hard would it have been for them to set the tables with mugs, cutlery and the odd napkin?
~Guilty as Charged~
My colleagues were staying another night, whilst I was there for just the one. I wasn't sad to be leaving. Check out was quick and straight forward but I didn't feel I'd want to rush back to Jury's Inn. The car park was my main gripe - SURELY they could have had an arrangement with the railway station car park that made it easier for guests to use it. Surely I could have paid the hotel and not had to spend half an hour messing about with my phone. What hope was there for any foreign guests to work out what on earth was going on in the car park?
If you want to be close to the station, this hotel will be a good choice, especially if you have no car. Don't expect luxury as you won't get it, but if you can get a cheap price, it's entirely acceptable, lacking in any filth and cockroaches but still, for me at least, it totally missed the spot. I didn't like it, didn't want to go back, and my Jury's Inn 'love-hate' balance is dipping more into the hate area after my stay.
Summary: Having to assemble my whole breakfast really put my nose out of joint