Too quirky for comfort
The Roseber Hotel (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
Member Name: dee778
The Roseber Hotel (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
Date: 03/02/13, updated on 03/02/13 (64 review reads)
Advantages: Good location, dog friendly
Disadvantages: Inadequate shower, uncomfortable breakfast room
~~ Arrival ~~
I easily parked a few yards away from the hotel but was a little concerned about the parking restrictions all around the hotel, so hurried inside to find out where the "extensive free parking" was, as advertised on the website.
The front entrance was not enhanced by two rather tatty plastic shrubs on either side of the front door, but the hallway was bright and clean and full of interesting Edwardian collectables. A tiny hatch in the hallway with the word 'WELCOME' made out of old iron keys served as the reception.
The young American receptionist was smiling and welcoming, and found my reservation immediately. I asked about the car parking and explained that I had left my car in a restricted parking zone. The receptionist seemed to be completely baffled by this information, saying "I don't drive myself" - which seemed a little irrelevant since I was just asking for the location of the free parking. "Most people just take pot luck on the yellow lines outside" was the answer. Not what I had hoped for, and certainly not what the website had promised.
Things went a bit downhill from then onwards. The receptionist presented my bill and told me that I must pay in advance. The bill had three prices written on it: £69, £68.50 and £71. Payment by card attracted an extra charge but luckily I had cash in my purse. The receptionist was unable to tell me the correct charge for cash, so I opted for the cheapest price and presented her with £70. After a lot of fussing behind the scenes, she told me that she didn't have access to the safe, but would bring my change to the room. Needless to say this never appeared, and I had to remind her at breakfast the next morning. No apology was given, just a cheerful, "Oh, I just plain forgot".
She then showed me to my room, but gave no information about accessing the free wi-fi, the times of breakfast, or the check out time. I later found all of the information on the walls next to reception, but it would have been nice to be told in person.
~~ My Room ~~
The hotel appears to be two Edwardian houses that have been knocked into one large hotel. The main part of the hotel looked gleaming and attractive - however my room was in the adjoining house. I was led out of the front door and up the stairs into the section on the left of the hotel. I was a bit disappointed - this part of the hotel smelled distinctly of damp and had a large pile of green dirty laundry bags in the hallway that remained for the duration of my stay.
My room was on the first floor; the stairs and hallway were nicely carpeted and decorated with antique clocks, tables and chairs. The room had clearly been refurbished in creams and whites, and looked cosy and fresh. The bedroom itself contained a white and brass small double bed, and had a lovely old fireplace. A window looked out onto the busy main road and the back yard of adjoining houses, but the double glazing was good and I was not disturbed by traffic noise as long as the window was closed.
There was a white duvet and some white towels folded on the bed. The towels were clean, but there was some residual staining on one of them which looked like tea stains.
Furniture in the room consisted of a marble side table with lamp, a rather poor quality cream wardrobe that had a broken door and was difficult to open, and a rather hideous mirrored chest of drawers. As I had my dog with me, I missed having a chair or something that I could put my clothes on so that the dog would not lie all over them.
The hotel is advertised as a boutique hotel with vintage charm - and the owners had tried very hard to make the room quirky and interesting, with a large orange plastic clock over the bed (not working), an ornate mirror and glass chandeliers in both the bedroom and the en-suite.
~~ Facilities ~~
Tea making facilities were in the room, with tea, coffee and biscuits perched on the window sill. The kettle was sitting rather unsafely on the floor, with no obvious way of putting it anywhere higher whilst still plugged in. Dog + boiling kettle on floor = dangerous situation, and I was not very happy with this.
The small flat screen TV worked very well, although I did not try all of the channels. The room was kept nice and warm with a small radiator and did not get too hot.
A big selling point for me had been the free wi-fi, and I immediately tried it out. I quickly discovered that it was a secure connection and went down to reception to ask for the key code. Reception was deserted, but I found my answer on a wall and returned to input the code. Although my laptop tried to connect, the signal was incredibly weak and although I continued to try all that evening, I never managed to make a connection. Again I felt let down by the website, which said, "Signal strength is very good in all rooms, as boosters are located throughout the hotel." There seemed to be no way of contacting reception staff, although I wandered around the reception area for a while. I also wanted to borrow the hairdryer that the sign told me was available from reception, but again this seemed impossible.
~~ En-Suite ~~
The en-suite bathroom was larger than the bedroom, and the staff had put a nice little dog basket on the floor with a clean blanket. This was a nice touch which my dog seemed to appreciate.
Like the bedroom, the bathroom was painted cream with cream tiles and cream carpet and was very airy and high-ceilinged. There was a large old-fashioned bathtub, a rather old and small shower cubicle, and in a further room a toilet and sink.
Like the bedroom, the bathroom looked superficially beautiful, but this was all on the surface. The shower was the worst I have ever experienced; an old scratched pink shower tray, badly grouted - with water pressure so low that it was barely enough to wash myself. All I managed to get from the shower was a tiny trickle of water which became dangerously scalding if I tried to turn it up. If I increased the cold flow on the mixer tap, the water stopped completely. The heat of the water was actually quite dangerous and I would have been worried if a small child had been underneath the shower head.
There was no shower gel or shampoo provided and no bath mats of any sort. The only soap proved was by the sink; a cheap and watery hand soap which I ended up using in the shower.
~~ Breakfast ~~
Breakfast was very tasty and plentiful, although once again the owners had tried too hard to give the room that 'vintage charm'. It looked as if they had paid one visit too many to the jumble sales - I drank my tea out of a chipped 'antique' cup and sat on very uncomfortable metal garden furniture with a red cushion. It was all a bit too much.
The food itself was delicious. I helped myself to cereal, juice and grapefruit, and then chose from the menu; either a full English breakfast, soft boiled eggs with soldiers, poached or scrambled eggs on toast, or a vegetarian option. My poached eggs on toast were cooked perfectly and came with plenty of extra toast and jam.
~~ Location ~~
The hotel is in Jesmond; about 15 minutes walk from Newcastle centre or a couple of stops on the metro. It takes about 5 minutes to drive to the centre but parking is difficult.
The location is very quiet and suburban, away from the busy bars and clubs - and unlike many of the Newcastle hotels which are full of loud party-goers. As a dog friendly hotel I cannot fault it - in the morning I just had to walk over one small road to get into Jesmond Dene, which is a beautiful place to walk.
~~ Opinion ~~
I can see from the website that the hotel is under new ownership and has just renovated, and I do admire what they are trying to do. Unfortunately I think that they have cut too many corners; superficial redecoration (poor grouting, exposed pipework, superficially painted woodwork); old and slightly grubby carpets; terrible shower.
For me, a good shower and a clean room are more important than quirky décor and I think that if they get these things right they will encourage more people to return.
Above all, they need to address the staff training and make sure that the receptionist knows what she is doing and is available when needed.
I liked the hotel in terms of ethos and location, but left disappointed. The following night I stayed at a Premier Inn which, for £39 was pretty much perfect. I feel that £69 was a little overpriced for a disappointing stay.
The Rosebery Hotel,
2 Rosebery Crescent,
Newcastle, NE2 1ET
Summary: Good for dog owners, but pet free visitors would do better to look elsewhere