miss_s_b: (Mood: Brain Hurts)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
If you are going to go to an unfamiliar place, and fancy somewhere cheap and cheerful to stay, you might be considering an Etap "hotel". We decided when we went to conference that we would take that option. We were paying £40 a night for it; for reference, this is more than four times as much as you can pay for a night in a Travelodge.

I realise that £40 a night is a low price by hotel standards. The thing is, the Etap hotel in Sheffield doesn't meet hotel standards. I'd actually posit that it would struggle to meet prison cell standards. The room we were initially given had its window open when we dumped our bags. We shrugged, closed it, and went out to do conferencey stuff. When we came back we discovered why the window had been open. There was an all-pervasive stench of sewage. Thankfully the smell of sewage turned out to be optional; we were moved to another room and this turned out to be less aromatic, but in all other respects it matched the initial room exactly.

The bed wasn't merely uncomfortable; it was uncomfortable in that special way that only something that has tried really really hard to be uncomfortable can be. It felt like the mattress had been stuffed with builder's sand. There was just enough give in it to give me a really really bad back and wake me up with the pain at four am. The bed was also short enough for [personal profile] magister's feet to be hanging off the end. And, precariously balanced above the double bed was a single bunk at exactly the right height to bang your head on. But the bed wasn't my only gripe.

The bed is situated in a room which is... not luxuriously large. There is about an 18 inch gap around the bed on all sides. given that the bed was small enough for James's feet to be hanging off it, you can imagine how cramped this is. The toilet was in what we poor uninitiated fools thought was the ironing board cupboard. The walls of it were covered in pointy artex which scratched my arms when I needed the loo. And the bog roll... Well, it wasn't Izal. That's the most positive thing I can find to say about it.

The telly was default set to be unreasonably loud, and had a bizarre selection of channels - the usual 5 terrestrial ones, the day before's BBC parliament, and a French news channel. It was tiny and not well tuned in. There was one small chair that you couldn't actually position anywhere you might want to sit; it was a badly painted bit of plywood. It was not, though, I grant you, as badly painted as the doors of the lift. I've done better jobs myself. When drunk. The carpet was a horrible synthetic stuff which actually made my feet itch. The available food was Ginster's pasties, which were priced at £3 each.

There was no kettle, one very flat pillow per person, one tiny bar of soap for the whole room, and two small threadbare hand towels. We found someone else's hardcore porn in the room too. Which is always lovely.

And best of all, when I was in town on Saturday I went to Lush and bought myself some new stuff to use in the shower. Which disappeared this morning. The cleaner either threw it away or pinched it; whichever it was I don't really care. I just know that if I ever get the opportunity to stay in an Etap hotel again, I shall instead avail myself of the facilities of a park bench, which will be more comfortable and will at least not leave me feeling like I have spent four week's food budget on being tortured.

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Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
trialia: River Song (Alex Kingston) drinking a cup of coffee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] trialia
TBH, I don't think that's an Etap-in-general problem, as the Etap London City Airport hotel was just fine when I stayed there for a convention. Which one was this, and have you made an official complaint yet?

Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 01:55 am (UTC)
trialia: River Song (Alex Kingston) drinking a cup of coffee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] trialia
Ah. Well, FWIW, LCA is nowhere near as bad as that, so you can be reassured if you ever have to stay there. *g*

Well, you might get a refund? I'd want one. *shrugs*

Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC)
trialia: River Song (Alex Kingston) drinking a cup of coffee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] trialia
Don't I know that feeling. I get that every time I sleep in a bed without memory foam, nowadays.

Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 03:53 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Have to say I can pretty much concur with this and more.

Everything was an extra.
Parking was £3 a day extra.
Morning coffee was extra.
Broadband was extra.
Breakfast was extra (and with nothing but toast you had to make yourself hot, not worth the money).

Even decent instructions to get to the tram station were denied to me (I should have offered to pay)

Simon Oliver

Stayed There for the Conf too - never again!

Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I stayed there too, and I agree - it was horrible. Nastiest hotel I've ever stayed at.

I'm disabled, and coming back from conf on Friday had to park away from the doorway as both disabeld spots were taken, one by someone with no badge... so in I hobble and tell the night manager I want to complain about it - "hold on there" he says, "it's mine, so there's no need to be like that. I park there to stop non-disabled people parking in it(!) and I'll move now you're back"

"Ummm not much point walking back out to the car now I'm parked somewhere else and inside the hotel" says I

Then he starts questioning me if I'm a real disabled person, cos lots of people put it on, using sticks and fake blue badges, or use elderly relatives' blue badges - I walk with a stick after breaking my back and damaging my hip some years ago, and at this point was entirely offended... but rather than start trouble and risk getting thrown out into a booked-up Sheffield, I bit my tongue.

In his defence, after I'd been out for some food later on, he did come out and moved his car when I flashed my lights to say I was back... but the first encounter left me offended all weekend.

I was in a disabled room on the ground floor - my shower didn't work so they gave me a key to a first floor room right down a corridor...

Seriously terrible terrible hotel


Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 09:56 am (UTC)
ext_50931: (Fragile Prison)
From: [identity profile] blazingskies.livejournal.com
Gah! Right, if any of my mates need a hotel in Sheffield, I am suggesting they go ANYWHERE other than the Etap.

Also, should you need to stay in Sheffield again, I have a living room floor and a double airbed. Much better than an evil Etap bed, and I can provide breakfast and tea/coffee free of charge. ;)

Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
ext_50931: (All worked out)
From: [identity profile] blazingskies.livejournal.com
Yeah, I know. I could've been an axe murderer or somesuch. :)

But now the option is there should you need it.

Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC)
royalmarriage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] royalmarriage
Yeah, I know. I could've been an axe murderer or somesuch. :)

You mean you're not? Tch...


Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
Also there were the signs everywhere. And the zero tolerance on comfort.

However, having you there improved it no end.

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