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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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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