After locking myself out of my flat on Tuesday in a moment of stupidity I’ve spent the last two nights staying in a couple of Wolverhampton’s cheaper hotels. As such I though I would give them a quick review. It’s a bit off topic, even for me, but as everyone interested in webometrics eventually comes to Wolverhampton to see Guru Mike, I thought I’d write the post anyway.
Anyone looking for a cheap hotel in Wolverhampton is likely to quickly come across the Britannia Hotel and the Connaught Hotel. Both are large hotels offering double rooms for £39 a night, and as I had two nights until my girlfriend’s return I thought I would compare the two.
The Room – I was given a double room overlooking the main road, which meant it was quite noisy, even on a Tuesday night. It had seen better days and there was a noticeable mark on the carpet where the radiator had leaked in the distant past, but it was clean and comfortable. The usual tea, coffee, kettle, and a couple of biscuits.
The Bathroom – The usual soaps, shower gels, shower caps, and a shoeshine kit, and about a million towels.
The TV – Just the five terrestrial channels (and Sky News if memory serves me correctly).
Breakfast – Booking online meant that breakfast was included in the price. It was a buffet breakfast including all the cooked breakfast essentials – even the all important black pudding.
Bars & Restaurant – As well as its own restaurant the hotel has its own bar – The Wave Bar. The Britannia web site claims that it’s a “regular meeting place for theatre-goers”, but I am doubtful. It’s a very cheap bar, and the clientele tend to be locals who are there all day long. Luckily as the hotel is in the centre of town there are plenty of other places to get a drink.
Service - The staff were polite and efficient.
The Room – I was given a room at the back of the hotel, but it was by no means quiet, lots of noise from the lift. The room had a stupidly sized bed, as it was in fact two single beds pushed together. Nonetheless clean and tidy, and not as rundown as the Britannia.
The Bathroom – Shower gel – like it or lump it – which is very annoying as I’m a soap man and was in the mood to shine my shoes.
The TV – The main five, plus half a dozen others, including Sky 1, Sky Sports News, and Nickelodeon.
Breakfast – To have breakfast included was £45 (£52 for two people). I don’t know if it was just because it was quiet, but rather than a cooked breakfast buffet you had to order it. Full English consisted of 2 sausages, bacon, fried egg, beans, and half a tomato; which is pretty rubbish as it costs £9.95 if its not included in your room price -although you can have as much cereal and toast as you want. Unfortunately breakfast was accompanied by GMTV on a giant screen.
Bars and Restaurant – The hotel seems addicted to have ITV1 on televisions in public rooms, and my evening meal was accompanied by Emmerdale in the hotel bar. Both the beer and the food were expensive for a cheap hotel: £3.20 for a pint of Carling, and £9.95 for a burger and chips. However, by being a bit further out of town they have a captive audience. In the end I paid £10.05 for a cheese sandwich, some onion rings, and a pint of Carling. It definitely wasn’t worth the money, and despite asking me twice whether I wanted the onion rings and sandwich at the same time, they came about 10minutes apart.
Service – Bloody awful from first to last. Despite booking through the hotel’s web site, and giving my card details at the time, they had no record of my booking or paying; this means I now have to keep an eye on my bank account for the next couple of days to see if they’ve charged me twice. Ordering both drinks and breakfast involved a lot of standing around waiting for staff to appear, or else trying to hunt them down. Even checking out the hotel was annoying, as the receptionist failed to even bother looking up from the computer screen as I handed her the key and she grunted a response. And for some reason the hotel has decided to save on signs, so if you want to know where anything is bar, restaurant, lift, or toilet, you have to ask.
Next time I lock myself out I’ll be choosing the Britannia for a cheap Wolverhampton hotel. It may be more rundown than the Connaught, but I preferred the overall experience. Those who prefer their hotels ‘all fur coat no knickers’ will prefer the Connaught - their addiction to ITV1 says it all.
[Nb. I locked myself out without my laptop, so have no experience of the wi-fi, and I don't really have enough hair to test the hairdriers.]
[UPDATE: Indeed the Connaught Hotel did charge me twice! It turns out they charged me once for taking the room, and once for failing to turn up and take the room!!! They have assured me I will be getting a refund, although I don't have much confidence in their abilities.]