‘d never stayed in a Travelodge before. To be honest, when I have been looking for cheap accommodation the example room photos on their website always put me off. Firstly because they aren’t necessarily the room you are booking and secondly because they look a bit, well, grim. They always reminded me of the Birmingham Etap with its wipe clean surfaces and prison like impersonality, though at least the TV in the Travelodge was in one piece… more on that later.
Our destination of choice was an overnight stay near Hitchin, so the Travelodge Stevenage Little Wymondley Hotel was to be our destination. Worryingly it didn’t seem to show up on Google satellite view but it is in fact there, just a little further up the road than Google says. Unfortunately the Little Wymondley Travelodge also doesn’t seem to appear in any of the Travelodge offers, so no £19 a night room for us or even ten percent off the £55.70 price. I’ll admit, I’m a relative cheapskate when it comes to hotel rooms, that is, I like to pay as little as possible for the best room possible. Admittedly this had lead to two nights in The George Hamilton V Hotel in Brighton, as would later be featured on TVs top 10 worst hotels in Britain [and now called the Sandalwood I believe.] and also a night in a hotel room in Barcelona that was straight out of an 18th century slum, it may have had a lot of character but just looking at the shower made you want to take a shower. Just not in that shower.
So anyway, previous experiences aside we climbed the stairs to the hotel entrance, there was a large outdoor stairlift mounted on the side of the steps, this was rather impressive though it later did occur to me that there was no apparent lift inside the hotel so I guess there may be disabled accessible rooms on the first floor. Anyway, check in was straightforward, the chap on the desk was very friendly and while he was stumped with some of the more complex surnames of members of our group ‘How would you be spelling Cotton, sir?’ he was very efficient and helpful.
My room was very spacious, it had a nice high ceiling, plenty of wall space and, well, a bed in one corner. It was a very large room, in fact it was huge, it was the kind of room that you should have a party in. The lack of anything in but me reminded me of moving in to a new house in a new city, that or some eastern block movie from the seventies.
Aside from the large room I also found I had three pillows, one with a large gash in it, three windows, two stuck shut and one that opened three inches and had a broken lock. So thats what you get for your £57. A couple of friends who were staying in the hotel had more traditionally proportioned rooms with french windows and balconies which didn’t, in fact open, for your safety apparently, but they did give a nicer feel to the room. These rooms also were close to a generator which grumbled through the night so I was told.
The hotel bar closed at eleven, I wouldn’t know but we arrived at five past and it was in actual lock down. So returning to the room after a few drinks elsewhere to discover a lack of digital stations on the TV set and the only choice of radios 2, 5 and talk sport I lay back, a tad disappointed in my very large empty room.
Luckily I had a book, its one of those Bourne ones by Robert Ludlum, I’ve been surprised that they are actually quite good, and I think this is the only one I’ve not yet read now, anyway, I reached for a switch for the built in bed lamp and Wow! the bed lit up like something from Star Trek!!! I was most impressed with this feature in my otherwise
slightly very boring room. I don’t know quite what was the thinking when it came down to a decision of furniture Vs wall decor Vs a disco bed but hey, good on them for thinking outside the box as it really made my night. My room was like a sweat box by midnight, the 3 inches of ventilation didn’t do a lot and air con is clearly something of the future but I’m sure I didn’t imagine the disco bed, in fact I remember leaping up and taking a photo of it…
So, the Travelodge Stevenage Little Wymondley Hotel would I stay in it again? I guess, at a push, if there was no other choice. If I’d paid £19 for the room I got I would have been very happy, as it was I think the charge was a little rich*. Full marks for the friendly staff and the disco bed though. Luckily the rest of the weekend was far more fun, maybe some more on that later in the week.
*I forgot to mention the dirty cup and spoons and the cigarettes littering the 2nd floor outside window area of the ‘non’ smoking room.