I love Liverpool.
I genuinely do. In some ways it’s bigger than Manchester, physically. And yet it’s bar and restaurant scene seems smaller, it’s online community too. And I’ve been so often I’m starting to actually get my bearings and find my way around comfortably.
So the opportunity for another stay in the city was something I happily jumped at. The Curve Fashion Festival presented a reason to visit, dinner at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill an excuse for a stay over.
However, as usual, the city was busy. And, though last time I’d ended up in the Malmaison (thank you Pride weekend) this time I tried to keep the budget a little lower and booked the Hampton by Hilton. Perfectly close to the event, and just 15 minutes walk away from the restaurant.
And on arrival, we were suitably impressed. It’s a relatively new build and with the Hilton brand behind it, you can tell. Billed as a budget hotel (it still set us back £130 for one night), it still looked plush, neat, clean and the staff on reception were lovely and helpful.
The room too, was lovely. Comfy bed, pull out sofa bed, good sized shower and bathroom. We settled in, relaxed and I let my aching feet recover a little after the festival.
It was, however the bathroom that had me puzzled. Whilst of a decent size, the door didn’t seem to fit properly. It was a sliding door, much as I’ve experienced in hotels abroad, such as Hotel Le Grande Pavois in Fecamp. But unlike the ones I’d seen before, this one didn’t seem to fit properly.
Sure it slid, but it had no lock, no mechanism for closing and given a bathroom is an echo-laden space…
Everything was audible.
And I mean everything. Almost down to breathing.
It was, to put it mildly, a little off-putting. I even checked with other guests and an opportune open door on another room being cleaned. Nope. This is what the rooms are like.
You’d better be on very intimate terms with your roomie.
Possibly more intimate than you’d like to be. I mean I’m no prude, but yeah, no.
Still, dinner beckoned, and we decided to chalk it down to experience, and deal with it in the morning, after breakfast. After all, breakfast is something as Brits we do well.
I give you breakfast.
Watery eggs, flabby bacon, cheap sausages. I’ll eat almost anything (after all I’ve eaten crickets, scorpion and I’m rather partial to a bit of offal), but this I couldn’t stomach. The eggs were so painfully watery and mushy I actually couldn’t face them.
I decide to go with what I could face. Croissants.
The one on the left, crisp fresh, just what a croissant should be. The one on the left, dry, stiff and had, given the stale flavour, been left out since the day before.
And the coffee.
I give you a double espresso. No I don’t know either. But I’d have taken a sachet of Nescafe over this any day. I was morose. Depressed. The best bit about being away overnight is the breakfast and this was miserable.
So, in short. If you’re going on your own, fabulous, skip breakfast. If you’re going in a couple/group – be on very intimate terms with said people as you’re going to hear stuff you probably don’t want to (unless you have particular fetishes, which I don’t have). And again, skip breakfast.
Personally, for £130 I’m gutted. This was in no way worth that. It’s actually only £6 less than I paid at the Malmaison the last time I visited and I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t bothered going anywhere else. The breakfasts are incomparable. And yes, I check and rechecked, the prices are still similar for a Saturday night next weekend, the weekend after, and a month later.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had such a depressing hotel stay.
And before you ask, I’ve complained to the hotel, and we are currently in, er, discussions. The issues I’ve raised have been fed back.
Watch this space.