Park Inn by Radisson in Manchester Victoria
The Co-op Bank have sent me on a one-day “Welcome to the company” course up in Manchester, and have put me in a hotel overnight. Not just any hotel, but the Park Inn by Radisson in Manchester Victoria, no less.
I drove up here yesterday in a drive that took around four hours in total, including a 15-minute stop in Leicester services.
The hotel leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, the first hour or so that I was here was spent bitching on Twitter over the state of it all.
It looks very nice from the outside, and it has “by Radisson” alongside the name, indicating that it may be better than a standard Premier Inn / Park Inn or Travelodge. The flyer that the bank sent me, along with instructions for the course says that there are “onsite parking spaces” available, but when I called yesterday, having been unable to find the car park I was expecting, the message on the phone line says quite clearly that there are no parking spaces available at the hotel.
This was the standard message by the way, it wasn’t as though they had a full car park and the message was updated daily.
The thing is, outside the front of the hotel there are about ten or so blocked off car park spaces. Still, there’s an NCP across the road, so I shoved it in there and will be paying £15 for the honour. The other option was an All-Day car park charging £4, but the tickets all ran out at 23.59, meaning if I were to leave it there overnight I would have had to go back at midnight to put another ticket on the car. God forbid you may be able to do that in advance, of course.
Getting in to the hotel, I booked in and a piece of paper with 5 names, room numbers and a space for signatures was shoved under my nose with an instruction to sign the right box. Had I been paying attention, I would have remembered someone elses name and room number, as the hotel didn’t offer free wifi, but allowed you to log in and have it charged to your room (not that I really would have done that, of course…).
The Receptionist said two words to me “Room 224”. It was the first time I have ever stayed at a hotel and not been offered a morning paper, told about the restaurant or at least given directions (which I normally instantly forget) to the room.
“Where’s the room?” I asked.
“2nd floor.” This piece of information was, at least, delivered with a smile.
“How do I get there?” This open question was deliberately phrased to entice as much information, including location, left and right turns, stairs that needed to be negotiated and so on.
“In the lift.” was the reply, with a wave of a hand indicating that the lifts were somewhere behind me.
I got to the room, unpacked and looked out of the floor-to-ceiling window which gave an amazing view of the several empty car parking spaces that apparently don’t exist. Annoyingly, had I parked my car a few feet to the right of where I did in the NCP car park, I probably would have been able to see it from the window too. As it was, the view left much to be desired.
The room itself was well presented, with four teabags and plenty of milk provided, which is a staple for any stay in a hotel room, and far better than the one or two teabags normally supplied anywhere.
I lay down on the double bed, only to feel the two single beds that had been pushed together to make it a double sliding apart. The pillows were a work of magic, looking plump, comfortable and inviting, but seeming to fall almost perfectly flat like a sheet once you placed your head on them. Still, enough moaning, I thought. I’ll have a bath and relax.
Getting to the bathroom and I see another bug bear. No bath. Just a bloody big shower. Bugger. Oh well, a shower last night and a shower this morning produced two things of note. 1) One tap controls bringing the water on, and the pressure of the shower, the other controls the temperature. Turning the wrong one as you stand under the running showerhead means that instead of turning it off, you get doused head to toe in freezing cold water. 2) At 34 years of age, I am seemingly not so grown up that I couldn’t resist drawing a cock and balls in the steam of the shower glass.
Dinner. I found the restaurant fairly easily, no thanks to the checking in people, and was seated in the middle of a fairly empty restaurant. Ten minutes later and a fellow diner was seated.
Bearing in mind that of the thirty or so tables, 25 were empty, the restaurant staff decided the best place for this guy was at the table in front of me, and worse still, at the seat that looked directly at me. We were both dining alone, and every couple of minutes one of us would catch the other looking over - for no other reason than we were in each others line of sight - and then looking away sheepishly.
With dinner eaten (lamb shank on a bed of bubble and squeak with red wine gravy, all of which came remarkably quickly), I retreated back to the room to watch tv. Only the tv wasn’t working. I tried pressing buttons on the remote. Nothing. Unplugged and replugged the tv. Nothing. Power button on the tv. Nothing. I decided to call the Reception desk.
“Ok,” the nice man on Reception told me, “try pressing one of the remote control buttons and tell me what happens.”
“I’ve tried that,” I started, picking up the remote and pressing the button, “but nothing happened.”
Of course, as I did this, the tv came on. I apologised to the Receptionst, and he merely laughed.
And that has been my Sunday night this week.