Bw Hallmark hotel review (Room 75) – “Weird room numbering, nice complementary drinks but abrupt staff”. ( 7/10)

Good

” Tea biscuits provided – 2 packs”.
“Plenty of shops near the hotel”.
” Quick and simple check-in”.
” Reliable TV signal”.
” Eco-conscious room reward system”.

Bad
“Only 1 key for the room”.
” Stiff wardrobe drawers”.
“Abrupt staff on reception”.
” Random room numbering system”.
” Useless toilet flushing power”.

Atmosphere

On entry, the atmosphere seemed at first glance, a little pokey. There was a small staircase that turned tightly up to a rather small reception area. The lady on reception was professional and quick to check me in, yet didn’t provide any extra information which would have helped such as WIFI login information. No effective instructions to reach my room were provided hence the magical mystery tour. On subsequent chats she seemed fairly abrupt and not overly warm.

The signs didn’t help much with locating my room since it’s number was not specified on any of the labelled ranges. This meant there was no signage directing me to my room which left me aimlessly wandering around for a number of minutes with heavy belongings. I asked both cleaners who didn’t know either and one who directed me the wrong way.

This did not create a relaxed impression and could have been avoided at reception. At reception also, only 1 key could be allocated for my room. This resulted in the impracticalities of the Eastbourne Afton hotel. For example, when 2 guests arrive back at different times of the evening, if one is sleeping the other has to wake them up, which can spoil their guest experience.

The corridors did feel warmly decorated however, and on entry the room felt rather characterful in design and leaflet documentation. The bar area near reception was quite homely and a pleasant place to enjoy a drink. Especially if it was one of the complementary ones…

The selection for this included: A small bottle of beer, small bottle of soft drink such as Dandelion and Burdock, or a glass of the house wine.

Tea provisions

2 packs of tea biscuits were provided which eliminated the sharing issues encountered in the Hogs back hotel of Farnham, Surrey. They were pleasant in texture and flavour with a crunchy element preventing sickly sweetness. The calorie counted packs reduced guilt throughout consumption. This was an improvement on Double Tree by Hilton, Swindon which didn’t detail nutritional evilness from their rather large, and highly tasty, gooey cookie.
The snacks therefore were practical and convenient since many places do not provide any of these at all.

This can be a minor travesty…

Enough about the biscuits though, so how were the tea facilities ?

Well the kettle had the dial inside the vessel, resonating of Double tree. This isn’t my favourite system though. This is because during filling, I find it easier to observe the outside, rather than inside of the vessel.

The first minor issue was the limited 1 litre kettle capacity. Whilst the kettle was coloured in shiny silver and was not the smallest I had encountered, it was half the capacity of some other places. To me, an avid tea drinker, this was definitely a downside.

There were 4 sachets of breakfast tea which was average, although the level of selection could have been increased to include Chamomile or Earl grey for example.

As for sweetening, 5 white sugar sachets, 5 brown and 1 sweetener appeared sufficient for 4 well sweetened cups of tea which was good. The presence of only 1 sweetener did make this ratio a little biased towards sugar however, which I felt was unnecessary.

That said, it was nice to have the full spectra of sweetening options which not all places possess. It would have also been nice to see some decaffeinated tea since all the sachets were caffeinated. In contrast, it appeared a far more equal selection between decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee with a 2:2/50:50 split between decaffeinated instant or caffeinated instant.

Double tree by Hilton in Swindon provided a coffee making machine which seem more favourable to just sachets and a kettle. That said, this was perhaps an unnecessary luxury so I have no real criticism for BW Hallmark for lacking such a contraption.

Mug size was good. On par with the Angel of Wales and much better than many others. All in all, a fair quantity and selection of tea provisions.

 

Washing and cleaning

Cleaning sachets included one shampoo and one conditioner, branded Bathe, resembling that of the Angel hotel in Cardiff. These were not rigid in structure permitting effective dispensation.

With 2 half-height mirrors; One situated in the main area and the other inside the bathroom, this could have been improved with a slightly taller mirror on the wardrobe door. That said, these were all immaculately clean and were of adequate width.

The bathroom mat was textured for safety and so was the bath hull. I liked the attention to detail … The shower worked well with good jet pressure and dual control. Both temperature and pressure were easy to adjust. A temperature numbering system was provided.

5 towels were supplied which was plenty for 2 guests, however water leaked out into the room which wasn’t particularly pleasant. This was only an issue for the first occasion however, since I placed towels on the floor to soak up excess water for subsequent showers.

It was good to have 2 unsecured quilted toilet rolls rather than a meagre 1 sheet per time, dispensary system.

The toilet flushing mechanism was rather pathetic …

Chilling in your room

The room was larger than the Afton of Eastbourne and was of sufficient size. It had more character than many chain hotels such as Birminghams’ Holiday inn Express on Holiday street, and it was far easier to open the windows than in the Cardiff Angel. Whilst smaller than that hotel, this quality made up for it.

The beds were made to my preference;  Just one pillow on the bed …  Yet whilst backrests were coloured, they were not padded which would have been nice for indulgent TV viewing.

The WIFI was simple to connect to with just the requirement for name and email. It was a shame though, that every time you accessed it, you had to wait for the login request to complete.

This was slow enough to be noticeable …

The speed of WIFI connection when connected  however was great for program downloads.

The TV was of good size, and picture clarity was very clear. For the room dimensions this was ideal and I was very impressed. The TV remote worked effectively and simply.
Charging facilities were easily accessible and noticeable with 5 ,easy to spot, usable sockets. This was a good number and didn’t require the use of any additional extension accessories.

7 wooden hangers were split 4:3 between 2 compartments in the wardrobe. This was a good number which was close to perfection. 10 is perhaps the best I have experienced so far. Not far off… This solid number however, was slightly dampened by the stiff sliding doors required to be moved for access. I can’t deny that this was a bit of a noisy disappointment.

Whilst relaxing in my room, I noticed a “Love the environment” message which detailed a free drink if you go without room service for a night. This sounded greatly appealing and a very positive idea for guests and the natural environment. 2 tokens could be redeemed per night per twin room without room service, with the condition that you stay a specified number of nights. You also have to claim them at least 1 day after you specify that this is not required.

Having approached the bar on numerous occasion only to find it closed, I requested the opening times from reception. Generally this was a rather narrow window of time between 5 and 10pm.

It meant that due to my working hours I only had one opportunity to use my room tokens. It was also disappointing when I realised that cider was not included in the offer, which is generally one of the only alcohol-containing products I enjoy.

Whilst this was a slight letdown, I was pleasantly surprised when they provided me with a large, rather than small, glass of coke for the inconvenience caused. The taste of the house white wine was nicer than I expected which was a great relief.

The bar area was a quiet place to enjoy this with a TV there for viewing. The decoration was also very relaxing.

It was good that the room was supplied with a hairdryer. The number of drawers for clothes storage did seem a little sparse however, especially close to the beds.

The power being independent from a keycard activation system was positive, especially when entering the room in darkness after work. Fumbling for a light switch is never a great experience …

Customer service

While staff were professional on reception, they did not appear very warm or approachable which was a bit of a shame. The cleaners not knowing where all the rooms were when they had to regularly service them, appeared quite unprofessional. Since one staff member was new, I appreciate this can take some getting used to, but with proper training and tours this should have already been rectified prior to their appointment as permanent workers.

Price

With the opportunity to claim a free drink by foregoing room service and with 2 packs of tea biscuits supplied, the value seemed good. The room service when used, was sufficient and fully restored room cleanliness and tea provisions. This enhanced the notion of good value.
After research, at around £50 per night, room price also seemed reasonable. Considering town was just about walkable, the location was not too bad due to close proximity to shops. This prevented the feeling of isolation.

It could have been nearer to the city centre though, since it took me about 1 hour to walk.

Summary

Magic mystery tour to a room with complementary drinks and a good shower. Shame about the helpfulness and politeness of some members of staff.

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