The Dolby hotel review ( Room 203) (6.5/10) – “Epic power shower in a cupboard”.

Good
” Central location”.
” Quick food and drink service”.
“Good TV picture quality”.
” Good WIFI speed and polite room cleaners”.
” Shareable Lotus tea biscuits”.
” Epic true power shower”.

Bad
” Plastic spoons for tea stirring”.
” Cupboard sized bathroom “.
” Only 2 teabags”.
” Exploding teabags”.
” Only 2 plug sockets”.
” Couldn’t find the WIFI password”.

Atmosphere

As a waterfront hotel, the Dolby was only a short walk from the train stations and the university. It’s location beside a busy road, resulted in some considerable noise. The view from the window whilst a little industrial, was not blocked by any inanimate objects. The bar downstairs was peaceful and easy to relax in with comfy leather sofas. The split between bar seating and dining space was open plan making things seem more spacious.

Overall seating was a little lacking however, since extra chairs had to be borrowed for socialising, from other tables. It was good to have a bar that was open till 1am however, rather than the typical early shut time of many hotels such as Manchester BW hallmark which regularly closes at just 10pm.

Corridors were sufficiently wide and not pokey like the Afton of Eastbourne. Also there was no pungent smell of cigarette smoke also experienced there. Always a bonus…

Tea provisions

It was good to have the full range of sweetening options, aswell as an equal number of each. These included 2 sweeteners, Demerara sugars and white sugar sachets. The counts were far more unequal in the Days inn, Peterborough and the Afton. Good here therefore …

Unlike in the Afton, coffee had a decaffeinated option which was appropriate to appease the taste of many guests. With 4 caffeinated coffees and 2 decaffeinated, the ratio, whilst not totally 50:50, seemed irrelevant considering the variety of options offered here. The total coffee count was marginally better than the Afton, whilst coffee to tea ratio was a little inferior. The numbers were not equal here unlike at the Afton, which possessed 4 of each.

The total sweetening count of 6, was dramatically less than the 15 present in the Afton. 15 works out more per cup of tea for the Afton than that provided in the Dolby also. This makes the difference more poignant and this therefore should be rectified.

Whilst there were sweeteners supplied here and not just sugar, unlike in the Afton, the lack of overall sweetening product counts made things appear more basic here.
Why 4 milk tubs were necessary for just 2 cups of tea was a little beyond me also.

2 small biscuits were supplied in separate packets which alleviated much of the heartbreak of (roommate tea biscuit sharing) conflicts. This was better than the single Golden oat crumble pack present in the Days inn, Peterborough. The taste was also pleasant and not too sickly.

I didn’t approve of the 2 plastic spoons provided however, since these felt rather flimsy .Why not get metal cutlery ?

With Just 2 PG tips tea sachets, this was half of the 4 present in the Afton which has the same star rating. Clearly this number was a bit disappointing therefore, and quickly ran out for just one guest, let alone the 2 that were staying. This meant I had to ask for more from the room service trolley, which was an inconvenience. Making matters worse, the teabags were not of the best quality, and one of them burst during gentle stirring. This left a nest of leaves at the base of my mug. Not ideal. These were not Yorkshire, although they could have been for this price. This was the case in Peterborough, which was virtually identical on cost.

The mugs provided that those pesky leaves settled in, were of unremarkable size, yet not too tiny.

The kettle was in a practical location by the switch. This was much better than it being restricted to a hospitality drawer, like in Peterborough.

The 1 litre capacity was rather average, yet not the smallest I had experienced, since this was a puny 0.6 litres. It did seem inferior however, to Peterborough which had the potential to hold 1.7 litres for the same room price.

Washing and cleaning

The shower was easy and quiet to adjust in pressure, and had great maximum jet power. This was far better than the creaky adjuster of Holiday inn, Hemel Hempstead and the feeble pressure of the Afton. The temperature responded quickly to twisting also, although could have benefitted from a scale with actual temperatures rather than designated numbers. The shower head height was more than adequate, and was directly over the cubical. This prevented the mandatory backwards leaning of Park plaza, Nottingham.

The adjustment of temperature and pressure was only via a single lever however, which made adjustment a little more challenging than in the Afton. This was only a minor inconvenience however, and at least it didn’t creak or squeak. It was constructed of shiny metal rather than tacky plastics, which was also nice.
In the shower, there was nowhere to place the provided shampoo sachets though. Whilst I did appreciate the generously portioned liquid soap dispenser, this was not adequate for hair washing. I did crave a little shampoo shelf as a result, since placing this on the floor was rather impractical.

The shower head angle was not fixed so could be adjusted which again was great. This was hardly necessary, although the shower curtain did have a tendency to leak into the bathroom due to thin material. This meant angling away from the curtain may well have helped.

After learning the lesson of wet socks, I realised that I had to store my clothes on the sink to guarantee post-shower dryness. Partly due to leaking, but also due to the lack of dry changing space, in the cupboard sized bathroom. It only stands to reason that no bath was present here, as I am sure it wouldn’t have fit anyway.

This minute level of space did prove a real challenge in preventing undergarments ending up on, or in, the toilet.

The lid definitely wasn’t for display purposes only …

The red and white bathroom colour scheme appeared a bit strange here, as I feel blue would have befitted the maritime theme more appropriately.

Fortunately, a sufficient count of 4 towels were provided for the 2 guests. This was streamline, yet sufficient and the same provisions as the Afton. The doorlock worked aswell which is surprisingly uncommon. Hotels such as the Copthorne, Sheffield didn’t have this luxury.

In addition to the generously sized soap dispenser and small shampoo sachets, soap and a shower cap were also supplied. Whilst no moisturisers were provided, unlike in Double tree by Hilton, Swindon, this was a far lower price point and these are not strictly necessary.

The presence of 2 accessible toilet rolls was handy, unlike the trapped rolls of the Copthorne, Sheffield.

In summary you could have been in a motorhome bathroom, This isn’t the epitome of quality or practicality. The shower did work well though.

Chilling in your room

The WIFI speed was reasonable and it connected quickly, with a password. The Password was not straight forward to find, but the receptionist was helpful when informing me of this. At least it was better than having no in-room WIFI as was the case in the Afton. It also didn’t require everyday renewal as was the case in the pricier Copthorne hotel, Sheffield.

Only 5 wooden hangers were supplied. Half of The Beautiful south, Perfect 10 and much less than the 11 of the Afton. This was a rather meagre count. These hangers were also located to the left of the bed closest to the window, resulting in an impractical location for one of the guests. Clambering around another guests bed to hang up clothes and get dressed after the shower is not ideal.

The lighting was good however, since the 4 spotlights present worked well, and were bright enough. Operation of these was refreshingly simple without the mind torment of a maze of higgledy piggledy light switches in no logical order or location. Such was the awkwardness of the Angel, Cardiff.

While many hotels do have the space to accommodate a couple of comfy armchairs, the small size of this room, made one chair seem appropriate. It was a shame that this wasn’t padded in any way. It wasn’t especially comfortable either, due to it’s wooden material. At least a cushion was supplied on the beds, to improve chair comfort levels.

Typically a cushion and a pillow isn’t my ideal made bed, so it would have been nice to have the cushion placed on the seat, rather than the bed, in the first place. I admit I am being picky in this respect though. I slept very well which I am sure wasn’t totally down to complete exhaustion. This meant the beds must have been quite comfy.

Although the wall-mounted TV was rather small, it’s position and crisp picture quality certainly helped compensate for this. Relative to the small room size, there wasn’t much need for anything significantly larger.

No intermittency was suffered unlike in the Roundhouse, Bournemouth. Overall not a bad TV therefore.

The bedroom wasn’t a hall of mirrors …

So yeah, there wasn’t much in terms of mirrors. Although one full height mirror adjacent to the door and a half height in the bathroom, wasn’t a bad setup idea. I didn’t appreciate the full height mirror being full height for a hobbit or dwarf however, since my frame could not be fully viewed.

Not really full height then ….

While this setup was similar in the Afton, the mirror was full height there.

Only 2 simply spottable plug sockets were present in the room. This appeared a very low count of just half of the Aftons’. Good job phone, razor and iPad charging, didn’t conflict between me and my roommate.

A hairdryer was present and it was good to see that this wasn’t locked away in a drawer unlike in places such as Peterborough.

Price

With a price around £40 for a 2 star hotel, this seemed great value for my stay, and was £10 cheaper than the Afton with the same rating. Due to the lack of issues, at this price point, I was pleasantly surprised. Also, the price of food appeared very competitive, with a tasty jacket potato and side salad only costing £5. Bottled cider at £3.75 was also reasonable compared to £4 at the Afton.

Customer service

Hotel checkin shouldn’t have required both parties to be present. Not an ideal system when there is a queue of guests behind you. Service at the bar was carried out efficiently, although staff did not seem overly enthusiastic or warm in personality. A bit of a shame considering the service was very good. I didn’t have to wait long for my food and drink, since these were served quickly. The room service was carried out religiously everyday, and the lady was highly considerate when I was still in my room at the time of service. This made me feel pleased and valued as a guest, with my preferences respected.

Summary

A mostly efficient and polite service with no real issues. The food and drink service was very efficient. Setting, location and cleanliness of the hotel was also very good. The beds were comfy, and I slept well.

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