“ Address: Comet Way / Hatfield AL10 9NG / Hertfordshire / England „
If you're on holiday for a few days or a few weeks, you may well choose a boutique hotel. After all, you will likely be spending a fair amount of time in it. However, if you are just attending your office Christmas Party in what might as well be Outer Mongolia (Hatfield), you'd think a cheap and cheerful hotel would do. And indeed it would, were they not all booked up the night of said booze up. However, for guests attending events at Hatfield House, Beales Hotel, a modern, 4 star establishment offer, during the week, bed and breakfast at £90 for a double. Having checked the cab fare between Hatfield and Hampton, and discovered it was £90, I duly booked myself and my husband into Beales Hotel.
Beales is in an unlikely location for a boutique, 4 star hotel. It's right on the Comet Way (A1001), a rather busy road, and not particularly pretty. There is a Travelodge next door, and a building site behind. It is a very modern square glass building - interesting to the eye, but nevertheless, unprepossessing. However, the location and first appearances deceive.
There is ample parking (as you might expect given its location). Once you're parked, you glide through the automatic sliding glass doors. There is a piano (electric, but cunningly disguised as a tiny grand piano), a bar, and the reception desk. The reception staff are very friendly and efficient. You need to present a credit card upon arriving. They put a bit more than the room bill on the card, as this means you can then simply charge drinks to your room. However, this is refunded at the end of your stay, and the 'proper' amount added.
There are only two storeys on the building, so you'll either be on the ground floor or the first; we were on the first. There are, according to the hotel's own blurb "53 individually designed bedrooms with contemporary styling" - I cannot speak for all 53, but the one we stayed in was a bit on the small side, yet perfectly formed. Each room is given a name, reflecting the art in the room. All the rooms have flat screen tellies on the wall, power showers (though in our room 'power' was a slight exaggeration - it wasn't awful, but not fabulous either), under floor heating in the bathroom (which I completely failed to notice) and 2mb broadband access in the room (which I didn't try). There were tea making facilities (in the closet) and a hair dryer in the drawer (the drawer just under the one that contained the ubiquitous Gideon's Bible). I used the TV and hairdryer, ignored the trouser press (oh yeah, forgot to mention that) and the internet access. We made tea as well - pretty much what you'd expect there. The hairdryer was lovely and powerful, though the cord kept getting snagged in the drawer (it was pre-plugged in). There was also the artwork after which the room was named. It was modern. Abstract. Inoffensive. There was, amusingly, a little plaque telling us what the painting means - I read it and subsequently ignored it.
The bathroom was spotlessly clean. As expected, it contained a sink, bath with shower attachment and toilet. Sadly, it only contained one set of towels, however, a call to reception quickly fixed that. The bath towel was large, soft and thick - very different from the sad, thin affairs one often finds in hotel rooms these days. There were two of the tiniest bars of soap I have ever seen supplied, and some very nice shampoo and (unusually) conditioner. I used all three, and really liked the shampoo and conditioner. The leftovers of those ended up in my bag. There was also shower gel. That got swiped but not used.
All that stuff above, though - that's added extras. When you're staying in a hotel for the night, what you want is a comfortable bed. You want it large enough (especially if there are two of you) with a warm covering and soft pillows. And that, my friends, is wonderfully, superbly and brilliantly supplied. The bed was, I'd guess, a queen or king (I didn't measure it). There was, I'm told, an Egyptian cotton duvet. The pillows (two each) were divine - I sunk right into them (without smothering). Both the mattress and the pillows provided adequate support and superb comfort. The only drawback was that I could feel the mattress moved when my husband turned over, but I suspect I'm over sensitive to that, as we have at home a memory foam mattress. The room had both air conditioning and thermostatically controlled heating. The curtains indeed blocked all light. The view was rubbish, though - it was the building site I mentioned earlier.
After our Christmas party, we went to the bar for drinks. It was fairly late, and the usual bartender wasn't on. Despite an extensive (and expensive) cocktail menu, the night barman was unable to prepare those. I had a Bailey's hot chocolate and a G&T; my husband had two beers. These drinks were hideously expensive, coming to just over £20. Ouch.
Breakfast was included in our special rate. We had a choice of a continental breakfast or a full English (which includes the continental, as that's a buffet). The flatwear is very elegant, as are the plates. The service was again very efficient (though not quite as friendly). The continental selection included pastries, croissants, cereal, bread, fresh fruit, and a selection of fresh juices (the orange juice certainly tasted fresh-squeezed). The English added to that free range eggs prepared to your preference (fried, poached, scrambled, boiled), local bacon and sausages, and a large flat cupped mushroom. I didn't eat the mushroom, but the rest was lovely, especially the bacon. Had the breakfast not been included in our special room rate, it would have cost £16. The full tariff rate can be found on their website - you should check for the most current information. http://www.bealeshotels.co.uk/hatfield/
I liked this hotel very much. I am baffled as to how such a swish establishment finds itself on the A1001 in Hatfield. It is, after all, not a big holiday spot, and I'm not aware of a huge business population there (that's not to say there isn't one, only that I'm ignorant). Whilst the area may not seem immediately appealing, the hotel certainly is. It is a bit pricey (because even with the special offers, you still need to watch the extras), but if you need to stay in the area, you could do far worse than this, and not, I'd wager, an awful lot better. Highly recommended.
An inviting modern hotel with 53 rooms designed to meet the contemporary need of hotel guests.