“ Address: Elstree Way / Borehamwood / WD6 1JY / London „
How is it I always end up in the basic budget hotels? One day I'll manage a room in the Ritz or the like but for now I'll just dream.
We needed somewhere close to Hatfield which is North London but with Hatfield hotels averaging £70/80 for a Travelodge we had to go a little way out. In the end we were in Borehamwood, 10 minutes drive away from Hatfield and home to the famous Elstree studios, in an Ibis which averaged out at £40 a night.
The Ibis hotels are part of the Accor hotel group; however the Ibis hotel has branched out in its own little groups. There is the Ibis, the Ibis Style and the Ibis Budget (Previously Etap) If you have stayed in an Etap you will know it is a very basic hotel, most of the rooms sleep 3 people consisting of a double bed then a bunk bed above that. Every time I've been they have basically been full of hen and stag weekends and very noisy. The Style hotel seem to be just a bit extra 'funky' with bright colours although they are reported to have fluffier bedding and a breakfast which is always included in the price.
Elstree Borehamwood however is just a bog standard Ibis, no fluffiness and no bunk bed!
It's quite easy to find, Borehamwood is quite a small place just off of the motorways and the Ibis is signposted amongst all the other hotels there. It's also right out on the main road, you can't miss it as it's next to a rather large leisure centre. It's also within a few minutes away from the main high streets with plenty of pubs and take-aways there. I heartily recommend the Chinese on the corner whose name I can't remember.
The car park is rather odd, it's to the rear of the building and has about 20 spaces annexed off by a low wall surrounded by this massive pay-as-you -go car park that has 100 or so spaces. The Ibis does have about 5 disabled parking spaces right outside the door but these were inevitably taken up by big 4X4 and BMW drivers who felt that they were too important to walk any further. And yes, I did look for the Blue Badges!
Going back to the car parking, you can actually go into the Ibis and get a voucher which allows you in the large car park for free. I highly suggest you get the voucher by parking in the drop off point and then going to the car park. It's London so getting the parking free is an absolute bonus, but those traffic wardens are out there first thing and will happily wait for you to walk away from the car and book you!
The immediate area around the hotel was clean and tidy although I was somewhat perturbed to see the cigarette bin on the wall was smoking, literally, it was billowing out and was actually still doing it when we popped out several hours later.
To me the lay-out of the reception area is fundamentally flawed, go in through the doors and the lifts are to your lift, walk in further and the reception is on your right around a curved wall. Essentially the reception can't see who is coming through those doors unless they peer around the corner. Now I see this as a bit of a security risk, anyone can get in and wander around the hotel, it should be updated as they do in other hotels whereby you have to have your key card to get above the reception floor or to gain access to each floor. Of course it does have its bonuses when you want to smuggle a group of people back to your room! However it would have been even nicer had the doors not still been open at 11.30pm at night.
Reception was deserted, although I could hear sounds through a door, even peering to the side of the reception I couldn't see anyone. Rather annoyingly I couldn't see a bell or the like to call. Eventually someone came out and looked quite startled to see me just stood there. Another security risk I feel. Still, I was dealt with swiftly and efficiently but with a friendly smile as well, unfortunately they don't always go together but here they did.
Up in the lift we went, accompanied by a rather strange smell of cigarette smoke, but this is a fully non-smoking hotel so we couldn't work out where it was coming from. Into the room which just seemed to be the usual bog-standard room of this type, the type you would be hard pushed to know if it was yours were you accidentally to go into someone else's! Bathroom immediately to your right, next to the bed you can put your case, squeeze past the bottom of the bed where's there a desk under the window, a very small wardrobe and shelves, a little bench-type seat and then the hostess tray. I actually really like the seat, it really does save eating on the bed.
Although there was something rather nice about sitting on the bed watching the rather non-functioning TV. We managed to go on the Dominos website and get them to deliver it to the hotel through the free Wi-fi. Well, the Wi-fi they advertise as a bonus for your stay which does actually turn out to only be 1 hour free Wi-fi. Still that hours free Wi-Fi was rather well used with the ordering of pizza and checking my Face book!
Anyhow back to the room, it was fine, functional, clean and tidy. As was the bathroom, I always have to have an inspection around the place and it did meet my standards. The bathroom is just about big enough to fit two people into it, the shower takes up half the room and gave me a lovely good pounding. The shower people, the shower! It was a really good power shower. The only thing missing was the toilet roll, this was an essential item after a 4 ½ hr journey, why there is only the ability to notice once you've done the deed I don't know, but thankfully my partner was there and we had a chat through the bathroom door whilst waiting 10 minutes for the staff to arrive with more!
SO we had a nice sit-down with a teeny cup of tea and turned the telly on, its quite nice, flat screen in a wooden surround. Except the quality was appalling! There were channels missing that should have been there and ones that weren't listed in the booklet about the hotel, and it was all slightly fuzzy with some channels blanking out regularly. Others also kept threatening to go into stand-by mode, obviously other guests were just as annoyed by this as the switchboard was jam-packed when you tried to call to report this. Obviously 'The Kings Speech' was proving popular! When I did mention this on the way out that evening I was given a voucher for free breakfast and was told the engineer was coming the next day. Well, they must have called a bit of a crap engineer because it didn't change the whole 4 days we were there.
We decided to keep the breakfast voucher for the very last day as we knew there was a fair chance we wouldn't be eating for the rest of the day. It's usually £7.95 per person but obviously we got it for free. Which was a good job, because it was most certainly not worth £7.95, but don't go thinking it was bad because it wasn't.
There was trays of sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, beans, and bread to toast yourself, you could help yourself to as much as you wanted which was a good job because they didn't exactly fill the trays very often, so it was pile it up when they did.
There was plenty of fresh fruit, cheese, bread and cereal available, there were also machines serving hot and cold drinks. The dining area was very clean but this was probably because it was also pretty empty! For that amount of money if you want a filling breakfast you are better off walking up the road and getting a full brekkie at the Weatherspoons.
They also serve evening meals here but the prices again were rather expensive so we didn't try them.
Checking out was also very easy, there were no huge queues and rather nicely check-out is 12am not a 'stick all your clothes in the suitcase and leave' 10am. I do have a few extra thoughts on the place though.
We worked out that the constant smell of smoke in the left hand lift is due to the fact that it is on the other side of the wall from the ash-tray, the ash-tray that was still smouldering 2 days after we had told them. The reception desk was in the wrong place to ensure security, we didn't see one person asked what room they were in when coming in at 11pm and going straight to the lift. In fact there appeared to be no way of seeing full stop!
When we left one morning there was what appeared to be a workman at the end of the hallway, huge maintenance trolley full of tools and the like, I assumed he was doing something with the TVs or with someone's room. It was only later that I realised the holder for the shower gels had been changed, evidently that was what the workman had been doing I was more than slightly annoyed at not being told or warned that there would be someone going into my room without my permission, I'm a bit funny with my privacy like that!
All in all, its fine and a thoroughly businessman-like hotel, or maybe a couple for no more than a couple of days. Certainly not a romantic weekender or a family trip away.
And if you are wondering about the title its Bristolian for I did have a good nights sleep aka I couldnt think of a title.