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Marriott Courtyard (Slough)

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      06.07.2004 07:05
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      I?ve done it yet again! I?ve stayed in Slough. To remind you, Sir john Betjeman wrote: Come Bombs, and fall on Slough, It isn?t fit for humans now! There isn?t grass to graze a cow. Come, friendly bombs Swarm over, death! The bombs have not come, yet. Slough is still standing. And Priceline send me back there time and time again. I accept an element of blame; perhaps I?m growing fond of the place. Perhaps the fact that the ?Legoland? theme park is nearby and that Josh absolutely loves it is a bonus. Whatever! We found ourselves in Slough once again; this time, at the Courtyard by Marriott. It?s officially rated as a 3 star hotel, and I was not exactly enamoured about the idea of staying there (the Slough issue aside) ? so I?ll try to say exactly why I?m wary of three-star hotels. Hotels tend to be rated on a five star system. Those that get four or five stars tend to be aiming at the luxury end of the market and are often dependable chain hotels. Love ?em or hate ?em, at least you know what to expect. You can be wrong, of course, but there are clearly-defined expectations and you can complain if these aren?t met. At the other end of the scale, those that get just one or two stars might be lovely, cosy family-run establishments with some character that just don?t happen to meet certain requirements such as 24-hour room service. In a tick-a-box system of hotel grading, the 3-star hotel is the un-known; the middle ground; the median. Is it a luxury-hotel-wannabe that never made the grade, or the little gem that went that little bit further? Time to dip my toe in the water ? although not in the swimming pool, because there isn?t one ? possibly the reason that this hotel didn?t get its fourth official star. Located by Junction 6 of the M4 motorway, and very convenient for Heathrow airport, this hotel is a modern 8-storey brick-built building. Functional, but of no great architectural interest, it?s easily locate
      d. The car park is adequately sized - and free to residents. We found a space and trundled our luggage towards reception. I think I understand why this hotel is only rated as 3 stars now. It?s all down to the public areas. There?s a reception desk, a lobby the size of an average living room, a small bar, an informal brasserie and meeting space for 40 delegates. Nothing over-the-top, yet everything you need. Reception was very friendly and check-in was efficient, helpful and informative. Nothing more, nothing less. No fawning, but that?s absolutely fine by me. Nearby lifts whisked us to our room on the second floor (205) and we were soon settled in. No fuss, and it?s the standard ?Marriott Room? ? extremely comfortable double bed, colour TV with a decent selection of channels, comfy chair (though two would have been nice, in a double room) and all the usual accoutrements such as trouser press and iron / ironing board. The bathroom was fine, with own-brand toiletries and plenty of towels. This was a four-star room within a three-star environment. No frills, but certainly nothing to complain about; I?m writing this review the following day in the so-called comfort of a four-star hotel that leaves a lot to be desired. Tonight?s venue ought to be better than last night?s. Officially. Actually, it isn?t, pool or no pool! So much for star ratings. We all visited the bar, where Amanda and I enjoyed a quiet drink - and Amanda, Josh and I enjoyed a bar snack. I think that the bill for food and drinks came to £20. Informal and relaxed, small and comfortable, the bar reflected the ambience of the hotel itself. Back to our room, and a peaceful and comfortable night?s rest was had by all ? I?ll repeat the fact that the bed was supremely comfortable. We did not take breakfast at the hotel but I have to say that the breakfast bap on offer looked inviting and would have been the best value hotel breakfast I?ve yet seen, at a mere £4.50. W
      e checked out quickly and efficiently, having enjoyed our stay. Courtyard by Marriott seems to be the poor relation of the Marriott family but I have to say that that would indicate nothing more than the fact that it has very rich relations. In this case my doubts about three-star hotels were most definitely allayed. I?d recommend it if you?re more into friendly service at a decent price than pampering. And if you read my next review, you?ll see that not even hotels in the next bracket can guarantee that. Andrew Recommended Yes

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