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Hotel is in a great location but I wouldn’t exactly say we got lucky

I think we’re the only guests in this hotel. We do hear other people from time to time, but they only seem to  stay one night at a time. And for some UNKNOWN REASON these people are housed right next door to us. Why the staff can’t put at least one room between us and these nightlies, I do not know. There was the guy with a bad cough, the two girls who arrived at 2 a.m. and talked loudly till 4, and last night the guy who yakked on his phone. On our last night, it would be great if everybody else on our floor had already checked out.

Last fall when we booked this room, we must have been looking only at price and location, because otherwise this is a tired old dump. The basics are here–beds, carpeting, toilet, shower, hook on the bathroom door. But modern amenities are absent.

The wi-fi is in the down-at-the-heel lounge, where I sometimes sit on a great overstuffed leather chair. I place my laptop on a glass table on a metal frame painted gold, a suggestion of Roman opulence perhaps. There’s absolutely no catering to those guests wanting to do any business or writing. No desks, no office-type chairs, no wi-fi in the rooms, and certainly no business services of any kind. In that way it seems this place is just for leisure, a pretty old-fashioned concept.

And, aside from the meager offerings in the lounge (alcohol and coffee) and the tea bags and the paper tubes of Nescafe in our room, there’s no accommodation at all for breakfast or snacks. We have been breakfasting at Caffe Nero, Patisserie Valerie, or Starbucks. If you want to have coffee, porridge, fruit, and pastries before 10 a.m., those are your choices. We are close to other grocery stores, restaurants, and tearooms–and the lunches we’ve bought have been really fabulous–but still.

Some of the wallpaper in our room is torn and faded. The bathroom is compact, and only on an Amtrak sleeper have I seen a sink so tiny. The shower water is hot and the toilet hasn’t plugged up, so we’re happy with the absolute basics. Mostly. The original kettle provided was so filthy and the replacement they brought was not much better, so my friend bought her own small one at Waitrose.

The desk clerks, maids, and managers seem, to my ear anyway, to all be Russians. Wearing white shirts and black slacks and leather jackets, they hang around the bar and drink when they’re off shift or taking a break. The women especially seem to enjoy loud music and loud talking. Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was blaring one morning when I was doing some lounge-based editorial work. This was the song the Russian military police chorus covered for this past Winter Olympics. Perfect.

I can’t imagine the cleaning women have much to do once they replace our towels and make our beds. It seems to me they must then be done for the day. It was reported to me that they also take great care in cleaning the lounge, which seems to get little use except by a lone American writer and the morning I saw the desk clerk sleeping on a couch.

It’s a great thing this hotel is in a great location, because we’re pretty sure that the morning we leave, a sign will–and should–go up at the front door saying, “Closed for Refurbishment.”

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