Now offer late deals on kitchens, too

24 November 2009

I'm not going to lie to you - if I pay buttons for a hotel room near Paddington, I don't expect marble floors and chandeliers. If I check in at a 3 star hotel, however, I might expect some modest extras beyond a bed and bathroom facilities; a desk and a chair maybe, perhaps somewhere to hang clothes. So after booking a room at the 3 star Ascot Hyde Park Hotel through, that's what I expected. Sort of. So it came as a mild surprise to discover I was staying here:

Bitterwallet - my room at the Ascot Hyde Park Hotel

Yes. That's a kitchen. No chair, no desk, no wardrobe, but a fully integrated kitchen in my room. Perhaps they'd given me a suite by mistake? That would have been the bargain of the century, except... well, it was a little tight in terms of room:

Bitterwallet - deathtrap ahoy at the Ascot Hyde Park Hotel

You'll notice the electric heater in the nine inch gap between the kitchen cupboard and the bed. A deathtrap in the making, but as Andy pointed out as I recounted the tale, it was an overly generous offering by the manager - if the room got too cold, I could have turned on the oven. The washing machine would have been a bonus, too, if there'd been enough room to open the door.

I was in an annex to the hotel. It seems that up until recently, the building comprised of individual apartments - the management had simply removed the front door from each apartment and fitted an en suite to each room to create individual guest rooms. In my room, they hadn't been arsed enough to take the kitchen out before putting the bed in.

It wasn't just the room, its broken furniture and the safety hazards that were a concern. As an annex building there was no reception, but neither was there a lock on the front door - anybody could walk into the building at any time, without a key. The doors of the rooms weren't fire doors, which seems to be a fashionable extra in hotels these days, if not a mandatory one. At least I could identify my room by the number on the door:

Bitterwallet - my room at the Ascot Hyde Park Hotel

In short, there is in no way in almighty hellfire the Ascot Hyde Park Hotel is a 3 star hotel, as advertised on

Bitterwalet - the Ascot Hyde Park Hotel rating at

It's only when you click through to its listing that you might notice that rating has a caveat:

Bitterwallet - the Ascot Hyde Park Hotel is "self-classified"

The rating is self-classifed - in other words, the hotel hasn't bothered securing an official rating from the likes of the AA or Visit Britain, and instead has made up a rating themselves. A foolproof system that certainly won't be abused to increase custom, I'm sure you'll agree. But does the addition of small print justify palming off such apocalyptic visions on customers? If self-classified ratings are likely to bear no resemblance to customer expectations, they only serve to harm's credibility. Adding small print to distance themselves from the claims isn't good enough - if a hotel can't guarantee a particular standard of facilities then perhaps third parties should think twice about fobbing them off on customers.

If I pay peanuts for a room I don't expect the height of luxury. But if I pay peanuts for what is advertised as a 3* room by a website that makes its business from offering late bookings at bargain prices, it's not unreasonable to expect a basic 3* room no matter how much I pay, what with being a bargain and all. It seems hotels can invent ratings entirely detached from reality, and the likes of  are only too happy to blindly support them.

TOPICS:   Travel


  • andy y.
    In room Laundry
  • The B.
    I have a 5* self classified hotel, it's an empty matchbox and is only suitable for ladybirds but it's a 5* self classified hotel nonetheless. PS "if not an mandatory one", very poor.
  • blagga
    maybe it's not actually a star that's meant by the *. Here are some possible alternatives: 1) Txtmsg for bedbugs currently alive in the pillow case 2) The number of sweaty ringpieces that have been banging against your headboard in the past 24 hours 3) The number of hours the room is normally rented out for 4) The number of times the typically occupant has typically been deported 5) How many kiddie gropers are usually holed up in this room 6) The price of a piece of crack in room 2 down the hall 7) The number of whores who knock on the door each night wondering why they got evicted 8) The CORGI gas rating of the oven 9) The recommended setting for the heater. 2* just doesn't reach those cold little tosies..
  • Tom P.
    By Paul Smith "If I pay peanuts for a room I don’t expect the height of luxury" BUT, wasn't shaggin the Romanian hotel maid a bonus?
  • blagga
    PS - I didn't put in the stupid emoticon. Clearly no-one has ever listed 8 things on here before.
  • listaholic
    8) i once did.
  • pauski
    8) lol
  • Jack
    Haha, crazy - wouldnt expect something like this if I booked what I thought was an average, basic room. You expect it to be clean, safe and comfortable for you to stay there for a short time - not this. But excellent facilities!
  • Jeffrey A.
    I thought the * ratings are based on facilities inside the room? And you bloody got a full cooker, washing machine and sink? What the hell are you moaning at? Should have been classed a 4*!
  • g
    thats fucking unbelievable how the hotel can trade like that
  • TomT
    I see there are some good reviews for this hotel on including: 'Honestly ? Next time I'd rather sleep in a youth hostel' and... 'It's a very horrible place, you can hear the train each 5 minutes departure from Paddington. I paid a good room but I had to sleep in a coffin room 2m x 1,5 m(I have photo) without bathroom not even wardrobe. They are professionals swindlers'. and.... 'You can not classify this building as hotel especially 3 stars.Unbelievable, unacceptable.What a mess, even animals deserve a better stay' Sounds like a wonderful place.......
  • Alan
    The ratings system has always been a joke. I'd have taken advantage and stood the bed up against the wall, got my clothes washing, and gone self-catering instead of using their rip-off restaurant.
  • TomT
    Good reviews on tripadvisor too.....
  • Pedant
    Just rip out the kitchen and take it with you. If they try to claim you stole it just say "What? A kitchen in a hotel room? Madness"
  • Kieran
    lol... well it does say self classified, you have to go through that page to book... and you can look at it's reviews and see what other customers thought: 'I have written a serious leter of complaint to the hotel and copied LR in for their follow up. I would strongly recommend people NOT to stay here. This place is a very poor advert for the UK . I feel like I've been mugged by parting for any cash for this stay .' 'Not a hotel, just a poor quality b and b. Breakfast is a joke. Leaking roofs. More like a building site. would be better off in a b&b' etc... with 1-3 out of 6 ratings.
  • B.
    [...] Readers with the ability to recall stories from two days ago will remember that I hadn’t been entirely thrilled to book a three star hotel room through, only to discover I was stopping in somebody’s kitchen: [...]
  • jubilee w.
    shares utilize a fantastic web page decent Gives thank you for the working hard to guide everyone
  • Bitterwallet B.
    [...] the same price elsewhere in London – I’m thinking of the shitholes around Paddington that’ll stick a bed in a kitchen and hope you don’t notice – the Tune Hotel wins hands down. The bathroom is actually a child-sized wet room, but it is [...]
  • Faz
    "Posted by jubilee kitchen wax | June 11th, 2010 at 6:16 pm shares utilize a fantastic web page decent Gives thank you for the working hard to guide everyone" EH?!?
  • Dave
    Got to be my favourite review from Trip Advisor _______________________________ This hotel need a make over, animals in the room , old beeds ,no telli thas woorks , no sitings for breakfast me and my kids ware eating on the legs , dont stay here for normenn ikke bo her the staff in the hotel promise things the dont hold photos on internett are old and some one have made a macover on them
  • Loafer1946
    I see that the ensuite facilities are just to the right of the washing machine - very handy

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