Three Different Hotels, Three Different Adventures

I wanted to go over the trip we recently had where we experienced three different hotel stays, both in the UK and in the sunny glorious South of France. (This was a while ago now, but I’ve been busy as we well know.)


I really ought to turn this into a travel blog, the amount of reporting on food and hotels I do.  As is the case with most places or hotels or lodges, if you haven’t been there before, there is no actual way to know what you’re about to experience. And, yeah, it’s always worrying.

  • Do you trust the reviews? But people have such different likes and dislikes to you.
  • Do you trust the star ratings? From my experience, a hotel can pass its tick-box and be elegant and top-notch but ends up not being for you for any manner of reasons.
  • Do you trust your own judgement of the facts in front of you? That’s a tricky one – whilst a photo ‘tells a thousand words’, advertising is designed to be misleading, alluring, but when you get to the location itself, it might lack that certain something that you thought you saw in the brochure or spiel and you don’t know what to make of the place otherwise.

Anyway, that aside, I feel I have a duty to give my opinion of the places I’ve visited. It’s only one opinion, but there are so many out there that it gives a variety from which people decide.

First off in our holiday was the 4-star smartness of The Stratford, Stratford Upon Avon, bed and breakfast included as part of our Q-Hotels wedding package, so appropriate that we arrived on our First Anniversary. Having worked in a 5-star hotel, I had hopes for this place. Not *high* hopes, as I’ve not been too impressed by Q Hotels in the past, but at least some improvement to mollify my poor experience. Suffice to say, mollified was I not.

First Impressions.

Check in was nice enough: swift, allowed before the advertised check in time, but our receptionist had a bit of a brusque air and I got the feeling they were told to push dining at the hotel restaurant (no thank you; too many work memories). We’d phoned ahead to enquire about something to celebrate our anniversary and I’m sure it was on our booking notes, but there was no mention of it at all. Not even the receptionist asking if we were here for anything special.

The Stratford itself is a nice formal hotel a quick walk from the town centre. It has a front garden area (which doubles as an outside eating area until 9pm) with a fountain and marble benches. But don’t be fooled by the images online; the hotel is next to an a-road and not in the middle of some countryside. The decor inside is tasteful and smart – velour chairs and the like, but it is nothing out of the ordinary.

The Room.

Tidy, good simple decor and spacious enough. The minibar was empty but at least it gave us a place to put food and drink we’d bought. Still nothing, not even a card, for our anniversary. We had both a shower and a bath and, whilst the plug was broken, I still managed a good, warm bath. The tea they provided was good quality; however, we had to ask for decaff and I’m glad I brought my own coconut milk.

Overall, I thought the room was good. The bed, the most important part, was comfortable as were the chairs and table. I didn’t even mind the sloped roof in one corner – it added to the history of the building.

Food & Beverage.

We had some drinks at the hotel bar, prosecco cocktails that were cheap enough but filled a hole and were yummy. We ordered room service breakfast on our last day and were told it would arrive between 9 and 9.30. We were ready at 9 and the meagre breakfast arrived at nearly 10. We were told the tray charge would be removed but since that had been done already it was little compensation. And as such we almost missed check out.

And my overall experience at the hotel? Average to good. Whilst the issues I picked up on were small, they did make certain differences to my experience at The Stratford. The worst was not being given the personalised treatment for our anniversary that I would’ve expected from 4-star service.

Would I recommend and would I stay again? Neither to both.


Next, we made our way down to London for my Master’s graduation, an event which had the joy of starting at 10 and needing to be at Festival Hall at 8am. For this, we opted for staying in student rooms of Imperial College London, right in the centre of the Museums district, perfect for the museum fans that myself, The Husband, and my mother are. I was impressed that check in opened from 1pm and the student check in assistants had more pep and want to assist than many receptionists I’ve met. One advantage is that we were able to leave our bags at the check out area for a full 24-hours if we wanted to. We opted for 12.

The Room.

As a student room, it was designed to be fuss-free and that’s what we expected. Nevertheless, it had a more modern and efficient design than any of my student rooms. In particular, the sliding wardrobes, bathroom cabinets, and in wall bed shelves. It was almost a shame we were only in the room for a single night, as I would have liked to have made use of the design more than I did in the scarce few hours as I wish I could have unpacked my stuff and made the most of these shelving. The Husband and I were in a double room and my mum in a single but the only thing that differed was the size of the bed and the side of the building we were on. The leather chair was comfortably slotted into the corner next to the window and the bed, though high, was cosy enough. It helped that we had no need to wrap up warm! I snuggled up ti the corner and made the use of the in-wall shelves – a good height for my glasses, tissues, and the lamp they’d provided.

My mother’s overlooked the external courtyard/grass area so we got lumped with the back view, but it nevertheless looked across the skyscape of London and down on a cobbled street.

Being uni rooms, the building stretched high and compact and the stairs were metal spirals with a long way to fall. Pared back but in a functional way.

Food & Beverage.

Breakfast was offered at the Imperial College rooms on one package, but we opted out of this, for the aforementioned reason of arriving at Festival Hall at 8am – having to leave the hotel before breakfast was open. Therefore, I am unable to assess this. However, there are many eateries, restaurants, and food services in the central London area, even a minute walk away from the college, so you would never be short of having somewhere to go.

That, I think, is one essential part of a trip or holiday, particularly if you’re not sure whether the food in the hotel is likely to be palatable.

Would I recommend and would I stay again? I think I would. Yes to both if I needed to. It was pleasant. If you need somewhere in central London/museum-side without any of the frills or extras of a star hotel, Imperial College rooms might be your best bet. The beds are comfy and the staff welcoming and knowledgable. Just don’t expect something over-the-top.


From London, we pootled back home for a day, then made our way across the channel, for our short much needed weekend break in France. It had only been planned two months or so in advance (that not a long time for me, an essential planner) and I’d opted for budge over elegance.

That’s how The Husband and I found ourselves at the B&B Hotel Anis in Nice. With prices as low as £47 per night through TripAdvisor, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is another Imperial College. But, no; one of the reasons I’d chosen Anis was for its near-beach location, private pool, small balconies, and personal charm.


Hotel Anis doesn’t try and be fancy but in a different low-key way to Imperial College rooms. It’s boutique, nouveau, and a whole other bunch of French adjectives (we Brits use to feel tres bourgeois (I’ll stop now)). Set just outside sunny Nice already and down a couple of side streets, there’s a welcoming and rustic feel to Anis. We were allocated a double room with a spare third bed. This turned out, in fact, to be the biggest of the three rooms The Husband and I stayed in to celebrate our anniversary. Wide and bright, with curtains and French windows (ha ha) that opened to a balcony painted in the same shade that near enough overlooked the pool. The rooms are spaced apart on the corridor (indicative of similarly roomy abodes) and, being a B&B type hotel, it has a more exclusive feel to it.

On the downside, the promised wifi was somewhat lacking, as were general amenities such as a bin outside the minuscule one in the bathroom and a kettle would have been appreciated, even if I doubt we would have used it in the hot French summer. We were given a twin room with the beds pushed together, which I suppose was expected, but did make sleeping less than comfortable, and the receptionist who served us drinks during the day spoke little English compared to her colleagues.

Food and Beverage.

We got by far the best service at hotel Anis. I don’t know if it was French hospitality or just the hotel’s charisma. Or maybe I got lucky! The proprietress and owner are very much into classic Hollywood movies and the style thereof, something of which my summer wardrobe consists mainly. (Yet another reason why summer is far easiest for me.)

Anis’ restaurant area was as quaint and elegant as its bar and swimming pool and room decor. As such, Anis was the only place we stayed that we had dinner. I had a dish of salmon penne – overloaded with typical French portion; The Husband had a chicken dish that he enjoyed too. For dessert, we shared a syrupy cake-pastry with Limoncello similar to a baba cake. I had a snifter, that oh so British term, of brandy, reminding me of why I like those kinds of flavours of liquor. They did stock well spirits, so unlike the drinks I would normally consume on a night or evening out.

Being a B&B, breakfast was included in the same area: a smaller selection of breakfast items, but of course a more authentic taste of where we were. I don’t know if I just have low expectations of British auto-coffee machines (barista-made all the way, much to my pocket’s chagrin), but this was nothing like them. Smaller cups for smaller, richer portions of coffee. I also had a Twinings (of London) green tea and I appreciated the inclusion of those.

Would I visit again and would I recommend?
Yes and yes. Nice in summer is lovely – even when you’re lost in the middle of town in a sudden rainfall wearing a miniskirt – and I felt very welcome and acknowledged in Hotel Anis.



Well, there were my reviews of a series of hotels I’ve been too. Surprises all ’round, I think. Stay tuned for more from me. Byeeee

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