Hotel Review: The Raven, HookSunday, 26 August 2012
Are you keeping up with the Summer of Weddings? Well, this week I ticked two off the list. First off was Fern's big day, in Hook, Hampshire. She was getting married in the beautiful Tylney Hall which was ever so slightly out of our budgets. So I found That's So Raven, a few miles away and a bargain at £49 including breakfast. Eight of us stayed there in total, and I have to say it did feel like a lovely little holiday with us all holed up together.
We arrived a little early on the Saturday, sweltering in the heat of a 30 degree day. As the wedding started at 2.30pm, we thought we'd have a little lunch before hand, mostly to line the stomach of a 5 foot girl with a fondness for champagne.
It was probably a little annoying of us to rock up at lunch time hoping to check in, but we thought we'd give it a try anyway. Check in is officially at 3pm, but we thought we'd check to see if the rooms were ready. They weren't, but the lovely woman on the reception desk said that she'd try her best to get us in, and that two of us could check into the room that was ready.
My friend Amy was ahead of me, and was told that she could put her bags into her room, despite it being not quite ready. Perfect, we thought. Our room wasn't ready either, and she told me that it probably wouldn't be before we left, but we could leave our stuff in the office.
When we were having lunch, however, we realised that this may be a problem, as we wouldn't be coming back until at least 1am, when the reception would be closed, and our bags inaccessible. So we thought we would ask if we could do as we thought Amy had, and put our bags in the room while it was being cleaned.
When we asked this, the receptionist had been joined by another woman. This one? Not quite as lovely as the first.
She stared at us for a few seconds.
"So you want to put your bags in a dirty room? To get in the way, and take up space as the cleaners work around them? You're happy to put your bags in a dirty room? Is that what you want?"
I was a bit shocked. We'd been dealing with such a lovely woman that this wagon through me off guard. So I went with the Jack Donaghy school of negotiation. I stood, perfectly still and silent, and waited for her to talk herself out of whatever she was in.
"Because if that's what you want to do, that's fine."
"No. We'll put them in our friend's room."
Seriously! I have to say, her attitude definitely put a dampener on the stay for me. I wouldn't talk to anyone the way she did to us, but a customer? Come on.
The hotel itself was fine. It was nothing special, but it was also £49. There was a bit of a noisy road by my window, and cigarette smoke kept wafting through, but there's nothing they can do about that.
The breakfast was great, I have to say. I went a bit mad on the buffet, with a gorgeous danish and bowl of beautiful strawberries and grapes (it's not often you find good fruit on a buffet). Then once we were seated, I realised there was a hot breakfast too. I'm ashamed to say that even though I didn't want it in the slightest, I ordered a full English anyway. Otherwise, I felt like I wouldn't have gotten the most out of my money.
Breakfast did seem a little crazy. When we checked in, the lovely receptionist told us all that it finished at 10am, but to try and get there by 9.30am as last week everyone showed up at 10am and it was bedlam. A few of my friends had a bit of an issue with this (in private, of course). I can see their point - if breakfast finishes at 10am, then we should be able to turn up just before then. But I could also see it from the receptionist's side.
Obedient as we are, we met at 9.30am, and the sight of us sent the waitress into a panic of monumental proportions. Where would we all sit?! What were we going to eat!? Did we want hot drinks, because that really causes a problem. Whatever were we playing at!?
My friend Amy thought that the receptionist had said that there was bedlam last year, not last week, leading us to think that our stay coincided with "Breakfast Day!" wherein everyone congregates to cause the waitress the most stress she has ever experienced in her life, ever.
All that aside, it was a nice breakfast.
I think the role of That's So Raven is to accommodate those a little too poor to pay to stay at local fancy pants hotels for weddings. There did seem to be an awful lot of wedding guests there when we were. And if this is what you're looking for in Hook, then it's not an awful choice. Just don't expect a smile from one of the receptionists, and for the love of God, don't double team them at breakfast.