Gary Phillips stayed at what must be the worst hotel in London (but we are open to suggestions). If you ever need to stay close to St. Pancras on a low budget, don’t ever be tempted to stay at the Northumberland Hotel opposite King’s Cross Station. Read on…
So there I was looking for a last-minute hotel near Kings Cross for an early morning departure from London St. Pancras on Eurostar to Paris. It’s strange that after all these years of travel I was lured by the low price of the Hotel Northumberland opposite King’s Cross Station without even bothering to look at the reviews. It was after all, just a stopover for one night, and I needn’t have stayed there for more than 7 hours or so.
Never again. Never again will I be so rash as to book a hotel where the needs of the guest are so cynically ignored for the sole benefit of its greedy, dishonest and opportunist owners.
I never expected the Northumberland to be a palace. I knew its location very well, I used to drive past it every day almost, and was perfectly aware that the king’s Cross station area is a complete dump. On booking I actually said to myself, “Oh, it’s OK for one night, it’s probably a dive, but cheap and serves the purpose. I was however taken aback by the sheer filth of this establishment.
As I walked across the road from the Tube Station, I looked across to the Northumberland Hotel to see almost every hotel room open. It was the 28th November, and every hotel room in this joint was open, why? I was carrying a backpack and a small travel bag, but even as a man just 5’ 9” tall and less than 12 stone, I could hardly fit through the double door, because one side was locked. My face dropped as I walked through them when I saw the blood-red carpet hadn’t been Hoovered for what must have been weeks, and were so badly looked after that black marks ran the sides of the carpet all around the hall and up the stairs.
I had paid by credit card through Booking.com so I was ready to pay on arrival but I was told the credit card machine was down so was then told to pay by cash, and if I didn’t have any I had to go the other side of McDonalds on Euston Road to get it. So I did. When I came back there were a couple of young lads checking in who had the same instructions. I was also surprised to see a number of smart-looking and respectable people who had clearly also been lured to this hell-hole for same reasons as me.
Once I’d paid the man at the desk I was handed over a key, for room 325 “at the front on the third floor”. Uh oh, I remembered the open windows. Sure enough as I opened the door to room 325 I saw a the window, wide open as far as it would go, open to the cold wind, open to the soot from Euston Road, and open to the din of sirens, horns and verbal abuse so associated with London traffic. I tried to close the window but it wouldn’t close all the way. Instead it closed to within a few centimetres of the bottom. But hang on, it had double glazing…..which went about four inches to the bottom and the same at the top – what the hell was the point of having double glazing which didn’t close properly????! Just below the window was a radiator so hot you couldn’t touch it, whose heat was just streaming out of the window. What sort of place was this? Did these people read newspapers? Why waste all that heat, and cause the guests such discomfort!
I couldn’t stay at 325 and demanded another room, this time at the back. I was given 227 at the side, much quieter, but again with the same window issues. This room had special features, like a whole wall of graffiti, salacious images, insults at the hotel, and foreign language I couldn’t understand but was sure wasn’t polite in any way. The walls simply hadn’t been painted for years, the floor was vile, but the sheets in fairness were clean, well at least they looked clean. There was a blanket on top of the “wardrobe” which was blackened by soot.
The arrangement was shared bathrooms and toilets so I opted for a quick shower. The shower room had a broken window with half a curtain. The wind was flowing in and the occupants of the room opposite had a fine view of me showering.
When I got back to my room I could just stand there looking at it. I couldn’t move it was so vile. I finally got the courage to get into the bed but only after I’d turned the bed around so I wouldn’t get fumigated by the open window situation.
The next morning I left my keys and left, knowing full well I would do anything to stop users of this website staying there, and if possible, get the place bloody well closed down. I have never seen a hotel with cynical disregard and lack of respect for its customers.