Saturday, July 14, 2012

When it rains, it pours (especially when you're hauling 80 pounds of luggage)

We had exceptionally good luck with our accommodations the last two years. We've found our hotels by consulting the Rick Steves' guidebooks and then scouring Trip Advisor reviews, and it has been a pretty successful method so far.

So our first four guest houses this year - Adelaide's Guest House in Glasgow, New Hall in St. Andrews, Ardenlee Guest House in Edinburgh, and Hedley House Hotel in York - were all excellent and merited four stars or higher in our Trip Advisor reviews.

And then there was our last hotel, the Ramada Inn at the Glasgow Airport.

Where did it all go wrong? Here's our tale:

  • We decided to stay by the airport at a chain hotel the night before our flight, which had worked well for Ryan last year in London. We will not be doing this in the future.
  • The hotel we chose said it was 500 meters from the airport. No other directions were given.
  • It was pouring down rain
  • Ryan was carrying 80 pounds of luggage.
  • We get to airport and can't see the hotel. So we asked directions of an airport employee, but they made no sense.
  • We came across three other hotels: two Holiday Inns and a Premier Inn. We asked directions at the Premier Inn, and they told us there weren't pavements (sidewalks) to get to the Ramada.
  • So it was back to the airport where a helpful employee at the taxi stand told us not to waste our money on a cab because there's a courtesy shuttle.
  • Except no one answered at the hotel when we called.
  • So we set out to walk again with more specific directions from the taxi-stand worker. We crossed a busy roundabout, and went under the highway overpass.
  • We crossed a second roundabout, sinking into the saturated grass with each step. We finally spotted the Ramada on the other side of the trees.
  • We finally checked in -- 35 minutes after we arrived at the airport.
  • The receptionist's handwriting sent us to wrong room, forcing me to go downstairs and clarify.
  • We took showers to warm up from our soaked clothes (RIP to my faithful tennis shoes -- casualties of the trek).
  • Then the 45-minute quest to use the Internet began. Two phone calls and one trip to the front desk still don't yield a working Ethernet connection. Seriously, what hotel doesn't have WiFi in the rooms at this point? We're a world of tablets and smart phones -- get with the program.

The upshot - a terrible review on Trip Advisor, a vow to never stay in another Ramada as long as we live, and this list of things for us to remember next year:

  • Print off walking directions to hotels from each train station.
  • Stick to guest houses or B&Bs instead of corporate hotels.
  • Pack one pair of waterproof shoes.
  • Always take out the maximum at the ATM.
  • Print off all flight information and bring a full copy of the itinerary rather than counting on email access.

Despite the soggy ending, we had a great trip. Thanks for reading along with our adventures!

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