I liked a lot of things about the place, and didn't care for just a few.
The hotel was locked when I arrived, a little after midnight, after a daytime flight from the USA, and a cab ride from Heathrow. I had no instruction on how to get in, and with luggage, that was not a good start, but in the end, the cab driver dropped me at the usual entrance, and after bar closing time, the hotel staff waits up for late guests, who are suppose to knock on the back door for entry. A passerby assisted, and after a short delay, all was well. If coming during the daytime, you'll have no such problem.
The staff: Friendly, friendly, friendly. My stay was just short of two weeks, so I actually got to know them a little. Neil let me in the first day, but Andrew caught me in the hallway and chatted with me on my way up to my room, helped me with bicycling info and orientation, and then I retired to my room. I was on the top floor. Carrying my bike up the stairs and through the fire doors was no picnic, but it was always at my disposal this way, and I was free to come and go at will. At breakfast, the same cheery team rotated shifts and took care of business.
Breakfast: Included, full english breakfast, or one could order other items or combinations, or adjust it slightly. Some days I had sunny side up eggs, some days scrambled, but I loved the english breakfast -- cooked to order, hot, fresh. Toast, juice, coffee, tea. Nice meal, nice dining area -- quaint.
Rooms/Price: Just what you pay for. "Backpacker" as they describe in England, this was budget lodging for the area, and even though it was over US$75 per night, it was well under US$100 on the high nights, and slightly less on weekends, when there are not so many business travelers. For me, this was perfect. A small room, imperfect amenities, but quiet, and it did the job I needed. Private bathroom, small TV (unimpressive, as was the programming), a few dresser drawers, and a freestanding closet. The room had instant coffee and daily biscuits, a nice touch. Bed wasn't overly comfortable, but it was not at all uncomfortable either.
Location: Downtown, this is really close to the big area shopping mall. If you are on foot only, that's excellent. Having my bike, I really didn't care.
Security: "Residents," as they call us, and it seems that the staff all live in the building, have a key to the building, so they can open the outside door (the locked one), the inside door (another locked one), and with a different key, can get into one's room. Non-residents cannot get to the residential space. It felt safe. Actually, I didn't meet my neighbors as much as I thought I would.
Would I stay again? Yes, definitely. In fact, I searched again for other places that would be within cycling distance of Reading downtown, and most were much pricier. Some were admittedly much nicer, but one doesn't take that space home with them, and it isn't a permanent residence, so why pay for more than what you need? I said I like this place, and I do.
- Also Known As:
- Great Expectations Hotel And Bar
- Great Expectations Hotel Bar
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