Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a single traveller on a budget...
Back where I come from, in the land of hills and sensible footwear, we have these little things called "fire regulations". Now, either similar legal requirements haven't quite reached this part of Scheveningen yet, or else the Chinese owners of the City Hotel are running their business oblivious to the need to provide such things as evacuation plans in every room, an emergency number on the telephone and multiple, well-signed escape routes.
And it's not just fire safety that seems to be lacking here: the poorly lit steep staircases with no banisters up one side, the boiling hot unlagged radiator pipes running at convenient touching height through the cramped room, the keycard with the room number printed right next to the hotel's name and address, etc. You get the idea.
Now, the "basic single" room here really does take the concept of "bijou" to new limits. Measuring just 2.5m x 2m (9ft x 6ft), there's barely enough room for the bed, wardrobe, table and sink, let alone space left to stow a suitcase or - heaven forbid - walk around in. This is a room nothing like the spacious, comfortable single person's offering portrayed in the hotel's advertising.
Then there's the decor - it's like something out of the 1960s, except it hasn't really been touched at all since then. The uneven floorboards, broken wardrobe, Ikea table covered in cigarette burns, rusty radiator and paper-thin curtains all point towards the need for a thorough refurbishment and a lot of tender loving care. Talking of cigarette burns, it's clear from the stained wallpaper and browned ceilings that either the taped-on "No Smoking" sign is being ignored, or else those cans of paint haven't seen the light of day since 1960 too.
But, for one or two nights, this place will probably suffice you. There is one miniscule (but thankfully modern) bathroom between 2-4 bedrooms, clean linen/towels and a location within easy reach of the beach and transport links into Den Haag. There's free WiFi throughout the hotel, and breakfast in the morning - aside from the foul-tasting and ridiculously over-brewed coffee - was not totally inedible.
If the price really does compel you to stay here, here's some practical advice to finish:
• Firstly, people of a larger build should just book a double room with en-suite facilities. At least you won't struggle to walk around your shoe-box or to sit down with the lack of legroom on the shared toilet.
• Note that the breakfast room and reception are located 100m down the road in a separate building - useful to know when you run out of toilet paper. The hotel restaurant also serves lunch and dinner, but if the cooking is of as good a quality as the accommodation...
• Finally and most importantly, pack a bar of soap in your luggage - your hands won't regret it.
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