After our first stop in London, we were heading to Edinburgh via train first thing on Monday morning. In order to avoid an early Monday morning journey on public transport with luggage and a toddler, we decided to book a self catering apartment near King’s Cross station for the three days.
Sadly, the first two places that we put accommodation requests in for turned out to be unavailable, so on the morning of our departure from Brisbane, I found myself desperately trying to find an alternate self catering apartment. Finally I stumbled upon one that looked perfect – two bedrooms, ten minutes walk from King’s Cross station – so I went ahead and booked it. I was a little worried that there were no reviews for it yet – but hey, the photos looked good, so how bad could it be?
Things started off on the wrong foot as soon as we got to the front door. As soon as the door opened, an overwhelming scent of cigarettes wafted out to greet us. By this point in the trip we needed to wash our clothes, and since our only option for drying them was a hanging rack in the apartment, everything soaked up the cigarette smell like a sponge. Awesome!
Next up was the tiny bathrooms. Two of them, both only slightly wider than I was. The “main” bathroom was behind a door in the hall that could easily be mistaken for a linen closet. The shower in there was so narrow that the only way to close the door after getting in was by squashing yourself hard against the wall. Still, this was better than the shower in the ensuite which had a broken adjuster, meaning the shower head could only be raised as high as my kneecaps.
In the photos online, the kitchen / dining / lounge room looked quite modern, and comfortably furnished. The black couch looked like it would be particularly appealing after a day of walking around the city.
As it turns out though, said black couch now only included hard metal rods underneath the faux leather surface – which itself was being held together by black electrical tape. Classy!
Both bedrooms had a double bed in them, and both of the beds were atrociously uncomfortable. The one in the main bedroom sunk right down to the frame as soon as any weight was put on it. Not to mention that any movement at all on top of the mattress made it squeak so loudly that it woke me up every time either of us rolled over.
There were no water glasses, no sponges in the kitchen, no hand soap next to the taps, and despite being advertised as “suitable for four people”, only two towels were provided – which I suspect were actually beach towels. There was also nothing in the apartment to make it feel even a little bit homely – no rugs on the floor, no pictures on the wall, etc. And, the floor was filthy – after walking around for only a few minutes, the soles of our feet were completely black. There were, however, two rolls of cling film in the kitchen.
The list goes on – leaky faucets, no reception on the TV, no plugs for the sinks, bins that hadn’t been emptied, etc. And yet, it did little to dampen our spirits – it just made for an interesting talking point when we met up with friends!
The apartment’s only saving grace was the host – Jim. He was a lovely guy, and he was extremely apologetic about everything. Each time we called with another problem, he did whatever he could to get it fixed – for example, running to the store to buy us extra towels. As it turns out, he wasn’t the owner of the apartment – he merely ran the bar downstairs, but he was trying to help out the rentals in the building.
When we were checking out, Jim said to me, “I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay – and if you did, please leave us a review on TripAdvisor! And if not, well… ” and then he trailed off. He didn’t specifically mention what to do in this circumstance, so I guess I’ll just have to leave it at that.