So tonight I’m off on a business trip, visiting a potential customer in the morning, and enjoying the delights of a hotel. Thankfully I managed to find an alternative to the Travelodge room that was originally proposed for me (at a site that someone on Trip Advisor reviewed as ‘Absolutely Awful’) at a Best Western in a village a few miles up the road, the Llyndir Hall Hotel. This place is only Â£5 a night more than the Travelodge, but Trip Advisor has a load of good reviews for this one – on paper it looks an absolute bargain – plus it has broadband internet in every room, either cabled or wi-fi.
So lets start off with what’s good. The location is lovely, a nice country house surrounded by fields. Incidentally, the postcode for the hotel in Google Maps – also used by the hotel itself sends you slightly off track – the actual location is just round the corner and clearly signed from the main road. All the staff are friendly, and it’s a nice big room with a decent bathroom and pretty quiet – I can’t hear the corporate party downstairs at all! The food in the restaurant is good too – certainly beats the Little Chef that is apparently the only option at the Travelodge.
The main annoyances are the TV setup, which like many hotels in the UK has a seemingly random selection of channels, some of which are showing Sky card errors – and the broadband internet access.
My room is one of the ones with wi-fi, whereas other parts of the hotel have ‘broadband modems’ – according to the guest directory both should have a login, but I didn’t see any of that when I connected.
The problem though is the restrictions. The key things I want to be able to access are my e-mail and the company network – neither of which I can get to. Trying to access any site using SSL produces this web page – basically the unable to access page for the hotel networking appliance they have installed. Since our e-mail is kept secured I can’t access it that way. The other option is to use the corporate VPN but like pretty well everything outside normal web pages, that is blocked too. As a result, aside from browsing round websites, I can’t actually access anything useful. Just to round it off really well, the wireless router is just far enough away that the signal keeps dropping off.
It’s not as if it isn’t possible to do it properly. Last year I stayed in a hotel in Chester that had network points in every room (a much more reliable connection than Wi-Fi) – and had no problems accessing either the VPN or e-mail, it’s just seems that here someone has decided to install networking, but without actually considering what people might want to use!
So if you want a nice well priced country getaway this place is great – just don’t bother if you’re on a trip where you need full internet access, indeed access to anything other than standard non-secure sites.
Just a little post-script, I have been able to get all my e-mail – thanks to the wonders of X-Series. All a bit compact on the small screen, but I found out what I needed to know.