We didn't have particularly high expectations for a family weekend away in a b&b in Blackpool, but this particular b&b fell far below our standards and it spoiled the weekend for us. I'll start with the good things: the staff were lovely and the breakfast was pretty good and freshly cooked. There was also private parking, although once parked, you couldn't get to your car for the rest of your stay, and you had to hand over your keys in case they needed to move your car for other guests to leave, which we weren't too happy with but accepted as there was no alternative.
For the bad... We are not well-off and we don't go to posh hotels so we didn't have unrealistic expectations for this b&b - we are used to staying in b&bs, Travelodges or other budget hotels. When we arrived, the entrance and bar areas seemed ok, not particularly nice or new decor, but then we weren't expecting the Hilton. We were given the keys to our room and went up to find a horrendous room, with wallpaper probably from the 50s which had been painted over with a hideous earwax shade of gloss paint and a carpet which whilst clean, was well-worn and very tatty. The furniture was no better - a hard bed with rock-hard pillows, clean but frayed sheets, and furniture that was probably from MFI or similar in the 70s, and didn't look good back then! It was not a good first impression, and was made worse by the cheap attempts to tart it up - a cheap red throw over the bed, nearly transparent red flowered curtains (which incidentally weren't hung properly), a couple of nasty-looking red flowered printed canvases which looked like they came from the local tat shop, and to top it off, a small vase of fake cream flowers which were almost black with dust and grime. The room itself was clean enough but we felt as if it wasn't properly clean due to the age of everything in it. My husband is mildly asthmatic and had to use his inhaler several times over the weekend due to dust in the room, and he normally only needs to use it a few times a month, if that.
The second impression was even worse - the bathroom. Whilst the problems with the bedroom were mostly decor, the bathroom stank of urine and stale smoke (we later found a large ashtray on a shelf next to the bed, despite booking a non-smoking room). It was so tiny that you could barely get in to use the toilet and couldn't get near the tiny shower with the door shut, which wasn't a problem in a way as we couldn't bear to be in the tiny space with the door shut due to the stink. The shower head was also fixed - neither the height nor angle could be adjusted, which didn't suit me at 5'2" or my husband at 5'10". On the plus side, the water pressure was decent enough - once we had figured out that the hot water came out of the cold water tap. The walls were tiled with cheap-looking tiles and these were badly painted, presumably to brighten it up and hide the mould, which was creeping through the paint. The paint incidentally abruptly changed from white to nicotine halfway around the bathroom, for no obvious reason. The bathroom suite itself was older than we were (we're in our 30s), a particularly unpleasant yet appropriate shade of dark brown, and it was in the kind of condition you would expect from something that age - chipped, battered and the mastic was covered with black and pink mould which seemed to be pretty permanent. Overall it was absolutely disgusting and even worse for finding out that other en-suites in the b&b had been 'refurbished' (I use that term loosely as the quality of workmanship we saw in one of the newer en-suites was pretty poor) at some point in the last 20 years, yet all the rooms were the same rate, so we were paying the same for our disgusting room (£70 a night) as others were paying for nicer rooms. Obviously it cost more for a sea view, but we would happily have paid double just to move to a room decorated this millenium with a decent bathroom, had the b&b not been fully booked, which we were advised by the lovely girl on check-in. This was the reason we didn't bother going to complain or ask for another room - we didn't see the point as nothing would have been achieved by complaining except to cause hassle for the staff, so we decided we had to put up with it. I did check the Travelodge down the road but that was fully booked so we had no choice but to stay put.
It also didn't help that a neighbouring room had their tv on all Friday night so we didn't get to sleep til 4am, but this isn't the b&b's fault, it was just the cherry on top of a very mouldy cake.
The final thing was that when we were leaving, we opened the door to see a pile of clean folded bedsheets dumped on the ancient carpet in the hallway, presumably for changing the bed in our room. We saw this outside a few other rooms too, so it wasn't a one-off. It really doesn't inspire much confidence to know that the sheets you've been sleeping in all weekend have been lying on a not-very-clean-looking carpet, but it did go some way to explaining my husband's asthma being so bad.
Overall, while this b&b has a few plus points over other places we have stayed such as nice staff, these are things that we could have lived without and which haven't affected our holidays in the past, whereas the bad things were things that were really important and did spoil our stay. We would rather have had grumpy staff and a nice room than the other way around, especially considering what we paid - £70 a night isn't exactly cheap, and I've stayed in much nicer youth hostels for a lot less. So if you're thinking of going to Blackpool (and we wouldn't recommend that either as the whole town is so run down), find somewhere else to stay. There's a Travelodge just by the Pleasure Beach and at least there you know what you're getting.
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