And the award goes to…. La Bella Vita! The first ever hotel we have actually paid for and walked out of before the head hit the pillow, preferring to lose £130 and drive the three hours home in the night than spend another minute there. Truly the worst hotel experience in 30 years. Congratulations!!
Where to even begin..?? Perhaps with the surly, off-hand and downright rude ‘welcome’. Or the pool of sick left outside the door to our rooms? The appalling rooms themselves? Or being locked out of our rooms for having the temerity not to pay upfront on demand? The ensuing row? Or the row outside, on the streets, from the thumping disco and screaming, drunken girls (we begin to understand how the pool of sick got there)?
We arrived at what is essentially a naff, dated Italian restaurant in the centre of Hitchin with bedrooms in the old stable blocks and above. There’s no apparent entrance, signage, just a cluster of surly staff who leave us standing in the restaurant. The clue should have been when we arrived, driving through the street archway entrance to the car park at the back (it’s best feature?), to be ‘greeted’ with a nasty stare from the owner. We’d arrived at the Slaughtered Lamb. Eventually, a young waiter in overalls grunts at us, immediately insists on us paying upfront before seeing the rooms. We say that is not common practice and refuse. He begrudgingly shows us the way, stepping over the pool of puke on the way – and looks hacked off when we ask if there’s any chance of cleaning it up before we return later. The rooms, on to the high street, are large but shabby, dated, dirty and the bed has pillows (just the one) thinner than a shoe ins-sole. I’ve seen more plump on an anorexic catwalk model. But what the hell – we’re here for a family get together and will only be spending one night. Let’s not fuss.
My daughter and I arrive back at 11pm to find the door keys no longer work and the doors locked. We eventually find an embarrassed looking waitress in the restaurant who explains that the owner has locked us out until we pay upfront. My daughter is tired. We put up a meek fight but give in. Once in the room, along with the Faliraki party crew in full mode, I lie down on the bed. It sags in the middle. The sheets are damp. I begin to notice the filth, the musty smell. There is a dawning realisation we are not going to get one wink of sleep. My wife returns. We decide not to throw some shapes to the thumping music, drag our girl out o bed (to her great relief) and head off in the night on a three hour journey back to Bristol. It’s been the most expensive car parking our lives but anything is preferable to staying at this dump.
La Bella Vita ??? (The good life). Surely some kind of sick joke? Italian humour? I’ve read the ‘good’reviews on these pages. Nice try mate. This place is a disgrace to Italy and to Hitchin.
- Also Known As:
- La Bella Vita Hotel
- La Bella Vita Hotel Hitchin
- La Bella Vita Hitchin, Hertfordshire