A Formula One (F1) hotel was virgin territory for me. I have saw them advertised on various booking sites - always with very cheap prices and more often out of town - and heard people in the passing refer to F1 hotels as a ‘joke’ or with an air of snobbery that such hotels were ‘beneath ones’ status. Anyway, I’d planned a rail trip around the Pas de Calais at very short notice and looked for availability more than anything else. The F1 at Arras came at a very suspicious low price (19 Euros) which I would normally avoid as something ‘dodgy’. It was also out of town a bit out of town (just under 2 miles from the train station and further from the town centre which lies a short distance beyond). It was a beautiful sunny day. Peak hour was upon me by the level of road traffic around. And It didn’t seem a good idea to fork out on a taxi which, with the roads as busy as they were, probably cost about 75% of the cost of the hotel to get there. [Point of reference for travellers - paying a few quid (or Euros) more for a hotel can be more beneficial than paying for transport to a cheaper outlying hotel - you can trust me, I’ve got a first aid certificate!]. Anyway, I was well wearied and tired as I made my way to the hotel on beyond the outskirts of the town.
The hotel is just off the main road (D939) from Cambrai heading into Arras on a bypass road (D60) which leads north of Arras. The lady at reception had no English but using my best “Franglais” I satisfactorily booked in. There is no key. You get a sheet of paper, with your room number on it and a six figure code which you use to open your room door.
The room can best be described as ‘student digs’; very bare and spartan. There a metal frame double bed with a single bed above it. Wood chip wallpaper, painted white, decorated the walls - although there was quite an interesting blue painted broad stripe at the window end of the room which rose up from the floor, up the wall, across the ceiling and down the other side. A feature, which I liked so much, that I may adopt for my kitchen when I redecorate it. There is a sink but no soap provided. I had 2 plug sockets, one high up next to the TV which meant if you plugged something in it had to charge dangling from a height, unless you had a long lead and a second socket net to sink, obviously for use for hair drying and using the mirror. A poor design is the light switches; there is one for a light beneath the TV to illuminate he small desk area and the second one, for the main room light, is at the door. There is nothing bedside which means if you need the light you have to physically get up manoeuvre across the room etc etc...... There is quite a heavy flow of traffic on the road outside. My room was at the hotel front so I had the dilemma of traffic noise and ‘fresh air’ from the open window or reduced noise and stuffiness from the closed window. There is no air conditioning.
The room was very clean and comfortable and I couldn’t see any rationale for the negative attitude towards this branch of hotels. The hotel room is very similar in design and layout to many of the Baladin or Ibis Budget type of hotels I’ve stayed in previously - with the big exception of no en-suite. I am a little set in my ways and I’ve moved on from my younger days frequenting hostels and the like with communal / shared bathroom and shower facilities. But at this price you expect a certain level of facilities. In my hall their was a few toilets (which no sink) and shower cubicles. The noise level rose in your room as you could hear the entire floor make their way to carry out their functions just before bedtime. There was a similar, much busier, and noisier peak in the morning.
In all it achieved its primary aim - to give me a clean and comfortable place to sleep on my travels. A tick in the box.
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- Also Known As:
- HotelF1 Arras Est France/Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines