The Neo Hotel was not previously known to me, and the credit for its discovery must go to my very dilligent (and even after many years,still so gorgeous) wife who seems to be blessed with an ability to find the fantastic among the mediocre time and time again.
We spent 2 nights there arriving on Friday 2nd March 2007. The weather was precisely what you would expect of our wonderful country..very windy...and enough rain to satisfy the water companies for the next few years. There was a brief heart stopping moment when we found the entrance door was locked and we didn't think there was going to be a response to our bell ringing. Then at last, salvation in the form of Mark who, as we later found does so many jobs it was a miracle he found time to answer the door at all. More of this remarkable gentleman later.
Check in was flawless and we knew almost instantly that we were in for a treat. The Neo has been created with style and sophistication in mind; class and intimacy go hand in hand here but there is none of the ridiculously out of date attitude or snobbery that other 'classy' establishments still desperately cling to. Indeed , most unusually there was not one single member of staff who let the side down. All of them were quite simply superb.
So..onward and indeed upwards, up the stairs to our room.We stayed in room number 2 and were immediately re-assured on entry that the standards of the decor and the comfort we have come to expect were there in abundance. We particularly liked the wallpaper behind the bedstead which looks Japanese in origin, although on close examination I have never seen so many air bubbles...Would recommend that Steph, the owner uses a different decorator next time.We also liked the whole concept of a treats tray, a small tray of purchasable goodies that included vegetable crisps, which turned out to be very palatable.
Bathroom was gorgeous.Very well lit with a good spacious shower cubicle that is a little larger than average, and a flat head fixed shower attachment that rivals any others we have found anywhere else in the world.
As good as the bathroom was it was in here that we had a few minor criticisms. Both the tap that serves the wash basin, and one of the shower controls too are actually loose and need to be fixed. Also we found some hair in the plug hole of the wash basin and the overflow of the same unit needs a little lime scale remover to make things pristine.There is one fault in design too. The toilet flush is positioned so that if you are sitting and meditating happily , if you lean back the lid if the toilet will actually flush the cistern. Ok, more funny and quirky than annoying..but it really should not happen . Nit picking? Well maybe..but the prices here are not kitten class prices. They are approacing big growling tiger major hotel chain prices. Still worth the brass, but at this level it is not unreasonable to expect perfection.
I have read in previous reports that the rooms are a little noisy..and so they are...but not more so than any other hotel in any town. Remember you are in a grade 2 listed building that still sports the orginal style sash windows. Personally I would prefer these and accept a little more noise than have to look out of yet another blob of upvc. No contest.
I did have marginal concerns about placing a television directly on top of a dvd plaver..rather unusual. Though it was stable enough I do not really think that a dvd player is constructed strongly enough to take the weight of a television. Just an academic observation really .
So..a quick change of clothes and back downstairs to the small and intimate bar. Beautifully designed with a very attractive copper bar it is a very relaxing place for a pre dinner drink or a night cap before bed. It was here that we again met Mark. Not content with being the door man, checking people in and laying tables in the dining/ breakfast room this very multi tasking and professional gentleman is also the bar chap...and my god a good one at that. Any cocktail bar in the world would poach him at the earliest opportunity. He is fun bright, a good conversationalist, AND produces cocktails that are akin to an orgasm in a glass. I don't know what his salary is and with unusual ( for me anyway ) english reserve I was too polite to ask. But for heaven sake Steph...Give him a pay rise. I have never seen a man work so hard at so many different things and still come out smiling at the end of it. If the hotel ever lost him..it would be a loss that would be very difficult indeed to replace. Well done , Sir..a truly outstanding performance all round.
This same level of hard work and multi tasking also can be awarded to Kellie who , like Mark is a true professional. I believe she is assistant manager at the moment. I am sure that she will be a manager before long..
Breakfast...superb...Cooked to order and complimentary newspapers are available while you wait. You can request a Wake Up Cup (although i kept calling it a wake up bomb...too much listening to R.E.M ). Whats in it? Try one and find out for yourself. Its awsome. It is served as a starter while the full english is being prepared. Look out for the sausages. Very tasty, so much so that I felt obliged to turn the tumb screws on Kellie until she told me where they buy them from :))
Thanks also to the staff here in the breakfast room...the slim gentleman who was new( and was egually as friendly when we bumped into him in Brighton later that day ) ..the petite lady from colombia...and the lady from sweden. You all helped to make a great team even better..Thank you very much.
On a foot note..beware of the MOOSE. No..not some sort of eclectic dessert, but a moose head in the hallway just before you enter the breakfast room. The very slim waiter hit his head on its nose on saturday morning...and though I thought..'ha..that would never happen to ME' it most certainly did the following day. I am still not convinced that there is not a secret buzzer in the nose that activates in the staff rest quarters every time some one walkes into it. :):).
So there you have it...certainly not the cheapest..but if you want something that has innovation, charm, and excellent staff, you would be hard pushed to find anything better.
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