There used to be a game show on British TV called The Crystal Maze. A contestant would enter a strange room and be confronted with a puzzle that they had to solve or else risk being locked in. There was always an initial moment of panic and confusing before they began to tackle the enigma of the room.
This is exactly how I felt when I first set foot in my room ("Quiet Please") at The Pavilion.
I stood in the doorway, shocked and bemused and thought "oh my god, this is smaller than my 10x10 storage unit back home!!"
The bed was an old wooden cot type thing. The bedding was a random assortment of thin sheets and the mattress was the sort of thing you would be made to sleep on if you were ever held hostage in Afghanistan. The one single pillow was a revolting flat yellow pancake (actually 2 of them in one pillow case). There wasn't enough floor space to lay my suitcase down. The only table was an antique writing table with a 25° slanted top. The complimentary cup was almost too tiny to hold a teabag. No toiletries except a mini-sized bar of soap. A leather chair way too big to be in there. And then there was that delightful musty smell... What could it all mean? What was I supposed to do? How was I going to survive?
The panic and dread hit me, then came the anger. I instantly started to imagine what I would be writing in my scathing review to Trip Advisor... But then the dust settled and the adrenaline flowed and even though I had no team members shouting instructions, I set to work on the task before me.
I emptied my case and hung all my clothes up on the 4 coat hangers and small luggage rack that seemed in danger of falling off the wall any second. Then I hid my empty case behind the bed. Then I set to work on the table, I needed something to wedge under the lid to make it level.. I pulled out a couple of the small internal drawers and rested the surface on them, perfect, now I had a usable surface!! Then I moved the chair between the bed and the table and turned it into a nightstand. Finally I visited the nearby shops, first stop, Argos, where I bought 2 new pillows for £4 and a nice big coffee cup for £2. Then I invested in some smelly candles, fruit, teabags, honey, milk, nuts, and bodywash.
I converted that microscopic room into my little London oasis, and after 5 nights, I opened the door and walked away a free man!! I had won!!
The hotel sells itself as a "rock'n'roll boutique hotel", well, I work in the music business and let me tell you, this ain't no rock'n'roll boutique hotel, it's barely a hotel. I highly doubt any celebrities/musicians/models have ever stayed at The Pavilion, and if they have, it was no doubt by mistake and someone probably got fired because of it.
But let's face it, a single room cost me £55 a night and that's hard to beat in London. It's also near the US embassy and walking distance from Oxford St, Soho, etc. Plus if you like Lebanese food, you're definitely in the right spot!!
If you're the adventurous type, The Pavilion might just be fine for a short stay, but read the reviews, you have been warned!!
It's not the worse place I've stayed in, and to tell you the truth, I actually began to feel pretty cozy in my 7x9 cubbyhole, but it takes some time getting use to. This is more like staying with your crazy old aunt than a hotel. There's no reception as such, just a room that 2 young lads take in turns to loiter around in. There's no working phone. There's no bar or restaurant. There's no elevator. There's no room numbers. There's no thermostat. And there's no real sense of security (I felt like I could've easily pushed my door open without the use of a key).
The building is an old converted victorian house full of antique furniture, persian rugs, moroccan pillows and ornate wallhangings, but that's all essentially just smoke and mirrors there to distract you from the grim shabby digs that it really is.
The sad thing is, there is so much potential here, The Pavilion really could be what it aspires to be. In fact, it could be awesome without much trouble at all. Perhaps the owners could save money by losing those ridiculous breakfasts that no one seems to want. If they just made a bit more of an effort and maybe researched a few similar hotels to see how it's done properly (The Pelirocco in Brighton or The San Jose in Austin for instance) then maybe they could have an absolute gem of a hotel. As it is, I get the feeling they're bored of the place and have turned their backs on it. Why else would they expect a guest to lay on a lumpy emaciated mattress or rest their head on a repulsively stained pillow? It just shows utter contempt by them for anyone who pays to stay there. It may be a budget hotel but that's no excuse, clean quality bedding would make a huge difference. After all, most guests are just needing somewhere to spend a few nights whilst they're in town. I'm sure the majority of people could deal with a slanted table or a miniature bar of soap, as long as they had comfortable, sanitary sleeping conditions.
Would I stay here again? Maybe, if I thought for one second that the owners would take note of the multitude of negative reviews here and clean the place up a bit... but I very much doubt they will. Shame.
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- Also Known As:
- Pavilion Hotel London