March 5, 2014 arrival
Moved to room 205
March 8, 2014
This hotel was chosen and booked for me by someone else based on the reviews on TripAdvisor.
Check-in was simple, and I headed to my first room (the same room was not available on the last day of my stay, so I booked a double room for 3 nights and a single room for one night). The elevator is small but works. If you have phobias about elevators, you might want to take the stairs. The horrible creaking and clicking noises it makes when it reaches floor 3 and above is unsettling.
The room was dimly light. There was no safe, ironing board, or iron. There was mention of 'borrowing' an iron and board from the front desk, but who wants to lug that up to their room? There was an issue with connecting to the internet. My tablet connected fine, but my laptop would not. I asked the front desk about it and was told it must be my computer = my problem. After a tech friend did some digging, it turns out the routers the hotel uses for 'The Cloud' internet are not compatible with computers running Vista or XP. I ended up having to pay to use a local BT connection for the duration of my stay, and staff seemed indifferent.
The hallways and outdoor entrances have hotel card slots, but every door I encountered was unlocked, even in the very early morning hours. They were only locked on the third day of my stay, so inconsistent safety is a concern. Intermittent toilet flushing was an annoying feature by day two.
The second day I returned to my room I found my window ajar and my drapes opened despite having a do-not-disturb tag on my door. The temperature for the shower was great at first, but a few minutes in it switched to scalding-hot-burn-off-your-skin temperature, and this lasted about five minutes. You get used to hiding in the shower corner until it returns to normal, but it was definitely an annoyance.
The second and third night included a lot of noise by hotel guests and patrons of the pub next door, so sleep was intermittent. Despite being told the front desk was staffed 24/7, several times I went down only to find a placard on the counter directing guests to a manager in the pub. This turned out to be a huge headache because the pub is so loud and so packed every single night, it takes more than 20 minutes to get anyone's attention at the bar.
While there is no dedicated room service, I was told I could order from the pub and eat in my room. I did this one night, but it was a mess. I ordered a drink and the pasta, and it was ready in 10 minutes. But I was handed a regular pub plate as if I was eating in, the utensils, my drink, and other items. How was I supposed to carry all of this up to my room 4 floors away? I asked for a carry-out box to make things easier, and they said they had one. After waiting another 10+ minutes for them to slide a bowl of pasta into a container (even the bartender couldn't figure out what was taking so long), I took the food and drink back to my room. By the time I sat down to eat the pasta, it was cold. This was a waste of time and money, and eating in the pub would have been difficult as it was packed and extremely loud.
Every night there are smokers crowded around the entrance to the pub and standing at the side hotel entrance blocking it. You have to ask them to move and navigate through the smoke to get in and out of the hotel. This was the same every night, and the weekend nights were even worse.
I moved to room 205 for the last night of my stay. It was small but suitable and contained the same amenities as the last room and a single bed. This was on a Saturday night, and the noise was positively dreadful on this lower floor. Despite the noise I was eventually able to go to sleep, but then a group of very loud (and screaming) people coming down the hallway woke me up at 2am. The noise continued, so I called the front desk; there was no answer. I walked down to the front desk, and the same placard was there instead of a person.
I went back to my room and tried to sleep again. I was awoken again at 4am by the same group of screaming and partying people, and it was getting ridiculous considering I had to be awake at 6am to get ready for work. I went downstairs again only to find no one at the front desk. I walked into the pub where the manager, John Opolli, was working. He came into the hotel lobby and tried to call the room where the noise was coming from (room 204), but there was no answer. Just as he hung up the group came down the stairs to the lobby screaming and yelling. Opolli yelled at them to quiet down and threatened to evict them if they kept it up. I went back to the room to salvage the two hours I had left, but sleep wasn't possible by this point.
I packed my things and went to the front desk to check out before 7am. The receptionist said my account was noted for either a free breakfast or £20 pounds off because of the trouble I had the night before. I did not have time to stay for breakfast so opted for the credit. Then she informed me that the loud people from last night would be charged a full night's stay for their disturbance. Considering a night's charge runs between £45 and £65 and the hotel offered me a £20 credit, they were actually making a profit from my misfortune of a sleepless night!
The hotel is in such an excellent location that it is a shame it turned out to be such a bad experience.
If you like loud people, smokers blocking every entrance, tight crowds, barely-staffed front desks, and drunks stumbling on the sidewalk, this is the place for you.
If you are a business traveler or someone who values their sleep at night, avoid this hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ideally located right in the centre of the vibrant city of Birmingham, The Briar Rose welcomes business and tourist visitors alike. We have 40 individual bedrooms, many with high, vaulted ceilings. All of our rooms are en suite and include tea and coffee-making facilities, a hair dryer and TV. FREE Wi-Fi is available in the bar area. Irons and ironing boards are available upon request. Dental hygiene and shaving kits are available to purchase from reception. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Briar Rose Birmingham
- Briar Rose Hotel Birmingham