I stayed in the twin-bedded room 5 of the Bacon Arms and couldn't believe how bad it was. The room cost £72 for the night. It was as if I had stumbled onto the set of the ITV sit-com Rising Damp.
I arrived in the room after dark. The overhead ceiling light had three lamps but one didn't work. The other two had very low-wattage bulbs in that just glowed dimly. There was a table lamp which didn't work at all, and one bedside lamp with another low-wattage bulb. With all three bulbs glowing feebly I couldn't read the fire instructions and wonder if this is legal. You certainly can't read in bed. Everything about the room was depressing. It felt seedy and dirty.
The decor is very dated and I estimate the room hasn't been decorated for 15 years. Even then it was a DIY rather than a professional job. The carpet was so threadbare and filthy that I didn't want to take my shoes off. There's a hairdryer that doesn't work at all, and a modern wall-mounted TV which did. It's an old building and the floor creaks at every step. The floor where the wardrobe stands is sloping so much that when you undo the lock the doors both swing out towards you. The whole room gave the feeling that it hadn't been properly cleaned for years.
The worst area was the ensuite bathroom. A single overhead halogen bulb lights the room, although there was a shaving light over the basin once I discovered the hidden switch for it. The basin taps are those self-closing push ones usually found in public toilets. They were either full on or off. The toilet had a black hair on it and wouldn't flush. I had to keep filling the kettle to flush it. The bath was curiously raised on a high plinth which made it very hard for me to step into as an able-bodied person and I suspect impossible for the elderly. The bath contained dozens of small black objects, possibly dead flies. The fixed shower head over the bath was too low for a six-footer like me to use and I had to crouch awkwardly. The glass shower screen isn't properly fixed in place and swings out if touched. My bath towel had an unpleasant brown stain on it.
Breakfast was a disappointment. The one woman on duty was friendly but harassed, telling us she was on her own. There was good coffee, slightly stale bread to make your own toast in grubby toasters, and the cooked breakfast (one sausage, one rasher of tough bacon, two fried eggs, half a fried tomato, and some surprisingly good fried mushrooms) was swimming in oil.
These rooms are over a pub and part of the bar is signed as the reception but I didn't see anyone there. When I left I just left my key on the bar and had no opportunity to explain how I felt about my stay.
On the plus side the Bacon Arms is conveniently situated in the centre of Newbury and has a good-sized car park at the back. Will I return? Never.
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- Also Known As:
- The Bacon Arms Hotel Newbury
- Bacon Arms Newbury, Berkshire