I was away for a couple of nights, in Scotland. The differences in the standards of the accommodation were notable. The formal 3* hotel room that was reserved for me was totally underwhelming. It was sub-standard. The floorboards sounded and felt like you would walk through them to the joists. Once upon a time, the floor covering had been a carpet. The bathroom presented a scalding opportunity. I was grateful the single bed was comfortable. The heat in the room was unbearable, hot pipes to other floors ‘travelled’ through it. As I was tired I did get some sleep.

The hotel breakfast coffee was like tar and allowed to set like it. I was told breakfast was an either/or; that is, either continental or cooked. The natural smoked haddock, for me, was by far the best breakfast option.

In the next place I had booked myself into a 3* (Scottish Tourist Board) B&B hotel. Here, I had a bigger room, mostly taken up by a really comfortable double bed. It was clean and the décor was fresh. For sitting in, the room was a pleasant warmth, for sleeping in, it proved too hot. In the early hours though, I half awoke, feeling cold, and needing to put on more bed covers. I hope I don’t get a chill.

Breakfast was being taken quietly and intently by all the other guests. The only sounds were that of cutlery in use as they dug into the continental and cooked foods on offer. You helped yourself to the filter coffee and what a pleasant cuppa it was to start the day.

Neither place had porridge on the menu. It is as if there is a fear to present Scotland’s national breakfast cereal in Scotland. True, I once got a lump of spikey looking dough in a bowl at one place where I stayed. I hear via the grapevine, those B&B people have transformed their skills in porridge-making. With today’s almost instant varieties, that should not be a difficult level to aspire to.



  1. Hi Adam,

    I am indeed pleased to be home. Thank you.

    I like porridge, I’ll eat it all year round. I enjoyed my bowl of it this morning. 🙂

    I didn’t book the first hotel, I left that in the hands of others. It was an International chain and the state of the premises left a lot to be desired. I paid £26 more for this tatty place which officially had more facilities, than for the next residence I stayed in. A broom cupboard with a phone, a trouser press and an iron (the board was in a narrow wardrobe) I can live without. Hotels always have bars, not of major interest to me, a dining room, not an essential and a lift. This lift, based up a flight of stairs, was old, cranky and barely took the width of a wheel chair.

    There was a guy who used a wheel chair, who had to wait on the first landing till the lift was back in use, just to get down to the ground floor and to the W.C’s suitable for his use. I watched his chair being very carefully wiggled through the lift entrance. I am trying to remember how the extra guy positioning the chair managed to get in the lift with the chair and its occupant!

    The B & B hotel, I personally booked. I knew the City in which it was situated and had used the hotel a very long time ago. It could easily have been allowed to dilapidate, but it had not; the same providers owned it and I was very pleased to see, took a pride in it. I would return there. The price was very reasonable just for me.


    Researching on the net does have its limitations. If you do scour the net for places, you often end up with a limited choice, no real idea of what you will get. I always have to call and am often told the terms and conditions are out of date. Sometimes, you hit lucky.

  2. There’s bound to be porridge in Scotland; I have it at home. I do query why some hostelries don’t provide the option of Scotland’s national breakfast cereal. :crazy:

  3. The trouble is menhir when you book hotels you havent a clue if the food or room are decent myself Im going away for a couple a days up north after Xmas so goodness knows what the hotel will be like 🙄

  4. You do have to take things on trust, I think for a hotel with a certain level of reputation, my experience was well below par. I am never sure what people mean by ‘up North’ When I lived in London, it meant anything North of Birmingham, rather than, say, North of Newcastle. 🙂

    Mostly, my experiences with B & B hotels up North and in Scotland has been positive. In London and immediate surrounds, B & B hotels can be another level of decrepitude. Hotels can be yet another story in the capital.

    In general, you know what you will get in places like Travel Inns, Ibis, Express by Holiday Inn. One five star chain, I cannot use at all because they sell their luxury on wonderful feather bedding throughout. It’s their loss!

  5. I don’t know what the STB does for the providers that do register with them, apart from give star gradings when various criteria of comfort are offered and give the establishment a mention in the brochure. Oh, yes, they also push trade their way if someone needs accommodation from a tourist board office. They won’t give details of anywhere else. Even so, many local providers I have spoken to are quite deprecating of the STB’s services to them.

    I have no idea if the STB look at breakfast menus. If the inspection does include it, maybe it’s not on the list of ‘must have’.

    Chain hotels have their own grading organisations, not usually the local tourist boards.

    However, if you would like to alert the powers that be, feel free. :yes:

  6. Good Morning Menhir!

    Have you thought of complaining?

    International chains will generally respond.

    In my experience with compensation as a token of corporate remorse!

    FYI – I’m now going dancing! Polish folk – Please don’t feel jealous!!

    Adam … x 🙂

  7. Hiya Country Dancer,

    My Polish friends at school used to go to their cultural pursuits every weekend. I was busy learning to do similar things but for another ethnic group…ours. I don’t think we went quite as far as the Morris style with batons and the like. Then again, I don’t do the Sword Dance either.

    You should try Scottish Country Dancing if you have the stamina for it!!

    I complained to reception at the time of settling my bill. The young man was not too clever in the way he responded, but then maybe the company cannot afford to pay their staff a wage that would improve the quality of the representation.

    Corporate complaining I can do, if I have a notion to and the spare energy for it. Corporate remorse is quite syrup-like most times, I quite like the attachments. I wonder though, in current times whether there would be a budget knock-on effect with less quantitative easing in the amount of remorse. 😉

  8. Assuming we are still talking cooked cereal, might I advise you not to get anything too processed, or very exotic. Lidl’s porridge oats are a pretty good texture and quality, absolutely fine for the purpose. Their packets are not too expensive to stock up. You can practice the art of making a low cost breakfast at your own speed.

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