Hotel reviews

The view from the Redcar HotelI stayed in an awful hotel at the weekend.  It was The Redcar in Bath which my brother booked through booking.com.  The hallway carpets where threadbare and walls had large holes in.  The rooms were knackered and shabby.  Although ours worked another room had to flush their toilet with a bucket of water.

Reviewers on Tripadvisor don’t hold back with their disgust.  However booking.com‘s reviews are a bit different.  Its average is 5.7 and, while people point out failings, there’s not the hatred of Tripadvisor and most people still find something nice to say.

Booking.com sells its reviews as only being written by people who have booked through them and stayed at the hotels – a response the problems Tripadvisor has with made-up reviews.  However there’s problems here.  Booking.com put the positive thoughts first which forces people to think of some.  And secondly I think there’s some Britishness going on of not wanting to complain on the site people booked through.

Booking.com is still my trusted hotel site but hotels are going to have to get the highest scores for me to book in future.

  • Strangly the Redcar‘s official site has just gone offline

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The Story of Film: An Odyssey

FilmIf I ever did a night class it would be in film studies.  The way films play homage to each other through special scenes has always interested me.  More 4’s The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a long journey of how movies have developed and how they learn from each other.

I almost didn’t plan watch it.  15x90min is a challenge for my almost full Sky+ box but I’m glad I did.  I find I have to watch the episodes closely to pick up all the references and connections with it.  It feels different to most modern documentaries which have a strong story arch and powerful voice over/script.  On the face of it the story meanders but it is taking its time and fully enjoying itself.  It is written and directed by Mark Cousins who’s Northern Irish voiceover feels a million miles away from Hollywood, yet it works.

Mark has explained how the movie makers learnt to make cuts, built extravagant sets and how they made movie stars.  It already feels like 15 parts may not be enough.

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Commonwealth Institute/Design Museum

Commonwealth Institute

My trip to Bath cut into London Open House weekend so I only had time to see a few places.  I was really pleased one of them was the Commonwealth Institute as it is a prime example of the mid-20th century architecture I love.

The building has been empty for over ten years since its mission to teach school children about the Commonwealth fell out of fashion.  I presume its listed roof has saved it from being demolished and replaced by shops and flats.  The Design Museum are moving there in 2014 and this was a one-off chance to see it before they remodel it.

It was designed to be a non-hierarchical open space with floors and staircases flowing into each other around a central circle platform.  The Design Museum are going to change this to accommodate offices, meeting rooms, a restaurant, shop and temporary exhibition space.  I really hope they can keep its open feeling though.

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