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Westend Hydro & SECC Apartment
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Reviewed 4 January 2018

My 4-day booking, made in April 2017, advised me that I would be staying at 50 Cleveland Street in Glasgow’s West End, the apartment shown in the photograph above. However, on arrival at the property, I was advised by the owner's wife by phone that I would be staying at the ‘studio apartment’ at #54, a property that, from the website and at the time of booking, I had no idea even existed. Apparently, although living 400 miles away in London, I was expected to somehow know that 50 Cleveland Street was NOT a studio apartment. After wrestling with the key safe on the door and punching in the 3-digit combination code time and again, the front of the key safe thoughtfully fell off, providing me with eventual access to the key. The front door is somewhat scruffy and scuffed so prepares you well for what lies beyond. By the way, the door at #50 is similarly scuffed. The ‘apartment’ consists of a totally soulless 14’x10’ room, thoughtfully painted stark white in emulsion, into which a double bed, three chairs, a tiny occasional table, a shower cubicle, a food reheating area, a rather shaky wooden shelving unit and a WC with washbasin have been shoehorned. There is no television - presumably to save around 40p per night in licence money - or radio so ensure that, if you do book, you take your tablet or laptop to keep abreast of what is going on beyond the front door. Wifi is available and free - well, at the moment anyway. Four plastic clothes hooks and hangers on the bathroom door are your wardrobe! This is basic student accommodation, shoddily finished throughout and brought back memories of dismal rented conditions in Glasgow in the early 70s that, as an ex-pat Scot now based in London, I would rather not have relived today. Furniture - and even the bathroom door! - appears to have originated from house clearances, car boot sales or skips. There is a ‘musical’ bed on which a variety of tunes can be played on the springs as you get in to rest your head. No two nights were ever the same. After enjoying the expletive-ridden ‘conversations’ from the patrons of the adjacent pub who tend to congregate outside the front door, the pub’s unofficial smoking area, you are eventually lulled to sleep by the noise of the train service, which runs with frequent regularity underneath the property. Whilst I travelled alone, make sure that you have an ‘understanding’ partner if sharing since the view into the shower cubicle is inescapable from any part of the room except the bathroom. From reviews, the shower cubicle in #50 is similarly located in the middle of one of the rooms! Their understanding will be similarly required should you choose to ‘use’ the bathroom since the extractor fan did not work. Any thoughts of ‘giving it 10 minutes’ are lost in such confined conditions - no escape - literally! That said, I woke in the early hours of one morning to the sound of a drumming noise somewhere in the room. A keen ear eventually led me to the WC where, mysteriously, the extractor fan had burst into 'life', the ghost of guests past perhaps, but with a spin speed of 20 revolutions per minute so a 'dripping tap' effect. Switching the bathroom light on and off again fortunately returned the fan to dormant silence. From the photographs and list of provided facilities on the current website, the welcome chocolates or cookies, slippers, hairdryer and sofa were nowhere to be seen. The widely advertised ‘free parking’ extends to weekends only so factor in about £10 per weekday for the 08:00 to 18:00 metered street parking outside either apartments at around £1 per hour. Other reviewers on accommodation websites have been caught out by this. A text from the owner in advance of my visit indicated a to good to be true ‘nearby car park for £4 per day’, neatly omitting the ‘0’ after the ‘4’!!! If you spend the day in the room, you will have to play ‘musical meters’ as feeding the same meter every 3 hours will guarantee you a ticket. Other than a microwave and a kettle, there are no cooking facilities of any kind in the studio room. There is no shortage of cutlery, indeed far more place settings than the room could ever accommodate. There is a laminated sign above the sink that requests guests wash up after themselves. However, with only washing up liquid and a squeegee supplied, how this was to be achieved without a sink plug, a washing up bowl or a tea towel defeated me. The undersink ‘fridge’ consisted of an aged soft drinks chiller, clearly rescued from a pub’s closing down sale. From its shabby condition, it had clearly seen many years of faithful service in more jovial surroundings before finding its final resting place under a sink. The irony! On opening the chiller, I discovered two ready meals with 11 and 15 December 2017 ‘sell by’ dates - I arrived on December 26! - and some bottles of beer so the ‘£15 cleaning service’ and the owner’s boast of welcoming ‘about 100 people per month’ in both flats - an average of 3 per day! - seemed to fall apart since I’m sure that an earlier guest would surely have noticed these discarded goods long before I did. To the shower! Other than telling you to wash up, there are no instructions or advice on how to use any of the appliances so enjoying a shower is down to sheer trial and error between the controls until the water runs somewhere south of arctic and north of scalding. Make sure that you remove the showerhead and point it away from you before engaging in this ‘rushing roulette’ game - not a typo! Like all electric showers, the flow of water is pitiful but, in the circumstances, adequate - no more. The décor in the studio room consists of one large map of the world and 3 smaller prints of international capital cities, thoughtfully chosen as you muse about any other place in the world you would rather be! For such a small room, there are an inordinate number of electric cables and sockets, some at shoulder level as you use the sink. There are unused sockets at almost ceiling level. Go figure! 70% of the sink’s work surface is occupied by a large water purifier, which dispenses chilled and hot water - again no instructions, just trial and error. Place a cup below either nozzle before pushing any buttons. No hot water from the kitchen's over sink heater. Using the bathroom is a thrill in itself in that the WC has only been bolted to the floor on one side so careful ‘reverse parking’ is essential. As you use the loo, you get a close up view of the unfinished pipes and drains beneath the bathroom sink, one with a rather worrying tissue stuffed into a gap. At that point, I noticed some used tissues in the bathroom waste bin and there they remained throughout my visit, clearly the ‘£15 cleaning service’, perhaps wisely, not running to removing tissues yet with a toilet bowl only 2 feet away! On my thankfully final day just before leaving, and in order to assist the overworked ‘cleaning service’, I stripped the bedding and placed it with the towels for quick removal. The mattress itself was stained, as was one of the pillows, thankfully the one I didn’t use - photographs available! I left and turned the key on this property, comforted in the knowledge that I would never see it again. Following extensive if futile contact with owner, he invited me to return at some stage for a complimentary stay in the 2-bedroomed flat as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ over the clear fiasco over my original booking. I declined, anticipating that hell was unlikely to freeze over before my demise. The owner's explanation to my complaints - ‘We check in 100+ guests per month and the reality is that only those who have a slight negative experience leave a review dropping our rating, 99% of people whom enjoy there stay simply do not leave a review’. No mention of improving the facilities to minimise complaints it would seem. Apparently, according to reviews of this property, there is a rather worrying insecure trap door in the two-bedroomed apartment at #50 shown in the photograph above. However, I never got to see it since I was redirected to #54. I’m sure that the owner will continue to attract guests ……. but, like me, only once!

  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled solo
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    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank taurustime
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