Gozo to Caithness and back: Part Two
Hotel Novotel Edinburgh Park
15 Lochside Avenue
Having booked a flight with Ryanair from Edinburgh to Malta that departed at 0610, it was pretty well inevitable that we were going to want somewhere to crash out for a couple of hours at least after the long drive down the A9 and M90. The Novotel Edinburgh Park offered the cheapest nearby option.
We booked the room online via the ever excellent Agoda. Bizarrely, it was £10 cheaper to book a room with breakfast than without – though since we weren’t expecting to be around for breakfast anyway, it wouldn’t have mattered to us if breakfast had been more expensive.
On being informed in advance that special assistance was required, the hotel provided an excellent wheelchair, which they allowed me to keep for the duration of our stay. They also gave us a specially adapted room with facilities for disabled people such as a roll-in shower with seat, all of which made things so much easier. The room itself was quite nice too.
The staff were friendly and helpful too – the receptionist who checked us in even came out to the car to help me into the chair and to help carry our bags to the room – so at first I was quite impressed by this place. We’ve stayed at another Novotel before and didn’t enjoy the experience so we were pleasantly surprised at this one.
However, the pleasure was short-lived when we discovered that the WiFi was unusable because the signal was too weak. They suggested we tried their cable service instead, which we did, but neither we nor they could get that to work either.
They then suggested we could use their free Internet facility in the lobby instead, but having got settled into the room that didn’t seem like a very convenient option for us. Finally, they said not to worry – their maintenance person would fix it in the morning. But since we were checking out at about 4am that wasn’t much good to us either.
The food was relatively expensive, as one would expect from an airport hotel, but the £3 room service charge seemed a bit excessive.
At check-in, the receptionist was explaining where breakfast was served when Dave mentioned that we would be checking out very early and so would miss it. She immediately offered to provide us with two breakfast bags so that we would at least have something to eat at the airport. This sounded great.
Sure enough, when we checked out, the receptionist (a different one by this time) went and fetched two large bags for us. Each consisted of two Danish pastries (apple and chocolate), a rather squashed-looking croissant (but no butter or other spread), an apple, a vanilla-flavoured yoghurt, a raspberry-flavoured drinking yoghurt and a carton of orange juice. We weren’t really in the mood for any of it, although Dave later drank one of the raspberry yoghurts and reported that it tasted quite nice.
All in all what could have been a good hotel stay was marred by the lack of Internet in the room.