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“Dirty and not nearly as nice as the websites suggest”

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Great Expectations Hotel & Bar
Ranked #21 of 31 Hotels in Reading
Reviewed 26 September 2011

I had been wanting to stay here for a few years. The websites give a nice impression - a non chain, almost-boutique hotel with character and a great name.

The reality, sadly, did not live up to expectation (no pun intended).

The best way I can describe it is this: imagine a spit-and-sawdust type pub with loud music and an assortment of rough and ready looking customers. Then imagine this extended into a hotel.

On arrival you have to walk to the back of the pub to check-in. This is not so much a check-in desk as a check-in cupboard - prahaps an indication of which part of the business is most important to them. We were given keys and directions to our room.

A word of advice - if you choose to stay here, be aware of the stairs and the lack of a lift. The top floor is a long way up, especially when you've had a few and/or when you're hung-over (of course neither of these applied to me ;-) ). Also, if you smoke, the stairs make the smoking area is a long way away.

The room was roomy, but very dated. The double bed was two singles pushed together. The matresses good, but not great. The big problem for us was cleanliness, or lack of. It was very dusty. From the top of the TV to the top of the lampshades the impression was of dust.

The en-suite bathroom room was not good either. Used soap in the soap tray for the bath. Used soap! And - it had a short-and-curly on it. The bath was dirty and had to be washed out before use. Some parts of the bath sealing were discoloured and mouldy. The shower head wouldn't stay in the shower head holder. And the loo seat didn't fit the bowl. The fact that water temperature and pressure were excellent doesn't really make up for the lack of cleanliness and poor fittings.

The hotel's WiFi worked well for emails, but couldn't stream YouTube videos on my phone.

The music in the bar went on quite late - mid-night if I recall correctly, but this wasn't a problem to me, just mentioning it should it matter to you.

Our plan was to have our evening meal there. However, there was a distinct lack of choice on the menu and what was on the menu was expensive. As an indication of the standard of food offered, Cheesy chips were highlighted in large letters on the menu. We ate elsewhere.

Breakfast was fine. Standard full-English: sausage, egg, beans, bacon, hash brown and toast. Boxes of cereal, tea, coffee, juices.

Check-out was simple and straightforward.

Room Tip: Don't go the the second floor! Its a long way up and down and there is no lift.
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank mvincent18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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182 - 188 of 215 reviews

Reviewed 22 September 2011

I didn't have great expectations of this pub-with-rooms, but I was not prepared for what greeted me. Checking in at the bar, which manages to combine the sophistication of a Wetherspoons with the luxury of McDonalds, a scowling lad scowled even more when I asked if the room was very small by snarling 'You get the room you booked'. His female companion merely giggled insolently at me. The room was, indeed, small, charmless and with a view from the prison-style window out to a brick wall. The bed was lumpy, the toothmug was covered in toothpaste and the desktop mirror fell apart in my hands. It was hardly surprising that this was the only hotel in Reading that had late availability. I did not have breakfast - the fusty smell in the dining area of the pub would have put me off even the finest of full English. Avoid.

Room Tip: Book a room somewhere else!
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled on business
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3  Thank Ian F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2011

Room was large, bright and spacious. Bathroom was modern, very large and everything was clean.
Traditional English breakfast was provided with room and was large and a good meal.
Good value for the cost.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank Chickie74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2011

A very nice comfortable hotel with lots of character. Staff are friendly and welcoming. The rooms are comfortable with TV/Coffee/tea making facilities and complimentary toiletries.
Breakfast is included either full cooked, or continental. Room has shower cubicle [power] which is great in morning. Hotel is centraly situated for shopping malls, pubs/clubs, high street stores etc. all within few minutes walk. Reading rail station is less than 2 miles, as is Heathrow rail-Air link coach stand [40 mins by coach to Heathrow].

Room Tip: Try to get room near ground level, as there is no elevator, and floors are 2 stories high.
  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2011

Stayed at the hotel when we were in Reading to watch Rugby and found it really good. Room was clean and tidy and got a really warm welcome from the girls on reception.
Good location close to the town centre and enjoyed the bar, which was open until 12 the night we stayed.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank davidjinwales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2010

This hotel was just about ok for one night and acceptable at the price, given that hotels in Reading all seem to be ridiculously expensive, presumably because of proximity to airports etc. The room, however, was rather spartan and as I never did manage to get the shower to work it's just as well I was only staying for one night. However, if I could have been bothered to get dressed again and go to find the charming staff I'm sure they would have done their best to help. The most disconcerting aspect was the paper-thinness of the walls. I could hear every activity in the neighbouring rooms, including bathrooms, and this was presumably mutual. Breakfast was good, with fruit and juice available as well as the usual cooked range, and unlimited supplies of reasonable coffee.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled on business
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Thank redshank123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2010

Upon entering the hotel I noticed the cozy atmosphere. Reception in the back of the hotel's pub was a nice quaint surprise. The staff was very warm, kind and friendly. I felt right at home and welcome. My room was a single. I noticed everything was meticulous and well matched. Breakfast is basic English, but if you have other wishes the staff will try to accomodate. The hotel is situated near a shopping mall and downtown center, about 5 minutes by foot. In my case I got stuck in the UK due to the volcanic ash cloud hanging over Heathrow. The staff did everything in their power to accomodate me, made sure I was looked after and always had a sympathetic ear. Where do you find such friendlyness these days? Great Expectations, that is where. It exceeded all my expectations and then some. Thanks guys and gals!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled solo
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1  Thank TheDutchLady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Great Expectations Hotel & Bar

Address: 33 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Berkshire > Reading
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 31 Hotels in Reading
Price Range: $92 - $216 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Expectations Hotel & Bar 3*
Number of rooms: 29
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Also Known As:
Great Expectations Hotel And Bar
Great Expectations Hotel Bar

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