How would you describe the lowest rated hotel in Cornwall? We personally imagined something out of a horror movie – dark, dangerous, musty, dirty, with a foul smell, damaged furniture, an uncomfortable bed with questionable stains, a disgusting bathroom and terrifying noises in the middle of the night. Think The Shining meets Bates Motel.
The kind of hotel where you keep finding abominations until you get so anxious that you end up slamming the door behind you, running to your car and never looking back. So we – CornwallLive journalists Charlotte and Lisa – decided to put Cornwall’s lowest rated hotel to the test.
We decided to go together. Not because we are not brave (well…), but because we thought that if it was so bad, at least we could laugh at the whole situation.
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The two lowest rated hotels we found were the White Hart in Bodmin and the Berties Lodge in Newquay’s East Street, both with 2.5 stars out of 5. We thought for the worst rating in Cornwall this might have be much worse.
We first tried to book one night at the White Hart, but were told that all rooms were booked until further notice. So we opted for Berties, which intrigued us a lot as it’s quite a well-known establishment in Cornwall, especially for bachelor or hen parties. Berties also has a nightclub and an Irish pub next door.
As far as prices go, a standard double room with private bathroom is £54 mid week low season which we didn’t think was too bad…as long as we didn’t have a nightmarish experience . Of TripAdvisor’s four main criteria – location, cleanliness, service, and value – service was the lowest rated with three stars out of five and location was rated highest with 4.5 stars out of five.
Berties has a total of 108 reviews. 21 of them are excellent, 12 are very good, 20 are average, 13 are poor and 42 are terrible. One of the reviews described it as “the rudest hotel I’ve ever stayed in”, another said they had “probably the worst customer service I’ve ever had” and another even called it the “hotel catfish”.
Still, others said they “had an amazing time at Berties Lodge”, that it was “clean and did the job” and that it was “convenient” and “cheap”. So on a Tuesday night we headed to Berties. We both parked at the Manor Car Park on St Michael’s Rd as it is free between 4pm and 9am.
Upon arrival we approached the doors under the Berties Lodge sign to find that they were locked. It looked like the place had even closed. This might bring some initial panic to visitors, but we remembered reviews suggesting access could be via the connected Hotel Victoria – which was very open.
We entered the main building to be greeted by two smartly dressed men behind the desk – who explained to us that we were in fact in the right place and access to Berties Lodge was now through the main hotel. A few signatures later, and we were asked for a deposit – something that was not mentioned when we booked through Booking. com and we weren’t ready to pay, but we would have gladly done so.
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However, after deciding that we didn’t seem the type to break things or trash the room, the staff laughed it off and said they trusted us not to cause a scene and that we could stay without paying the refundable holding fee – which was actually more than the room itself. We could see how this could be a problem for the young traveler – who probably didn’t have that kind of disposable income to split – even if only temporarily.
Some reviews described the staff as rude and unwelcoming – something we couldn’t disagree with more. We felt very welcome, the staff made us laugh and were always happy to answer our questions. It was then that after what can only be described as intense instructions (which seemed more complicated than most IKEA furniture assembly instructions), we set off in search of our room.
The hotel is honestly a maze – but we loved it. We probably climbed two spiral staircases and walked through three or four hallways before arriving in our room. On occasion, we had to think twice and retrace our steps. The hallway could probably use some serious updating with stained carpets and a certain unpleasant smell – but for the price it was the least we could hope for.
Upon opening our bedroom door, we immediately saw a huge window into the room framed in teal curtains. The view, on East Street, was not the best, however, some rooms have sea views. The unsightly smell from the communal hall was now gone.
The room was covered with a brown carpet, which seemed clean. There was a double bed, a safe, a wooden chest of drawers, an old TV and a chair. No bedside tables, no table lamps – and no telephones. It was basic but had everything you needed for one night. The walls looked like they had been painted fairly recently.
The bathroom had a toilet, of course, a fairly large shower and a sink, but no towels – which you have to pay for. Overall the room and its bathroom were quite clean. There were a few water spots on the ceiling, a few marks on the mirror, and the grout in the shower was browning a bit, but we, in general, thought the amenities and cleanliness were on par with lodges we’d stayed in before.
Of course, you would expect more from a decent hotel. But Berties caters to a younger clientele who are likely to spend more time downtown and at the beach than in their rooms. It should also be noted that some rooms will be completely different as Berties also offers triple rooms, quadruple rooms and dorms.
We found during the evening that the toilet flush was quite noisy, the headboard was not attached to the bed frame and the television did not work. But, that’s if we’re really picky – and none of these issues bothered us enough to say anything to the staff. In fact, we felt quite relieved to find that the hotel was quiet, relatively clean, safe and comfortable and nothing like the horrors we had imagined.
It’s also worth noting that many hotel amenities are free for Berties Lodge guests, including a games room and TV lounge. All in all, we can say that the lowest rated hotel in Cornwall was not bad at all. Of course it’s more of a hostel and its customers are mainly young people hoping to enjoy Newquay’s nightlife, but we thought it was safe, comfortable enough and in a great location for exploring Newquay .
We had really worked it out based on previous reviews but overall we were pleasantly surprised with the experience and really don’t think people should cancel a stay here based on what previous visitors had to say .
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