Crikey! Tooling around Boredstares front earlier this afternoon in the blazing sunshine, it was hard to believe any of the thousands of visitors could be having a bad time. Or that anyone could contemplate moving Drunk Week to Quex Park.
However, wiffling through my copy of today's Observer I noted that one of their writers had indeed had a miserable time in the UK's second best seaside resort recently. Poor old Rachel Cooke had booked a holiday in the Dickensians' Playground, and found the entire experience less than satisfactory. Her first mistake was to check into the Albion Hotel, where she discovered:
On reception was a woman, hot and cross and sour. She did not use the word welcome, nor too many other words, come to that. She merely grabbed my credit card. The phone rang. 'Go away!' she said, furiously. When the ringing persisted, she told the person on the other end that she was 'too busy' to discuss room tariffs.
At £120 a night, this is not a cheap boarding house. But it felt cheap. It is a long time since I have heard the dull thump of scarily institutional-looking fire doors in a £120 a night establishment and even longer since I left such a place, as we did two days later, without anyone saying: 'How was your stay?' or even: 'Goodbye.'
Hmmm. Seems as though the Albion's recent facelift has done little more than push the prices up. I recall staying there a few years back, and a smaller, hotter, sweatier room you could not have wished for. Rachel goes on to berate the foodie scene in the town (and again I have to agree that a meal out in Broadstairs generally consists of a microwaved pasty accompanied by half a tin of warmed up peas).
Of course, the mistake Rachel made was going to Broadstairs and not Ramsgate. Here she could have enjoyed a Blue Flag beach (Viking Bay, as we all know, is more of a Poo Flag beach). She could have stayed in a quaint and characterful seafront hotel (Royal Harbour) overlooking our splendid harbour and marina, and dined in one of the best restaurants in Kent (Age & Sons), where the fish would have come straight from the sea via one of the finest fishmongers in the land (Eddie Gilbert)! But no. She had to go to Broadstairs! Kuh!
Click here to read what Rachel wrote in the Observer