Wednesday, 12 October 2011

How Not to do Accommodation at the Frankfurt Book Fair

ABA Hotel Frankfurt. Where to start?

Well, first of all, with my prudence. Trying to book a hotel two weeks before the Frankfurt Book Fair in a central location for two nights for under 200 euros per night is difficult. I was chuffed to bits to see that ABA had availability. 

That was the first clue.
Location is all, isn’t it? Five minutes walk to the main station. Fifteen minutes to the Messe exhibition halls. It doesn’t get more central than that. 

That was the second clue.
The road - Tannusstrassr - is a long main road heading away from the station. There were plenty of bright lights, all red and pink, twinkling in the distance as we walked down the street. A street populated with men. Large groups of - mainly drunken - men. 

That was the third clue.
The baffled look on the face of the man at reception should have sealed the deal. You could almost hear him thinking “oh dear, another one of those publishers who booked online.” The room itself was spacious and not that bad at first glance. Until you start to settle in. Highlights included:

  • Holes in all the bed linen
  • Grease stain on the mattress
  • Carpet peeling up at the corner
  • Curtain rail hanging off the wall on one side
  • Screaming children - day and night
  • Noise from reception travelling up the stone stairwell 
  • No hot water. For two days. I sneaked in a shower just before I checked out
  • Giant pneumatic drills on building site next door from 8 am 
The room downstairs sounded like they were having fun, with friends round to watch a war film on TV. At least theirs worked. Mine switched on. And off again. That’s about it.

I would have popped out to get a drink, but I didn't dare leave the room. I decided to have some water. Only to discover there was no glass or any other kind of receptacle to drink from.

But you know what? It was so bad, it was funny. Think Bangkok hostel scene from The Beach and you’re almost there. But without Robert Carlisle. Which was a bit of a shame really. He would have added to the ambience.