When The Pioneer Woman was on her book tour, I enjoyed the photo tours she posted from the hotels she stayed in. It’s fun to fantasize about staying in gigantic, lushly-decorated suites in landmark hotels.
Like the Pioneer Woman, I am sometimes called upon to travel on business, so I thought I’d share a recent glamorous lodging experience of my own. Last week I had a quick jaunt up to Sheffield for a meeting. Our party stayed in the Ranmoor Village student residences of the University of Sheffield.
Here is a view from my window, in the “Ravenstones” building (cue silly Hogwarts house references among those not too up-tight to let it look like they don’t know the real names). Many of the windows in other buildings were decorated in that cute way that students use to mark their territory — with their names, beer logos, obscene suggestions, etc.
This series of towers was built in 2009 on the site of an older (aging, not historically-significant — kind of like me) set of residences, Ranmoor House (a video of the demolition of which can be seen at YouTube; apparently poignant for some former residents, and probably cathartic for others, judging by at least one other video to be found there).
Another view from my window. Actually, I quite liked the view. I was lucky enough to be at the outside edge of the complex; on the other side presumably you just see the other towers.
The place still smells new, and the key to my room still had sharp edges.
Here’s how my room looked: pretty much like the brochure photo (although I don’t think they lovingly tucked any PJs into the bed for the brochure). The room itself is a comfortable size. For anyone approaching 6 feet in height, the bed is likely to take some getting used to. The wired internet was very fast. The radiator is at the end of the room nearest the door, i.e., pretty far from where the occupant is going to spend any time. There was a little kettle and some instant coffee and teabags. I doubt this is provided when students are living there.
The bathroom (sans bath) is a little wetroom.
There is some contortion involved in obtaining toilet paper from the roll on the wall behind the toilet. If you’re sitting on the toilet at the time, that is. You could adjust your workflow and prepare as much paper as you anticipate needing before sitting down. Draped over the edge of the sink it would be easily within reach. In fact, it would be about where you’d normally expect a toilet roll holder to be located, relative to the position of the toilet.
The shower doesn’t emit a whole lot of water, but what it did produce found its temperature pretty fast after being turned on. If my shower had as little output as this I think I’d cut my hair to save time rinsing.
You may detect a potential issue with this setup: due to the size and layout of the facility, water from the shower goes all over the floor. If you haven’t planned your workflow meticulously, and find yourself wishing to use the toilet or brush your teeth after showering, a dedicated floor towel is a boon.
If your arms are long enough you may be able to manage brushing your teeth without actually entering the room.
Overall, I found the place very clean and pleasant to stay in.
Parking was in raised two-row lots strung together with narrow, sharply-curved ramps that must be fun if ever there’s snow and ice on the ground. The parking spots were also aligned parallel to a slight slope. Not to worry though, there’s a reinforced guard rail between the parking lot and the buildings below the little cliff, in case someone’s parking brake does fail. I should point out that unlike Cambridge, Sheffield is in 3D, so some slopes are to be expected.
There’s a central area/building called the Ridge, which houses the reception desk, the bar, and the laundry. During conference season, at least, there’s one of those nice coffee machines that suck beans and water in at the back and spit out cappuccinos at the front (I believe milk is stored in a tank on the inside). I was devastated at the first coffee break to discover that, at some point after my decision to exercise self-restraint and only have one coffee at breakfast, this machine had broken down.
This is a little off the topic of the accommodation, but here are some candies provided in the conference facility we used, upstairs in the Ridge. Awesome idea for a conference room. Put a little bowl of candies on each table. With opaque and differently-coloured, crinkly wrappers that suggest several different flavours so you have to try them all.
From observation over a one-day meeting: this is pretty much exactly as disruptive as the cell phones people forgot to set to buzz.