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An Unhappy Night at Flackley Ash Hotel
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An ironing board stands to attention near the reception desk.
Which is depressing.
The carpet along the corridor leading to our room is grubby. And the room itself is so badly in need of resuscitation that we're not sure we can spend the whole night in it.
Two dirty cushions sit on the bed; the carpet is stained; the duvet is dead; the mattress soiled; the valance plain filthy. Any feathers from the pillows have taken flight years ago. Probably when the matching yellow bath and pearl-shaped basin were put in, with the shower curtain and grey lino.
The bathroom light doesn't work. An ugly note is stuck to a tile, warning about 'very hot water'.
There's a swimming pool and spa, but we are repelled by the smell of chlorine.
The sad thing is that Flackley Ash is a lovely Georgian building near charming Rye - although not quite as lovely as shown on its website.
I know the banks are not lending at the moment, but this place is crying out for investment. Get rid of the Eighties carpet in the public areas, change the awful lighting in the restaurant and do away with cheap leather chairs and sofas that add more brown to the hotel's abiding colour palate.
Having said all that, dinner is fine: chunky scallops to start, tender rib-eye steak to follow. And there is nothing much wrong with the service. We linger over our cheese because the thought of returning to our cell-like room is grim. Sure enough, it's a sweaty night and breakfast can't come soon enough.
The carpets are even dirtier in the full glare of daylight, especially around the breakfast buffet table. There's no fresh orange juice and I'm not convinced about those toasters where you place your slice on a conveyor belt and hope it's done when it drops.
Placing my credit card in the machine isn't much fun, either. Flackley Ash is overpriced as well as undernourished.