Roller Derby, a review of hotels, B&Bs and restaurants off the tourist map
The hotel was a bit of an oddity. An oasis of middle eastern/Asian tranquility nestled in between the A215 and a railway line heading out to Loughbrough junction.
Money had been lavished on this place. The bathrooms decked out with all the designer appliances. Taps and sinks that looked good but were totally impractical. A shower fitted with bath taps. Full length mirrors adorned all the walls so you could see yourself whilst taking a crap. But there were signs that this dream wasn't what it was supposed to be. Badly administered repairs indicated that the owners were no longer willing to maintain it's upkeep, the trade not materialising, which wasn't surprising.
If you lived in Camberwell and could afford to go to a spa, a posh hotel, you'd book a place in the country, somewhere to get away from it all. If you couldn't, well this place was out of bounds. I'm not sure who this place was designed for.
It was however the cheapest place I could find in London at short notice. The rooms alluded to middle eastern decadence, something akin to a Fry's Turkish Delight advert. The outside terrace facing on to the busy A215, the rooms facing on to the railway line. The tranquility of being in a nomads caravan on the edge of the Sahara being shattered every ten minutes or so by the sound of a train clattering by. The restaurant was equally confusing. After passing over the little wooden bridge that crossed a water feature, should I sit at a table for breakfast or on the sumptuous silk and satin cushions that required the diner to take a much more reclined approach to a full English?
It wasn't a bad hotel to be fair, just rather random. Roller Derby has allowed me to visit places I'd not normally visit, stay in places that have been, well, interesting. Bouts take place in what I'd not normally class as the best part of town, allowing me to discover the delights of hotels normally reserved for contractors, travelling salesmen and the down and out.
After agreeing to cover the European tournament my research uncovered that the 'Arena' is a converted former East German bus depot. However the pictures I've seen indicate that it has been suitably renovated. The World Cup was hosted in an old, bomb proof munitions dump of a disused Canadian airforce base. Lavish and exotic locations to spend your spare time.
So I thought I'd document the other side of Roller Derby, the hotels, B&Bs and restaurants off the tourist map, places you'd normally not go for a holiday, but in some way bring their own delights.