Sheffield – staying at the Mercure St Paul’s
Over the past weekend, my husband attended an event in Sheffield and I decided to take the twins along and make a bit of a mini-break out of it. After much deliberation, I decided to really fork out and spend more than I would usually and booked into the Mercure St Pauls in the heart of Sheffield.
Why I chose the Mercure St Paul’s Sheffield
The hotel looked really lovely and the reviews were great. After a few quick messages to the hotel before our trip, it was clear that our room would be quite spacious and we would be able to have two cots set up in there for us. Everything sounded brilliant!
Once in Sheffield, the hotel was easy to find and on arrival, our check in process was quick and after a few minutes we were in our room. Sure enough, it was roomy and there was plenty of room for two adults and twin toddlers. Having the extra space meant that this was a great base to come back to throughout the day, with enough room to run around and play in if needed. I had packed a handful of favourite toys and one of our trusty playmats for this very reason.
The issues we experienced
While we were unpacking I noticed how warm it was in the room. I had a fiddle with the aircon system in the room, but it didn’t seem to do very much. I wondered if I was perhaps imagining it, until I realised that my lip balm had melted in the heat of the room. The windows didn’t open so I was really limited as to what I could do. I rang down to reception to see if they could help, but there was no answer, so I decided to have a chat to the front desk first thing in the morning! We all slept in very little clothes that night to avoid overheating, but I was thankful for comfy beds!!
We were woken up at about half 3 in the morning by the fire alarm. Fantastic! It didn’t go off after a minute, so I hurriedly started getting dressed and soothing the twins. Just as we were about to leave the hotel room and rush down the stairs, the alarm stopped. Back into the room we went, assuming that it was some kind of malfunction, when it went off again. This time it stopped quickly, and then it went off one last time. After three blasts of the fire alarm, I was well and truly awake, and the hotel room was swelteringly hot. I decided to head down to reception to see what was going on, and see if there was anything that could be done about the temperature of our room.
The poor hotel staff member on night duty was clearly trying to get to the bottom of what was going on, but reassured everyone in the hotel foyer that nothing serious was happening. He explained that he suspected someone was smoking in their room! I mentioned that my room was like a furnace, he took my room number, and that was that.
After finally getting everyone back to sleep, we settled in for another few hours of sleep in our tropical room. Come morning, nothing had been done and my husband had left for his event, so it was just me and the twins.
I headed to breakfast which I had paid extra for, and stopped by reception on the way to talk about the heat. My room number was taken again and I continued on to the breakfast area. As I was by myself with twins, I had to put them in the buggy so I could manage by myself.
On arrival to the breakfast area, I was asked to sit at the furthest away table possible so the buggy didn’t get in anyone’s way. I understand that pathways need to be kept clear, but where I was asked to sit was so far away from the food, that I had no way of getting breakfast from the buffet without having to leave my children unattended in a spot where I couldn’t see them. Despite this, I wasn’t offered any help from the staff and my only solution was to run as quickly as possible to the food, grab a few things and come back. To top it off, at no point was I offered high chairs, so the twins had to sit in the buggy to eat. The stress of having to rush to get breakfast meant that I didn’t get anything to eat myself – I just made sure my children were fed and watered. Honestly, a really disappointing breakfast experience.
I am no stranger to visiting places by myself with the twins, and usually we manage just fine. Often there are friendly staff on hand to lend a hand by bringing me food or highchairs, and we almost always have a really nice experience. Given this, and the price I paid to stay at this hotel, I had hoped for better.
Later in the day, a maintenance man came to our room with a portable fan. It wasn’t a fantastic solution, but it was definitely better than nothing.
Needless to say, I didn’t bother with breakfast at the hotel for the rest of the trip, and instead opted to go out to local coffee shops and cafés!
Honestly, it’s so rare that I have a negative experience as a mum by herself, but this was such a disappointing trip that I wanted to document it. I have emailed the manager of the hotel to chat about my experience and am yet to receive a response. I have no doubt that this hotel is a wonderful place to stay as an adult-only party, but it certainly didn’t meet my expectations for a solo mum with twin toddlers. I’m really hoping that my feedback, especially with regards to breakfast, will be taken on board and changes will be made.