(Small Faces)- because there was a Romford urban legend in the seventies that Raphael Park (near Gidea Park) was the inspiration for the Small faces song. If truth were known, it’s more likely to be Valentines’ Park in Ilford, but what the heck?
Anyway, to the Gidea Park Hotel – Romford
Can it really be forty years? I suppose it must be, we’d arranged a school reunion.
Our old school (Romford Technical High) is now long gone, replaced by a housing estate, but was in central Romford, the reunion was to be held in the Ship Inn in Gidea Park. An old stamping ground.
Previous reunions have been held, over the years, in the Spencers Arms at Ardleigh Green (also long gone, now a Pub/Thai Restaurant) and the Nag’s Head, just outside Brentwood.
Normally I have cradled a single beer (or so) through the evening before ducking out early and driving home, but I figured that for the fortieth anniversary I’d crash down somewhere locally.
A quick look at a maps app revealed the Gidea Park hotel to be mere yards from The Ship, and eminently affordable at just £55 for a single room, including breakfast.
There’s a reasonable car park behind the hotel and a few spaces out front for larger vehicles.
Reception was painless – I’d pre-paid using an online booking app – and I was led down to Room 1, which is located a few feet below ground level.
Why is it only English hotels that have single rooms?
Room 1 could best be described as ‘cosy’; it’s about ten feet by ten – I wish I was exaggerating – with a wardrobe, shower room and a flat screen TV mounted on an ‘old school’ TV bracket above a small padded alcove seat.
The bed was comfortable enough, I slept soundly enough after our reunion, which stretched in the pub until after midnight, and was then followed by a sneaky kebab. I fell into bed sometime after one and slept until about seven.
Breakfast next morning, while it looked a little sparse, was very tasty, with excellent sausage and bacon. The dining room is a little small, not quite capable of seating all the hotel’s guests at the same time, but we were happy to be on our way to our respective partners.
Overall, if I were staying for longer than one night, and indeed if I come back, then I think I’d pay a little extra for a double room with single occupancy. In the meantime, if we decide to hold another reunion in Gidea Park I’ll be happy to stay at the Gidea Park Hotel again.