The Lantern Sleeper.

Life If you've been trying to travel up Lime Street in Liverpool by foot or vehicle the past few years, you will have found it pretty difficult thanks to the demolition of the various old buildings on the station side of the street between the two large pubs including The Futurist cinema.

In their place a different edifice has been raised, a colourfully lit office, retail and residential opportunity called The Lantern which includes a new Premier Inn, walking distance from the other Premier Inn on Hanover Street but more convenient for Lime Street Station.

Last night I slept there, wanting to get away for a night but not wanting to get away too far much as I did in Manchester in September.  So armed with some literature, my toothbrush and a change of clothes, I walked there yesterday lunch time and booked in at 2pm.

As you can imagine, the "Have you come far?" conversation at the check-in desk went off the rails fairly quickly because frankly how do you explain that you simply want to go somewhere with a comfy bed and some peace and quiet so you can read a book and just give your anxious mind a rest?

I did not get much piece and quiet and initially my anxious mind did not rest.  Not long after being in the room, I noticed a constant wooshing sound.  I assumed it was the air conditioner on the blink so I visited the desk and asked if that was the case.

They said yes and that they'd turn it to "auto".  Ten minutes later and the noise was still there, thrumming away in the background.  Another visit to the desk and they said they'd turn it off.  Nope still there.  Another visit downstairs to be told that it definitely had been turned off.

For a further half an hour the noise was still there, loudly niggling away at me.  By this point I wondering if I'm being unreasonable, but I remember how silent the previous Lenny Henry endorsed rooms I'd slept in had been so decided to not let it go.  Elsa.

Another visit downstairs led to different staff member visiting the actual room and I showed him the grill the noise was coming from.  Lifting it to one side, we saw the big black box it was coming from.  We both stopped and listen.  He said he'd investigate.

He investigated, discovering that these grills are in every room and that the box we can see is the air conditioning system shifting the air through the building.  It's an access point and there is no way to turn it off.  I bothered to record the noise to you can experience it yourself:

I considered just going home, asking for a refund and said so.  He explained that I'd have to put a complaint with head office in to get a refund but that if I decided to stay he'd make sure I received a complimentary breakfast.  I stayed and eventually managed to tune the noise out for the most part.

How does this happen?  Who designs a hotel in which the aircon system is this audibly intrusive notably when there is advertising throughout the room indicating that their key selling point is a comfortable, unobtrusive night's sleep?

But no, this hummed away right through the night, while I was initially trying to get to sleep and then around six hours later when I got up to go to the loo.  I'd like to blame it for my usual dream about nakedly running around a fictional town looking for my clothes, but that's just my anxiety.

Which isn't to say the visit was awful.  It wasn't.  This was the view from my window:

Which is not something I thought would ever happen, being able to see the goings on in Lime Street from above, albeit on a Monday night when not much is happening anyway.  Seeing familiar landmarks from unusual angles is always exciting.  See also the view from my breakfast booth:

For the uninitiated, that's Lime Street Station.

Plus I did manage to read a whole book, the Black Archive edition about the TV Movie with the Pertwee logo which does indeed manage to find something new to say, despite the Gary Russell paperback, the complete history and the various shiny disc releases.

And I had a bath for the first time in about ten years even if it was too small for me to fit my whole body in and ended up bobbing backwards and forwards.  Showers are fine, but this was luxurious and the most relaxing moment of the visit.

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