Well I’ve just checked into the AC Birmingham. It’s my first ever AC stay but not my first ever at this property which started life as a new-build Ramada in Birmingham’s canal regeneration project. So I stayed here in 2008 when it was a Ramada. Now I can’t really recall anything about it so it must have been an unremarkable stay. Perhaps the only pertinent thing I do recall is that my girlfriend at the time boasted heself as the “Queen of AirCon” and, wow, she liked it cold! And I don’t recall her complaining about the AirCon at the Ramada. So at least that worked.
Now a couple of years ago Marriott managed to bag the only two Ramada Post-Industrial City Renovated Canalfront properties. Yeah, lengthy classification, teeny numbers! This and the Manchester one. Anyhow Marriott renovated them to AC and let me tell you, they both look very much at home in their trendy neighbourhoods. The staid Ramada brand was an odd fit and there’s no question the trendier AC brand is a far more appropriate choice so I was looking forward to visiting this new property and trying my first ever AC.
I arrived at 8pm and was greeted very professionally by the friendly receptionist, informed I’d been upgraded to a canalfront room and my late checkout to 4pm was confirmed so all looked good. And indeed it was. As I walked into my room it looked modern and far more in keeping with the Mailbox canalfront area than Ramada. Indeed all looked great!
But gosh, it was warm. I know it’s Autumn in Britain but some clot had turned up the heat to 23c - that’s 73f. Time to crank on the AirCon... Only to be greeted by this-
The dreaded new version of the dial - a multi-faceted device with the barest bones of instructions, so confusing it’s an inoperable mess and has resulted in this very units removal from all 700 of the newly refurbished LHR Renaissance rooms barely a year after it’s installation. But here it is at the AC Birmingham. After much stabbing and with virtually no airflow at all coming from the unit (even though it was set at max 3 fan) I called downstairs and a very kindly Alex turned up to advise me that the AirCon was silent but was blowing at full pace. Well, if such an airflow - somewhat similar to the that expected from a wheezy 50-year woodbine smoker - was the maximum the room would take hours to cool down - if at all! Alex had however brought up a key to a different room just down the corridor, it too preheated to 23c. Although the new room was the same temperature as the last one, some stabbing at the controls resulted in an increase to airflow that I could actually hear and feel. I took the view it was the best I’d get, and that it would cool down eventually. Shortly after Alex left more stabbing at the control resulted in top fan speed kicking in and a gratuitously cold airflow ensued. I was soon happily sitting down working at my preferred 18c (64f)
Just to complete the review - great (as can be seen from the photos) and clean room, really helpful and polite staff, with a very nice bar it definitely fits into its neighbourhood well and is very comfortable. I reckon it represents a good value place to stay in the trendy Birmingham Mailbox Canal-front area.
But to the poll. Alex told me that all guest rooms here are preheated to 23c as the hotels guests prefer its rooms to be set to that temperature. Personally I reckon their AC system is duff and no-one understands the controls, but I could be wrong. Maybe most guests do prefer their room preset to 23c, 73f. I reckon not, so am I right, or is the AC Birmingham on the nail here? Time to set a poll and get the answer!
So, what temperature do you prefer your hotel room?