It ticks most of the things I’m looking for. Free wifi, free parking, breakfast (although it’s not a fry up, just a pastry style one I believe), and just within affordable.
That last one is an important criteria. The way I look at how much I am prepared to pay for a night is worked out by the cost of a tank of petrol. Especially for an event at the NEC. That’s two and a half hours away from where I live. So push comes to shove, I could drive there each day. I could leave the house around seven and be there traffic permitting by eleven. On the return be home for nine. I could live with that.
So with the three day pass, I’m looking at three nights accommodation. £150 is the maximum I’d be looking at. The local Travelodge and the likes to the NEC are not showing any of their “bargain” prices for the days of the event funnily enough. I suspect they have already gone, or won’t exist. The Hilton with it’s mega prices and expo discount has nothing free.
So the search for a base for the three days forced me further afield. For The Stables I am paying slightly more than I had planned but within tolerances.
The nice thing about The Stables is I believe I have a microwave and fridge in the room. So I can take my evening meals with me, and be more adventurous on what I take with me for my lunches. I always take my Aeropress, I need good coffee.
If I take my new 6ft folding table with me also, I have a playing surface I can use as well if other gamers are also at The Stables and fancy an impromptu gaming session.
Having tasted the delights of The Hilton last year, I will miss that convenience of being right in the expo. Buy some stuff and you can quickly dump it in your room. The gaming rooms are packed in the evenings, and that was an experience. But as a solo gamer hard to find a game, most people there are in groups of some kind, and want to play in those groups.
I’m hoping The Stables will be a more relaxed affair. It will most definitely be a different experience. I was at the Premier Inn the first year I attended, Hilton room sharing last year. Which both had lots of gamers at them. It will be interesting to see how many gamers are at The Stables for the duration, and what atmosphere it has.
Well at least I’m sorted at the moment. The six months or so will just fly buy, and before you know it I’ll be a solo gamer once more in a very very busy expo.