When I told a friend I’d be staying in Altrincham she laughed out loud because I’d pronounced it as it was written (cham) and not Altringham.
To be honest, I had no idea where the town was, but I’d been selected to participate in a new TV cookery competition with filming taking place at The Cheshire Cookery School. As it was an early start, I’d been booked into the nearby “Best Western Cresta Court”:http://www.cresta-court.co.uk Hotel.
The check in process was painless and the lift whizzed me up to the second floor (room 226). Possibly because I’d recently had great hotel accommodation and upgrades in Japan, the room and bathroom seemed tiny with just enough room on one side of the double bed to get in and out.
There was a freestanding TV with list of channels in the room booklet. There were plenty of hangers in the open plan wardrobe, tea and coffee making facilities and a rather slim desk. Bearing in mind I wanted to look my best, I’d phoned in advance to establish the quality of the hairdryer and had taken my own: it was the right decision.
The bathroom and shower was adequate but bland and beige, although the towels were brilliant white and fluffy.
The weather was glorious, but on opening the window, the traffic noise made it impossible to leave open: I settled for being hot but quiet.
An option was to eat in the Dettori restaurant but the menu displayed in the lift showed mains around £12 to £20. As I didn’t want a big meal, the Townfields Lounge Bar (also open to the public) suited me better. It was large and fairly light with comfortable seating and although I was on my own, I felt happy to sit on my own with a glass of wine, snack and book. The bar menu had some of the restaurant options (burger, fish and chips and Caesar salad) and a range of sandwiches which I thought expensive at £6.95 but my tuna and red onion and rocket came with a dressed salad and crisps which if I’d known, I wouldn’t have ordered, and piggily eaten, a bowl of potato wedges.
Breakfast the next morning was well laid out with cold items including juices, cereals, fruit, yoghurt and breads on one wall and hot dishes on the opposite. My only complaint was that to go with my ham and cheese, I had the option of a sweet Danish pastry, a huge bread roll (bap or balm cake depending on where you live) or sliced toasting bread.
The hotel is relatively near Manchester Airport and I enviously noted a number of guests heading off on their holidays. The hotel also has a spa with beauty treatments, complimentary Wi-Fi all over, parking and lots of theme nights (dancing through the decades with chicken and chips for the bargain price of £13.50) which I suspect are avoided!
So how did I perform and what did the Michelin Star chef think about my dish? Well I’m, afraid y confidentiality agreement means you’re going to have to wait until the programme is aired in the Autumn – it’s working title is currently Yes Chef! but this change.