Advantages Location - easily reached by car and public transport
Disadvantages Cleanliness leaves a lot to be desired, expensive rooms and substandard service
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
I suppose there's not much point beating around the bush: when I think back to my stay at the Hotel Mercur in Arhus, it's difficult to find many positive things to say about it. It wasn't my first choice of hotel in the city, but as I had to book at fairly short notice, that didn't bother me unduly. Only when I arrived and told colleagues where I would be staying did their reaction trigger a faintly uneasy feeling: "You're at the Mercur? Oh. Hmm. Well, I suppose you can't change it now". That much was correct - it appears that the hotel capacity in Denmark's second city has not kept pace with the commercial developments, and there is quite a shortage of available beds.Of course, this means that the hotels have no incentive to mount any sort of pricing war to take business from one another - there is no need to drop prices as high occupancy rates are pretty much guaranteed. And who is going to shut their hotel for potentially expensive renovations when that would mean missing out on weeks of lucrative business and leisure travellers? Unfortunately, the Hotel Mercur clearly exemplifies this line of thinking - it's badly in need of a makeover in all departments, but instead is open for business and charging not insubstantial sums for the privilege of staying in dirty rooms in an outdated tower block.
I'll get the positive points out of the way first - the hotel is easy to find and practical for those visitors arriving by car, as it's only a couple of minutes away from the Arhus exit on the E45 motorway and is easily found if travelling by taxi or public transport (several bus lines from the city centre stop at Viby Torv, which is right next to the hotel). However, the location also has its disadvantages - the hotel is housed on several floors of a sad-looking tower that is attached to the Viby Torv shopping centre. It is said that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but in this case, first impressions are confirmed by the hotel's reception area.Gloomy brown decoration abounds, the sofas could do with some new covers, and the gilt panelling on the walls and reception desk is stuck firmly in the 1970s. The ceilings seem low too, resulting in quite an oppressive entrance hall that isn't welcoming in the slightest. The view into the shabby bar area is also quite disheartening, and the journey in the rickety old lift didn't improve my opinion much. Another minus point is that the hotel does not apparently have a service elevator, meaning that in the mornings, there's a fair chance that you'll have to wait a while for an empty lift. There's not much space in there, and definitely no room for hotel guests if the laundry is also being delivered!
The location of the hotel also plays a role in the view offered from the rooms - I had the misfortune of being put in a room on the first floor, which looked out onto the heating and air-conditioning ducts from the neighbouring shopping centre. The room smelled musty at best - if I was being cynical, I'd say that this used to be the floor with the smokers' rooms, and not much time had been spent on cleaning or airing them. I had to leave the windows open to get rid of the aroma (which I wasn't particularly keen on doing overnight, as the ledge outside my window could easily be accessed from the roof outside if anyone felt the urge to do so).The room itself wasn't blessed with many creature comforts, and while the hotel provides pay-as-you-go wireless access, this didn't seem to be functioning during my stay. The room was surprisingly narrow (although a twin room, the beds were placed head to toe as no other combination was possible) and the decoration was reminiscent of the Crossroads Motel. The bathroom was functional, but almost unacceptably dirty - there was no separate shower cabin, and the lino flooring just had a plastic separator attached to it to stop water from spilling across the room. Reporting this to reception produced no results other than being told that the hotel was fully booked so no room change was possible.
The staff generally seemed largely disinterested in any comments or complaints - is that a sign that they have heard them all before and are resigned to the fact that nothing can or will be done? That's how it seemed to me. The breakfast buffet was also OK, but nothing special. There was no hot water for making tea and no staff in sight so I had to knock on the kitchen door and get one of the chefs to boil up a pot. The one saving grace in this area was that the scrambled eggs were delicious… but the dingy surroundings rendered even that small plus point null and void.To summarize, the Hotel Mercur is far from being a three-star establishment. It may charge prices that are standard in Denmark (about 120EUR per night) but the service and general standard of the hotel falls far short of what you might reasonably expect. Arhus has much to offer and is worth a visit, but if you can possibly find a different hotel there, I would recommend that you do so and give the Mercur as wide a berth a possible.
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This pleasant, affordable hotel provides functional accommodation with free Wi-Fi and private parking. It is next to Viby Shopping Centre and 10...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: Price is per double room per night and may vary depending on date booked