In today's column, Anthony Roberts, Director of Colchester Arts Centre, pays tribute to a quaint hotel visited on route to Edinburgh Festival

There is absolutely no hint of irony in the title of Quality Hotel in which I now sit in Stoke-on-Trent.

Stoke-on-Trent is not a town that exudes wealth.

I’ve stopped off on my way to Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Festival.

There’s a few bob floating round Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh Festival is part of my job as director of your humble arts centre.

The Edinburgh Festival is alive with millions of people, with thrilling arts events from here, there and everywhere.

Stoke-on-Trent is not.

I’m in room 304. The Quality Hotel is a three storey once grandiose building now tinged with sadness and a crumbling sense of Victoriana.

The sadness comes from the sense of a once glorious past, a glamorous history now faded into sepia, tinged with nostalgia.

If I had to describe the Quality Hotel as a film character it would undoubtedly be as the demented Jane Hudson as portrayed by Bette Davies in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. To put it simply, it’s seen better days.

But therein lies it’s charm.

Unlike the crisp, stripped down, ultra hygienic Premier Inn this hotel has character. Ask the receptionist if you can leave your bags behind the desk for the day and rather than refer to some rigid corporate policy they will more likely make it up as they go along.

“Course you can, duck, I’ll pop it in the manager’s office, no-one will touch it there”.

Tomorrow night I shall be in the big city amongst the artists and the fancy producers and the networkers.

But part of me will hanker for the reality and the comfort of the no-nonsense Quality Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent.