(Original post by Coda)
So I'm coming to the end of my first year, 1 exam down and 3 to go, and I thought I would take this time to write a quick review on Opal 1, Nottingham.
The reason I ended up staying here is because Nottingham University was my insurance, and so I didn't get the chance to be in halls. When I knew I would be studying at Nottingham, I hastily applied to Raleigh Park, but was informed that the limited places were already taken. Panicking, I booked a room at Opal 1, "Premium Student Accommodation".
Browsing their website, the rooms looked fantastic. My desk is huge, my bed is a reasonable 3/4, and the shower room is a great convenience. I live in F Block, which was just built for this academic year along with G block, so everything was brand new and shiny. I also really like how reception will sign for packages for me, and I can collect them 24/7 after receiving a paper slip. Now the bad points...
The first thing I noticed during my first week was that my room was insanely hot. I live on the fifth floor, so every single bit of heat rose up to my room. This usually isn't a problem, houses get hot during the summer, but the main issue was that the windows here only open a tiny bit, meaning that it's almost impossible for heat to leave the room. I wasn't able to sit in my room for more than half an hour unless I sat directly in front of my fan, it was so hot that sweat was literally dripping off me. This was only an issue during the first week, but the recently hot weather has brought the issue back, and this is extremely annoying since I am unable to revise in my room for exams.
Since I have quite a lot to write, I'll bullet point the rest
- The place is very much like a hotel, not in the way that it is luxury, but in the way that the place is really "shut door". There's no walking about and meeting new people who just leave their doors open like it is in halls, the place is very closed down and anti-social
- Appliances in the kitchen are very cheap, the toaster was so small that I couldn't even fit my standard sized Warburton's Orange bread in there!
- I have to go through 5 doors to get to my room. The outside gate; the door to the block; the second door to the block; in the lift (I don't count this as a door); my flat door; and finally my room door. Opal is billed as "very secure", but it's easy to follow someone else through the doors, and some of the gates aren't even working at the moment
- Things break often, and when they do, it takes Opal MONTHS to repair them. For example, the D block lift was broken for 2-3 months I believe, meaning that those living on the higher floors had to walk up 3-5 flights of stairs every time they wanted to get to their room. This is okay for a week, but it took them TOO long to fix it
- "Very secure", but they leave a side gate open, rendering all the external gates completely useless
- Some of the staff are extremely rude, I've had someone refer to me as "that ****ing dickhead in there", after I complained that the remote to our TV didn't work (and therefore we were unable to watch any digital channels since the switch-over
- The common room roof leaked 2-3 weeks ago, and they still haven't fixed it. Surely it doesn't take that long to get someone out to fix a roof? It's a good job the roof didn't break on an accommodation block!
- It's relatively expensive to wash your clothes. £2.20 for a decent spin, then a quid to dry your clothes. Compared to the washing machines and dryers of other accommodation, this is expensive
- You might not necessarily live with people like you. I was lucky to be put with 3 other lively first years, but friends have been put with Chinese students, who don't say a word to them (even when spoken to). In before "that's racist"
- The internet is relatively slow, and you have to pay if you want to use more than one device. It's outsourced to a company called "Ask4" who provide a basic service of 4Mbit. You can upgrade to 30, 60 or 100Mbit, but it's very expensive. You also have to pay £15 or so to upgrade to use more devices, which I had to do in order to use my phone, iPad, Kindle
- No wireless internet access in rooms, which can be quite frustrating. I purchased a router which allowed me to share my connection wirelessly
- It's expensive for what you get. At ~£115 per week at the cheapest, you're going to be paying a lot more than your friends in other places. This really isn't justified.
I can't think of much more at the moment, but if I do remember then I'll update the thread. I'll also put some photos up tomorrow, and do a video tour of me walking from outside of the complex right up to my room. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. I'm also willing to answer general questions about Nottingham Uni, studying/living around JC, living out of halls, or Computer Science
Update: Hot water has been off in my block over the weekend, didn't notice for the first couple of days due to insanely hot weather. Started to hyperventilate when I was forced to have a cold shower early in the morning before my 9am exam.