“ Address: 1 West Victoria Dock Road / Dundee / DD1 3JP „
It seems that I only ever really stay in hotels for work related purposes, which has its good and bad points. On the one hand, someone else handles all the booking arrangements and pays the bill. On the other hand, it's pot luck on the quality of hotel that you get (with cost being a significant factor) and I have stayed in some real stinkers over the years. That's certainly not a description which could be applied to the Apex Hotel, Dundee.
The Apex, Dundee is situated just on the edge of Dundee City Centre and occupies a prime location on the harbour. It is less than five minutes' walk away from the railway station and less than five minutes' drive from the Tay Bridge back across the river, so is in an ideal location whether you want to explore Dundee itself or the surrounding area. There is free car parking available for residents.
Initial impressions of the hotel are very positive indeed. It sits overlooking part of Dundee Harbour and so is in a very picturesque location. The main walls are made almost entirely of glass, so that both the Reception area and the main dining room are lovely, light areas. A comfortable seating area and bar are also on this floor, making them very pleasant places to meet up with people for a drink and a chat.
Checking in and out
The check-in process was very smooth and efficient and simply required one signature. Unlike many hotels, they also don't insist on swiping a credit or debit card, but give you the option of doing that or simply paying for any extras as you buy them. Checking out was also very straightforward process, simply consisting of handing in my room card and waiting two minutes whilst they confirmed there was nothing extra to pay (bar bills etc.)
There are a lot of hotels which could learn from this light-touch approach. When you have just completed a long, tiring journey or are racing off to catch a train, the last thing you want is to have to stand there and complete lots of forms.
Staff on Reception were also very friendly and helpful without being in your face - something which was typical of all the staff I came across in the hotel.
The Apex offers a range of rooms from the City (twin single or a double bed) through to a suite. I had an Executive room with a King Size Bed and an average size of 30 square metres. All Executive Rooms are also guaranteed a view over the waterfront, and the view from my room was stunning (which made a nice change; I usually get a room overlooking either the kitchens or the bins!). The fact that the windows were very large (essentially the width of the room) meant that you could make the most of this stunning view, as well as ensuring the room was very light and airy.
The rooms are very impressive and this is easily the best hotel I have stayed in for a long time from the perspective of comfort. Even though there is a King Size bed in the room, it is still very spacious with enough space for a desk and a little area set off to one side with two comfortable seats and a small table. Unlike many hotels I have stayed in, this means that the room is a pleasant one in which to just sit and relax. A 42" TV on the wall gives access to around 30 Freeview channels and completely free Wi-Fi is available to all residents throughout the hotel. I used this regularly during my stay and found it to be both fast and reliable. Well done the Apex for providing as standard something most other hotels charge extra for.
A door as you enter the room gives access to a separate bath and shower unit, which is excellent and this was really clean looking and thanks to some clever lighting, very light (in my experience, hotel bathrooms can often be rather gloomy) and surprisingly large looking.
The only downside to the room I occupied was the fact that it was right over the entrance to the hotel. There were two weddings on at the hotel on the nights I stayed there, and guests tended to congregate in this area to smoke. As such, it was quite noisy at night until fairly late in the night/early in the morning.
Food and Drink
Food and drink was a bit of a mixed bag in my experience. The evening meal I had in the hotel was excellent, if a touch on the expensive side. Food was posh without being too fussy and there was plenty of choice available on the menu. Each of the three courses I had were perfectly cooked and there was exactly the right amount so that you felt neither stuffed nor still hungry when you finished. Prices were quite expensive, with the average starter being between £5-7 and the average main course costing around £15-17. It was clearly a popular location, though, as there were lots of people (residents and non-residents) dining there.
Less impressive was the breakfast. Although there was the option for cooked or continental, both the choice and the quality was less impressive. Although there were a fair amount of items available for the cooked breakfast (including haggis and black pudding), these were served from hot plates and had gone a little soggy from the condensation that had formed on the metal lids. The meat served at breakfast also seemed to be of a lower quality, too. The sausages were surprisingly grisly and the bacon was rather fatty. I rarely get the chance to enjoy a cooked breakfast, so really look forward to one when it do. Sadly, compared to the meal the previous evening breakfast was rather disappointing.
The range of items available in the Continental Breakfast was also rather limited. There were just a couple of types of cheese and meats available, rather than the larger selection I have seen elsewhere. Cereal choices were limited to fairly bog standard bran flakes, cornflakes or rice krispies, although the organic muesli (the only bit of the continental breakfast I tried) was delicious. Overall, though, breakfast was something of a disappointment; so much so that I only bothered with it on one of the two days I stayed there.
The cost of the Executive Room in which I stayed was £115 per night (including breakfast). Whilst this sounds quite expensive, in terms of the facilities and room which I got I actually thought that this offered very good value for money. I have stayed in other hotels which have cost nearly as much per night and where the rooms have been significantly smaller or the facilities on offer much more limited. Having experienced the Apex Hotel, I would happily go back and stay there again.
Overall, my stay at the Apex in Dundee was very pleasant and it was easily the nicest hotel I have stayed in for business purposes. Whether you are planning a trip for business or pleasure, if you are going to Dundee, then the Apex comes highly recommended.
Apex City Quay Hotel
1 West Victoria Dock Road
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