After searching for three long and unproductive days for an affordable hotel in the city center, I stumbled across a great deal on hotels.com for the Crowne Plaza in the city center. The deal offered a room with two double beds (4 people in total) for the price of £82. Once divided up between the four of us, it worked out just over £20 for a nights stay in the hotel each. Considering it was booked for a Saturday night and the hotel is in the heart of Birmingham, the price seemed reasonable to say the least.
The Crowne Plaza is located on Holiday street, just behind Broad street and is easily accessible by car or on foot. On our first visit to the hotel we went the long way around, unaware that an under passage took us from Broad to the hotel in a matter of minutes.
Walking up to the hotel you are faced with a black, stylish building; in-keeping with the surroundings. As we walked the long way around we experienced a nice walk up to the hotel and it evoked that holiday excitement, which you experience as you embark on a break away from home. This was nice as it seemed as though we were worlds away, although we were still in Birmingham. The hotel also had rotating doors that were automatic so we didn't have to do anything, just let the doors guide us in. The lobby was decorated nicely with a grand staircase in the middle leading up to the conference rooms and to further floors in the hotel.
Our room was on the 4th floor and was easily accessible using the lift and we only had to walk a short distance after departing the lift. We were definitely not expecting to experience the shock that we did when we opened the hotel door. The room was absolutely beautiful, as students we were used to the likes of Travelodge. There were two big beds, a comfy arm chair, a large desk and so many mirrors that we were left knowing every kink in our faces.
When opening up a large cupboard by the door we found a complementary refreshment tray. It had tea bags, coffee, biscuits and even cans of soft drinks on it and it was a nice touch to the room.
The beds were a highlight, as after a long night out on the town; they provided us with warmth and comfort. Another great factor about the room was the air conditioning system it allowed us to warm the room up once we came in from the cold, and cool it down once it was too hot during the night.
The bathroom was by far the best bit about the hotel. It had a shower/bath combo a sink and a toilet. The room overall was spacious and came equipped with nice-smelling complementary bath and shower products. The shower was amazing as it was high quality, and it was movable because usually in cheaper hotels the shower head is fixed to the wall and you have to stand in a corner to shower. The only problem though was the minuscule shower guard as it didn't really protect the bathroom from the water splashes as it was too small.
The staff at the hotel were great as they treated us as royalty, nothing was to much to ask of them. When we first arrived the tap from the sink in the bathroom fell off and we called down at reception, and by the time we returned in the evening the tap was fixed. Also after a long night, we all realised that none of us had any toothpaste, so again we rang down to the reception and within minutes we were able to brush our teeth with use of the complementary wash kit they provided.
There also was a pillow menu where you could order pillows and we found this idea ingenious, but we were too tired to try it out.
-The bed was comfortable
-Easy to find
-Lots of complementary products
-Surplus of towels
-The view of the room was of an abandoned building. (this didn't bother us too much as it we spent time there during the evening)
-My fear of lifts left me running up many cold staircases in the evening
-Shower splashed everywhere
~Would I stay here again?~
Definitely. I would not be hesitant to choose this hotel over a cheaper one as it was the best hotel experience me and the girls have had together at a hotel in Birmingham.
This review is of the hotel, Crowne Plaza, at Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC). I stayed here for one night in February 2010, and was also able to eat the evening meal and breakfast in the hotel.
The room was quite expensive, but was booked at quite short notice, so it wasn't possible to take advantage of the offers which I've noticed can be taken at this hotel if you're prepared to book a bit further in advance.
There is a lot of car parking in this hotel, including an overflow area, so you are unlikely to have problems parking. Parking is expensive, ten pounds for a day, but if you take a meal in the hotel, then they waive this car parking fee. The car parking ticket can be collected at reception when you're leaving, and the car park seemed secure and well looked after, and full of rather expensive cars!
The reception in the hotel was large and very clean and well organised. There were two members of staff on reception, both very smart and helpful, and both did their job quickly and helpfully. It was certainly a good introduction to the hotel, and the cleanliness in this area certainly seemed to be replicated throughout the hotel.
The room which we were given was on the executive floor, and was of a very large size, with two sofas, small table in the centre, large desk area, and a large amount of floor space. It was certainly a good sized room, and there were three sets of windows, which looked out onto the car park, but which were easy to open to cool the room down if required. In the morning the free newspaper which we had requested was placed outside the door early on, which was much appreciated.
There were a range of additional free items in the room, such as a small bottle of wine when we entered, a small range of biscuits and the usual coffee tray selection. There was a safe, trouser press, iron and so on, and a reasonably well stocked mini bar, although as usual, take care not to lift anything out to examine it, as there are sensors which will automatically charge you for what you've lifted out!
The bathroom wasn't the largest which I've seen, but was of a sufficient size with a bath and shower. A range of toiletries were provided, and a good selection of towels. This area, like all the others, was clean and well presented. As usual, a dressing gown was provided in the cupboard, which you could take if you wished, but it noted that 25 pounds would be charged to your account!
The evening meal in the hotel was partly included in the room rate, so we stayed in and didn't travel out to anywhere else. The service in the restaurant was a little careless, it was hard to attract the attention of the waiter when we needed anything, but this is really the only complaint which I had. The food was of good quality, my salmon was cooked well, and the starter of vegetable soup tasted nice, although they were a little tight on the amount of bread roll which they provided with it. We had a liquier coffee after, and although this wasn't the cheapest meal, it was all of good quality.
The breakfast in the morning was held in the same room as the evening meal. There were lots of attentive staff around, and the selection was wide and impressive. There were a range of items in the cooked breakfast area which you'd expect, sausages, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, hash browns and so on. There were a range of yoghurts and toppings, a range of bread rolls, drinks, a small selection of cheeses and hams and coffee and tea were served quickly and promptly when we sat down. There was also a small pile of free newspapers provided to read during breakfast if required.
As with the check in the previous day, the check out in the morning was just as well organised and despite quite a few people leaving, their staff were easily able to deal with everyone in a prompt and helpful fashion. The bill was correct, although they gave chance to check it, and we were able to leave and exit the car park smoothly.
Overall, this isn't the cheapest hotel stay that I've had, and the room wasn't the cheapest, but the service and professional standards did reflect the extra cost in the room. I'm sure that if anything was required, the staff would have been easily able to help, and would have done so efficiently. If you're not after a budget stay, definitely consider staying at this hotel. Very impressive.
I stayed at this hotel when it had either newly opened or was still being renovated - either way there was scaffolding and building work outside, and we had to take a strange route to find out way in, but ---- once inside, I must admit... the place looks amazing different to the works outside... Everything was clean and nice enough downstairs... We were going out for my birthday, and this was a quick stop off before a flight. As I was coming in by car it was important that I could find the hotel easily (didn't really happen because the parking falls off the side streets which aren't as easy to get to) but then once parked, things are ok!!
Parking cost around £13 for the night if I remember correctly - this isn't the cheapest considering other hotels I had stayed in in the area before (which are usually free) but because the hotel was relatively cheap (around £60 for the night) I could overlook that.
I think Crowne Plaza are from the same group as Holiday Inn, because they offer points onto your membership if you have one - I have no idea what the points lead to - but I guess force of habit means you collect them just in case!!
The room - I must admit was LOVELY... Very plush, nice and comfortable, the bed had pillows galore and the view was ok - we had quite a few people joining us for a night out - and they arent the quietest of people, so either the room;s were soundproofed really well, or people just generally didn;t complain, but everything was great.... We didn;t eat in the hotel just because we had already made plans to meet some people in the hotel, others at the bar and then some at the club, so unfortunately I could not comment on the food - but in terms of location this hotel is nigh-on perfect... you can get into central Bham city centre within minutes, and they have lots of attentive staff.... the number of times we called them because the bottle openers we had were not working correctly and needed replacements, or for additional glasses and they just obliged was great.... Not all hotels seem to do that these days but anyway...
Decor was all browns and beiges and considering the price we paid, it had everything we wanted and more... the room was very spacious and the amenities all looked nice and new... maybe due to it being new/undergoing refurbishment.. bt i wasnt complaining either way.... the bed was huge and super comfortable - all in all a great place to stay in terms of quality and standards, location and definitely price.... I would definitely go back!
Crowne Plaza Birmingham
My wife and I have stayed here a couple of times, always in March and yes you've probably guessed, it's when Crufts is on at the NEC.
Strange but a few years ago you had to book wayyy way in advance to get a room but with this recession where all going through, getting a room is easy. I suppose the stick that Crufts came under last year didn't help either but anyhow getting back to the hotel.
You can easily book a room and they vary in price from £120 to £220 depending on things such as lake view, breakfast included or evening meal and breakfast. But as March approaches then the room prices tend to rocket.
The room is a standard large bedroom and a bathroom.
What more to add to the room? It comes with TV, Kettle, Ironing equip, small table and 2 comfy chairs. We always go for the lake view and you can watch people arriving with their assortment of pooches in the early morning.
Room service is expensive and the food can be a little tepid but it comes with some condiments I never new existed.
The Hotel boasts a superb waiter service restaurant and a Bistro which is simply delicious. They have a carvery and this is Highly Recommended.
The breakfast is a choice between continental style or of course full English, oh yea.
The bar is relaxing and serves some equally tasty sandwiches in the day to early evening.
We generally stay the night before our favoured breed is on, the Chow Chows, (we own 2) and this means you can have your breakfast and then stroll the short distance into the NEC.
(The food is appalling in the NEC and you will be over charged for the privilege of eating it).
Staying the night before has one more advantage you can leave your car in the hotel car park until you go home later that day.
This Hotel is a sumptuous Hotel that I will stay at again and again.
Crowne Plaza Birmingham - 4 Star
While making my way down to London to go on a trip to Europe we stopped off at the Crowne Plaza in Birmingham as we went to see Pink in concert.
We picked this hotel as it was within walking distance to the NIA where the concert was being held. It also was close to the New Street Train Station. This was important as we were getting off the train and had to walk to the hotel with our luggage.
The hotel cost us £64 for the four star hotel and this also included breakfast for one night. I thought this was good value. There was a nice atmosphere when we arrived in the hotel and it all seemed to be run very professionally.
They had revolving doors when you came in and a very large lobby. The best thing of all was that there was no long waiting times to check in or out.
The staff were very helpful and friendly. They gave us directions to the NIA and were very keen to help with any queries we had. They seemed to have lots of people on hand to answer any questions or queries you may have had.
Our room was very modern, spacious and clean. It had been updated since the picture shown above has been taken. I felt like I was in a four star hotel which is unusual because sometimes I think four stars isn't always the way you would expect.
On the table in your room you got complimentary biscuits (they happened to be oat biscuits) and tea which you could make for yourself. I always like this as I usually be tired when I reach a hotel and want a drink and something to eat so its always great when they have the facilities for you to use.
I liked the lighting in the room as it made you feel relaxed. They had a large canvas above the bed and a large flat screen television in front of the bed so you could watch television comfortably from your bed.
The room included a safe if you wanted to put your valuables in. Also if you needed it they have an ironing board provided.
The wardrobe has a few drawers, a bench so you could put any clothes away if you wanted to. We were only staying a night so we didn't bother using the wardrobe at all.
In the room there was two large comfortable chairs. Even with these chairs in the room there still was lots of space.
The bed was huge and I have to say it is the most comfortable mattress I have ever slept in. I had the best nights sleep ever. It was way more comfortable than my bed at home. The duvet was very soft, warm and cosy as well.
The bathroom was a great standard and very modern. It was very clean and you didn't think twice to use anything in it as it was sparkling.
Once you opened the curtains you had a great view of Birmingham. I liked the way you could control the heating in the room so it could be as warm or cold as you wanted it to be.
For breakfast we had a buffet which had a large choice of items to chose from. You could have had hot meals (bacon, sausage, egg, toast) or cereals, fruit or cold meats. I thought it tasted lovely and was worth getting. The cutlery was clean and everything was well present. It was a nice dining experience and tasted very yummy!
I really enjoyed staying in this hotel. I am not sure what there is to do in the area, as we didn't really have time to explore it. While we were walking to the NIA to see Pink's concert we noticed lots of nice looking cafes and restaurants.
If you are ever going to a concert here and want to have a little bit of luxury I would definitely recommend this place as it is very convenient and a nice hotel to stay in.
It doesn't work out very expensive and you definately are getting a very nice hotel for the money.
The first thing to note about the Crowne Plaza in Birmingham is that there are two! Yes, two. One is slap bang in the middle of the City, one is on the outskirts next to the NEC. One would think that it should be easy to differentiate the two but, as a couple of acquaintances of mine will admit, it's actually not that easy. You see, the city centre hotel is near to the ICC, a popular conference venue just like the NEC. For those unfamiliar with Birmingham mixing the ICC and the NEC up is an easy mistake to make. So do check which hotel you want! This review is of the Crowne Plaza Birmingham City Centre - the one next to the ICC.
OK. So, having established we're at the right establishment, what should you expect?
Crowne Plaza hotels are, in my opinion, a little different from many of the chain hotels in that they're not totally dedicated to business yet they are not really tourist hotels either. They seem to manage to attract the casual visitor and present a corporate face to the businessman that's actually not faceless - a rarity for chain business hotels.
The Crown Plaza Birmingham City Centre appears to have undergone a recent refurbishment (as of October 2008) and the hotel that greets you is an upbeat, modern affair. The reception atrium is bright and airy and in quite stark contrast to the rather bleak exterior of the hotel. In some ways it achieved the same effect as the St Martin's Lane hotel (London) in that the exterior hides a bit of a gem, only, in the case of the Crowne Plaza, you won't be left wondering what on earth you've come to!
Reception service was both efficient and polite. Requests were taken as appropriate and the standard credit card security charge was made. Rather annoyingly the security charge here was taken in the form of a pre-approved charge limit (room rate plus an amount for assumed use of the mini-bar). Personally I find this apparent lack of trust somewhat offensive and prefer cards to be charged for a nil amount (so that the hotel have your details but don't actually pre-approve a spend).
As a Priority Club member (the ICH group of hotel's membership club) I was allocated a room on the "club" floors. The rooms on these floors are suites and "executive" rooms (you don't have to a member of the Priority Club to book them though) and give you access to the business lounge on the 11th floor of the hotel. This is actually more of a bonus than you might at first think. Yes, there are the obligatory computers (with free internet access) but there's also a cosy lounge area and free soft drinks and snacks throughout the day and night. You can also chose to have a continental-style breakfast here instead of in the restaurant if you so desire. I like this lounge approach, especially as a female as it negates the need for me to go to the hotel bar alone but means that I don't have to stay in my room to get a drink.
The rooms in the hotel are fairly standard. I'd place them above the likes of Travelodge and Holiday Inn but below the more bespoke offerings that you'd find in a Malmaison or LHOW hotel. They're certainly not as individual as a Relais & Chateaux or the increasingly popular Hotel du Vin chain.
Furnishings are new and functional. The style is dark minimalist with all unnecessary items hidden from view. These hidden items include a mini-bar, tea/coffee facilities, hairdryer and ironing board (with iron). This actually means that there's very little storage space in the room so, if you're here for more than a couple of nights, bear this in mind. There's enough hanging space (although no full length hanging - again an issue for women attending evening functions) but little drawer space unless you want to empty some of the hidden stuff.
The bathroom is above average with a bath, walk-in shower (powered) sink and loo. Toiletries are from "The White Company" with a fairly unisex scent. Forgotten toiletries can be requested from reception and these are free.
I found the bed to be comfortable and, although I didn't take advantage, there was the increasingly common "pillow menu" so that you could chose to have a particular pillow filling. One niggle, and not unique to this establishment, is that the furnishings included no less than 6 scatter cushions and a heavy bedspread. My issue is always what to do with these. In the end they ended up on a chaise-long but this then meant that I couldn't sit in the chair in the morning unless I threw everything back on the bed.
Lighting in the room was poor. There was no central light just a desk lamp, a standard lamp and two bedside lamps. The mood created was atmospheric but far from bright. The bathroom fared better (and a mirror on a flexi-arm meant that there were no make-up issues) but I still struggled to find enough light to style my hair when wet (no regular plugs in the bathroom for obvious reasons).
Breakfast, if not taken in the business lounge, was taken in the open-plan dining room just off of the ground floor lobby. The food was acceptable but not outstanding. There was plenty of choice, both English and Continental, served buffet-style. Tea and coffee was served at the table. The biggest issue at breakfast was the fact that the restaurant area wasn't big enough to cope with the number of guests. The first morning I stayed it was not an issue but on the second morning there appeared to be guests attending at least two conferences. As a result everyone seemed to want breakfast about the same time (8am) and the restaurant could not cope. There were not enough tables and the food could not be cooked quickly enough. The former is an issue that is hard to deal with but the second should be something that could be anticipated and planned for. As a result people ended up taking breakfast in the bar and lobby areas - far from ideal.
City centre hotels tend to suffer from parking issues but this is not the case here. There is a privately owned (not by the hotel) car park immediately below the hotel with ample space. At £13 a night it's not cheap but it is certainly convenient. If you're not driving then the station (New Street) is not far away.
I would recommend the hotel for stays, both business and leisure, in the heart of Birmingham. It doesn't have the most exciting of facades but it's what's inside that counts and I think this scores fairly well. The hotel is ideally placed for the ICC and Symphony Hall as well as for shopping in the main areas.
Crowne Plaza, Birmingham Last weekend I went to Birmingham for the weekend with my boys Zach, 7 and Danny, 2. I booked throught the Holiday inn website at the last minute with their weekend websavers offer. I got a great rate of £57/night for a large room with 2 double beds and a cot. The only problem with these internet rates is that they are non- refundable so only book if you're definitley going. I was impressed from the moment the taxi pulled up at the front doors. The concierge helped with the luggage and I was handed my room key with a minimum of fuss after producing my priority membership card. The bedroom was wonderful, 2 double beds, lovely Winnie the Pooh travel cot, desk, table, armchairs, TV, hairdryer, trouser press, mini bar etc etc. There were lovely cups and saucers for coffee etc, along with complimentary cookies and chocolates. The bathroom was spacious and well lit, with plenty of room for all my junk. Also had lots of really nice toiletries and some really cosy bathrobes. A little sidebar here - my son, Zach, has ADHD and autistic tendencies, so we don't go away very often, but he had just finished his SATS, so a reward was on offer, hence the weekend away. He is a real test for customer service -LOL We unpacked, got our swimming stuff together and went down to the swimming pool. Lovely changing rooms. The pool was lovely and warm, but the kiddies pool was too shallow for Daniel to appreciate. I took him into the big pool with me, whilst Zach did laps, until he found the jacuzzi. This was absolute bliss, but I couldn't stay in it too long as it was realy warm and Daniel was a bit scared of the bubbles. There is also a gym and sauna in the leisure area, which I didn't get to use, obviously, but they looked nice. Booked into the restaurant for dinner at 7. and then went up to watch tv and get ready. The prices in the restaurant are not cheap, so I had the set 3
course dinner at £19.50 - Carrot and Coriander soup, Chicken with garlic mash and asparagus, and apple and rhubaarb crumble with rosewater flavoured custard. All I can comment is Mmmmmmmm. It was deeeeelicious. Zach had his usual plate of chips and Danny had beans on toast. One child per adult eats free, so the total bill was £22.00. Waitresses were good and put Zach at ease. Nice, new, clean highchair for Danny. Went up to bed, bath and early night. Ordered a pot of coffee for myself and ice cream for Zach, when Danny was asleep - £5.90, but coffee pot held 4 cups, so not too bad. Bed was a bit uncomfortable due to the waterproof mattress cover, which meant I woke up with the sheets stuck to me, but not too bad a nights sleep. The rooms were wonderfully soundproofed as well. Breakfast the next day was a sumptuous affair, which was a good job as it set me back £14.95!! But I didn't get charged for either of the kids. Eggs, bacon, beans, tomatoes, sausages, fried bread, black pudding, toast, yoghourt, fruit, cereal, etc etc. Coffee and toast brought to the table and plenty of butter and preserves on hand. We ate out that night and checked out the following afternoon. the concierge was really helpful, with all sorts of advice on directions, money off vouchers for attractions etc. This has got to be on of the cheapest luxury breaks I have ever had. Well done Crowne Plaza!!