“ Chapel Street / Aberdeen AB10 1SQ / Scotland. „
The decision had to be made recently of where to stay in Aberdeen for a Friday and Saturday night. The reason for this was that I had arranged with my partner to meet up with another Ciao couple for a relaxing weekend away. Weve all been under a bit of stress lately with one thing and another, for me its mainly been to do with planning my wedding in July, and we decided it would be fun to have a mini meet as my friend wouldnt be able to make it to Dundee at the end of June. Look at that review if you are interested in joining us.
Cost was a big factor for my bloke and I after all weve a wedding and honeymoon to pay for so looking for somewhere that was cheap enough to meet our needs but not so cheap that we would worry about quality. We had decided to go by train but our friends were driving so nearby parking was a must too.
Looking around we found that the best deal to be had was with the Express by Holiday Inn. It was in the centre of Aberdeen just off Union Street and had limited parking available, although there was an NCP just down the street that we found out was free on evenings from 6pm 8am and all weekend.
I had actually been at the hotel for an interview/training day, the day before we were due to stay there, and had already sussed out the reception area. Ill give a bit at the bottom of the review on the meeting room area but for now Ill stick to our weekend away.
When we arrived it was just after 7.30pm and we were instantly greeted warmly by a young man who took our names and informed us that the only double rooms he had left that were non-smoking were at the front of the hotel and that it could get a little bit noisy at night. We didnt want to move to a smoking room and we were offered a twin room, but its not often were away from the kids so we didnt fancy that idea either nudge nudge, wink wink a bit of practise before the honeymoon never did anyone any harm. We agreed that it would be fine and thought that after a few tipples we would probably sleep through any noise anyway.
Our credit card details were taken and we were informed that breakfast would be served between 6.30-10.30am on the Saturday and Sunday mornings. I believe that on weekdays the continental buffet breakfast is only served until 9.30am.
We signed in and made our way up to the 3rd floor via one of the lifts and found our room was just through a swing door on the right. This was great we thought again its easier to find after weve had a few drinks.
When we opened the door we were impressed by the amount of room there was although we had booked into a room with a double bed and a sofa bed too, as it was the same price for both. The room was delicately decorated with creamy coloured walls and blue and beech wood effect throughout. This gave it a very bright feel to it, but was unlike some hotel rooms where they feel a bit cold and clinical and look a bit like a hospital room.
The lighting was lovely with two wall lamps, which had blue glass shades and two spotlights at either side of the bed and another on the desk. The room had a very Art Deco feel to it and this made me feel quite comfortable. The television sat on a corner of the desk unit and had most of the normal channels you would expect in a hotel but you could also pay to view certain film channels if you so desired. To be honest we werent really in the room much except to sleep so we didnt use this function.
There was also an open plan wardrobe area with attached coat hangers and open drawer spaces to keep the extra clothes on. This was ok for a couple of nights stay and for just the two of us, but it could have been a little bit cramped if we had our children with us too.
The large window gave a view of the front of the hotel and thats where we noticed a little bakery that stayed open at night and sold pies, pastries and pizza slices we took note of that for later on as I know my bloke often gets peckish after a few drinks as do I. We could see that there were already quite a few people wandering about but with the double glazed window closed there wasnt an excessive noise.
The bathroom or should I say shower room, as there was no bath in this room, was lovely and clean. Decorated with grey wall tiles and white floor tiles it sparkled. One thing we did find a little strange was that the outer door could also be used to close the toilet area off instead. This would have been fine, especially when the two of you are running around trying to get ready at the same time, but the shower and the toilet were separated by opaque glass and you could see each other through them. Not something I particularly liked much.
The shower was a very powerful one and I have to admit that once in it, I didnt really want to come out again. There was plenty of elbowroom in it and the area to step out into near the wash hand basin was ample too. The freebies in this hotel consisted of Dove hand wash and Lux hair and body wash. Unfortunately the bottles were fixed to the walls so no taking away little samples from here. They were both well stocked though and replacements available on request.
The towels were very soft and thick and we got two each of bath towels and hand towels and one bath mat to stand on. There were also some disposable face cloths for us to use too. Also available on request are complimentary travel toothbrushes and small tubes of Colgate toothpaste, disposable razors, shaving cream and little vanity kits, which included cotton wool, a nail file and cotton buds. We had to get a toothbrush for me, as my partner knocked mine down in the bathroom and the head broke so this worked out very handy. The little tube of toothpaste will also be useful for my daughter when she does her Duke of Edinburgh hike next month. I also had to get some extra cotton wool for removing make up, as I didnt bring enough with me for some strange reason.
The bed was a standard size with a thick quilt and two well plumped up pillows. There were also a couple of spare pillows available in the room, which were obviously for the sofa bed if it was needed. We found that the pillows we had were enough and the bed was very comfortable. In fact, I think I can safely say that it was the best couple of nights sleep I had in ages. Maybe that was due to the alcohol and the antihistamines I was taking but Ill get to that later.
Tea making facilities were on a shelf attached to the wall right beside a long mirror and a hairdryer. There were also a number of sockets for other beauty products, which is great because I take my straighteners everywhere with me.
Agreeing to meet our companions down in the lounge bar area of the Holiday Inn we ordered a couple of Bacardis with a small bottle of lemonade. We were a little bit shocked when this came to £5.65 and soon decided that after having that one we would head out to a local pub instead. The lounge area was very comfortable with big sofas and coffee tables to sit around. The floor was laminated and looked very clean too. There was also a large plasma television on the end wall for those who wanted to watch a bit of news or the football. It was a bright area and was nice to sit and have a quiet chat in before we headed off to the local bars.
One thing I really love on the occasional stay in a hotel is being able to go down for breakfast. Unfortunately or luckily for me, as I ate enough calories over the weekend, there wasnt a cooked breakfast available. The selection of the continental breakfast was excellent though and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this both mornings. The staff kept them well stocked unlike another hotel we stayed in and there were no cases of them running out of any items.
Getting a tray and cutlery we found that the cereal section was first. This consisted of those one-portion boxes that you usually get in multi-packs and were the real deal as opposed to getting cheaper substitutes. Thats one thing Im usually a bit of a snob with so that pleased me. I decided on Rice Krispies and my bloke had the Crunchy Nut Cornflakes but there were also Cornflakes, Coco Pops and Fruit & Fibre, as well as some muesli.
Then you could choose between fresh orange or grapefruit juice, plain water, tea, various types of coffee or hot chocolate. I had some orange juice and coffee the first day and then orange juice and hot chocolate the second day. Unlike some of the hot chocolate machines this one could be made with half water and half milk, which is what attracted me to it. My bloke had some grapefruit juice and tea.
Further round in the chilled section there were large jugs of milk that you could pour into a glass or into a smaller jug to take to your table for cereal or beverages. There were also a good selection of yoghurts including strawberry, raspberry, natural and toffee. These didnt have bits in though, which is good for some fussy eaters but not so good for those who like some fruit included. There was however grapefruit segments available and a selection of fresh fruit including apples and oranges. My bloke had raspberry yoghurt and some grapefruit segments that he said were quite sweet.
There was a grill available to use for toasting either white or brown bread and also a warning beside it not to heat up the croissants, pain au chocolat or small sultana danishes. This was a bit disappointing, as I love warm croissants and pain au chocolat. This didnt stop me enjoying quite a few of them though over the two mornings though. Also available were a selection of seeded and unseeded rolls. I enjoyed the sesame seed rolls, which were lovely and crunchy on the outside and deliciously fresh on the inside.
For the rolls etc, there were little foil wrapped tubs of butter, marmalade and a selection of differently flavoured jams including raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant.
Internet is also available at a charge of £15 for 24 hours or lesser charges for hourly or 12 hourly sessions. There is also a computer set up in the hotel reception area, which can be charged by the minute directly to your credit card.
There are laundry facilities available too although these seemed quite expensive to us and I wouldnt suggest using these unless you were desperate.
If you are looking for a snack in the evening then you can order a small selection of hot items, which could be collected downstairs and eaten in the lounge or taken up to your room. We didnt use this service as we decided to eat out.
We booked through lateroom.com and managed to get a bedroom that sleeps 4 for £55 per room per night. This includes the continental breakfast.
***The Meeting Room***
As I mentioned earlier, I had been at the hotel on the Thursday morning for a training day in connection with a new job opportunity. I managed to park in the hotel car park at 10am without too much trouble. I say this with a bit of a smile as the spaces are quite difficult to get into as there are pillars down the sides and I have a Meriva so its not the smallest of cars to manoeuvre. This done I went for a wander in Aberdeen and a coffee as I had almost an hour to spare.
When I returned and entered the hotel I was welcomed with a smile by the staff and given directions for the meeting room where the training day was taking place. Before I went upstairs I asked where the little girls room was and was directed round the side of the bar area. The toilets were also very clean and were well stocked.
I found the room very easily, partly because of the good directions and partly because the meeting rooms were well signposted on the walls of the hotel. It was very spacious and had a large table, which would easily sit twelve people. The hotel had also supplied refreshments in the form of coffee/tea/bottled water and some lovely choc chip cookies. The room was tastefully decorated and well laid out for this type of function.
For a weekend where you arent spending much time in a hotel, then this is ideal. It is situated just off Union Street and has enough parking nearby. Its also only about a 15 minute walk from the train station so although not as close as the nearby Travel Lodge it is still feasible to get to easily.
The staff were lovely and couldnt do enough to help although I did have one major problem when I woke up on the Saturday morning. I have sensitive skin and when I woke up I found I was covered in a rash mainly on my back but on some of my front too. It was extremely itchy and the first thing I did was to find a chemist to get some anti-histamine tablets. Luckily Boots isnt far away so I managed to get some to calm down the itchiness but of course I knew I still had another night to sleep in the bed with sheets that had obviously been washed in heavy biological detergent.
When I asked the staff on reception they did there best to try and help and contacted housekeeping but unfortunately they do not have any bedding available for those with sensitive skin and all they could suggest was giving me extra towels to sleep on. This of course seemed a little bit silly to me as the towels would be washed in the same detergent.
I had to accept that I was obviously going to be going home very red and itchy and this did spoil my enjoyment of the weekend slightly although overdosing on anti-histamines did help a bit, even though it made me very sleepy.
This did help me to sleep through some of the noise though from outside and I have to say that I fell asleep the second night as soon as my head hit the pillow. So much for a weekend of passion!!!
To be honest, noise, from other partygoers, didnt really wake us up anyway, but we did face a noisy wake up call at around 8.00am from the street cleaners. This wasnt too bad though, as I was looking forward to my breakfast and 8am is a long lie in for us, as my bloke gets up for work at 5.30am and our 5-year-old is up every morning at 6am.
I would definitely recommend this hotel as a base if you were out and about in Aberdeen. The staff were great, the bed was comfortable and the breakfast was delicious. What more could you ask for at that price?
Express by Holiday Inn
Tel: 01224 623500
The hotel has 155 rooms in total 102 are family rooms, 29 are twin rooms and there are 8 rooms that have been adapted for guests with disabilities.
Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen
This hotel is a modern, purpose built hotel with 155 bedrooms.
We Stayed at this Hotel on Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th of May 2007. We were meeting two of our friends and wanted somewhere near central Aberdeen.
Location: Chapel Street, off Union Street; the main thoroughfare of Aberdeen, with The Bon Accord Shopping Centre and various pubs, eateries and lots of little side streets with exclusive shops.
Cost: Four person bedroom: double bed and sofa bed: £55.00 per room, per night.
The main Entrance has a Small reception area with a few comfortable sofas and a bar area to the left with further comfortable seating, coffee tables and two large screen televisions.
The staff were very friendly and courteous and gave us a warm welcome.
A little further along is the dining area where breakfast is served from 6.30 am to 9.30am weekdays and till 10.30 at the weekend.
I found the breakfast a little lacking in variety, with only cereal, toast, butter, Croissants and some sweet pastries, along with the obligatory marmalade etc. However, right across the road from the main entrance is a lovely little shop that sells bacon rolls and lots of other things, so if you really want something more than a continental breakfast with coffee/tea and juices you can nip over to Rosss Chapel Street Bakery.
We booked a Smoking room, which is a bit smelly as you would expect. The Holiday Inn Express havent found a way to fumigate these rooms as efficiently as other Smoking room in various other hotels that we have stayed in. However, having expected this I brought along some lovely smelling aromathery oil candles for the room and they seemed to do the business and made the room smell rather nice instead of stuffy with an old smoke smell. (Well I cant complain its me that smokes).
The non-smoking rooms in this hotel are just the opposite, very nicely scented and the hallways all smell fresh and clean, even in the smoking corridor, which is a very big plus for this particular Holiday Inn Express. In comparison the Holiday Inn Express at Glasgow airport, stunk from the minute you got in till the minute you left, even the non-smoking corridors were pervaded with plumes of stinky smoke. Not a place youd want to stay even as a smoker let alone as a non-smoker.
The bedroom itself is small, but serves its purpose, the double bed is a decent size and the sofa bed has enough room to be put out and you can still move around the room.
It is decorated in an Art Deco style with light coloured and blue wood. Very basic but okay and not unpleasant to look at. There is a 24 colour television with all the normal channels and some pay for movie channels as you would expect in an hotel like this.
The bed has bedside tables with Art Deco style lamps on either side and there is a dressing table with another lamp and a few shelves underneath the unit that the television sits on.
There is an Open wardrobe with eight hangers and a few shelves underneath. A full length mirror with a hairdryer hanging on the wall next to it. A few power points and two phone jacks so you can log on to web if you wish, this costs £15.00 for 24 hours, a lot of money perhaps, but if you are working away from home it is sometimes worth the cost.
The hotel has a high-speed wireless network.
Downstairs in the lobby are a few computers hooked up to the internet that you can pay for on an hourly basis. You can pay for this by credit card or by purchasing a pin number from the reception.
The bathroom was clean and small but neatly appointed, with a corner sink, a sizeable shower, toilet that can be separated by the bathroom door closing it in and locking. This can be handy if you have booked in with children and you need to shower and someone needs to use the toilet.
There is no bath, which I hate, but hey, we were only there for two nights so I figured Id survive.
The toiletries are a little lacking, Dove hand wash is supplied in a container affixed to the left of the sink area and a Dove body wash container is attached to the wall inside the shower.
Two large bath towels, two small hand towels and two throw away facecloths are supplied, although if you have more than two occupants, Im sure youd get a few more.
The pillows on the bed arent the biggest or the best and you only get one apiece, so lucky for us there were the two spare pillows for the sofa bed in a dust-proof bag above the hanging wardrobe area.
There is coffee/tea making station attached to the wall, with a small kettle and insufficient supplies of tea/coffee/milk and sugar. So take your own, or go downstairs and request extra supplies.
You can also get items like toothbrushes, razors, cotton buds, nail files and emergency sanitary items from reception if youve forgotten anything.
There was a heater in the room and no air-conditioning, which was fine as it was warm and we didnt need the heating on. If we were too hot, we could have opened the window fully to let some air in.
This was okay for us as our room was on the side of the building and you couldnt really hear the noise from the road and as the hotel is a few hundred yards from the main road Union Street. The noise levels werent bad and we got good nights sleep.
Its a bit of a different story if you are at the front of the hotel where you cant really open your window as the streets are cleaned for a few hours every night and its rather noisy.
Ironing rooms are located at the rear of the building on each floor.
There is a daily laundry service which includes dry cleaning services.
This particular hotel welcomes small house trained dogs, not something Ive come across before.
There are safe deposit boxes but not in the rooms, they are only available at the reception desk.
All plug sockets in the hotel are 200/240 volt. There is a dual voltage socket (110/120 or 220/240) in the bathroom and they recommend for your own safety you dont charge your electric razor using these sockets.
The hotel operates a wake up service which is utilised through the bedroom television; you just have to follow the on screen instructions.
I found our stay at this hotel a pleasant experience and good value for money. There are no frills here, just basic clean accommodation, which is very near to all the nightlife and shopping facilities that Aberdeen has to offer, it is also only a ten minute walk to the train station.
One drawback for this hotel is the lack of parking, there are a few parking spaces through an archway attached to the hotel, but we had to park in a multi-storey NCP car park at the end of Chapel Street, saying that though, its only a few minutes walk away and the parking is free all weekend, so we werent complaining.
Another drawback is that the hotel doesnt have its own restaurant, but there are plenty within walking distance to suit all tastes and pocket sizes.
I think if I had to go to stay in Aberdeen again, I would return to this hotel as its very convenient for the city and all it has to offer.
p.s There is a lovely little pub just around the corner called Filthy McNastys, but thats another story!
The hotel is a modern purpose-built property with 155 clean and refreshing rooms.