“ Address: Princess Parade / Promenade / Blackpool / Lancashire / FY1 1RQ / England „
My partner's birthday was on Christmas eve and my birthday was on Christmas day, and as a present to him (and me!) he got a stay in the Metropole Hotel in Blackpool for the 27th-30th of December, and as we both needed a break, we were really happy with the present and looking forward to stay and seeing what the Grande Metropole was really like, as on the internet there are complete mixed reviews regarding the hotel, so this is our experience of the Grande Metropole, Blackpool.
- Location -
The Grand Metropole is located right next to the seafront and close to Blackpool's North Pier, which is great for views of the seafront and Blackpool Tower. But is also within 5 minutes walk from many pubs, clubs and restaurants in Blackpool, which great for visitors to Blackpool.
The Grand Metropole is extremely close to Blackpool's North train station, and as you just walk straight towards the seafront, or as the station has a taxi rank then just jump in a taxi, as it only costs roughly £6.
If driving to the hotel, I would be advised to get there early, as by the time we arrived the car park was completely full and as it wasn't a huge car park, it would best to get they by the time of check in but car parking is free within the hotel grounds.
Check in to the hotel is 3.00pm and check out is 10am.
- Reception -
As neither me or my partner booked the hotel, I cannot really comment on how easy the booking process was, but you can book through the website or through telephone, and seems easy enough to book through the website, and when you book, a confirmation email is sent giving the details of the booking, which I think is handy especially if you are booking on behalf of another. The email contains details of the room, type of dining you have booked, how long and the price of the stay.
To get to the reception, you have to walk through the café, which is abit unusual, as most places, you go straight in to the reception, and can be abit of a pain trying to get bags through a really heavy door , especially if you have a lot of luggage.
Once in the reception area, my first opinions were that it looked very grand (lives up to the name then!) and has a faux Georgian feel too it, which lives up to when the hotel was first build, which again I personally liked, but it does completely depend on individual taste. The reception area also has a lot of local information about Blackpool and the surrounding area, such as the Lake District and Manchester, which is great for new visitors to Blackpool or visitors who want to see something new in the area.
The staff were friendly enough, although we did not have any queries regarding Blackpool or the hotel, therefore did have limited contact with the reception staff, but when we did check in they were friendly and were very attentive to us and explained exactly where our room was, so we weren't wandering around aimlessly for ages.
The reception is open 24 hours a day, which allows you to come and go as you please, which I think is a real benefit as a lot of guests seem to be going out in the night, and allows you to still get into your room!
- Room -
Our room was located on the lower ground floor, which the lift does not reach, so we struggled down the stairs with all our luggage, which again was an annoyance, as I assumed the lift would reach all floors of the hotel, so I would advise if you have a lot of luggage to try and ask if you can avoid the lower ground floor.
My first impressions of our room was the size, it was really large! I was really surprised, as I assumed it was be a little pokey, but actually it was more then enough space for us to be comfortable in the room and the double bed was much larger then we needed (not that I'm complaining!) and also the bed was extremely comfortable and the blankets were warm, which meant we both had an extremely good night sleep. There was also extra blankets in the large wardrobe, which is really beneficial if it becomes cold in the night. Also in room there was a kettle, with packets of tea, coffee and milks, which I think is a really nice touch to provide a hot drink to guest, when they arrive, but what we didn't realise was that they re-stoked the refreshments every day, again another benefit, as there's nothing nicer that a cup of tea first thing in the morning!
Other facilities in the room include, a dressing table, which has a large mirror in front of it, perfectly perfect for doing my hair and make up! Also the hairdryer was in the dressing table drawer, and was a fairly cheap one, but during a mid dry of my hair, it exploded (gave me the fright of my life!) so the hairdryer was fairly out of order for the rest of the stay. The wardrobe was very large and wide, very useful, and 2 bedside tables, which is very useful and convenient. Also there was a large amount of hotel information regarding the hotel and facilities in the hotel, which is useful regarding entertainment and Blackpool's highlights.
The main style of the room was fairly simple, but again had hints of Georgian themes within, but overall the room was simply decorated and extremely pleasing to stay in, as I was worried it would be slightly fussy in the decoration but it was white with mahogany looking wooden furniture, which looks slightly older but has slight modern twists. An extremely we decorated and pleasing room to stay in.
House keeping came every day, really early, so we were both still in sleep but woken up by knocking at the door, so that was abit of a negative, especially if your wanting a relaxing lie in.
- Bathroom -
The bathroom was defiantly the best part of the room, as it had a spa bath! Which for those that don't know what a spa bath is, it's a facility in the bath, which allows the user to push a button and receives jets in the bath, which turns the bath into a kind of Jacuzzi type bath, just perfect for bath lovers like myself! The bathroom consisted of a bath, with spa feature, a shower head, toilet and sink, the facilities were all really modern and clean. And the well lit bathroom was really nice, and added to the modern feel, along with a large mirror near the sink, which was a nice feature.
The bath was a really deep and wide sized bath, which allowed a comfortable relaxing bath or a nice romantic one with a partner, and it was the perfect size for two people to sit comfortably and relax, and the taps are in the middle, so no one will have taps in their back! The shower feature was on top of the bath, but was lower enough for me to reach the shower, and I'm not the tallest person in the world. Unfortunately the shower was a little confusing, as it involved twisting a level to get the speed of the jets and the temperature, but once it worked the shower was nice enough, until you get out and realise that the floor was completely flooded and actually it became really dangerous and slippery, as the shower curtain was completely useless and the water seeped through it so quickly.
The hotel provides guests with a bar of soap, a tube of shower gel per guest, and a large amount of towels, which the housekeeping re stock everyday.
- Food and Drink -
The Promenade restaurant is for non premier guests, (premier guests have their own restaurant, The Worall) and it basically consists of a large room, which continues the Georgian theme, with tables, ranging in sizes depending on the amount of guests. The way they serve food is in a buffet style, which I wasn't too keen on, as it felt extremely like a school canteen, especially when the guest queue to get to the section of food that they want, which I didn't like personally, but I guess it depends on the tastes.
On the first night, we decided to have dinner in the Promenade restaurant, we got down there for 6.30pm, when the restaurant opens, and there was a long queue to get into the restaurant, although it moved quickly, it again made me feel more like I was waiting for school dinners, which made me feel abit put off but we carried on. The waitress was very friendly, and our starters came really quickly, and were okay and fairly tasty, although the soup looked a little watery. The main we both had fish and chips, and although we had to queue, the food was edible, but nothing particularly nice and we could have had nice fish and chips on the sea front. There are a range of desserts on offer, and they looked pretty yummy, although I didn't try any. We decided not to eat in the restaurant throughout the rest of the stay, as we didn't see anything we fancied, but I did notice they had pasta, curries, roasts and varies of vegetarian and fish dishes to suit most peoples tastes.
Dinner is served between 6.30pm - 7.45pm, but I would advise to get in after 6.30pm.
We only got up in time for breakfast on the last morning (yes we're lazy!) and I thought it was very enjoyable, and it, again, is a buffet style. Breakfast has a large variety of food for breakfast, cereals, fruits, toast and cooked foods, such as bacon, eggs, sausages etc. Also there is large quantity of orange juice to drink, plus the waitress comes round with tea or coffee. We both enjoyed our breakfasts, and although wasn't the best we've eaten, it was very edible and set us up for the day. The only criticism my partner had regarding the breakfast, was the toast as he thought it was just like warm bread, but personally I liked it and the way I liked it!
Breakfast is served between 7.45am-10am.
The Grande Metropole also has the Coastal Café Bar, which has beautiful views of the sea front and the North Pier, and as it has a large patio, in the summer, it would be a really nice place to have a few drinks and a light lunch. And one lunch we decided to eat in the Coastal Café Bar, which serve fish and chips, sandwiches, Panini's and a range of salads, which is great for a light lunch. We both had a sandwich, which was made pretty quickly and was very tasty, so it was a perfect lunch or for snacks. Also both drinks and food is pretty cheap in the Coastal Café Bar, which is another bonus as to eat in the hotel.
The Coastal Café Bar is open from 12 noon - 6.00pm
The other bar is for residents only, and serves drinks in the evening but also has a lot of entertainment for the guests, such as bingo, singing and comedy acts, which for us wasn't our type of entertainment, but did sound very enjoyable and looked very friendly (although you have to be 18+ to play bingo), and is probably very enjoyable if you enjoy that type of entertainment. The residents bar is open throughout the day until late, and information on the entertainment is given in hotel rooms and on the notice board near the main stairs.
If you are not eating in the hotel, then the hotel is near Blackpool centre, a lot of pubs and takeaway restaurants.
Other shared facilities within the hotel include a communal seating area, which have small tables and fairly comfortable chairs, where guest can sit with drinks from the residents bar or socially sit with other guests, which is a really nice feature and the seating area is often quite full later in the evening, so I would advise to get there earlier if you want a seat in the nice relaxing social area. Toilet facilities are also available in the social area.
- Atmosphere -
The majority of the other guests were older or mainly families, which might not be suitable for party animals or younger couples, but to use it suited us perfectly, as the age range makes it relaxing, quiet and quite homely, which is what most people would want from an hotel. And although there are families staying, it still feels more of an adult hotel and perfect for families or couples.
- Suitability for disabled and elderly guests -
The hotel had a range of references regarding access for disabled and elderly guests, but the hotel, seemed fairly suitable for guests with additional needs, for example there are lifts to every floor, except the lower ground floor, but I'm sure that the hotel will put any disabled or elderly guests in suitable accommodation regarding the needs. Access to the hotel, Promenade restaurant and the Coastal Café Bar is completely wheelchair accessible, which is a real positive for disabled guests. As a large number of guests are of the older generation, the staff know exactly how to treat older residents, such as suitable rooms, such as on ground floor, for the best results from the hotel and staff, I would let them know about your needs, so they can full accommodate your needs. But for disabled and elderly guests, the Grande Metropole is a really suitable hotel to stay in.
The Grand Metropole Hotel is owned by Britannia Hotels, and information on Britannia and the Grand Metropole can be found at www.britanniahotels.com/hotels/blackpool.
The official Grand Metropole Hotel website is www.metropolehotelblackpool.co.uk, and again gives information on the hotel but also allows you to book a stay at the hotel, which can be booked in a range of languages and a range of currencies, which makes it easier for international guests to stay at the Grand Metropole hotel.
- Price -
The Grand Metropole Hotel has a range of rooms, for example, Single rooms are £37.50, double is £54, plus the Hotel has a range of Premier rooms, which are around £74 for a double, so if you really want to indulge then the premier rooms are for you.
For us, a double room for 3 nights including breakfast and dinner, cost £220, which I personally think is a reasonable price for the facilities and a lovely experience.
- Overall -
We both had an enjoyable stay in the Grand Metropole Hotel, Blackpool, as the facilities are outstanding and although the food was fantastic it was edible, and the room was really nicely decorated and the bathroom was just perfect, with the added bonus of the spa feature, it was a really relaxing and fun stay in the hotel and I would defiantly recommend the Grand Metropole to anyone who is going to take a holiday in Blackpool. And I would especially recommend this hotel for a fun relaxing couple or family stay, as it was incredibly relaxing and friendly.
Overall - 8/10
- Information -
The Grand Metropole Hotel,
Tel: 0871 222 0032
Are you seated comfortably? This is a long review of my stay at Blackpool's Grand Metropole.
WHAT AND WHERE?
The Grand Metropole Hotel, Blackpool, boasts that it is the only hotel in Blackpool located between the sea and Blackpool promenade which is no untruth. From the hotel there are fabulous views of the Irish Sea. The hotel is fairly close to both the North Pier and Blackpool Tower and is within walking distance from many of Blackpool's attractions. There are numerous bars, restaurants and nightspots within a few minutes walking distance of the hotel, some even less than a minute away.
We booked in for 3 nights in late June 2009. The booking process was easy enough by telephone and although I asked for a confirmation email to be sent and was advised they would do send one; no confirmation email was received. The email address given on the hotel website does not work which was rather worrying and I made sure I kept a note of the reservation number given over the phone. I was also advised at this stage that the check in time was 3pm or after and checkout time was 10am.
On arrival on a hot Friday afternoon, we found that the car park was full to capacity and on asking at reception where else we could park locally, the very loud receptionist shouted at me that there was alternate parking nearby and started giving me directions. Another member of staff approached and interrupted saying that there was somewhere much closer to park and I asked if it was free at which he chuckled and said nothing was free around Blackpool. I was somewhat annoyed at having travelled for 5 hours to be then told there was no parking as it was on a first come first served basis - a hotel with nearly 300 rooms and only 80 parking spaces (although the website says the hotel has 209 rooms)! I thought arriving before 5pm (considering check in time was 3pm) would mean there might still be some available parking spaces. We unloaded the car and I went off to find the alternative car parking space, was not best pleased to see that it was a pay and display car park (which wasn't by any means cheap) but luckily before I put any money in, my husband called (who I'd left standing at the front of the hotel with our luggage) saying that a couple of cars had just left so I got back there pronto and found a parking space towards the rear of the car park.
When I mentioned above that the receptionist was very loud, let me explain. There were a large number of elderly guests booked in at the hotel. This particular receptionist was shouting out instructions to them about how to get to their rooms and where to go for breakfast and dinner. When we first arrived, she was serving an elderly guest ahead of me who was wearing a hearing aid. I thought she must be shouting for his sake. It was rather startling when she started shouting at me. The only thing I could assume over the next few days seeing her shouting at everyone was that she herself might have had a hearing issue as the other staff I saw at reception during our stay did not shout at the guests.
The directions we were given to our room made no sense and we wandered around for 10 minutes trying to find our 2nd floor room which was actually between the 2nd and 1st floors and the room numbering made no sense as it jumped from 248 to 252 (252 being the room we were in). This was extremely frustrating especially after the hassle with parking and the extreme heat - by the time we found our room, we weren't in the best of moods. Another couple who checked in just after us were wandering around for quite a while after us looking for their room and we had a chuckle with them later about how difficult it was to track down our rooms. Overall I didn't find the reception staff particularly friendly or helpful during our stay. We were not made to feel welcome at all when we checked in.
When we checked out we were not even asked if we had enjoyed our stay or if we had any issues with our room. Maybe they just don't care?
*rating for booking process and reception: 3 out of 10*
A BIT ABOUT THE ROOM
When we eventually got to our room we were quite hot and bothered. The hotel has no air-conditioning (well not in any of the parts we ventured into, including the bedrooms) and the weather was extremely warm. As soon as we walked into the room we cringed at how poky it seemed. It was very clean and on first appearances we were quite disappointed at the size of the room, the bed didn't even seem to be a double bed and there was a thick quilt on the bed and no covers or sheets to use instead of the quilt.
There was a rather old fashioned but fairly spacious wardrobe in the corner of the room with a spare pillow and blanket and a very small TV on a small table (only 5 terrestrial channels available). A small dressing table housed the complimentary tea and coffee with barely any room for anything else here on the dresser aside from the table lamp. It was handy to have a light switch by the door as you enter the room as well as separate light switches by the bed to turn the lights on or off.
The 2 windows in the room would only open out about 2 inches which we knew would just not be enough. So hubby set about undoing the screws so we could open the windows right out to let some fresh air in. This was to be an issue all weekend as there was no form of ventilation in the room and we could barely sleep at night let alone spend any time in the room due to how uncomfortably hot it was. The rooms might be comfortable in winter or autumn or spring but in summer, most definitely not.
It is worth noting that there are no telephones in the rooms, so if you run out of anything and need to get in touch with housekeeping, you have to wander down the corridor to find a phone to call reception. There was not one evident close to our room and the only time I asked housekeeping for something, it was not provided for 2 hours or so which I felt was rather poor.
*rating for room: 4 out of 10*
The bathroom was clean and new and the power shower was fabulous with an adjustable temperature gauge which was very easy to control. A couple of downsides about the bathroom was that the floor mat for the shower was quite dirty so we just picked it up and put it on the floor in the corner as we had no intention of using something so grimy. There were 2 hand towels and just 1 bath towel available with 2 small bars of soap and 2 body/shampoo gels. Hubby was promptly sent off to find another bath towel as we'd passed a housekeeping cart on our adventure trying to find our room. I'd also note that the bath towels in the rooms in The Grand Metropole are the size of hand towels I've seen in other hotels.
*rating for bathroom: 8 out of 10*
Breakfast and dinner was included in the price we had paid for our rooms for all 3 days. We found the Promenade restaurant a delight to eat in on each morning and night of our stay and really felt we were sat in the lap of luxury as the restaurant itself was superbly decorated and a pleasure to have our meals in. The waiting staff were extremely polite and very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. They really deserve a special mention as the weather was so hot - the restaurant had a very high ceiling with a handful of ceiling fans and especially on the first night we stayed it was swelteringly hot and for the staff to keep a cool head and serve the diners so efficiently with smiles on their faces was definitely something they should be proud of.
Breakfast was served from 07:30 to 10:00 and was a buffet style which included sausage, bacon, baked beans, hash browns, scrambled or fried eggs (one or the other, not both), tomatoes, toast, a variety of cereals and orange juice as well as tea/coffee. The food was plentiful and the only time I noticed anything running out was on one day when people ended up queuing for toast for 5 or 6 minutes which wasn't exactly efficient and must have been annoying as they'd already put their breakfasts on their plates. Some people went back to their table and came back a few minutes later to queue again for toast whilst others just stood waiting. This queuing I only noticed on one day when I went down for breakfast at about 09:30, the other 2 days there was no queuing evident whilst I was dining.
Dinner was served from 17:30 to 19:45 - timings about which I was not best pleased with when I was initially advised. I felt that finishing dinner at 7.45pm was rather early but over the 3 days we stayed we didn't really have an issue with this. On one day we went in for dinner at 7.15pm and noted that all the food was being cleared away by 7.50pm so we did feel slightly rushed and hubby didn't have a dessert as we didn't want to keep the staff waiting (although they didn't hover near us to make us feel rushed at all).
The dinner menu varied on all the days we ate there but there was a good enough selection to cater for most tastes. Starters usually consisted of soup, pate or fruit juice. There was usually at least one type of meat or poultry with one fish dish with 2 types of potato and 2 other vegetable dishes and gravy for the main course, with choices of spare ribs, spaghetti bolognaise or chicken curry and rice as additional dishes as well as cold meats and salad items such as lettuce, coleslaw, potato salad, cucumber and tomatoes. There was a varied selection to suit all tastes for the main course and what a splendid selection of desserts available every day. Cheesecake, chocolate gateaux, toffee cake and different flavours of jelly were just some of the choices available, absolutely mouth-watering and some people had enough space left after dinner to have more than one dessert (not me, I behaved myself)!
If I had to fault the restaurant for any aspect it would be that on warmer days it would be very difficult to sit through a meal comfortably with just 2 or 3 ceiling fans in the whole restaurant and the early times for the end of dinner. Sometimes one would just want to eat dinner slightly later in the evening.
There were 2 bars in the hotel; one was the Metro bar in which there was live entertainment on every evening, including a live singer, cabaret dancers and bingo on some nights. One of the live singers referred to the bar as the Metro Sauna jokingly one evening as it was very warm on stage with all the spotlights shining down on the performers. The bingo seemed popular and prices seemed reasonable. The live singer was pretty enjoyable to listen to and she sang a variety of songs from different styles of music - although from what I understand they have had the same entertainers at the hotel for quite some time now and people who stay there regularly mentioned it would be nice to have a change. I can't comment on this as I personally found the singer very entertaining and enjoyed the rapport she had with the audience. The Metro Bar opens from 17:30 each day and is open till late for residents.
There's also the Coastal Bar from is open from 11:00 till 17:30 which serves soft drinks and alcohol as well as hot and cold light meals which were very reasonably priced. Pizza for £1.60, chips for £1.35, pies for £1.60 or so - just a sample of the prices. Lager was about £2 a pint and spirits were about £2 for branded spirits and cheaper for non-branded - such as £3 for a large non-branded vodka. The prices were the same in the Metro Bar too. I would add here that I found the service in the Metro Bar rather more efficient and friendly than in the Coastal Bar. I don't know if this is because the Metro Bar is only available to residents and the Coastal Bar is open to the public but we found that there was a noticeable difference in the service levels.
The Coastal Bar has seating inside and outside (outside for those who want to smoke and/or get some nice fresh sea air). The tables inside are all nicely positioned - well spaced out and there was a fresh flower in a vase on each table every day which just made it that little bit more pleasant.
The main lounge area was really peaceful and luxurious to sit in and we found ourselves wanting to spend quite a bit of time relaxing here (even though there was a snooker table in the far corner - this cause no disturbance when people were playing). With very comforting colours of blue, gold and white the wall décor was very eye-catching and we imagined what it would have been like 50 or 60 years ago to attend a ball here. It was very grand indeed. We also found the décor in the Promenade restaurant to be very interesting and along with many other guests we found ourselves inspecting the walls very closely to admire the paintwork.
There were several toilet facilities in the communal areas and we found these to be of a high standard although the ladies toilet in the lounge area could have done with the bins being emptied more often - I noticed on all 3 days of our stay that the bin for hand towels was full to the brim and overflowing at varying times of the day even first thing in the mornings. One would hope that they could send someone along to empty out the bins and check the toilets throughout the day.
Internet access is available near reception costing £1 for 10 minutes which I felt was rather steep.
*rating for restaurant/bars/communal areas: 8 out of 10*
WAS IT DISABLED FRIENDLY?
I would add here that on the ground floor of the hotel there are quite good facilities for disabled guests. There was wheelchair access evident everywhere on the ground floor and we did see quite a few wheelchair bound guests over the 3 days we stayed. I would stress though that the hotel only seemed disabled friendly on the ground floor. If your room is on anything but the ground floor I imagine it would be quite awkward to get to your room as the fire doors seem to open the wrong way when going from the lift to the rooms. Also I imagine you'd have to specifically mention you are wheelchair bound when booking a room so that you don't even up in a room like ours which was between two floors and there seemed to be no way to get to the room without going up or down a flight of stairs. I saw several people in wheelchairs using the lifts but it did seem rather cramped in there getting in and out.
I also noted that of the 2 sets of ladies toilets on the ground floor, one had 3 steps to enter which was not exactly disabled friendly and the other didn't have a separate cubicle to allow wheelchair access.
*rating for disabled friendliness: 5 out of 10*
We booked our stay by telephone having been sent an email from dealcheckers.co.uk with an offer to stay 3 nights for the price of 2 at £99 a night. This worked out at £66 a night for the 2 of us or even £33 a night each - which is a fabulous price if you consider that breakfast and dinner were included in the price for the duration.
Even though we got such a good price, we saw various adverts up on walls within the hotel offering even cheaper rates! So it is definitely worthwhile calling to check what the best current rates are before booking quoting any promotion codes.
When wandering around Blackpool we noted other hotels in the area seemed to offer cheaper rates but they seemed to be mostly B&B rates and the hotels looked nowhere near as "Grand" as the Metropole.
*rating for pricing: 9 out of 10*
Aside from the issues of there being no ventilation in the rooms and some rather noisy hen night groups staying in the hotel and being overly rowdy at all hours of day and night (which isn't the hotel's fault) we did enjoy our stay at the hotel. We would be happy to return there should we be visiting Blackpool again and I must add here that of the people we chatted with during our stay most of them had stayed at the hotel several times before - there was a couple who had stayed there shortly after their marriage 35 years previously and 2 sisters who had been to the hotel 3 separate times during this year alone having stayed there for many years in the past. If it's good enough for them, it's certainly good enough for us so I'm happy to give the Grand Metropole a positive 7 out of 10.
*overall rating: 7 out of 10*
The hotel is situated at:
Contact number 0871 222 0032.
Fax number 0871 222 7270
Email address email@example.com (although I wouldn't bother with the email as I've tried several times but it always bounces back as failed to send)
It might be of interest to readers to know that the Metropole was previously a Butlins hotel and that the photos available on most sites advertising the hotel do not show the regular bedrooms but seem to be premier suites as the room we stayed in was definitely not anything like the photos I've seen on various sites.
You can look up further info about the hotel here: http://www.britanniahotels.com/hotels/blackpool