* Prices may differ from that shown
Myself and my mum have a girly break every year around April / May time when we take the girls away. We always opt for somewhere where there is plenty to do for the children, and this year it was decided that we would take the trip to Blackpool. Knowing full well we could probably go and stay somewhere for £20 a night, we really weren't interested in cost per se, and instead wanted somewhere that could offer us a bit more of an upmarket stay and avoid as best as possible any hen and stag do's. I've nothing against hen / stag dos (I've got two myself this year), however I didn't want my girls to be around them, so when we searched for hotels on a search engine and filtered to most expensive first (against every instinct I had!), we settled upon the Hilton which sat in the top three of the most expensive hotels in Blackpool (alongside The Big Blue and The Imperial). Price To be perfectly honest price wasn't even that bad. For £300 we had a 3 night stay in the Easter holidays with 2 adults and 2 children. This didn't include breakfast but more on that later! Booking was easy and we secured the booking with the Hilton directly, and received immediate confirmation. Payment was taken at the time of booking. Arrival Arriving at the Hilton wasn't too bad, my mum is an extremely nervous driver and for some reason I allowed her to drive, so after an extremely slow drive from Halifax to Blackpool, we arrived and realised we didn't know where the hotel was! I suggested we have a drive on the front anyway to gather our bearings and refresh our memories as to where the various attractions / restaurants we wanted to visit were. Aware that the hotel was near the North pier, we spotted the hotel in no time and were happy with its location which is just ever so slightly away from everything without being isolated! I would say it's a fair description that the hotel is one of the last main hotels on the seafront. A tram stop is literally right outside the hotel so don't let the fact that the hotel is in a quiet location put you off. Alternatively, we walked on the seafront to the nearest pier (The North) and it took us a leisurely 5/ 10 minutes. There is ample parking for residents of the hotel which is at a cost of £5 per night, added to your bill. We arrived at the hotel a few hours before our 3pm check in time, however we were still able to advise the hotel we were there and sort out booking in. they advised us to come back in a few hours and simply collect the room key. Check in was easy and the reception staff were friendly. We had booked our stay as a room only basis and were offered breakfast at £14 for two adults with the children eating for free. We didn't want to commit to breakfast on each of the three mornings, but the receptionist advised us that we could head down to reception on a morning when we wanted to eat at the hotel and simply buy a voucher for that day. The room When we eventually headed back to the hotel and collected our room key we realised we had been given a room with a sea view and on the fifth floor should have quite a nice view. We were literally at the other end of the rather large hotel though and it was a bit of a walk once out of the lift. Upon entering our room we were happy but not bowled over with the room. The children were basically sleeping on two camping beds and the mattresses were exceptionally thin. Had they not been 5 and 7 and weigh next to nothing, I would have perhaps made a bit of a fuss, but realised that for them they should be fine. The bed that me and my mum would be sharing was absolutely ginormous and between the two camp beds and the biggest bed I've ever set eyes on, it meant that there was little room left for us to move around in. the bathroom was clean but small with a very thin bath! The flat screen TV with freeview was handy for us with the children, so they could watch a little tv after a full day out. I did see the option for movies and thought I would allow them to purchase a film one evening but when I saw the price of £8 per film I realised they were obviously having a laugh. The films were not even new releases! Tea and coffee facilities were replenished daily, as were the rather generous offerings of toiletries in the bathroom. I have to admit to stealing the majority of these, for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas! I figured the handy travel sized bottles would save me space in my suitcase! The travel toothbrush and toothpaste was also taken, handy for freshening up after the long flight! Daily we were also left a bottle of still and sparkling water (Strathmore if I remember rightly) by housekeeping which was complimentary. We had brought quite a collection of juices and drinks of our own to save us unnecessarily spending whilst away, and unfortunately there wasn't a fridge in the room which I was surprised about. I did ask for an ice bucket from the bar which was given to me without question. This allowed us to cool our drinks each day. The other facilities in the room were the usual hair dryer, trouser press etc. An alarm clock was available but this had so many buttons on that we didn't even bother with it. The view was absolutely beautiful and on all our evenings we were lucky to watch the sun set in a completely clear sky. The room was clean and was cleaned daily. We had an unfortunate incident whereby my daughter was very ill one morning and unfortunately the majority of this 'illness' went all over her bed. Housekeeping were called and they didn't seem bothered one bit, in fact they even apologised to us?! We half expected our room to be charged but they didn't even mention it. We were given fresh towels daily, although we didn't ever seem to have enough for all four of us to use a large bath sheet each and on each day one of us always ended up with a teeny tiny towel! Two dressing gowns were available which I always love. Gym and Swimming Pool When looking at activities to do in Blackpool, we looked at the Sandcastle which is the largest indoor swimming pool with slides etc in the UK and did look fab. It was however on the expensive side and we figured that to make it worthwhile we would need to spend nearly the whole day there, but we had far too much other stuff to do that this wasn't an option. Given that the children are so young and my youngest has only just started swimming lessons, we figured that we would instead use the pool inside the hotel which would be free to use. Upon arriving at the swimming pool (heated), we were quite surprised at how small both the changing rooms and pool were. The changing rooms were almost inexcusably small and was very difficult to use. With one bench and only one cubicle, getting changed to go into the pool wasn't too bad but getting changed out of our swimming costumes was ridiculous. The floor seemed to lack drainage so was absolutely sodden and made getting dry extremely difficult. Our family of four used up pretty much all of the space but when another two families came out it was impossible, added to this was the traffic of people who had to walk through the drying area to get in and out of the pool area, this was the worst thought out changing area I've ever been in! There are lockers in here too but remember to bring change (we left handbags in the room) as you will need it to be able to lock them. There isn't any space poolside to leave belongings (or even towels for that matter). The pool is equally teeny tiny and is okay for the children to splash around in, but would take you approximately 3 seconds to swim from one side to the other! Imagine telling people you'd done 100 lengths of the pool! They'd think you were super fit! There is also a small steam room and sauna, both of which I took advantage of. You can only fit a few people in each though. We didn't make use of the gym, however it is accessible 24 hours a day. Dining Lounge Bar: On our first night we were tired and hadn't had the opportunity to find anywhere that we wanted to eat, so we headed back to the hotel and made our way to the relaxed lounge bar. Nervously looking at the menu, I realised there was nothing remotely appropriate for the children, but we didn't want the formality of the main restaurant (where there seemed to be a selection of children's food). My mum swiftly took charge and collared a poor waiter asking him what was available. 'What would the children like Madam, I am sure the chef will be happy to prepare them something fresh'! Talk about service! Before I had even had chance to glare at the children to make them order something that didn't make me sound like a bad mother, they had blurted out chicken nuggets and chips! Groaning to myself, I politely asked him to add veggie sticks to each plate and off he toddled! When their food arrived, it looked like the chef had gone out and caught the chicken too, they were 100% freshly made and I could have quite happily tucked into them myself. I however had ordered a Thai Green Curry while my mum had opted for the Cumberland sausage and mash. Both were absolutely delicious although on the expensive side at around £15 a main, the portions were generous and the taste exceptional. Wine in the Lounge Bar is absolutely ridiculously priced with a small glass of wine costing around £5 and a large around £8. Bottles were not available to buy. Live entertainment seemed to be in the Lounge Bar nightly however we were back in the room with the children before this started. During the day (or on an evening if you wish), you can also grab a Costa coffee from this bar. Waiters are dotted all over the place so no need to go to the bar yourself. Promendae Restaurant: A more formal area of dining, this is where you will find breakfast served and it turns into a formal dining area on an evening serving either an A la Carte or buffet. We were fortunate enough to find a deal online which saved us half price against the buffet menu which should have been around £25 a head. This gave us a 3 course meal with soup, salad bar, delicious choices on the main meal section and extremely tempting deserts (so tempting I chose two deserts!). Breakfast is equally as tempting with so much choice that you won't know where to begin! One morning I ate muesili, followed by a grapefruit followed by a delicious cooked breakfast and then a blueberry muffin! I was still full at teatime! A selection of fresh juices and teas and coffee are served by waiters, all of whom we found to be exceptionally helpful. My youngest daughter asked for fresh orange juice on the first morning and when it came with bits in she turned her nose up. The waiter was not fazed in the slightest and offered to get her some smooth orange juice, and even came back with a straw too. Checkout This was easy and straight forward. Check out is at 12pm which gives you enough time that you are not rushing. Anything else? The Hilton at Blackpool has been awarded a Green Tourism (Silver) Award. The Business centre and 11 multipurpose meeting rooms are available with wireless internet access. Function space for 800 guests available. Final Thoughts While the rooms are not the most luxurious I have ever stayed in, our stay was for me made up of exceptional service in nice surroundings with fantastic food and friendly staff. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this hotel and will happily return. Local Attractions Blackpool Tower, including the Tower Eye, 4D Cinema experience and Tower Dungeons Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Nickelodeon Land Blackpool Illuminations Madame Tussauds Waxwork Museum Blackpool Zoo Address North Promenade Sea Front, Blackpool FY1 2JQ, United Kingdom TEL: 01253 623 434
This is my review for The Hilton hotel in Blackpool. My fiancee decided to treat me for my birthday by taking me to Blackpool as neither of us has ever been, so i went on the internet and looked into all the different hotels and bed and breakfasts to see which was the best value for money. I came across the Hilton and I was very impressed by the price, we had a double room and stayed for two nights. We had the choice of refundable or non-refundable breakfasts, refundable cost 198 pounds (sorry that theres no pound symbol, it doesn't work on my computer), or non-refundable which costs 170 pounds. We went for the non-refundable option. I was able to book it all online but they give you a contact number so if you prefer you can book via phone. They charge for the whole amount when you first book it and then they give you a page to print out which has the confirmation of the booking and also details of the booking. They ask that you keep this and present it on arrival. The checking in time is 3pm but we got there at half past 8 in the morning and we knew we wouldn't be able to check in but we were hoping that we could leave our luggage with them until we came back later, but to our surprise we were told that our room was ready and we could check in straight away. Our room was big and open and the view overlooked the sea. There was a large television which showed free digital channels or if you wanted to watch a selection of newly released films you just had to go down to the reception and pay for them. There was a kettle and a large selection of tea and coffee, there were also scottish shortbread biscuits, sugar and sweetner. The bathroom was also large, with a bath and shower. shower gel, shampoo and conditioner was also provided. During our stay we visited the bar, which had two large televisions on both sides. they had wi-fi in the bar so that people could get accsess to the internet while you stayed there. We ate at the resturant on the first night, it was a carvery, with starters and deserts which you had to go up and serve yourself. We didn't eat much and only had 2 drinks but when we got the bill it was about 52 pounds, neither of us were that happy about the price but paid anyway and justy decided to go somewhere else for the next night. Apart from that one incident our stay was extremley pleasent, all of the staff are very polite and cheerful and they all seem very happy to help you. When we ate our breakfast, whenever we were finished and had an empty plate or glass they would swiftly take it away and ask if we wanted anything else. Also when we left for breakfast on the first morning, when we came back the room had been cleaned and we were given fresh towels and more tea, coffee and shampoo. The concierge was very attentive and phoned taxi's for us whenever we wanted to go anywhere. All in all it was a very enjoyable stay and apart from the meal, the majority of it was reasonably priced and a good value for money. Although we didn't use the extra facilities there was also a fitness centre and a spa area. The Hotel also has conference rooms for business meetings.
I stayed in the Hilton in Blackpool in early July this year and overall, it was a pleasant experience. The hotel facilities include; pool and gym, restaurant, bar and plenty of car parking. Positive points - The staff were really friendly and helpful, the breakfast was excellent for a buffet and the cleanliness of the rooms was good. It wasn't particularly expensive either and there were other inferior hotels in Blackpool charging higher prices. Checking in and out was extremely efficient and only took a minute. The pool and gym area is well maintained and well staffed and there is a steam room and sauna as well. Negative points - It's situated on the North Promenade and it's a bit out of the way of some of the attractions e.g. pleasure beach. It's still quite accessible with the tram system though. We also stayed at a time of year where we were experiencing a heatwave and the room was not fitted with air conditioning. The window only opened slightly and so it made for a couple of uncomfortable nights. All in all, I would recommend staying at the Hilton in Blackpool because the good points far outweigh the bad.
---Intro--- It's Summer 1999....it's been quite a summer already (what with 35 of us going to Gran Canaria after our A levels), but now it's time to do something cultural and a group of us plan to go away to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a couple of days. However, one by one everyone drops out except Stuart and myself. We are friends, but don't really know each other that well, but we think "what the hell, we'll still go!" We stay in the Hilton Hotel in Warwick, and it costs £100 each for 2 night's bed and breakfast, and dinner on the first night (I only remember because it was such a round amount). Anyway, we have a fantastic time, with lots of memories made, and become good friends. ---10 years later--- Ok, it's not quite summer yet, but it's nearly 10 years later and with hubby going off to Egypt scuba diving with another woman, I was left with a bank holiday to fill. So, Stuart and I decided to have a reunion trip. I can't remember why or how we chose Blackpool, but I wasn't complaining - very convenient for me coming on the train straight from work in Carlisle, not so easy for Stuart driving up from Essex, but hey ho! When it came to choosing the hotel Stuart came up with a couple of ideas, but then I saw the Hilton, and just knew it had to be that - for old time's sake! Besides, it looked nice enough on the website (perhaps a bit nicer than it is in real-life!) - http://www.hilton.co.uk/blackpool ---Booking--- Stuart booked online, at the cost for £220 for the two of us in a twin room (I was just going to have to grin and bear the snoring), for three night's bed and breakfast with dinner included on the first night. Not bad at all really, when you think that it cost almost that for 2 nights 10 years ago - I know that was Warwick rather than Blackpool, but quite honestly the hotels are pretty similar, just the locations which are not! Obviously there are places in Blackpool which cost a lot less than this - there were some places that looked like right dives on the sea front! But we wanted something reasonable! ---Getting there--- Well, as I've mentioned I got there by train to Blackpool North. The train station is within walking distance of the hotel (I would have needed directions to find it) or a 5 minutes drive. Stuart picked me up - we needed to find a shop to buy alcohol anyway. The hotel itself is located on the North Promenade and the postcode is FY1 2JQ (for your Sat Nav if you have it) - the hotel is quite a distinctive looking building, so you shouldn't miss it! ---Parking--- The car park is big (free to residents of course), so it wasn't a problem finding a space (unlike last week in Edinburgh!) - once we'd parked that was that - we'd be drinking so on foot for the rest of the trip! If you come from the carpark you enter on the lower ground floor. There is a smoking area outside the hotel by this entrance which is undercover. ---Check-in--- Stuart had checked us in earlier - Check-in is from 3pm. We had a card key each - however did notice that the key doesn't activate the lights in the bedrooms (they just operate like normal lights) which means that the hotel must waste a lot of electricity if people leave rooms with lights left on. ---The Room - Bedroom--- The room was slightly on the small side, but adequate for our needs. There were two single beds (comfy enough, but not enough for me to want to stay in bed all day like my bed in Edinburgh the week before) with bedside table in between. A flat screen 32inch TV which was good - so often hotels seem to have the world's most rubbishy TVs! The movie channels and adult entertainment needed to be activated in reception (no idea what the cost would be), we stuck with watching TV - for some unknown reason we actually ended up watching Songs Of Praise, I think for the comic value, and because we'd been drinking! There were the usual tea/coffee making facilities with shortbread biscuits replenished daily (remember to put them in your suitcase to take home/to work as a gift from your travels!). Room also featured alarm clock, trouser press (which nicely put the creases into Stuart's trousers), hairdryer, desk, chair and plenty of wardrobe/drawer space. There was a bottle of mineral water on the desk with a price tag of £3.95 on it. We bought our own soft drinks from outside the hotel, but I was happy to drink the tap water which tasted fine. The view from the window of the sea was nice - most rooms have a sea view due to the design of the hotel (quite clever) - unfortunately the window needed cleaning (I imagine this is quite a problem), and the window didn't open very far (at a guess so people can't jump or something), so I couldn't get a nice picture out of the window. There was also a rather ominous looking stain on the window frame (I just don't want to know) - otherwise the room was nice and clean. ---The Room - En Suite--- The en suite was pretty small and basic - toilet, sink and bath with shower head. The shower worked ok, but people who are tall might have problems with it as it's fixed on the wall and can't be moved to a higher point. Shampoo/Conditioner/Shower gel/Soap replenished each day, so put in your suitcase what you don't use! The hotel clearly saw me coming, and therefore the towels weren't the huge white fluffy things which I might just have taken one of back 10 years ago. One small gripe really that there was only one main towel each, whereas I really like to have a big one for my hair too. The big problem - one of our two real problems with the hotel, was the toilet door. Fast-forward to the last night. I remember going to the toilet in the night and struggling a bit with the door when I came out, but didn't think too much of it. However, when Stuart came to open the toilet door in the morning he found that the door wouldn't open. We both tried - we tried pushing and banging quite hard, but no matter what, it wouldn't budge - we figured out that we needed something long and thin to stick in it, but didn't have any paperclips or anything. In the end we had to phone reception to send someone. A man came pretty quickly, stuck a screwdriver in the handle and it opened. I asked him if it happened a lot and he responded that it was normally kids "mucking around" - I felt reprimanded! However, I don't really understand where the fun in the game "let's mess with the door handle on the off chance will lock the door permanently" would be - I would imagine that normally small children get themselves locked in the toilet by accident. Anyway, I have never known being locked outside the toilet when the door only locks from the inside....but quite honestly I wouldn't fancy being locked in the toilet either! So, my tip of the day is MAKE SURE YOU TAKE A SCREWDRIVER! ---The Lifts--- Lifts seem to be becoming a feature of my hotel reviews. One small issue with the hotel is that there are only three lifts, but that one of them only goes down to the Ground Floor rather than the Lower Ground Floor. If you want to get to the leisure centre or the car park you really want the Lower Ground. At busy times this can become an issue...but also a source of amusement! When we came to leave we wanted the lift to the LG floor, but the first one which came was the one which only went to the Ground - so we pressed again, and then 2 minutes later the same lift came back. Stupidly I then pressed the button too quickly and the doors opened again - the man inside was not impressed. In retrospect we should've just walked the last flight of stairs, we did it enough other times! ---Dinner--- Dinner is a large buffet selection. It is advisable to book with reception for a particular time. Give your number to them and they'll tick it off (always useful to remember your room number!), then one of the many waiters will show you to the table which is absolutely the furthest away from the food! The waiters come to the table to take drinks orders (we had wine which I think was £18 - so this is where they make some of their money back), and offered us soup. This was tomato on the first night which we declined, and leek and potato the second time which we had - it was very nice actually. Both times (regardless of soup or not) we had a starter buffet selection which consisted of various cold pasta, couscous, potato salad, and various meats etc. I find usually at these things that I end up with something on my plate which I really don't like much, but I have to say that I ate every bit - a good sign! For main course there is a chef who dishes up what you choose (like in a canteen) - I went for a Spanish Chicken dish the first night, and Shepherd's Pie the second time. There was a selection of various different things such as roast meats, fish, and vegetarian options. I would imagine that most people would find something they liked. Then you can help yourself to accompaniments - various types of potatoes, rice and vegetables. There is a children's selection of food which I didn't inspect too closely (looked like fish fingers, chicken bits etc), although I sneakily grabbed a few chips from over there! There was a nice selection of desserts, and obviously if you're still hungry you can choose as many as you want as it's self-service. I went for some sort of tart thing which was nice. There are also cheeses - you could have a dessert followed by cheese if you so desire. It's not the world's best food by any means, but I thought the selection was fine, the food was all nice, and I can't really fault it at all! Personally I quite like self-service buffets, reminds me of all-inclusive holidays! Now for the best thing - when we booked we thought we only got dinner included on the first night. However, it turns out it was also included for the Sunday night (we are not absolutely sure, but think it was included on the Saturday as well - we had booked to eat out then anyway). So, make sure you check with reception when you get there what is included in your stay. We were chuffed to have an unexpected included meal, especially me as I'd said I'd pay for dinner on the Sunday night!!! ---Breakfast--- My favourite part of staying in a hotel is undoubtedly having a full English breakfast - self-service - bacon, sausage, beans, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, black pudding, and haggis. Yum! Probably not the best idea to trust any of it if you're vegetarian, but I don't pay much attention to that sort of thing I'm afraid. There's a selection of cereals, and a healthy selection of fruits, and also cold meats and things. I didn't bother with this as I wanted purely unhealthy stuff. There was a nice selection of pastries (and the worlds smallest croissants I think) and muffins, and breads/bread to toast. A selection of food to suit everyone - there usually is at large hotels which are a chain, and this doesn't disappoint. In fact on neither day did we need anything to eat for lunch as we were stuffed (I managed to keep it all down though on the Pleasure beach!) They bring out tea/coffee and juices - just the once. That was the only downside, normally I like to just go and fill up my orange juice myself. But I went and got some water when I'd finished my glass. ---The Bar---- Onto the second main gripe about this hotel. Up to the bar to order drinks, and the barman replied "I need ID" - at first we didn't really understand what he meant, whether he meant ID for the fact that we were staying there. Anyway, there is no way that Stuart and I could possibly be under 18 (being 28 later this month), but I gave him my driving licence. Stuart only has a paper driving licence, so this wasn't acceptable. He had to go back to the room to find his passport (lucky he had it really, it was only because he'd needed it for hiring the car I think). It's not the fact we were ID'd which was the problem really (although I do find it quite offensive being told I look like a child), it was the rude manner in which it was done. But more to the point, if I hadn't got a photo driving licence or a passport then I wouldn't have been served. Of course lots of people don't have these documents, or do have them but wouldn't be taking them on holiday in Blackpool with them. Anyway, I named the rude barman on the comments form for the hotel. Drinks were hotel priced really - a pint about the £3.20 mark, a bottle of wine starting from £15. They did a cocktail called a "Blackpool Zinger" which was £5 - we had one for the novelty value - a rum based fruity drink which was quite nice. The hotel seemed to be full of foreign staff which was all a bit random. At times there appeared to be a lot of staff milling around not really doing anything. ---Evening Entertainment--- On the Friday and Saturday nights there was live entertainment in the lounge, which was fairly non-offensive and nice enough to listen to. I do hate it though when it's late and you see these families with their small kids who really should be in bed - the poor kids are just so tired, and then the parents wonder why they're so badly behaved all of the time. ---The Leisure Centre--- We made one trip to the pool. You get towels from the pool reception area. Changing room was fine, although it confused me working out how to get into the pool area from there! The showers in the changing rooms were good, with plenty of shampoo etc. One nice feature was the swimming costume dryer machine which you can dry your swimming costumes in afterwards (well there's a surprise then!) There are lockers (which cost £1 which is refundable), but I didn't need one as I only had my clothes with me, which I just left on the bench. There were about 10 of us in the pool and it's only a small pool (1.2 metres deep), but it was nice enough for a relaxing dip. We also spent 10 minutes in the steam room, but didn't get round to the sauna. There's also a gym, but we didn't investigate that, it looked ok through he window. ---Checkout--- Check-out time is 12pm which is good, as often it can be earlier. We left earlier though for me to get my train home. It was a quick process with no hidden charges or anything to pay! ---Other--- The Hilton is a 2.5 mile walk from the Pleasure Beach. On the Saturday we walked all the way since the day was so lovely, and it was nice to see the area. On the way you pass Blackpool Tower (which is probably about a mile along the way). We got the tram most of the way back, for novelty value, but also as we'd been on our feet all day. In the evening we headed to a restaurant 5 miles the other way along the road in Thornton Cleveleys, called "The Venue". We chose that place because of a recommendation from Stuart's friend, and it was nice. However, there are plenty of places to eat on the seafront. On the Sunday we went to the tower for the day - unfortunately it was closed to go up due to wind. And as far as we were concerned all of the exhibits inside the tower and the circus were terrible (wanted to kill Mooky the clown, he was that irritating), but we had a good day due to the amusement value. The beach at Blackpool is nice I have to say, and the part near the Hilton hotel is good. We bought a bucket and spade and made a few castles on the beach before it started to rain. I imagine it can get very busy in the summer. ---Final Remarks--- I think I've just about said it all - an excellent weekend, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Hilton Hotel as it's certainly good value for money. However I recommend that you take a screwdriver, and photo ID if you're under 35 or so. The same review can be found on Ciao.co.uk with photos.
I've just pasted this review from my Ciao reviews with some minor editing but will return again shortly to make more changes. Sorry to those of you that have already read this!! I apologise for the length of this review, but I have purposely broken it down into sections so readers can choose which bits are most relevant to them. Not everyone will have dinner in a hotel or use the gym facilities, for example, so just read which bits you want to. You can also just skip to the conclusion for a sum-up! Big thank you to anyone who manages to read the whole thing!! Introduction To begin with, as like most of you I was not exactly happy with what Miss Spoilt Brat Paris Hilton has been up to recently. I find her annoying and the idea that any of our money may have indirectly played even a miniscule part in maintaining her irritatingly extravagant lifestyle most certainly was not favourable. Anyway, for this, I would like to apologise to the general public. My distaste for such annoying celebrities as Paris therefore made me quite annoyed when my sister booked this hotel. I held my tongue and went along with it, but I have to admit the deal she got was impressive - £75 for a twin room per night (we booked two rooms for two nights) and free dinner on the first night, which came with a two night booking. Note, I whinge quite a bit about dinner although it's free, but I'm not a complainer just want to be as particular as I can so people thinking of paying to eat there will have an idea of what to expect. Check in My dad drove us to this hotel. It is based on the north end of the Blackpool beach, not far from the main attractions (lousy as they may be) and being on the seafront, an obviously good position, both for its views and for being easy to find. On the first day, however, we found ourselves entering the wrong way, so dad dropped the rest of us off to get checked in - dumping us with all the suitcases and headed off to find the car park. Actually, once you know where it is, it is not so hard to get into. Heading northbound, we just missed that turning the first time. Anyway, we were at least dropped right by the door. Some members of staff were hanging around by the door and did not exactly offer any help - we were looking a bit overloaded as dad left his bags with us too - so this seemed a little cold. Still, I started wheeling up the ramp to the front door. We were greeted by a posh reception with a large and comfortable lounge area nearby. I thought to head towards the sofas whilst my sister checked us in, but the process was much faster than it has been in other hotels we have stayed in, so I did not get this chance. Often we find check-ins are a headache, but on this occasion, as my defensive mother began detailing the special offers seeking confirmation that we would receive our free meal that evening, the receptionist politely replied that it was all sorted. We relaxed a little after this. Room Both of our rooms were located on the fop floor, and from what I have seen pretty much all the rooms come with a sea-view. This would be owing to the unusual architectural design of the building. The building is at an angle to the seafront, with all windows sides zigzagged between walls, so as to face the sea at a slight angle. I think the product picture provided by Ciao gives you a good idea of how this works - my description failing to make sense. The wall in the lower left corner is roughly in parallel with the seafront, if that helps. For a hotel of this size, I found that the rooms were slightly small but satisfactory for our needs. There was ample space to put our suitcases on, plenty of hanging space and roomy drawers. We had good lighting at all angles, including all the typically expected lights - lamps by the dressing mirror, beside light, bright lighting in the bathroom and a good main light. The heating did not come on, which could have been a terrible thing as the weather was not particularly warm at this time, but the blankets were warm enough and we did not exactly need to spend too much time inside during the daytime. The beds were quite comfortable and my sensitive skin and skin conditions were not affected by the sheets used. We had two big pillows, each that were of good quality and gave us a good, relaxed night's sleep. Two hairdryers were supplied in each room - one in the bathroom hooked onto the wall and one in the bedroom on the dressing table. I didn't notice the one in the room (Braun) which was a normal hairdryer and tried to use the lousy thing in the bathroom that is probably not even meant to be a hairdryer. In fact, maybe it is a nail dryer...hehe There is a trouser press, although frankly I have never used one of these. I don't even iron my clothes. My mum reckons they are a good thing to have and make life easier. In the cupboard we found and did not use an ironing board. There was a decent sized mirror and plenty of dressing space on the table, which has an armchair chair in front of it and one big lamp on top. There is also a coffee table, but this only has one chair so seems to have little use other than for draping clothes on. Finally there are two large bedside tables, one with the phone on and also bible in the drawer on one side. The tea tray included some posh teas and coffees (mainly by Twinings). There was a cheap kettle. For snacks we were given a couple of packets of shortbread biscuits. We were given glasses on the tea tray, but no water bottles. Not willing to assume the tap water was safe, we boiled it first and waited for it to cool. The TV had only a few channels, that seemed to be randomly selected and not all known to me. The unusual feature was that beneath the telly there was a Playstation, however you do have to pay to use it, although I am not sure how this works. Personally, I don't see the point to this in a hotel room when you are on holiday so we did not use it, but I accept that maybe people using hotels for business may leave their families inside and they might appreciate the entertainment. WiFi Internet access is available but we could not set it up, instead we bought time cards to use the downstairs computers, which for half an hour were at the excessive price of £5. We found the Internet to be fast and easy to use. Little extras There are some spare electricity sockets in the room, which are handy for chargers, especially since so many people now carry mobile phones and laptops. As in many hotel rooms, there were paintings on the walls. Mostly these were pretty landscapes, which I quite like, rather than paintings of people that seem to stare at you at all angles or nudes. Landscapes are much more tasteful for a bedroom. I saw a leaflet offering beauty treatments etc. at the hotel, but put it back down when I saw £50 for bridal make-up and other similar prices. I think it is mainly there for special occasions or Paris-like women. Bathroom I found this to be clean and well-lit as well as reasonably spacious. We had a big mirror, with towels nicely folded on the side. The shower was easy to use and I had no problems with temperature or power as I normally expect in hotels. The shower curtain was a bit small but if the cleaners don't mind mopping & the floor is not too slippery (it didn't seem to be) I suppose that is not a problem. There were little bottles of shampoo, shower gel and more unusually, conditioner, which was very nice. The make was Crabtree & Evelyn & I must say they were very good quality - my hair felt lovely & soft after using them on just the first night. We were given gowns, which were left in packets on our beds - I didn't use mine but it looked good, albeit a bit large for us. The biggest problems were that the door kept opening by its own free will. This was scary & potentially very, very embarrassing! Another slight niggle is that the drain has to be pushed in the sink or the sink will just fill with dirty water, so we had to use our bare fingers in the water each time to push the drain to get rid of the water. Breakfast I have separated the two days for breakfast as they both seemed quite different. We had a notice left in our rooms to say that due to the high volume of visitors this weekend breakfast hours would be extended so it was 7.30 - 11.00 Having agreed that by 9.00am it would be very busy at breakfast my sister asked whether we should therefore aim to have breakfast at about 8.00 - despite the fact she hates early mornings. Mum started moaning straight away so eventually it was agreed that we would go at 9.30. We turned up at 9.45. As expected it was busy & the queues were very long - probably at their peak. We did not have the cooked breakfast on the first day because a simple glimpse was enough to put us off. All the trays of cooked food were placed close together - meats with vegetarian stuff in between, probably with people using the same prongs for different dishes & we could also see food toppling over into other dishes which is no good if you are vegetarian. The cereals available were the usual - Rice Crispies, Coco pops, Corn flakes, the healthier Bran flakes, Muesli packets & Weetabix packets. There were plenty of jugs of milk which I guess was semi skimmed as it tasted normal to me & that's what I usually have. At the very moment I went to get some cereal a lady near me admitted to taking the last two bowls lol. I had to ask a waiter to bring more but it took ages. In the meantime I took some dried apricots, raisons & banana pieces (very sugary) that were also at the table on my side plate & looked at the available breads & pastries. There was white & brown bread/toast. The poached eggs looked good & my sister said they had some more cooked than others but I didn't want to risk it as I am slightly allergic to raw egg. There were mini croissants - I tried one, it was very crumbly, although there are jam, honey & marmalade jars available. There were some things that looked like Danish pastries but I didn't try them. Then there were the mini round waffles. They were like pancake batter (you could smell it from the entrance) & they tasted fantastic. There was some maple syrup, or if you prefer the honey was thicker. We had quite a few of these among us. They were extremely popular so all freshly made & warm. There were also some fruits in syrups that looked nice & had good choice but I didn't try them. Service was poor, although we were offered tea & coffee plus juice & they arrived soon enough, that was about as far as it went. The coffee was awful, not just strong but absolutely disgusting. The juice was that cheap stuff that comes in 4pint milk-style bottles & did not taste fresh nor good. Second morning On the second day I tried the cooked breakfast as it seemed a bit better presented. I had mushrooms, baked beans & hash browns. All very tasty, hash browns a bit oily but not as greasy as some I've had I also asked for a hard boiled egg. I cannot eat soft boiled as I seem to have a kind of allergic reaction to raw egg, so I specifically required hard boiled & the waitress repeated me. Ages later, someone brought me a soft boiled egg, which swiftly went to waste as nobody else wanted it. Croissants today were not as crumbly, but I only had one as I was really after something else... Waffles with chocolate sauce today - I had four - they went really fast so each time they are replaced you have less than a minute to get them! Toast with butter - again hard to get hold of the toast as it is done in batches & they take a long time to do, but they were all good - I only saw white bread but there may be brown batches that I did not see. Today I decided to have tea as I did not like the coffee at all. It was much better. The orange juice was different & came 'with bits' , which I hate. I guess it was probably at least better quality juice. Apart from the egg incident, the service was much better today - I think we had all different staff - certainly were some new faces. Dinner in the restaurant We had to book our dinner in advance when we checked in & it was only available at 8.30pm. We only arrived at the hotel at 7.00pm that day anyway so this was fair. The restaurant closes at 9.00pm but we stayed until about 10.00pm then left when they started putting out breakfast settings like jam etc.! It was a buffet style dinner, & I'm not sure if this is typical but certainly not a good idea in my opinion for a restaurant of its kind - especially with so many waiters 'looking busy' - the area looked messy & the queues were very long. Starters were salad or soup (either lentil or vegetable) - my soup portion was much smaller than the others - also the soups were spilt all around sides of the bowl so good thing there was a plate underneath the bowl. Presentation does not really bother me but it does show how enthusiastic the staff are. We had to ask for bread rolls which the waiter reluctantly brought - they looked like they'd been taken off someone else's plate as the people on the next table got a fresh full basket offered without even asking, yet ours had only five small rolls left in it & plenty of crumbs. My sister's bread knife seemed to be covered in rust but the rest of the cutlery was ok so we just took the starter knife to butter bread. I do find it quite off-putting when waiters put out dodgy cutlery & either do not notice or do not care that the cutlery is dirty. Nobody else seemed as bothered as me so I let this one go. The breads tasted ok, mine was wholemeal & I ate it, although I normally hate wholemeal. You get pieces of butter cut up on plate on the table, but they are no less hard to spread lol. The main meal was a carvery, which does not suit our family, & we were told by a waiter & one chef that there was no vegetarian option, only cod. Funny, I know a lot of vegetarians that would not regard cod as an option! However, as we are not actually vegetarian completely, mum & I immediately asked for that thinking that was all there was, but when my sister asked the lady serving the actual buffet, who seemed quite nice, she said they also had a vegetable casserole & tortillas filled with vegetables & baked. My sister had this & I tasted it, it was very nice. Dad, on the other hand, had steak, but it was mostly fat which was disappointing for him; still he seemed happy enough. The cod was full of butter & far too rich; we had to ask them to drain off some of the excess fat as it was about 3/4mm deep covering the plate. It was very nice but I couldn't help being put off by so much butter, even if that is how it is meant to be eaten. Because we wanted more choice, dad & I went & took salads from the 'cold starters' - I wasn't sure if we were allowed to but since it was late it would probably have been chucked anyway if we didn't. There was a huge variety, including waldorf salad with walnut oil rather than pieces that was quite tasty, a pasta salad, rice salads that I didn't try, lettuces, mixed bean salad with feta cheese that was really nice, cold meats - obviously I did not have, fruits (melon), & I also saw but didn't fancy grated carrot & orange pieces - weird combo but must be nice as I used to make carrot & orange soup & that's nice plus healthy. So basically they had foods from all over, if the main course seemed too English. There were, of course, also accompaniments like mixed vegetables - sugarsnap peas, turnip sticks, carrot sticks & green beans; there were also some crispy & very oily roast potatoes, cauliflower (no thanks!) & some dodgy looking boiled celery (eww). So there was a fair mix of healthy & indulgent options & as it is a buffet, you are free to choose either but you do need to have a bit of self discipline that can be hard to do when you are there. There was a huge choice of puddings - tartlets - cheesecake like, with berries & cream in, a gateau, a chocolate type cake with pecan nuts on top, custard, cream, sauces in big jugs - including rich dark chocolate sauce which went well with all the puddings. The ones we tried were delicious but very heavy & rich so certainly left me feeling a little sick after. There was also fruit salad but we ate too many vegetables to care to look & besides we were on holiday - that's my excuse anyway! There is a table were you can make yourself teas & coffees for after your meal. There are flasks of hot water & milk plus after dinner chocolates like in restaurants - just dark chocolate with a subtle mint flavour. Having tried one, we took a few of those. I'm never keen on self service because people touch the food, spill it everywhere and make a mess, use same utensils for different food - unhygienic and not nice if you have dietary needs. The 'waiters' - of which there seemed to be about 20 for some reason - did not seem particularly keen to help or nice, which put me off a bit, although they did come back once to check if we got our non-meat meals ok. Leisure centre Reception When visiting the leisure centre, you must sign in and out - I guess because I it is also used by public and probably for safety reasons. The reception area, where you sign in and pick up towels is smart and overlooks the small swimming pool. There are some tables and chairs for people to relax there. I was not impressed however, to find vending machines filled with unhealthy food that would tempt people who have just been working out to put all those calories back on! Changing rooms (Ladies, anyway) Quite a small changing room, although to be fair the whole leisure centre is very small. In fact there was only one small cubicle with a curtain. There are plenty of lockers considering the size! You need to use a £1 coin for the locker, which you get back. They are typically tall & thin, which, to me makes them awkward for storage. There is a swimsuit cooler that takes 5-10 seconds & removes water from your swimming costume & I thought is quite nice to have in leisure centres. You can only pick up towels in the main reception area, there are none in the changing rooms so make sure you take one in - I forgot this when I went swimming & had to ask someone to get me one There are two showers, which were very nice with conditioning shampoo & shower gels by Crabtree Although I was not planning on showering after the swim until I got back to the room, we were short of time & I was already impressed with the condition of the showers, so I happily used them. The sinks also had very nice hand wash & hand lotion. There was one toilet but on the first day it was filthy & it smelt awful throughout changing room thanks to some disgusting woman that pooed all over the bowl & left it like that - I felt sick for an hour after seeing that & was nearly put off returning the next day - loos must not be checked often enough though Gym We went twice to the gym & on both days it was empty. I quickly get bored so it was nice to be able to hop from one machine to the next. Also, it is very small with a few different machines crammed in including cycling, rowing machines & treadmills. It would be a nightmare to share with more than 7 or 8 people. The machines have the usual options for exercising & are fairly easy to use if you have used a gym before, with some basic instructions stuck on them in case you are not sure. A couple of cycling machines we couldn't get to work on the first night. There was also an abs exercise thing (not electric but no idea what it is called) with instructions that were clear, one water cooler, mirrors all around that made me self-conscious in spite of the lack of people, glass screens so everyone can see in which means there was not really a lack of people but rather an external audience, which made me a bit nervous because I'm a bit on the fat side & also rubbish at exercising any longer than 20 minutes! The gym has its own towels so no need to bring one in, but there were only a few left on the table so you might need to check. Swim The pool goes to 1.2 m depth on deep end & it was quite small & busy so hard to properly swim lengths so not really for the serious swimmer - more for just messing about. There are lots of signs saying no jumping, diving etc. but clearly they were not enforced as some kids were, even in the shallow end, jumping in despite the presence of staff who just ignored them. There are also signs in changing rooms reminding you to shower before using the pool, but I doubt staff would notice if you did not. The water was reasonable in temperature but seemed to have far too much chlorine. It got to a point where my eyes were actually starting to burn & I had to get out. I suspect it did affect my skin a little but I can't say for certain as I have skin problems anyway. Most people seemed to be alright in the water so I imagine it was not a harmful amount, but enough to make it uncomfortable. There are some benches around the pool to put towels on. Sauna & Steam room On the second day I tried the steam room. It was not as hot as others I have used, which for me is a good thing because I find it a bit too painful on my eyes, but for some it may not be sufficient. I suppose you can always request that they check it. The steam room fits about 4/5 average sized people quite comfortably. I also gave the sauna a go. It is an old style sauna where you can increase the temperature by pouring water onto the coal. I never really understood how these things work. There is a button to request more water. The sauna seats 3 or 4 people & is a little bit more cramped than the steam room. Personally I would probably not want to go in if there were people I didn't know using it already as it would be awkwardly close! Checking out Checkout is at midday, which I think is a fair time, leaving you plenty of time to relax at breakfast (I hate having to rush) & we even had the chance to go back to the gym before we ate because of the extended breakfast times. Conclusion At the price we paid, this hotel was a bargain. I would not recommend having dinner in the restaurant if the standards of service we received are anything to go by. Don't expect much from the Leisure centre. The rooms are fairly good, comfortable & there is nothing I can think of that can be altered. Breakfast was the best thing for me. As a 3-star hotel, this one lives up to expectations, but I really think it has the potential to do a whole lot better for itself. I recommend it as a budget hotel.