Myself and my husband were invited to a wedding that took place in Bolton over a an August weekend - In fact the wedding was actually in the Holiday Inn Bolton centre and so it made sense to obviously stay in this hotel! I booked the room as soon as I knew I was going to be able to go to the wedding and so had it booked about 4 months in advance. I booked over the phone for my room. The hotel: The holiday Inn Bolton is part of the Intercontinental hotel chain which includes, Holiday Inns, Express by Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and of course Intercontinental hotels. The one we stayed in was a Holiday Inn and is the one slap bang in the middle of Bolton town centre. The hotel is a 4* property and has plenty of facilities although only being there for 1 night didn't give me an awful lot of time to enjoy everything! I shall cover everything I did experience. The hotel has 132 room altogether and 7 of these are executive. Location: Of course as I say it is very central - to give you an idea of how central it is literally across one road to the shopping centre and the main street where all the high street shops are, around the corner to the main retail park and just seconds away from one of Bolton's main nightclubs, Ikon. It was very easy to find as it was at the end of the A666 coming from Manchester and was then visible from the main road. The hotel is located on Higher Bridge street should you need the road address. First impressions: It looked smaller from the outside than from what it had seemed online however the car park was easy to get into as you simply go right as you enter the turning for the hotel and go through the barrier gate which automatically opens as you approach it. The entrance has a red carpet laid out and although small the lobby is well kept and bright. The reception was manned by two staff when we turned up and I was greeted immediately. I was unable to check right in but, we were two hours before standard check in of 2pm so this was not something I would hold against the hotel and therefore my first impression was very good! The room: I made a mistake in opting to have a smoking room - you may wonder why as two non smokers we would do this and it was simply because we needed the room as soon as possible! The whole point of us being there was to attend the wedding that was taking place at 3pm. We had booked a double room and the receptionist advised us that the first double that had become available was a smoking room and that the rest probably wouldn't be ready until just before 2pm - of course still in line with their standard check in times but, as I needed to shower, do my hair and dress I opted to take the double that was ready o that I could start getting ready. When we got to the room we weren't sure how bad it would smell and upon entering we realised very bad would be the correct answer! We were so tempted to go back to reception and tell them we'd wait but, at this point I was desperate to start getting showered so we opened the window as far as it would go, which wasn't very far at all and hoped some fresh air would get rid of the stink! We also stuck the air conditioning on to get the air circulating which helped a little although the a/c unit was fairly noisy. The room itself was fairly small I felt but, I think this was just to me because I stay in a lot of hotels with work and so I always notice now if a room is slightly smaller than average. The bed was a good sized double with two bedside tables and under the window was a small table and two tub chairs. There was a desk on against the wall facing the bed with a TV and the kettle with cups, tea and coffee supplies in a little bowl. The bathroom was to the left hand side as you walked in and this was quite compact with a bath tub and an over shower, the toilet next to the tub and a sink on the opposite wall. The bathroom was bright enough and a few toiletries were provided. I noticed a hairdryer attached to the wall and the shower had two leads - one attached to the wall that could not be moved at all and one hung on a rack at the side which for me was a plus - when I just need to wash my hair I like to use the shower head over the tub rather using a jug than over a sink so this would have been ideal if I had needed it - as it was I was showering anyway and did so again in the morning before checking out so on this occasion it was wasted! Later on when we returned to the room I felt the smell wasn't as intense as we had left the window open whilst we were at the wedding - however I cannot really say I thought the room was that great and I cannot quite put my finger on why! Overall it was clean and had everything you need for a hotel room. The thing I think it was, is that generally, the room felt a little dismal as there wasn't much natural light in the room and of course with it being slightly on the small side anyway then this didn't help, where as if it had been small but, had a huge window with lots of light coming in it probably would have felt much bigger! The bed although large had a slight dip in the middle which suggests it is time for them to change the mattress! The tub chairs we sat in whilst we had a brew in the morning before leaving and these were pretty uncomfortable! I know of course that this is not something that many will be bothered by but, I thought I would mention it! On a plus point I saw a cleaner as we were entering the room and I asked her if it would be possible to get some extra tea and coffee as there was just the usual two of each in the room and I knew that I we would need more than one cup each! She came straight back to the room with a huge bag of extra supplies and said if we needed anything else to let her know - top marks for her! Food and drink: We used the hotel bar whilst staying here and used the one located in the lobby and also the one just outside of the function room. When we arrived down to the lobby the bar only had one staff member on who was trying to serve all the wedding guests! He did an ok job on his own and was friendly enough. Drinks were on par with most hotel bars with a pint and a half costing us just under £5. The bar just outside the function room was slightly bigger and once the wedding had taken place there were two staff on here serving - this bar had a small seating area around it and there was a door to the outside area for smokers. When we booked the room we decided not to include breakfast just because of how much it was at £13.50pp! When we then came to check in we noticed a deal of breakfast for two at just £15 total. Obviously a much better deal but, we still decided to leave it as we knew we'd rather go out and get breakfast cheaper still - when we did check out the next morning we bumped into some people who had breakfast and they said it was just ok. This certainly made us happier that we were not missing anything special! The restaurant where breakfast is served is located just next to the reception area and is buffet style although there didn't seem to be an overly huge selection - the place certainly looked nice enough but, of course it is the food that counts and for £7.50 I would have wanted something nicer than juts ok! Other facilities: Of course being at the wedding we saw the function room - I would say the function room at this hotel is a major draw for a lot of people of looking for a venue. First of all the room is actually some kind of old church building that must have been bought by the hotel. The hotel then renovated it slightly to use as a function room but, kept the high beamed ceilings and stained glass windows along. Because the room is connected on by a small walkway and the hotel have a license to have wedding ceremonies. For this particular ceremony the chairs were placed down the walkway and the couple had the ceremony on the raised bit going into the main room. Then after the ceremony the party took place in the actual old church building with the DJ and dance floor set up at one end. The room was absolutely perfect for this kind of occasion as the table fitted beautifully around the long stretch of the room and the top table was put on another raised section at one side of the room in an alcove. The food was provided by the hotel and this was buffet style. The food was very nice with the usual fare of small sandwiches, drumsticks, small desserts etc and all the food I had tasted yummy! The food was laid out in a small side section just off the main room which looked fairly modern in comparison and I presume was created just for this reason as the kitchen was immediately behind it! Overall in terms of the even the hotel have a great function room and is certainly a better hotel because of it! The hotel do also have an indoor swimming pool and a gym which we just did not get time to use and this is free to all guests of the hotel however if not staying at the hotel there is a charge of £10.00 for a days entrance. Also there is internet access but, even for guests this is not free and there is a £12 initial charge although I am not sure if this is a set amount regardless of the amount of time you are staying in the hotel. Staff: Overall all the staff we came in to contact with were very pleasant - the hotel have their own wedding co-ordinator who we saw during the day and who kept the main event flowing smoothly. The reception staff were very nice too. The only niggle I have is that I was asked for a card to pre authorise payment for my room even though I advised I would be paying cash. They advised they would need a card which is fair enough as so many hotels do this now but, I have still not had the money released back into my account yet and that is rather annoying! When I rang to ask them how long it would be I was told that it should be in the next couple of days so we shall see! Price: I paid just £34.50 for my room for the one night for two people not including breakfast - great you may think but, actually I got a discount because I work in the travel industry and if I hadn't the room would have been pretty much double. If booked at usual rate then yes it would include breakfast but, even so if I had have paid that much for this room I would have been really disappointed by the size of the room. Of course I cannot complain too much about the cost when most of the wedding guests had paid considerably more however I think there are nicer hotel rooms out there for the same price! Overall opinion: I cannot fault the hotel in one huge way as it did what it set out to do - provide me with a clean (although smelly because I wouldn't wait!) room that served it's purpose of allowing me to enjoy the wedding without a drive home the same night. The staff were all very helpful and the function room is definitely a great feature - however the hotel is apparently 4* and for me I guess I had expected better because of this - I have stayed in better 3* hotels and I think realistically the hotel has mainly been able to become 4* because of being bale to provide a function room that can perform weddings. I wouldn't not recommend this hotel to anyone as it's certainly not a dive! I would probably just say that unless there for an event of some kind which of course makes it worthwhile staying in this hotel itself then it is not somewhere I would instantly say is a first choice for me! My personal opinion is that it is a good 3* hotel rather than 4*!