“ DUNALLEY ST, CHELTENHAM, GL50 4AP ENGLAND. „
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This was my first ever experience of a Holiday Inn Express Hotel, but having stayed at this hotel recently I am sure I will be using this chain again. I found the Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham to be excellent value for money,very clean, well situated and with all the elements for a peaceful and agreable overnight stay. Location: The hotel is situated right in the centre of Cheltenham, a town which is on the edge of the Cotswolds and an agreable destination in its own right. The hotel was easily found being opposite "The Brewery", a new food and retail development that is well sign posted. The building is very new looking and plastered white - the Holiday Inn Express new logo makes it easy to spot. Parking is in the neighbouring NCP carpark, which was secure enough, or the hotel is a short stroll from the High Street. The room: Now I imagine that all Holiday Inn Express rooms are pretty similar, so excuse me if you have stayed in one before and know exactly what they are like. We had booked a double room with a pull out sofa bed for our family of four, for a very reasonable £65, including breakfast. Rates will vary, the rack rate was £99 I believe, but offers can be found on the hotel's website http://www.hiexcheltenham.com/, which we used with ease to book the hotel online. When we arrived, using one of those generic key cards that also operates the electricity, the sofa bed was made up and so there wasn't much floor space (as you can probably imagine from the picture above). However everything was spotless and the room was pleasant enough, if a bit nondescript. The decor was innocuous, just one token picture on the wall and everything in muted shades apart from some curtains that would never have been allowed in my house for reasons of taste, but which were fine for a hotel room. For one or two people the room would have been spacious enough, and for us for just an overnight stay it was fine, had we needed more space we could in theory have folded up the sofa bed. There was a small desk and LCD TV with freeview channels and paying film channels and, of course, a direct dial telephone. There was also a small amount of hanging space for clothes, coffee and tea facilities and one of those hairdryers that is permanently attached to the wall. The ensuite bathroom was compact but pleasantly enough decorated with contemporary tiles and nice touches such as a self-lowering toilet seat. There was one door to the bathroom which also swung round cleverly to close off the toilet area so the shower and toilet could be used at the same time with privacy for all - quite handy for a family of four! The beds were made up with a choice of soft or hard pillows (I am guessing that this is a Holiday Express hallmark touch), and both the fixed and temporary bed were comfortable. The room had its own air conditioning and the lighting was good too - I often find in hotels the lighting is all wrong somehow - here you could control the light levels by dint of lots of controls and different lights. Internet access was available at extra cost, and there was shower gel and shampoo (in fixed to the wall dispensers) in the bathroom but also a note to say that if you needed anything you had forgotten toiletry wise to contact reception who had complimentary items available. The room we had looked over the carpark - hardly the most exotic of outlooks, and was near to the ring road too. I would have to say though that the room was very quiet - I think the double glazing and sound proofing of the room was well done and nothing disturbed us at all. Overall we were really happy with the room, it was clean, pleasant and comfortable. Other facilities: The hotel has a conference room and also some "accessible rooms". These have turning space for wheelchairs and also vibrating pillow in the case of an alarm for non-hearing guests, an emergency pull, and also a connecting room for carers. There are two lifts to the three floors, which were opposite each other in the spacious lobby, so one should always be available I would imagine - though apologies to any guests during our visit who got caught up in our one-time-only family lift race (for the record I lost). The hotel also has some "smoking rooms", which are available of request, but does not cater for pets. Breakfast: This is a 3 star hotel so apart from a bar there was just a breakfast area where a buffet style breakfast was served to the projection of sky news on big lcd screens. The Independant newspaper was available, and the buffet was of the continental variety with different cereals, yoghurts, fruit and a toasting machine for guest use with a big "NOT for use with croissants" sign on it - I did wonder if there had been an "incident" at some point in the hotel's not very distant past. The latter food items, duly not put through the toasting machine, were nice and fresh, there were also danish pastries, orange "juice", and tea and coffee. I thought the breakfast was actually quite good, given that I felt we had paid an excellent rate for 4 people. My husband actually remarked that it was probably cheaper than being at home - and I think he might have been almost right! Other offers: The hotel doesn't have a restaurant, but the brewery is literally across the road. Here you will find a range of fare for every taste - there was an all you can eat Indian and Chinese restaurant, pizza restaurant, hamburger restaurant, nandos and a bar. The hotel gave us a leaflet which was a discount for the restaurants - we used our 20 % off Nando's to great effect and ate for £20 for 4 including drinks and far too many chips for four people really - though we did polish them all off. Guests can also use the Fitness First gym situated in the Brewery for free during the stay, though this offer is for adults only, which was a shame as given our chip intake some excercise would have been a good idea probably. The carpark at the NCP costs £4.20 for guests at the hotel, for your whole stay, allowing you to go in and out of the carpark as many times as you like. You can purchase the card you will need to use for the seperate carpark at reception. Overall: I really enjoyed my stay at this hotel and was really impressed by the level of friendly service from the staff and overall cleanliness. Apparently the hotel won "B.A Hotel of the Year 2009" from the Birmingham Telegraph, for me it was actually probably the best stay, as well as the cheapest, at £65 for 4, of my year personally so far and I would go back if I was in the area. I can thoroughly recommend this hotel for a short stay in the area if you are just looking for a place to sleep and are staying for business or to enjoy all the area has to offer. Website: http://www.hiexcheltenham.com/ for more photos and booking.