“ Address: Danestrete / Stevenage SG1 1XB / England „
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We've stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Stevenage a couple of times now whilst visiting friends living in Stevenage. Each time was for just a 1 night stay. The first time we stayed was July 2011, and the second time was May 2012. I like the Holiday Inn Express chain as you get the hot breakfast buffet included, and the hotels are normally ok. I have to admit though that I find the Holiday Inn Express hotels in the US to be of much better quality than the Holiday Inn Express hotels in the UK, well the ones we've stayed at have been anyway. So back to the Stevenage Holiday Inn Express. It is situated fairly near the centre of Stevenage, and the train station is just a short walk away. We drove to Stevenage both times and the hotel doesn't have any parking but you can park overnight in Matalan's car park which is opposite the hotel. The only drawback to this is that you have to vacate the car park by 9am otherwise you will incur the parking charges applied to Matalan's car park. The first time we stayed was a Saturday night and so we chanced leaving later the following morning, at 11am, as we figured that because it was a Sunday Matalan wouldn't be open until later. By the time we'd checked out of the hotel it was around 11.15am when we arrived at our car, there was no-one manning the ticket booth at the car par so we were fine having gone over the 9am departure time. The second time we stayed was a Friday night and so Matalan would be opening at 9am on the Saturday. We tossed a coin when we got back from the pub on the Friday night to see who would be getting up early to go and just pay for an hours parking in the car park and then we could have a leisurely breakfast and leave around 10am. My husband lost and so he headed out at 9am and paid about £1.60 I think for an hour. When we did leave just after 10am there was no-one manning the ticket booth again so we probably could have got away without paying for that hour after all! The Holiday Inn Express in Stevenage is quite a shabby and slightly run down hotel, its saving grace is that it is cheap; we paid less than £40.00 each time for the room. The second time that we stayed I also felt that the housekeeping was below par as well, our bathroom was really quite grubby, and I went to look out of the window and there were some chicken drumstick bones on the outside window sill - lovely!! To be honest due to the housekeeping issues I will look elsewhere for a hotel in Stevenage next time we go (which will be in a few months time). I also felt that the beds were a bit past it as well, the second time we stayed the double bed had a definite roll together! The rooms did have everything you would expect; double bed, sofa bed, desk and chair, TV, phone, wardrobe area, tea and coffee making facilities etc. The bathroom was small but functional, with a shower stall, sink, loo, hairdryer and enough towels. Breakfast is included in the room rate, and is not too bad at all; coffee, teas, juices, cereals, pastries, fruit, yogurts, toast, and hot items - sausages, scrambled eggs and baked beans. My human hoover husband definitely had more than his fill each time. There's no restaurant in the hotel, but there is a bar, we didn't use the bar area as we had plans each time with our friends. They do have free wi-fi throughout the hotel; you just need to get the code from reception. I'm not 100% sure that I'd recommend the Holiday Inn Express in Stevenage after the housekeeping issue on our second stay, I would see if I could get a reasonable room rate elsewhere first of all. If I couldn't then I would stay again but it wouldn't be my first choice next time around.
A few weeks ago, I ended up in Stevenage on a Friday night. I wasn't expecting this - it hadn't been top of my list as a weekend break destination! One of my friends is a member of a brass band in London and the south east regional heat of the National Brass Band Championships was being held in Stevenage over the weekend. She asked me and another friend to go with her as she didn't fancy staying overnight on her own. She booked a room in the Holiday Inn Express near the station and we met at King's Cross Station after work one night. The train to Stevenage only takes about twenty-five minutes so we soon arrived at our destination. *** Location and Price*** There are two Holiday Inn Express hotels in Stevenage - we were staying at the nearest one to the station, on Danestrete. The hotel was about ten minutes' walk from the station, which was handy for us and conveniently involved walking through the community centre, where the Brass Band Championships were to be held. It's a good job it was so close as my friend had her baritone to carry, and it was unbelievably heavy! My friend kindly offered to pay for the room as she was the one dragging us to Stevenage. However she said it was only £50 which was pretty impressive. ***Hotel Lobby*** The reception desk was a long desk with several tables and comfy chairs in front, with a dining area beyond (where the breakfast was to be served). There was nothing outstanding about the décor, which seemed pretty standard for this type of hotel, but it was bright, inviting and clean and looked like it had been recently decorated. Checking in was a simple matter and we took the lift to our room. ***The Room*** The room (which I assume was a family room) was clean and bright. Again it looked as though it had been recently decorated. There was a large double bed and a smaller sofa bed which had already been taken down and made up. A kettle was provided with tea and coffee (only two cups though, so we had to nick another one at breakfast the next morning!), and there was a hairdryer and a selection of white towels (thankfully enough for all of us!). There was an iron and ironing board available on request (my friend borrowed it to iron her uniform) and there was a TV in the room, although you had to pay for certain channels (mainly those showing movies). When we got in to the room, the TV was displaying a welcome screen with my friend's name on it, which I thought was a nice touch. We had an ensuite bathroom and again this was clean and tidy. There were no free bottles of shampoo and shower gel, but there was a pump dispenser containing Imperial Leather shower gel in the shower cubicle. We had no problems with water pressure or heat control when using the shower. My favourite thing about the bathroom was the design. The room was arranged so that the door could be used to close the entire bathroom, or just to close off the toilet cubicle itself, leaving the rest of the room free for someone else to use the shower and sink. The only problem with this is that the wall in between the toilet and shower cubicles is made of frosted glass so you might see a little more than you bargained for! ***Bar*** Once my friends and I got ready, we headed out to explore Stevenage. It's a new town, not particularly exciting, but we managed to find a few bars to go to. At least the drinks prices were cheaper than London! Once we got back we decided to have a last drink at the hotel bar. Prices weren't cheap but weren't overly expensive either. While we were there we chatted with some other people staying in the hotel, all of whom were either brass band players or there to offer support! ***Breakfast*** The room included what was described as a 'complimentary' breakfast. My friends and I hadn't done any research and assumed we would get a cup of tea and a muffin. However we were pleasantly surprised as we found a wide selection of food available at the buffet the next morning. Cereal, toast, pastries and rolls were available, as were tea, coffee, assorted juices and fruit. Some hot food - beans, scrambled eggs and sausages - was available, along with appropriate condiments. The food was hardly gourmet, but it was tasty and I had no problems with it. It's a shame my baritone-playing friend didn't partake of the food as she was too nervous to eat. ***Staff*** Hotel staff are so important - they can make or break a hotel experience. The staff at the Holiday Inn Express Stevenage were lovely. They were helpful and friendly at all times, from check-in to check-out. When we were going out for the night, the receptionist gave us some useful directions, and the staff serving at the bar later on were cheerful. When we checked out I was chatting to the member of staff about the hotel and she said that there were lots of business guests during the week. I imagine this is why weekend rates are so cheap - I can't imagine many people staying here at the weekend! She did say that on this particular weekend the place was full of brass band members! ***Conclusion*** I had never stayed in a Holiday Inn Express before, but I was very impressed with this one and would certainly consider staying in another. The hotel was in a very convenient location near the railway station, and it was clean and bright inside. The facilities were of a high standard, the breakfast tasty, room rates very reasonable and the staff lovely. In all honesty I can't imagine that I will ever need to stay in Stevenage again, but if I ever do, the Holiday Inn Express will certainly be my first choice. ***Contact Details*** Website: http://www.hiexpressstevenage.co.uk/ Address: Danestrete, Stevenage, Herts SG1 1XB Phone (Front Desk): +44(0)-1438-344300 Fax: +44(0)-1438-344301