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What is the best thing you can do for a seven year old boy, who is completely obsessed with Lego? Take them to Legoland Windsor of course! Well, after recommendations from friends and family, this is what we decided to do for our eldest, Oakley. Credit card at the ready, we were not expecting the trip to be cheap, but the official Legoland website had a treat in store, if we booked before the end of June, we could book a second day to the park free with an extra bonus of Oakley gaining park entry free for both days. Our two younger ones were under the age of two, so free anyway. This seemed like an amazing deal, the lowest price for a day trip would have cost £74.40 (10% off and a free ticket for Oakley) so we quickly booked - we had to, it was 31st June and the offer ran out at midnight! After looking through the information about the available hotels on the website we finally decided upon the Holiday Inn Guildford, mainly for the following reasons: The cost - £140 (2 adults, 1 child and 2 infants) Kids eat free offer - one child eats free for each paying adult Breakfast included - for all of us, not just the kids! Childrens play area Free parking Swimming pool - they also have a salon which sadly I couldn't take advantage of. 19 miles from Legoland - not close, but much better value than closer hotels. It also helped that it had a four AA star rating and a four brick fun rating. If I'm completely honest, the photo put me off a little, there always seems to be a neon green light outside any Holiday Inn which gave me the impression of 'bright' (physcadelic) interiors, but the value factor won out. ==Our Experience== By the time we arrived at the Inn, we had already travelled two hours to get to Legoland, spent seven busy hours at the park and took an hour and a half on the M25 getting to the hotel, so we were well over the 2pm checking in time. The route Google maps gave us said it was 26 miles not 19 as stated on the website, although we travelled even more as we got ever so slightly lost. I cannot lie, I was desperate to get in, unload the kids and put my feet up! Sensibly, I sent hubby in to check us in. Less than five minutes later he was back at the car (we had found an ideal parking space right outside reception), he had the room key/ card and some pirate themed activity packs for the boys. Checkout is usually 12pm. ==First Impressions== No neon green in sight! (Due to recent re-marketing an refurbishments) Reception is obviously the first port of call when entering the front doors. The adjoined open plan lobby is basically a seating area. The decor is both clean and modern feeling, but with a heavy expanse of darkish wood panelling and a dark -hide all marks - carpet. Being very open, you can see into the seperate bar area and the restaurant, the panelling is not at all overbearing or dingey, the rest of the walls are light and everything is well lit (including a large, gorgeous art deco ceiling light in the bar area). The whole feel is clean, non-fussy and elegant. Kind of a modern twist on a gentlemens club and not at all what I expected. ==The maze== We took a right past reception, past the spa which smelt divine, down some stairs, around a corner, followed a corridor, took a left, around another corner .... I'm sure you get the idea. My addled brain was completely lost trying to get back to our starting point for tea, but the next day it didn't seem so confusing or as far. I did wonder if we (more so the kids) had been tucked away from all the business people, but apart from the trek (it took hubby three attempts to get all our posessions into our room) the location was fine. It was very quiet, we still had an opening window which I wasn't expecting as we had travelled downstairs and it was a fun game for the kids to try and remember our way back (very amusing with our cute display of inflatables when trying to find the pool). Overall, the corridors were very tidy, no stale smells, not exciting decor, but still, hardwearing and very clean. ==The room== Not immensly large, the room consisted of a double pull out sofa bed, a king size bed, either side bedside cabinets, a large desk which was home to a large flat screen tv, there was a large round mirror on the wall behind the desk and a comfy cream tub chair in front of it. Instead of curtains we had wooden, sliding shutters which were fantastic at keeping the light out. The main bed was against a contrasting chocolate coloured wall with and made up with bright white linen and a navy blue runner. There was a choice of soft or firm pillows for each of us and they also had a navy 'runner' around them which needed to be removed prior to sleeping as it had the tag on telling you which pillow was which. My hubby chose one firm pillow, so I nicked his other one, so I had two soft pillows. And they were very soft & comfy! The bed was maybe a little bit bouncy, but this may have had more to do with the fact the children were sleeping an arms length away, so I was afraid to move incase I woke them up. Aside from that, I was very happy with the bed, it was exceptionally clean, comfortable & roomy. In fact, the sheets felt like new. The boys slept on the sofa bed which was ready made when we entered, again with spotless white bedding. There was plenty of room for both of them and still a couple of feet of walking space between their bed and ours. The sofa was situated right next to the window which could be opened quite widely so we didn't feel it was safe enough to keep the window open all night which was a shame as it had been a hot day. I'm not sure how much air could get past those floor to ceiling shutters anyway! We took our own travel cot for Ruby, as advised by the hotel staff, they said it would probably be smaller than theirs. It tucked well into a space at the end of our bed, next to the desk and there was ample space to walk past en-route to the bathroom without disturbing her. All in all, there was room enough to move around, but for extended stays the lack of space would annoy me! ==Storage space== There was an array of shelving to the left as soon as you entered the room, the majority of which was clothes hanging space. There were also some horizontal shelving, a simply stocked mini bar which we were too afraid to touch and a chest height shelf housed a kettle, cups, spoons and selection of teas and coffees, UHT milk and sugars/ sweeteners, I appreciated the fact that it was all tucked safely away from the kids. Underneath was a trouser press and opposite that was a full length mirror ==The Bathroom== As expected, the bathroom was fairly small, but very tidy in white tiles and again, very clean. The sink area was well lit and the mirror and sink was large enough for two of us to use at a time. There was a few sample sized complimentary toiletries, soap, shampoo and shower gel I believe. We had taken our own though, so they went unused. The shower was over the bath, very powerful and easy to use, we all had lovely showers! Towels were supplied on a towel warmer (not switched on thankfully) which were very clean and fairly soft, though only hand and bath sized -no massive bath sheets, but that's usually standard and again, I'd brought our own. ==The Pool== Knowing the kids would wake early, we were looking forward to going for a swim. There were only a couple of people in when we got there and there was a narrow lane roped off which a lady was using. A few minutes later another gentleman approached us and explained that that narrow lane was for families and the rest of the pool was for lane swimming. At first I thought he may have been being a bit rude, but when we got in the lane there was indeed a sign on the wall. Luckily, we were the only family there so we had enough room. The pool is 15 metres long and there was also a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room available free of charge to guests. The changing rooms had about four or five cubicles or wooden benches with hooks above. There were showers, some hair dryers and a swimsuit extractor, which I made use of, it spun all the water out in seconds, meaning we didn't have to pack wet clothes, there was also an area to place used hotel towels. The pool was open from 6:30am until 10:00pm, although it was adults only from 7pm. This was on a Friday, I think the times are different on the weekend. ==Spirit Health & Fitness Centre== Aswell as the pool, they also offer an air conditioned gym, a dance studio and various beauty treatments, all at extra costs. The centre is accessible from inside the hotel. We didn't have time to try any of these facilities, but I can say that it smelt divine, I assume from essentail oils and the fragrance wafted down the corridors! ==Restaurant== We visited the restaurant for our evening meal at about 7:45pm. The entrance is narrowed, with one of those maitre'd reservation stands, so we waited to be seated. There were only about four tables taken and the manager quickly seated us and brought two high chairs over without us asking and then left to get our drinks. We left about an hour later and it was nearly fully seated by then. The whole area is very open plan, and although the seating area itself wasn't that large, it felt airy & bright. There were large windows & french doors opening onto a patio area with more seating. Inside the tables are white, square and a little on the small side, the chairs are plain looking, maybe a little retro, with moulded seats and metal legs. Not luxurious, but not uncomfortable either. There seemed to be quite a few staff around, but none were standing around idle and quite a few stopped to talk to the children which I thought was really nice. We had spied a menu in our room but had not had time to look at it. I heard my hubby grumble that the sausage & mash cost £13.50, but that ends my knowledge of the actual menu. Within minutes a waitress had come to explain that we could order from said menu or for £16.50, eat as much as we liked from the two course buffet. The children could eat free, but only from the buffet. She encouraged us to go and have a look at what was on offer and we enthusiastically chose this option, which is why we took no more notice of the menu choices! There were some seperate choices for the kids, I remember seing meatballs and some pasta in tomato sauce, beans, chicken nuggets and fishfingers. My boys chose the fishfingers, but oakley also had some food from the main buffet. On the main buffet, (I'm writing this from memory so may have missed a couple of things out) there were little steak pies in a shortcrust pastry, pork loin in gravy, chicken on skewers, some lovely fillets of white fish, roasters and some mixed vegetables. I tried the fish, chicken, roasters and veg, all of it was lovely, piping hot but not dried out. My hubby had all that, plus a pie and a piece of pork! He liked it all, but loved the pie, I think he would have had another if he could have fitted it in. I, however, had left room for pudding and shared a very rich slice of chocolate mousse gateaux. Delicious! There was also black forest gateaux. Ian assured me there was also fruit salad on offer. Must have missed that. Breakfast was included in our stay and again, followed the buffet style. There were a range of fruit juices and those little boxes of cereals with jugs of fresh milk, toast could be cooked on one of those large rotating grills but the bread needed two visits for medium coverage which was time consuming. There was also croissants and a selection of mini danish pastries which were so fresh and warm, they tasted like they may have been baked on site. I also remember more fruit salad and a tray of thinly sliced meats and cheese. The main breakfast was a full english, bacon, eggs (scrambled & fried), beans, mushrooms, black pudding, sausages (cumberlands I think), hash browns and tomatoes. Breakfast was a bit busier and I had to wait a while for them to refil the bacon, but again, all food was top quality and piping hot. They would also cook poached eggs or porridge fresh if you asked. Coffee and tea was brought around the tables and poured for you, this would be my only criticsm, I was desperate for a nice coffee, but they kept missing us and it took ages for us to grab the attention of a staff member. By the time they brought some over I had finished my meal. It was still lovely coffee though. For both meals, there was a range of bread rolls and condiments to help yourselves to. Apart from the coffee issue, I have absolutely no complaints about our dining experience. The food was delicious, we certainly ate enough to get value for money and the staff were attentive, friendly and efficient. They also offer a Sunday carvery, Monday night is curry night & 24 hour room service for snack & light bites. ==Play Area== We found this dissapointing. It consisted of a couple of little tables and chairs in a corridor en route to the rooms. There were some pictures to colour and some crayons and some board games. It would have been nicer if there was a litte room allocated, as young children could run off in any direction. Also, when my hubby took the boys up to play as I got Ruby off to sleep, someone came and took the games away. ==Baby bottles== Another problem I had was with sterilising Ruby's bottles. I have a microwaveable steam steriliser and when we booked we had to phone them to check about the cot we also enquired about being able to use the steriliser, they told us the restaurant had a microwave. When we got to the hotel, I explained again and as I feared, the microwave was industrial strength and I wouldn't know how long to put it on for. The staff offered me a jug of boiling water to soak the teats in, although in hindsight we did have a kettle in our room so I should have used that! Ruby will be one at the end of August, so I wasn't overly worried, but this could be of some concern to parents of tiny babies, I advise taking an electric steriliser if possible. ==T.V. & WiFi== We didn't have much time for watching t.v, but it looked like all the freeview channels were available. There were also adverts for kids films, Oakley says they were Up and Toy Story 3, but when Ian enquired he was told the cost was £6 per film. Internet is available in all rooms and access charges started from £15 for dial up and £16 for high speed and wireless, I assume those charges are per day but this wasn't clear from the leaflet we read. ==Directions== I'm just giving the last few directions as our Google Maps was a little confusing, especially as the last point was 'get off at the exit' - which exit? There were quite a few! Leave the M25 at junction 10 and join the A3. Follow the signs for Guildford and look for the exit sign 'Research Park'. Then take the third exit off the first roundabout and the second exit off the second roundabout. (You will probably have seen the hotel by then). ==Recommended?== Yes. It may have been a very short stay, but it was definitely a comfortable and pleasant one. We didn't use all the facilities on offer but it's nice to know they are available. Checking in and out was easy and quick, an added bonus with three children. The food was lovely and the staff were excellent. The only improvement I would make is to the play area, although many hotels don't even offer what they had here Although, when we visit Legoland again, I would probably look for a hotel closer to the park as it's tiring travelling too far again at the end of the day. It's only 25 miles away from Gatwick and Heathrow and the nearest trainstation in Guildford is only 1.5 miles away so I can see why it's such a popular place for business travellers. This is also why it's only usually available to Legoland customers towards the end of the week. I've given it 4 stars, but would like it to be 4.5.
My husband and I stayed here for our wedding anniversary weekend. We used to stay here when it was the swallow imperial hotel and I have to say when we walked in we were pleasently surprised at how nice the place looked, and it was nice to note they had kept the same names for the suites/meetings rooms etc. Anyways check in was fast with no problems and our room was on the third floor, so up we went in the lift and into the room. They have vastly improved from the dated swallow rooms I can tell you that, comfy bed, nice tv, there could of been more storage as there was no drawers for clothes only really shelves in the wardrobe which is annoying as half of them dont have a door in front so they are kinda just left out for all to see, there was also a digital safe in the wardrobe which is always good. The bathroom was nice with big shower (dual shower heads), sink with lit up vanity mirror, clean toilet and a heated towel rail/radiator - very clean. One thing I will say about the bathroom is that it has a seethrough door!! wtf who wants to pee or poop with a door that people can see through and on top of that theres a mirror right outside the door on the adjacent wall so if your on the loo and your other halfs outside getting ready looking in the mirror its hard not to see them! bad idea....plus when my hubby was on the loo housekeeping entered the room apologised apparently they didnt know it was occupied yet as we had arrived early then she left but I have to say that wasnt a nice experience for my husband not sure if she saw him but the big mirror was there so who knows, beware!! There seemed to be a lot of light switches which took a bit of getting used to cuz we kept hitting the wrong ones to turn things on and off lol. The aircon was great infact it was so good we woke up frozen and had to put the heat up lol. Oh there is a mini fridge in the room with juice, water, kitkats and such in it and all is free so thats a nice wee touch. We went out for dinner and drinks on the first night and came back to a fruit platter and bottle of wine in our room which was a lovely touch for our wedding anniversary, even if the wine was a bit vinegary it was free so who can complain haha. Our first nights sleep was fine though at 7am we could hear people outside the room talking and whatnot only then a wee while late to have a housekeeper trying to get into our room, thankfully we had the dead bolt on!! She apologised but apparently our do not disturb button wasnt working grrr....so we got some towels and restocked the fridge and she left. so much for our nice anniversary lie in that was us up and awake :( so we left the used fruit platter and wine outside the room only wee while later the housekeeper knocks the door to see if were finished with it....uhm no I left it out there to get cold I was going to finish the fruit later ffs of course were done with it (still no getting back to sleep) We tried again to get back into bed only for a while later the door to be knocked again for someone to shout in to see if the room had been clean omg seriously!! we decided to get up and go out for some shopping! The second night we went to bed around 10pm as we had an 8am flight and had to leave the hotel at 6am. We were woken by drunk people shouting and running up and down the corridors like idiots, got back to sleep only to be woken again at 3am by people shouting again I can still here that woman going "Darrrrrrennnnn, Darrrrrrrrennnn" I actually had to shout would you shut up were trying to sleep! I then got up to pee and our bathroom absouletly stunk of marijuana!!! someone next door must of been smoking the stuff. Finally got back to sleep again, got up at 5am by my alarm.....my 5am wake up call finally came at 5.15am when we were already up and drinking our tea! (there are tea making facilities but I suggest buying a pint of milk to keep in the fridge). Thankfully our taxi was on time and the lovely taxi driver even waited while we complained, my husband filled in a comment card and told the front desk everything, the guy said "oh well if I had of checked you in I would of upgraded you to the next room and defo wouldn't of put you in the section you were in as its were all the singles/stags/hens were staying" seriously whoever checked us in obviously didnt have a clue!!! He told us someone would follow up with us but to email the complaint properly. I wrote an email and they finally got back to us, the Manager Amy was very kind and helpful and we were satisfied with the compensation that was offered to us. I have to say the hotel is lovely its had a major facelift, can't comment on the food as we never ate there but the drinks can be quite expensive over ten pounds for a magners and a bacardi, the staff were nice and although annoying the housekeeping staff were very friendly and helpful and we cant fault them especially as our dont disturb button was broke (they were only doing their job). The hotel is close to the metro which is great and its priced ok for a Holiday Inn I don't think its 4 star thought lke they say maybe a 3 star would suit it better, I would of given it 2 stars for the trouble we had but didnt due to the manager sorting it out and the hotel is very nice. Can't comment on anything else as we only used the room for sleeping (or trying to sleep) and were out the rest of the time. I would give the hotel a second chance but will defo be telling them when checking in that we better be in a quiet part of the hotel away from the weekend drunks! (also on ciao)
I booked this through Hotels.com and it was £49 booking about 2 months in advance. I also got cashback through quidco making it a really good deal. I arrived at 1am having called before to make sure it was ok and when I arrived there was someone on the reception desk. They had my key card ready in seconds and I was in the bed and asleep 10 mins later. As it was a really brief stop as I just used the hotel as being a stop off to get to somewhere else the next day I didnt really get to see any more facilities in the hotel. My room was quite large, clean, had a massive bed and a nice touch which was the pillows had a label stating they were firm and that I should see reception if I wanted a different style. I also had some freebie toiletries which were quite nice and tea, coffee and hot chocolate. There was a mini kettle and a mini bar but I didnt touch that as you have to pay for it. The room was clean, had a large widescreen tv which I had to turn off at the socket as it turned on every time I walked past it. The bed was very firm and comfortable, although it was a saturday night the hotel was silent and I got a great nights sleep. The only complaint would be the shower water pressure was useless and the fan didnt do a great job at getting the steam out. Parking is free outside and theres a petrol station next door which was very reasonably priced. My room was on the ground floor but I felt safe and when I left at 8am there was again someone on reception to check me out quickly. I had no extras and had already paid for the room on the hotels.com website so I was straight out. For a short stay it was very good and it was great that they were so organised and I could get to bed as soon as I got there. I would use them again at the same cheap rate.
Holiday Inn are a very large hotel chain, with hotels in a variety of locations all over the world. Generally, the hotels are pretty much similar to each other, so you will know what sort of standard of accomodation to expect wherever you stay. The Holiday Inn that I have stayed in most recently is the one on the seafront in Brighton (137, Kings Road, Brighton, East Sussex). It is situated right opposite the remains of the West Pier, so it is easy to find. The hotel (formerly the Hilton) is quite unattractive from the exterior, as it is a 1960's/1970's building and grey in colour. Inside, the hotel is much more attractive, and the Reception area is light and modern. I had booked a family room for myself, my husband and our two year old daughter, for three nights, while we were in Brighton visiting friends (we used to live in the area until earlier this year). The room cost £80.00 per night without breakfast. This was the best family accomodation that I could find in Brighton, which tends to be rather expensive. I booked the hotel online by going to Top Cash Back, then to hotels.com, so I could get cashback, to make it more affordable. We decided not to have breakfast at the hotel, as it was very expensive (about £12.00-£15.00 per person) and instead went out to a local cafe. The room was on the fifth floor, was very large and had two King sized beds, as is common in many American hotels. I was glad that it was very spacious, as it meant that our daughter had room to run about, and there was plenty of space for our luggage and the buggy. The room was nicely decorated in a fairly contemporary style, with tea and coffee making facilities, an iron and ironing board, trouser press, television with Freeview channels, air conditioning and an ensuite bathroom with a shower over the bath and showergel and soap provided. The beds were very comfortable, and there was extra bedding and towels provided in the wardrobe. During our stay, we did not use the bar or restaurant, so I cannot comment on them. We did not see much of the staff, but the check in and check out process was quick and easy, and our room was kept very clean and tidy by the housekeepers. As the Holiday Inn is situated on Brighton seafront, there is not much parking available. We travelled by train and walked about as much as possible, and I would advise anyone else visting Brighton to do the same, as parking is almost impossible in the city. The nearest carpark to the hotel is probably the one under nearby Regency Square, though this is an expensive option. The hotel has a few steps up to the main entrance at the front, but there is a wheelchair accessible ramp to the left hand side, which is also very useful to anyone staying there with young children, who has a buggy or pram. There is also a children's play area just over the road by the beach, for those with young children, and the Sea Life Centre and Volks Railway are by the Brighton (Palace) Pier to the East, though the railway was closed when we were there (early October). I would definitely consider staying at this hotel, and other Holiday Inns, in the future. It was comfortable, convenient and the room was very spacious, which makes a change from so many hotel rooms, that feel so cramped and small. The only thing that I would suggest to improve it, would be for breakfast to be included in the price paid for the room.
Just back from an over-night away, hence the purge of travel related reviews. We stayed in Holiday Inn, Basingstoke. It is very central and only a few minutes' drive from the Festival Place (where we ate and watched a movie). Two miles away is the leisure park - we were given complimentary tickets to use the Aquadrome included in our room purchase. This is definitely one to book online as the walk in prices are published at reception as £150+. We got ours from late rooms for £55.00 - double room, en-suite with bath/shower, one arm chair and table, writing desk and chair, TV, coffee/tea making facilities, ample sockets, wardrobe. Breakfast was not included and retailing at around £13.00 per person we opted to make our own arrangements. The staff were friendly and efficient when checking us in. Also very helpful in fulfilling the website's promise of free passes to the Aquadrome in lieu of onsite leisure facilities. The only gripe is that in the bathroom there is a promise of complimentary hygiene items if you have forgotten them. When we returned from the cinema I enquired about a sanitary item. A lady dressed in managers clothes who seemed to have English as a second language 'dealt' with my, let's face it, embarrassing request. I was told to maybe try the ladies bathroom (she didn't know what coinage was required), or failing that there is a garage next door. Thankfully I have a wonderful partner who popped and got some for me. The room was clean and we got a good night sleep. Check out was straight forward - we didn't charge anything to the room and this was acknowledged as we closed the transaction. We often have reason to book into a cheap hotel for one or two nights and on this experience I would be happy to use them or another of the chain again.
Holiday Inn - Rotherham, Yorkshire The Holiday Inn at Rotherham is, quite simply, one of the best hotels I've had the pleasure of staying at for a long time. I've often stayed at various Express by Holiday Inn hotels around the country because they could accommodate a family of five in one room as well as offering extremely good room rates and value for money. However, they've recently changed their regulations, allowing only a maximum of four people per room. This has ruled out the Express by Holiday Inn hotels for us, but there are a few remaining Holiday Inn hotels still allowing for larger families sharing a room. We were on our way to stay with relatives in the North of England and, since we were driving up from London, wanted to break our journey for a night. Therefore, we booked two nights at the Holiday Inn at Rotherham, one on the way up and another for the return journey. We also chose this hotel for its amenities which include a restaurant, 17.5ft swimming pool, sauna, steam room and gymnasium. We all wanted to use the swimming pool and since we didn't want to spend time driving around town searching for somewhere to eat with tired, cranky children in tow, the restaurant was a big plus point. How to Book: You can book by phone or online. We booked our two nights online and received an email with our booking confirmation, driving instructions, and room/rate information. It also provided links to local maps and attractions for visitors wishing to explore the local area. Of course you can also book by phone. How to Find Them: The Holiday Inn at Rotherham is situated on the outskirts of Rotherham. If you're travelling up or down the M1, take the exit at junction 33 and follow the signs for Rotherham (A630). Head along the dual carriageway a short distance and turn left at the roundabout. You can clearly see the hotel on the right hand side. Parking: There is a small car park out of the front of building which is included in the price. We had a good view of our car from our room which was reassuring. There are barriers at the entrance to the hotel, but I'm not quite sure of their purpose as they just lifted up when we drove through in both directions. Checking In and Out: You can check in from 2pm and check out by midday. The reception staff were very welcoming. After providing our car registration and credit card details, we were asked whether we would like a wake up call or a newspaper delivered in the morning. We also booked dinner for that night. Access: The hotel has wheelchair access and there are two lifts up to the three floors. Alternatively, you can take the rather grand staircase if you want some exercise. The Room: As soon as we put our keycard into the slot and pushed open the door to our room, we were deafened by squeals of delight from the kids and then me. We were given an 'executive room' which was set up with 3 double sized beds, one of which was a sofa bed. Previously, when staying in the smaller Express by Holiday Inn hotels, we were always squashed as the beds took up nearly all the floor space. In this room, even with the 3 double beds, we had plenty of room to walk around. The beds were good, quite springy with pillows that you could sink into. Also in the main room was the television hidden inside a wooden cabinet, dark wood furniture including a round wooden table with 4 dining type chairs and a dresser type table. There was a trouser press and a mini bar (which the kids were under strict instructions not to touch - due to the price rather than alcohol content! Oh well both really). The dresser table also contained the wireless internet access equipment costing £15 for the connection. I had to hunt around for power points as all I could find were the points that the lamps were plugged into and they all appeared to be some sort of round continental style plugs. I found them in the end, on the wall, level with the top of the table, hiding behind my laptop. Above the mini bar was a little white kettle jug with two cups, two tea spoons and two glasses along with the usual instant coffees and teas, long life milk pots and a couple of packets of Cadbury's Hot chocolate. No biscuits unfortunately. The white tiled bathroom had a decent shower and a bath and was well stocked with complementary items including a sewing kit, shower cap, soap, bath and shower gel, body lotion, and shampoo. On the wall above the sink is a notice offering to provide you with any essentials you may have forgotten to bring with you, such as a razor. In an effort to show some green credentials, another notice politely asks that you place any used towels on the floor. This way they'll only change the towels on the floor and conserve energy by not washing those still on the rails. The Amenities: We only had time to use the swimming pool as we didn't arrive until quite late. It's included in the price so you can spend as much time in there as you wish. I'd brought an enormous bag load of towels from home, which we didn't need as the pool attendants provide you with a towel each. There are two changing rooms, male and female, so we split up and went off to change. The pool area itself consists of the swimming pool which is about 1.3m (4.5ft) deep its entire length. However, half way down is an entry into the learner's pool which is circular shaped and about 0.6m (2ft) deep. Next to the pool is a spa bath which I did hop into. It's very hot but what a wonderful feeling, sitting there, relaxing, while millions of water jets propel bubbles all around your body. Unfortunately, you can't keep it to yourself and you may end up sharing the experience with strangers. Also in the pool area is the sauna and a steam room, which we didn't have time to use. We also didn't use the gym, but each time we walked past, there were quite a few guests furiously pedalling away on exercise bikes. The Restaurant: We had two dinners in the restaurant and both times were very pleased with the quality of the food. Although we had to wait for a long time after giving our order, the adult's meals were well worth the wait. The children's menu, I'm sorry to say, offered the usual suspects of baked beans, pizza, chips, burgers etc with barely a glimpse of a vegetable. The pizzas were lovely, the burgers were not. The burger buns seemed to be made of some sort of sour dough, rendering them very stodgy and my kids couldn't finish them. I made a couple of specific requests for myself, one of which was 'NO BUTTER' on my vegetables. Inevitably, the vegetables arrived swimming in butter but the waitress promptly brought back a fresh plateful after my subtle complaint! Good news for us, the kids ate free! Adjoining the restaurant is the bar area with several small round tables and bar stools at the bar. Opposite the main bar area at the front of the hotel there were comfortable looking chairs for those wanting to recline with a drink. My husband tested out this area by sitting at a small table downing Murphy's and snacking on peanuts while waiting for me to get ready for dinner after the swim. The first morning we ate breakfast there, we were worried about the cost so we restricted ourselves to cereal and toast and ignored the cooked food, tempting as it was. It was only on leaving that we discovered the kids could eat free again and for us, the cost was £8.50 each, and it included everything from the hot or cold buffet. The hot buffet consisted of grilled bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried eggs and hash browns. The cold buffet had a selection of cereal boxes, white or brown bread for toast, fresh fruit, yogurt pots, a selection of fruit juices, tea and coffee. There was certainly enough to satisfy my family. Other Information: The hotel does lots of catering for functions. Indeed, while we were there on the first night, there was a wedding reception in full flow, with guests milling about around the bar area and up and down the stairs to their function room. There are lots of leaflets and brochures advertising the forthcoming functions within the hotel such as a forthcoming Halloween party and details of their Christmas and New Year rates. They also have a beauty salon. I would have loved one of the massages, but unfortunately didn't have the time. Business services include fax, copying, email and internet and they'll even lend you a PC if you forgot yours. There's an ice machine and vending machine with chocolates and cereal bars which is situated outside the lift. They have a room service menu offering a good selection of food from the main restaurant menu. There is however, a £3.50 charge per tray. Other guests were made up of elderly holiday makers on coach trips, families, couples and business people (during the week). Minus Point: The only negative point I'd have to make would be its close proximity to the road. Although it's very convenient for travel and easy to find, the noise from the motorway can be disruptive to sleep if you leave a window open. I wear earplugs so it wasn't a problem for me. However, my husband was woken at 4am due to the constant traffic noise and had to get up to close the window, which we'd only left open a crack. Once closed though, the windows are fully double glazed and almost completely sound proof. Price: Our non smoking, executive room cost us £108 for the night. There are a variety of room rates and deals depending on when you travel. Check out the website for current rates. Contact Details: ROTHERHAM-SHEFFIELD M1, JCT.33 Holiday Inn WEST BAWTRY ROAD ROTHERHAM, S60 4NA ENGLAND Hotel Reservations: 0870 400 9670 Hotel Front Desk: 44-1709-830630 Web Address: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/hi/1/en/hotel-directory/england/rotherham
On my recent trip to Belgium I stopped at the Holiday Inn in Gent. It was not the first time I have stopped there and probably will not be the last. As I have written in my reviews of Gent and Bruges this is a nice part of Belgium to visit and I am lucky to be able to go there on business. The hotel is modern and could not be called beautiful. It is though very comfortable and used by both business guests and tourists alike. It is very handy for those who like me drive over to Belgium as it is well situated just off the E40 motorway which runs from the ports to Brussels and also the E17 which heads North towards Antwerp. However this close proximity to the motorway means it is not that handy for the town centre. There were some disappointed coach passengers who found they could not feasibly walk into the town from the hotel and had to get a taxi. This though would only be about £3 each way so not excessive but obviously more than the cost of a walk. There is no need to go out as the restaurant 'De Leie' serves good food up until 10pm and the bar 'De Lieve' , typically for Belgium, has more varieties of beer than is healthy to drink in one week let alone in one night. Prices again are reasonable particularly given the strength of the pound at present. The leisure facilities are very good and it includes a decent sized pool open from 7:30 in the morning until late. There is also a steam bath to plunge into. The rooms range from basic but clean through to more well appointed ones. Personally the basic standard is fine for me, as long as the bed is comfortable. The staff are all efficient and friendly and all with good English for the mono-linguists among us. The breakfast was the usual continental fare including fruit, cereals, yoghurt etc. The cost for me staying as a single guest in a double room was just under £60. I thought this was good value. Dinner would set you back another £25 minimum if you ate in the hotel but if the weather is kind you would better than this in Gent itself including those taxi fares.
You can never go wrong with a holiday inn! If travelling anywhere in the UK I always check to see if there is a holiday inn. I've stayed in several from London to Glasgow and even Paris to name a few. The Holiday Inn Brent cross is excellent and right beside the Brents Cross Shopping centre. It's not in London city centre but only 5 mins from the nearest tube station. There is even a complimentry bus that takes / picks you up from the tube station too! The one is Glasgow has been demolished as they are building a bigger and better one. I got married there and the facilities were excellent including the suites. Paris was no different. We were visiting Disneyland Paris and didn't want to fork out a fortune for the resort hotels. Just five minutes away from the resort was a Holiday Inn with a complimentary bus to the park. I always feel that you get good value for money and so far have never been disappointed! As a loyalty card holder, I enjoy collecting the points and enjoy even more having free night stays!
If there is one hotel chain I trust, its holiday inns. I at the age of 20 have already been lucky enough to travel to many locations around the world. I've been to china serveral times, america many times, dubai, most of europe and many more locations. And i would say for 80% of my nights spent away I have stayed in holiday inns, and have rarely been dissapointed. Holiday inns come in several forms, from the basic holiday inn express, to holiday inns, to garden courts, to crowne plazas all the way up to the elite intercontinentals. They are all part of the holiday inn family. And whichever catergory the hotel falls into you know what your going to get. Express is fairly basic, average rooms, basic facilites, minimul breakfast...... but then again thats what you pay for. I often use these for quick stop overs. They are tidy enough and do the job just fine. The best thing about these is the price. I've paid as little as £20 to stay a night in these. If your lucky they may even have a swimming pool and basic gym. Your Holidy inns are more upmarket, looking around the 3-4 star range. These are the basis of the holiday inn empire. They're great. Reasonable prices, nice rooms, good facilites as the majority have pools and more. Rooms usually contain comfoy double beds. The breakfasts are usually excellant. With lots on offer, from basic continental to cooked fry ups. They are usually served in a buffet format. Everything is fresh and it never dissapoints. I usually pay £50-80 a night at these. Now on to my personal favourite. The crowne plazas. These truly are some of the best hotels i've stayed in. Usually 4 or 5 stars they're great. Rooms are a very generous size. King size beds as standard. Great room facilities, cable TV etc. My favourite feature of these is usually the pool. They rarely have a standard pool, its normally innovative well decorated and usually suprising. They always impress me. Now onto the breakfasts for crowne plazas. They are the BEST. Money could'nt buy finer breakfasts. Again in the buffet format and also they have chefs on hand to cook whatever you want. Eggs, pancakes.... you name it. Its more like a 3 course meal than a breakfast. Many a time have i easily spent an hour eating breakfast. There that good. Prices can be steep for crowne plazas sometime £100+. But its well worth it. I have little experience with the intercontinentals so cant really comment. They are i think all 5 star and are the best of the best. Holiday inn also provide resort facilities but i've yet to stay in one of these, but i will update as soon as i have. Have i ever had a bad nights stay??? erm yes once, at the holiday inn niagra falls, where there was construction on the site and rennovation going on, so it was loud and not clean. However i emailed holiday inn about this and they simply refunded me. There great customer service kept me a loyal customer. So i strongly advise the holiday inn brand and company. They provide a great nights stay no matter what the occasion. You get what you pay for so choose the type of holiday inn you require. They are great value and i truly advise.
With Holiday Inn you can pretty much guarantee a standard kind of accommodation. I have always found them to be pleasant and really enjoy staying with the chain. I stayed at the Dublin city centre Holiday Inn and this hotel was really particularly nice. The breakfast is great as its all you want to eat you can get your moneys worth pile it high. The bad thing is the breakfast room service is not so good as you only get a small amount. One piece of toast. I like to have loads. But I guess theres only so much you can fit on a tray! Anyway the location is not so good as it is not entirely central. You have to walk ten minutes to get into the bustley city centre. However its not to bad and pretty swiftly you can get there on foot. It is not great looking either, quite industrial around the nearby streets. But it is inside that counts really and I can vouch for this hotel that it is lovely inside. It is all very clean. the staff were realy helpful when I visited too, in fact I have been twice and would happily go there again. the second time I stayed we had an executive room and wow it was worth it! Enormous room with lovely furniture. Gigantic bed this must have been seven feet wide - a super king - which is important if you want a decent amount of space to spread out with your partner. In fact the beds in the normal twin room that my friends had were both regular doubles too. So they are very generous with beds and space. The rooms are lovely and big. The bathroom is well equipped, standard toiletires notrmally but the executive room (more like a suite) has posh body lotions and all sorts. Dressing gown and slippers in the wardrobe too! Our room even had its own patio room terrace! Although I think this was a fire exit and they had left the door unlocked for safety reasons! Perfect views across the city, it was beautiful. Would definitely stay there again a no nonsence hotel you can be sure of good value, good food (lots of it too) decent service. Its always a lovely break and I love the anonymity of it being a large chain. This hotel is very big and I found it very plush. Great value.
Most UK Holiday Inns are former Posthouses. The reason why is because Holiday Inn who is part of Six Continents(Bass) bought Posthouse who had aroung 80 hotels whilst Holiday Inn only had about 20(counted them from the directory). I have stayed at the Holiday Inn GLoucester in 1999 when it was a Posthouse and in 2001(December) when it, along with most Posthouses had recently changed. Not all Posthouses are HIs though, most yes but some are being sold. Now I am reporting on my recent trip because it wioll be like this one more will it or will it not? LOCATION The location is in Crest Way which has a handful of stores and restaurants. The hotel is behind a Cheltenham and Gloucester C&G building and there are is a petrol station there too. It is the suburbs, not right in town, neither in the countryside. There are a few houses around. EXTERIOR Not the most fanciest, but has brown bricks with black wood at the top where it says Holiday Inn. There are quite alot of parking spaces too. CHECK-IN My most recent visit in 2001 greeted me with contemporary colours with warm style. The carpet has red, purple and orange colour co-ordinated squares. At first makes your eyes go weird but then gives you that sense of style. The hotel is in the new Holiday Inn/Psthouse style which is modern. The sofas and armchairs were the same style but had different colours. They had leather at the top with fabric everywhere else exept for the place you sat. The colours were either black leather with green fabric. Red leather with orange fabric, dark blue leather with light blue fabric. These were dotted around. On the left as you came in was the Traders Bar, Lounge ad Restaurant/Grill. On the right was the Academy, Holiday Inn/Posthouses own brand of conference centre. Many have them, never been in one but I have read and seen that they have the usual meeting facilities, and a break out area with cafe and reception and lounge. I was on leisure so never went in there. Looked very stylish when I saw in there though. At the end is the main Banquet suite. This is not in the Academy, but next to reception. Speaking of reception, we walked along and it is on the far left. Our recent visit was at Christmas and featured a large Christams tree next to the desk. The friendly receptionist done the usual questions. You could have a complimenterary copy of the Times or on a Sunday a Times on Sunday. You could pay the usual price for a paper for the others as they went to the shop to get them. We were given a key, it wasn't a card because the doors weren't new but I think they will have now as the Posthouse Kengsington has and the HI(former Posthouse)Cardiff-North has. CORRIDORS Opposite the desk, next to the academy was payphones and satirs. We were in room 55 which was on the ground floor. As you enter the corridor you will find on the left a Spirit Health Club which was Holiday Inn/Posthouses own Health Club brand although a few has there own(know that from the brochure. The corridors are long as you pass one half you will find refreshing vending machines(its not that long though!). Half way there it goes left and right and straight up again after double doors. There are more stairs there too. I saw the staff cleaning the stairs! Very thourogh! SPIRIT HEALTH CLUB As mentioned earlier, this is Holiday Inns own Health Club brand. As you entered, on the left you will find the Spirit Health Club reception. The staff will ask you to sign and you must put your name, rooms number(if aplicable), date and whether you are a hotel guest, local member or whatever else. On the right is a passage leading to the gym, treatment area and venders. Straight up(or next)to helth reception is a window to the swimming pool. There are male and female changing rooms seprately. The males one(the one I went in) was clean and I expect the female one to be to. My mum said it wa s whe n we went there in 1999. In 2001 she stayed in the room. There are a reasonable amound of wood lockers which requires a £1 deposit which you slot in the lock. When you unlock, it ivces it you back. There are toilets, sink, soap, showers shampoo, showergel. When you went out the rooms to the pool, the pool was great. It was medium sized, clean and relaxing. When I went there it had been refurbished and had white walls, green, blue and yellow parts of the ceiling. All colour co-ordinated. You could enjoy a gentle swim, relax in the warm spa bath(which was lovely), or cleanse your body in the Sauna or Steam Room. There was a solarium for tanning outside of the pool near the gym. The Spirit Health Club was great. It was really nice to know that you could leave the rooms to go to a clean, relaxing club in the comfort of your own great hotel. This is definate must if you stay at a Holiday Inn. The one in my local one is great as I had a free day pass. Most Holiday inns have Spirits but some have there own and some don't have any. Don't worry, I think that Holiday Inns are good regardless of Spirit Health Clubs... TRADERS BAR, GRILL AND LOUNGE The Traders Bar and Restaurant with Lounge is a great pleace to dine. I have heard that all Holiday Inns have a restaurant. This don't include Express by Holiday Inn which has a lounge bar with some having a restaurant. There are different brands. Most have Holiday Inns own but some have a high street brand such as Callaghans Bar and Garfunkels. I had HI's own brand. The restaurant was contemporary, airy and comfy. The staff were great like in the rest of the hotel and the portions were also good. Do not think that it si one of those hotel restaurants which rips you off and gives you just a tiny bit of food in the middle of your plate. Oh no, it gives you genourous amounts so you can satisfy your hunger. WE never had breakfast in the restaurant but had it in our roo m. Most pr ices inclu se breakfa st but some Room Only rates do not. Some rates include breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was great as it is the same as in the restaurant just delivered to your room. In your room was a card which you filled in requesting what breakfat you want and at what time. Youu then put it on the door handle in the corridor and they brought it to you at the requested time. BEDROOMS I jumped for joy when I saw the room. The room was in the new light, contemporary style of Holiday Inn/Posthouse. There was a beech open wardrobe in the small passage as the rooms layout was in the L shape layout. Opposite was the bathroom complete with a toilet, sink with round mirror, bath and shower over the bath. They supplied and washed/repleneshed your free towels, toilet roll and holiday inns own bar of soap, shampoo and shower gel. It was spotless. There was a circle flush light built into the wall at the centre with two downlighters over the mirror and sink. The tiles were in a pattern of white and a very faint green. The tiles at the top were scarlet and gold. The floor was tiled and everything was sparkling and stylish. In executive rooms, aswell as the facilities I will mention later they provide you with Neutrogena toiletries instead of Holiday Inn toiletries. There is a towel rail and lights are switched on/off just outside the bathroom. The passage colour was green but have saw and learnt that they could be orange or blue. The main large part of the room was a light white colour. The beds were comfy. We had a family room which, in the new style rooms, incorporates a double bed and a sofa. The linen was a white duvet and pillows which were fresh on arrival and you also had a colour co-ordinated throw. The throw in our rooms was a blacky purple and green colour. This can vary to orange and red, blue and cream, purple and cream. Have learnt that rooms have there own colour scheme. Mine was green and blacky purple. Behind the bed was an inset which was black but can vary from colour depending on scheme. They also had a pillow menu which lets you select from five types of pillow and are in cases which are numbered. You will know the number of your selected pillow because of the pillow menu on your bed. The linen I think is changed between customers and every few days with the same colour(some members of family works/worked in hotels). There was a large dressing table opposite the bed with a colour tv which had a remote control and had terrestrial channels and a selection of satellite channels and your account channel, radio channel, hotel info channel and pay per view movies(there was a list of movies on a, erm... list!) There was menus for the restaurant, lounge, and rooms service. There was draw space and there was draw space on the bedside tables. There were a few pictures on the wall. The rooms are carpeted(except for the bathrooms). The curtains were... surprise surprise, green! Some are different depending on the colour scheme. The windows were large but, as with most hotels, don't open ver wide because of security reasons I suppose. There was also a tea and coffee making unit next to the wardrobe complete with mini bar .lighting was subtle aswell, as you came into the room, along with the bathroom switch was a room switch which switched on the modern round downlighter/spotlighters(the type over the sink in the bathroom) which were in the passge way and in the inset of the bed. You could control these lights from next to one side of the bed. On each side of the double bed was a lamp built on the wall in the inset. These were controlled seprately from other lights and from each other. They were controlled by the side of the bed on the side they were on. There was also a table lamp on the dressing table which was operated by the dressing table. The rooms were great. One thing I forgot was there was a trouser press. Reading the brochure, Execu tive rooms at many h otels have extras. N ot all rooms are in this new style. The new style was made by Posthouse in 1999. Enjoy and rel ax! OVERALL I know that Holiday Inns are good because of things I have heard about them. Enjoy your stay. Please could you rate the review and leave a comment. You can only do this if you are a member of dooyoo. Please remember aswell- don't get confused between a normal Holiday Inn and an Express by HI. They are part of the smae group but Express is a budget brand. Holiday Inn is the main brand. Holiday Inn are not a new name for Posthouse as such- they merged and both operate as Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn are also world wide but have seperate brochures in each country. Dan PS: IIf you want to see the Kensington Close Hotel Review which used to be a Posthouse but didn't make it into being a Holiday Inn then I have a review on that in Posthouse Hotels In general. As I said before, a few Posthouses are being sold to other hotel chains and that includes Posthouse Kensington. I know this is silly but I will be adding a new review for the London-Victoria Holiday Inn as this review is long. It is still under this product title though- Holiday Inn in General. LONDON-VICTORIA I recently stayed at the refurbished London-Victoria Holiday Inn, it was brill- why? read on... The hotel is right opposite the Victoria train station on 2 Bridge Place, London-Victoria, London. It is a modern building and it is like that all the way through. On arrival at the lobby, I was very impressed because, although it was decorated in pale whites and creams, it was ultra-stylish. It was very contemporary(that is what I like) and had congierge and reception facilities. Like all of the hotel, the staff were very friendly. Holiday Inn call it their 'can-do service'. This is one of their hallmarks. The 2 bridge place lo unge and bar is again modern and has leather sofas and a large modern lamp. It obviously has more lamps though in the lounge. The bar staff were also friendly. The restaurant is cosy and again modern and stylish. It is called '2 bridge place'. The Holiday Inn breakfast is excellent- with choices and choices of croissants, muffins, danish pastries, cereals, sausages, eggs, bacon and much more. Then is the juices. When you step in the restaurant for breakfast they ask you if you want tea or coffee and toast. Again, breakfast is one of Holiday Inns hallmarks. The leisure facility was in the basement and although it was small, it was so relaxing. The changing rooms, lockers, towels, showers were complimentary things whilst there was a tea and coffee making machine for a relax. There was a swimming pool which was quite warm and a luxurious spa bath was next to it. There was a sauna in each changing room and a gym was near the pool. The corridors were modern, although some of the floors were being refurbished and so were he higher floors of the stairs. The rooms were contemporary and stylish. They were en-suite with blue tiles and toilet, sink, shower (actually two- a hand held one and a power shower), bath along with their compliments- toilet roll, towels and one bar of Holiday Inn soap and extra soap in the soap dispensers. The room had light furniture and had TV, wardrobe, trouser press, coffee table, dressing table, safe, ice bucket(free to use ice machines on floor 2, 5 and I think 9), phones, hairdryer and more. The beds were enveloping and seemed to give you a hug. They have duvets in all Holiday Inns now (or introducing them at least) and, as always, have pillows on the bed when you arrive but you can choose from 5 different types which is excellent. All I can say is Holiday Inn are the best! I will again be changing this review as I am staying at the Holiday Inn Cardiff-North because of someones wedding.
My wife and I thought that we deserved to have a long weekend away, but didn't want to spend too much as we have several other trips and a holiday coming up soon. I checked about and we decided to stay in Bristol at an 'Express by Holiday Inn' hotel. The main reasons why we chose this particular hotel was because of the price, on offer at £39 per room including breakfast, plus it was less than ten minutes walk from the centre of Bristol. I thought this sounded good value for city centre accommodation. # So Who Are 'Express by Holiday Inn'? 'Express by Holiday Inn' are part of the giant Bass group of hotels which include well known chains such as Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. They have something approaching 3000 hotels in over 95 countries. 'Express by Holiday Inn' is the latest addition to what they call 'their family'. There are 71 hotels throughout the UK (plus another 30 in Europe). To give you an idea of where the hotels are situated they include 10 in Scotland, 14 in the North of England, 7 in the East Midlands, 10 in the West Midlands, 19 in the South (including Wales), 10 in London and finally 1 in Northern Ireland. # What Sort of Hotels Are They? I think that many of the hotels are for people on the move as lots of them are situated on motorways or near airports. They are ideal for breaking up long journeys or for staying overnight prior to a flight. I would say that their average client most likely stays for just one or two nights. In saying this there are also city centre hotels, such as the one we stayed in at Bristol, which are ideal for weekend breaks if you are looking for a decent standard but without any frills. They are similar in many respects to the Travelodge chain but have the advantage of including a free breakfast and having a bar. # How Much Does It Cost? This is where it becomes a little confusing. The official prices are quoted as being from £42.50 per room, per night, for weekends and from £52.50 per room midweek. Note the word 'from'! The reception at Bristol quoted their price as being £65 but, as I said earlier, we paid £39. The best way is to look at their website (details later) where you will be able to see any current offers and the prices for individual hotels, depending on location. Central London, for example, is going to be a lot dearer than a motorway hotel. All prices are per room, per night, for up to two adults and two children. Breakfast is included. If you should have children this would appear to be of extra value. # What Are The Rooms Like? The simple answer is clean, well decorated and of a good standard. There is a main bedroom with either a double or two single beds (with duvets). In most rooms there is also a settee which converts to two more beds suitable for children. I would imagine, however, that with children it would all be a little tight once the beds were made up. In the room there is a desk, with chair, a hairdryer, open clothes hanging space, bedside tables with phone, a couple of drawers and a television. There is a modem point but anything to do with the phone seems expensive with typical high hotel phone rates. For warmth there is a heater which can be adjusted to your preferred temperature. The television has the usual BBC & ITV channels plus a few of Sky, including Sky Sports 1 and 3. There are also a choice of 'Pay to View' movies available at £6.95 per film. Tea and coffee making facilities are in the room i.e. an electric kettle and sachets of coffee, tea bags, sugar and milk. The bathrooms all have power showers and the usual toilet and hand basin. Dove and Lux liquid soaps and shampoo are supplied. There is a hand towel and an enormous bath towel per person, which is changed daily. It was all very clean. No real c omplaint other than it could have been a little bigger. All in all I was quite happy with the room and facilities. I've stayed in much better but, when considering the price, I think it represented good value for the money. # What About The Rest Of The Hotel? Obviously there is a reception, for booking in and out. The receptionists were polite and efficient at Bristol. Booking in was straightforward: complete a small form (name, address, car reg) and hand over your credit card. You pay on arrival. Each hotel has a small bar and an area where breakfast is served. There are a range of vending machines for snacks, chocolate, drinks and ice cubes. For business people, the majority of the hotels also have rooms for meetings or presentations, suitable for up to 30 delegates. Details are available from the website. There are fax and photocopying facilities. # What's The Food Like? The only food available, apart from the vending machines, is the continental buffet style breakfast which I would think to be more than adequate for most stomachs. There are fruit juices, grapefruit or orange segmants, various yoghurts, a choice of five or six cereals, croissants, mixed rolls and pastries, butter, preserves, cook yourself toast, coffee and tea. It's all 'help yourself' so you can eat and drink as much as you like between 7 and 10 am. I thought the breakfast was excellent and there are free newspapers to set the meal off. # How Do I Book? There is a freephone reservations number: 0800 897 121 Or use the website: www.hiexpress.co.uk I booked through the website, which I found easy to use, and this gave me all the info I needed. There is comprehensive information on every hotel including detailed location maps. By searching for a specific hotel, or area, full details come up of any special price offers and also the type of rooms available. The rooms can vary slightly with double or single beds, family rooms and so on. ~ One tip I would give is that if there are several rooms available, at the same price, always choose the one that sounds the largest. Even if there are just two of you, for example, choose a family room as it will be bigger and will have a settee. You might as well try to get the best value for your money ~ The website has a route planner whereby you can enter your home address and it will come up with a route to any other address (or hotel) within the UK. It works quite well but must be American in design as it talks about circles instead of roundabouts and tells you to turn east, west or whatever. In some instances it uses road names instead of numbers which can be a little confusing. I booked without any problems on-line and was given a confirmation reference number. This was also sent to me the next day by e-mail together with some additonal information. # But Can I Cancel After Booking? Yes, you can! No problem, you can cancel your booking up to 4pm on the day of arrival, which sounds very fair. Otherwise one nights rate will be drawn against your credit card for any non arrival. # How Would You Sum Up 'Express by Holiday Inn'? I would recommend them as good value for that overnight stop or weekend away (if situated in a city centre). There is no room service, flash restaurant, cooked breakfasts, large lounges and the such, but if you want basic, clean, well presented rooms plus a continental style breakfast thrown in give them a try. I would certainly use them again, and in preference to Travelodge. # Surely There Must Be Some Snags! Not really, the only thing that did irritate me a little was that there was a £2 charge per night for car parking. I always think that these sort of extras should be included in the price. # Anything Else You May have Missed? No that 39;s it. Other than that there is a special offer on at the moment, but this expires on the 24th of February, so you'll have to be quick. Rooms under this promotion are supposedly available for £35 per night. To qualify you need to phone 0800 015 2396 (this is a different number to the one I mentioned earlier) quoting 'Express Winter Voucher'. The offer does not apply to Central London, where the special rate is £65 (normally £75-£88). Note that this info doesn't show up on the website. And must mention that 'Express by Holiday Inn' state that all of their hotels offer easy access and have specially adapted rooms for disabled guests. I think that is definitely all now.
Some of you may have noticed that I have been away for a few days. Or, in most cases, non of you will have noticed my absence whatsoever. Anyway, I have been away and I obviously had to stay somewhere. First of all, I’ll say that the Holiday Inn was not my choice of Hotel. I was sent on a conference and this is where the venue was held, and it does make sense of course to actually sleep where the conference is taking place! The hotel I stayed in was in Coventry, just off Junction 2 of the M6. Its know as the Holiday Inn Junc. 2, Coventry! Pretty simple eh. I now have both experiences of their conference facilitys and also their sleeping facilities, so this is going to be a rather long, but informative opinion I should think, get ready to be bored! - BEDROOMS The room I stayed in was an Executive Room. Sounds good doesn’t it, and I suppose it is, I didn’t pay and I didn’t expect to be put up in one of the posh suites, but hey, I wasn’t complaining either. My first impressions were great. As I walked in the room, I was greeted by the TV set showing on the screen ‘Welcome Mr G Ray’ and giving me a few instructions for the hotel and where to find further information. A nice touch, especially for gadget freaks like me. I then had a look around the room and was pretty impressed, this room would make an interior designer proud. The fixtures and fittings were mostly chrome, with a light pastel colour for the lampshades etc. The tables and desk were a nice pine effect, with more chrome and the walls were done in a nice, warm, light terracotta with one of the walls done in a darker shade. To compliment the room, you have an en-suite bathroom which is all done out in white with a large mirror in front of the sink. I also had a heated towel rail which was nice, although it did take ages to warm up. You also get a full size bath (by full size I mean normal household size) with a shower above which a lso acts as a massage shower, below that, connected to the taps is another shower which I presumed is for the ladies when they want to wash their hair over the bath. Theres an abundance of towels, I had 5 (I know I’m big, but I don’t use 5 towels!!) and also a good, small range of sample type things which included Bubblebath, body cream, shampoo, conditioner, nail files, shoe polish, sewing kit and cosmetic pads, handy for my own travel wash kit, so I stuffed them in there, needless to say, I got some more the next day! However, you can go to reception and ask for other supplies such as shaving gel, toothbrush, toothpaste etc just in case you have forgotten them. Sound good? Well it gets better! Also in your room you have a kettle, a range of coffee and tea and a hot chocolate for the missus. A trouser press with no instructions and for me who still can’t wash clothes or iron (aint mums/girlfriends great things!) takes about half an hour to figure out. A minibar crammed with different drinks and chocolates, which costs the earth if you do decide to divulge in any of the naughty things on offer (£1.25 for a can of coke!!!). You also get a hairdryer, some sky TV channels, pay movies aswell as adult movies (but a movie costs £6.95), stationary, wardrobe, selection of glasses, lots of lights and lamps, extra pillows and more bits and pieces. The bed was very comfortable and provided a good nights sleep, I had extra special linen apparently as I was in an exec room, and it did feel nice, and also, the curtains and the thick sort, so even if it’s daylight outside, it will be pitch black inside when the curtains are closed. And of course, you get your all important phone to phone for a porter. They offer you a wide range of material in the room to help you get the feel for the hotel including magazines, breakfast and dinner menus, room plans, a whole information pack telling you everything you need to know about the room, brochure s and also those groovy ‘do not disturb’ signs that hand on your bedroom door, although it normally helps if you hand it on the outside as opposed to the inside! - THE HOTEL & IT’S FOOD! (oh come on, it’s the most important part!!) The hotel itself was very posh, with nice surroundings and a very modern bar and restaurant. It did have other facilities such as a swimming pool and a gym, but not being the fittest of the bunch and not having the body that stands up to the crowds of onlookers, I never actually ventured that way, plus, I didn’t have time anyway! Although, going on the rest of the hotel, I’m sure it was delightful one could say!!! On entering the hotel, I went straight to the reception desk, as you do and was greeted by a very nice looking girl who booked me into my room within minutes, gave me my credit card style key and off I went venturing down the long corridors in search of my room. I finally found it and went in. The hotels bar is very open plan, with enough chairs and tables for most people, although if you do happen to be involved in a conference with 230 people, you might find it a bit hard to actually get to the bar, nevermind sit down with your drink. Plus the fact that most people didn’t know each other and opted to sit on their own and read their paper (like me) didn’t really help the seating situation. There were 2 bars, one for the alcoholic drinks and one for coffee’s. To supplement that, there were menu’s for the bars lights lunches and snacks. However, be prepared, the first sandwich I set my eyes on cost a whopping £6.95 (hey, that’s even worse than when your on the train!) however, still people seemed to pay that much money for a sandwich. More fool them I say. The restaurant was very clean and quite spacious, again, very modern. As I was getting free breakfast, lunch and dinner, half my time was spent in here, so I had p lenty of time to check it all out. First of all, the food was delicious, but having said that, it should be for the money your forking out on it. A lot of the time the food was self service, i.e., you went and got the food yourself like in a supermarket café. However, when it came to dinner, you picked what you wanted from the menu and it was all bought to you by again, some extremely nice looking girls (I do actually have a theory for al the nice girls that were working there!) The chairs were comfortable, but a lot of the time, you found yourself sitting on a sort of sofa type thing, you know, one big seat, which I found a bit to far away from the table and you ended up dropping half your food (especially if your me) between you and the table. Thank god for those silly napkin things, which I never ever put on my lap for the sake of my reputation, but in this case everyone was doing it because basically it’s a must if your in your decent suit! I have just got to give credit to the restaurant staff, they managed to feed 230+ people for lunch within 1 and a half hours. That’s two sittings and clearing up and relaying involved, and as I used to work in a restaurant, this is something close to my heart!!! - CONFERENCE FACILITIES The hotel has its own conference facilities. With about 10 rooms, all called ‘The something suite’ of varying size, it did actually make the perfect venue for a party of our size. The conference facilities are out of bounds to the ‘normal’ hotel guests and were got to by walking through some big glass doors and I must say, the conference facilities were actually posher than the hotel. The conference went very well, and this is all thanks to the facilities. They have a lot of electrical sockets and various points aswell as a projector that plugs into laptops through sockets in the floor hanging from the ceiling in the major suites. One of the suites will actually divide in to 2 separate rooms when needed. A nice touch. Along with the conference rooms there was a lot of conference stationery available like white boards, big pieces of paper that people draw on (no idea what they are called) and also paper for the conference guests to note down those all important coffee breaks. Which leads me onto something else. At the end of every two sessions, coffee was provided by the hotel and again, the lovely young ladies which was very nice and the service was excellent. So, to wrap this up, I was very impressed. It is a little overpriced, cans of coke for £1.25 and breakfast for £15, but along with that the service is great and if you can get away with going to mcdonalds for your breakfast, you’ll save yourself quite a bit of money! Just one thing, they do catch you out with some things, for example, at breakfast they ask you how many slices of toast you would like and also, which you would prefer, tea or coffee. You then find out that the toast has been charged to your room account along with the coffee. This isn’t included, even if you are paying £15 for brekkie. What is included is orange juice. They could potentially catch a lot of people out!
There are often times when you have to book an overnight stay, either for business or pleasure, well in my opinion you can do no better than try the new Holiday Inn Express hotels. With competition fierce in the medium class, motel style accommodation, names like Travelodge, Travel Inn etc immediately spring to mind. A year or so ago saw Holiday Inn – better known for their more upmarket hotels - enter the fray with their ‘Express’ range. These hotels are now springing up all over, often attached to or included in, a ‘fringe of town/city’ entertainment, shopping park. Certainly the first one that I stayed in, last year, fitted the bill. Situated on the outskirts of Rotherham, South Yorks, the HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS 'ROTHERHAM' is an ideal place to stay if you are visiting any of the attractions in the Sheffield area - the Don Valley Stadium, Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Pond Forge Swimming Pool or Sheffield Arena. The hotel is situated just a stone's throw from Junction 1 of the M18. It is new, very smart without having the kind of amenities of a superior ‘marque’ hotel. But the Rooms are all reasonably sized, spotless and comfortable. All containing Double and/or twin beds, TV, Coffee maker and Telephone. The Bar/Snack area is pleasant enough to sit and relax or do some work at a table. However as these hotels are mainly used for ‘stopovers’ or weekend breaks, the menu is basically snacks – eat elsewhere if you are looking for a decent meal. The one huge selling point for short break or overnight travellers is that the price includes a continental style buffet breakfast including cereals, toast, fresh rolls/bread and preserves. Plenty of fresh fruit, yoghurts, plus fruit juice, squash, tea and coffee are also ‘on tap’ to give you a great start to you working or touring day. Outside this particular hotel, which is on the edge of an expanding retail /leisure area is a Morrison Supermarket (ideal to stock up, if you are touring or just breaking a journey on your way to a holiday), the ubiquitous MacDonalds and a large Family Pub Restaurant with kids play area. Nearby there is a Multiplex cinema and of course the delights of Sheffield just 10 minutes away! So you have plenty of meal and entertainment options right on your doorstep, whether dining alone, as a couple or with your family. The next time we stayed at one of these Express hotels was another new one – absolutely a clone of the Rotherham one, in CHESTERFIELD, Derbyshire. Same simple check in procedure, comfy room and light and airy Bar/restaurant area. At prices from around £35 per room – NOT per person – including that excellent breakfast during the week and a 'weekender plus' two night stay on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday which costs as little as £70 per room, this is excellent value when you compare it with rival chains. Booking could not be easier with the 0800 number which puts you through to a central reservation system. One time we booked, but our chosen hotel was not available, so they quickly checked to see the nearest alternative and the current rates. Within 5 minutes we were booked in, had directions to the hotel and had saved £5 each as they currently had a discount offer on the other hotel. You can now also book online – just go to http://www.holiday-inn.com/hiexpress - search for a hotel in the area you require, check for availability and…presto! Another plus is their ‘Priority Club Worldwide’. Stay in any of their hotels and earn points towards discounts or free breaks at other hotels in the Bass run chain. You can also convert your points earnt in the Priority Club scheme to ‘Air Miles’ with several of the major Airlines own rewards programs. Last year you could often find special promotional deals from Holiday Inn Express in the Weekend Press, but I've found that, generally speaking, the prices were pretty much as I've quoted above. It really is nice to see these hotels springing up and adding competition and quality to this area of the hotel/motel market. OK, for those of you that like a nice comfortable individual hotel, with personal service and home cooked food, this is not in that category. But certainly if you want somewhere to break a journey, maybe you are a couple and need an overnight stay (no, I wasn’t insinuating anything…naughty and nocturnal) or are away on business and the company aren’t paying – take a look at the HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS chain. They will give you a break, give a great ‘kick-start’ in the morning and not take a big chunk out of your ‘plastic’