“ Address: 77 The Mount / YO24 1BN / York / United Kingdom / Tel : (+44)19/04658301 „
The Ibis York Centre is a budget hotel in York that provides adequate lodgings for a cheap getaway to this wonderful city. The location of the hotel is by far its major selling point and this is probably one of the few things about it that keeps people returning.
As I said, the location of the hotel is definitely its star selling point. Located on The Mount, it is a mere minutes' walk from the city walls and within walking distance of the city centre, the railway station and the National Railway Museum. It is easily accessible from outside of the centre and more often than not, you'll be able to avoid the busy city ring road in getting to the hotel. If you are arriving by train, even with cases, you'll be able to walk to the hotel within about ten minutes at a moderate speed. The walk both from the station and to the city walls is along a main road, which is completely flat.
Another big plus point for the hotel is the on-site parking around the back. Parking is free for residents for as long as you are checked in at the hotel. This is worth its wait in gold as the nearest public car park is a good walk away and costs around £20 for an overnight stay. There are only about 20 parking spots at the hotel so it is a bit hit and miss as to whether there will be one available and it works on a first come, first served basis. We didn't have any problems when we arrived, however when we left in the evening for an hour, there were only disabled access spots available. A quick check with the reception staff though meant that we were able to use one of these spaces.
The first thing I noticed about the communal areas was that they were quite run down and not particularly welcoming. The standard of decor was what I expected from a big chain budget hotel - white walls and cheap, thin carpets. The carpets were raised in places and the paint was peeling, but it's nothing that a fairly basic refurbishment wouldn't solve. Something else I noticed was the amount of general debris that lined the halls. On one floor there were a couple of bags of rubbish left by the lifts and on another floor a pile of dirty bed sheets. Again it's nothing major, but it doesn't give a particularly good impression.
The rooms continued the theme of run down and dishevelled, with the added 'bonus' of being quite dated. Again the walls were plain whitewashed, but the furniture and curtains were an awful '80s inspired orange and brown striped combination that didn't feel particularly welcoming. On the plus side, everything was clean and tidy, which I guess is the main thing.
The rooms were basically equipped with (in our case) a double bed, an armchair, a desk with coffee making facilities and an area that wasn't quite a wardrobe but more a pole to hang clothes on. There was also a flat screen TV (pretty much the only thing in the room that gave any indication that we are in the 21st century) that had an adapter on it to allow you to plug in your MP3 player.
The bed wasn't particularly comfortable as the mattress was so firm that it was practically solid, but the pillows were very good. Strangely enough, the bed slanted upwards towards the feet end, which I thought would be a little disconcerting, but it didn't turn out to be a problem.
The bathroom was a little better and clearly more recently refurbished. It was small to say the least, but well equipped with a walk in shower, a smaller than average toilet and a larger than average sink adorned with two miss-matched glasses. Again, everything in here was clean and tidy and the shower was surprisingly powerful.
The few members of staff that we encountered were very helpful and friendly, although the initial impression the reception staff gave was slightly tired and dishevelled; something that was not helped by the dirty shirt that the girl that welcomed us was wearing. I might sound a bit snobby saying this, but my first thought as 'I hope the bed sheets are cleaner than her shirt!'.
Something that this particular hotel chain prides itself on is its ability to solve any problem quickly. We didn't have any reason to put this to the test, but it is worth knowing that they have a policy of solving any problem within 15 minutes of you ringing reception. I'm sure there is small print to accompany this claim, but like I said, we didn't have any reason to try it.
There isn't an abundance of facilities at this hotel, as it is aimed primarily at tourists on a budget, but there is a breakfast room and a bar as well as a fairly good room service menu covering basic pub-style meals such as chilli, sandwiches, fish and chips and jacket potatoes. The prices all looked to be pretty much what you'd expect from a hotel.
Aside from this, the facilities are basic and include a couple of vending machines, a shoe-shining stand and currency change at reception, as well as a couple of displays with leaflets offering discounts for local attractions.
If not included in the price of your room, breakfast is available for £6.95 per person for a hot and cold buffet. I thought this was very reasonable as I've been in budget hotels before where they have charged upwards of £15 per person for the same. The breakfast was good and offered a range of hot food, including sausage, bacon and eggs as well as cereals, baked goods, fresh fruit and juices. Everything was well cooked, hot and quickly replenished. I thought it was an excellent way to start the day and it had everything you needed to keep you going til lunch or even dinner.
We booked directly on the hotel's website about a month in advance of our stay in August and paid £59 for a double room for one night, including breakfast. Having done a bit of shopping around, this was certainly the best value for money we found when we considered the location and the fact that breakfast was included.
So, would I recommend it?
Overall, I'm going to give this hotel three stars: one for the location, one for the parking and one for the breakfast. They are pretty much the best things about the hotel, which was adequate for our needs. If you are accustomed to luxury, I'd definitely give the Ibis York Centre a wide berth. If, like us, you're looking for a cheap base from which to explore the city, it is worth a look but don't pay more than we did!