Good hotels in Carlisle seem very hard to come by. You have a choice of 2 travel lodges/premier inns, which although basic and no frilss, do offer the traveller an affordable and fairly comfortable night. But what about those of us looking for something just that little bit special? Does the Hallmark Hotel, adjacent to the railway station offer this? Located in the centre of Carlisle, it is very convenient for site seeing or shopping and close to all transport links. The Hallmark is a 3 star bistro style hotel which offers 70 rooms/suites, along with conference facilities, a bar and restaurant. All rooms are en suite and the hotel offers other facilities such as wifi, weddings, and entertainment nights. When you look at the hotel on the website it looks very attractive from the out side, and the interior, dining/bar areas and rooms look very modern and contemporary. I stayed in the Hallmark hotel with my partner, for one night in January 2010. On arrival the exterior of the hotel looked modern and clean, but being very close to the train station (15 metres) it was very busy outside with pedestrians and cars constantly passing by. On entering the hotel foyer and reception area, I was very impressed. The exterior noise faded as soon as the doors shut ebhind us and the interior felt warm, contemporary and welcoming. The reception staff were very helpful, well dressed and polite. We were told about our room, times for breakfast, and asked whether we required a newspaper or wake up call, before being given our key. Our credit card details were taken and a pre authorisation taken for £100 for security purposes. Our room was on the third floor. The lift was old and rather creaky with graffiti on the inner door. The corrider on the third floor was again modern and contemporary, very wide and spacious. As we entered our room I was pleasantly suprised. A double en suite, with a modern and elegant feel. Dark brown furniture and plum coloured bedding gave it a cosy warmth. The room was a decent size with plenty of storage. The bathroom was small but with enough room to get in, shower and get out again. A bath with shower over it, along with toilet, sink, and heated towel rail. On the negative side, looking past the initial niceties, the doors were old, the bathroom suite very old, and cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. No hair dryer to be seen anywhere! our window overlooked the back of what must have been a pub, so during the night all we could hear was the clattering of glass bottles being thrown in the bins. Also the doors to all the rooms slammed shut, including ours, so I was constantly being awoken by slamming doors. We enjoyed a drink the bar, which was very pleasant, and price wise not too bad for a hotel. A pint of lager and large glass of white wine costing £9. Breakfast in the morning was served between 0800 and 1000 and we both enjoyed a full english breakfast. It was cooked well, hot and fresh, with exception to the hash browns which were dry and stale tasting. On checking out, the receptionist was pleasant, and we left feeling fairly rested, having enjoyed our stay. Overall I would give the Hallmark Hotel in Carlisle 7/10. They lose points on not having a hairdryer in the room, the slightly dated parts of the hotel, and the noise from outside. Would we stay again? Yes but we would choose a room on the other side of the hotel to avoid the clatter of glass bottles at night!
The Crown & Mitre Hotel Carlisle is right in the middle of the City. It is close to the Cathedral and The Lanes Shopping Area and an excellent location if you are staying over night and travelling the next day by train. The City Centre is very compact and the area to the front of the Crown & Mitre is pedestrianised. It looks out onto the old Town Hall and Town Square. It very close to the Castle and convenient for Gretna Green and the Gretna Gateway Shopping Centre. The Mitre (as it is known locally) was rebuilt in 1905 but the original Inn dates back to the Jacobite Rebellion in 1746. There are 94 ensuite rooms and 50 of these have recently been refurbished. There also also new electric front doors and a new disabled toilet area. These are all part of the latest refurbishment. The Mitre is part of the Peel Hotels Group and has now acheived a 4 Star rating. Wireless internet access is available in the lobby and Tavern Bar and there is a complimentary guest pc which offers internet access, word procesing and printing. There is also a restaurant, swimming pool and whirlpool spa bath available to guests. The Crown & Mitre also has nine meeting rooms of different sizes so it is an excellent centrally located hotel for seminars, meetings, etc. At the back of the hotel is a gated car park with attendant which is difficult to get to as you have to drive down a very narrow sidestreet that is used mostly as a pedestrian walkway. The hotel has had a lot of money spent on it but does not have a very good name locally as a function venue, or for its restaurant. This is porobably because it takes a long time for local opinion to change when a landmark like this is refustrbished. There has certainly been a lot of money spent to try to improve the image of the hotel and make it feel brighter and fresher.