My Favouret hotel in Coventry is Coombe Abbey country house, from the no ordinary hotel group.
My partner decided to book us into the Coombe Abbey hotel for 2 nights for my birthday.
We arrived around 4:30, half an hour after checking time and we were swiftly checked in by a friendly receptionist and directed to our room on the second floor - room 219 which was a crown double room.
As we waited for the lift we looked around in amazment at the themed decor, much better that we had expected, the lift was even themed with fabic lining.
We entered our bedroom, switched on all the lights as it was very dark, the room was stunning and when we looked into the corner of the room, there was a large corner bath more than big enough for the 2 of us on a raised platform with heavy curtains that can be pulled round if desired and that was seperate from the bathroom.
The room was imaculate, very clean and the theme had been carefully thought out, ie with a heavily dressed window, the colours and lighting in the room and with concealed tea coffee making faciities and trousers press. Its quite nice to go around the room and explore!!
The actual bathroom was much brighter than the main room so good for checking you make up after you have put it on in the dim light of the main room! There was a full lenth mirror behind the door as well which wasa nice touch as most females prefer to get a full lengh view!!
The bar is lovely and is nice and relaxing to sit in, filter coffee for 2 was £3.50 and that included biscuits and fudge which were lovely. The bar staff were very good and attentive. We booked mid week and there was a wedding each evening, although only on the second night were the wedding guests a slight bit noisier, which can only be expected, although for that reason I was glad that we booked a mid week break rather than a weekend when I am sure the bar would be busier.
Breakfast was divine, which surprised me after some of the mixed reviews on this site. There was a selection of juices and a selection of fruit n juice and other fruit ie kiwis etc, then there was natural yogurt as well as jars of fruit yoghurt, cereals, breads, pastrys. Hot breakfast from the self service trays, which was pleasant, or you could order from the kitchen, which consisted of salmon and cream cheese bagals, egg and soilders, belgum waffles and berry compote, steaming porridge and honey, as well as lots of other choices.
It really was delicious and we couldn't fault the breakfast selection, quality or the service.
The ground of Coombe Abbey are stunnning, but as I had visited the park before I knew that already, although we did get lost in the actual hotel grounds due to locked gates etc.
Coventry is only 10 mins away and has good shopping facilities. The hotel now has a deal with esporta gym and we took advantage of this and paid esporta a visit, although only for the swimming, but it was a lovely quiet pool with a nice sauna, steam room and a fantastic spa.
We ate at the restaurant on the second night and opted for the table de hote which was good value at £29.50 for 3 courses as well as coffee and petit fours. There was a selction of 3 starters, 4 or 5 main courses and the full selection of deserts.
Both my partner and I opted for the lamb goujons for starter and it was not very pleasant as it was quite fatty. We were also offered a selection of bread rolls which were lovely.
The main course made up for the starter we had the lemon and thyme chicken which was to die for. And the pudding choices were extensive and very yummy!!
We chose the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc as our wine which was £22.50 and it is the nicest wine I have ever consumed! It had a gooseberry undertone which made the wine very easily drinkable :-)
Another week, another assessment centre, and I found myself overnighting at one of the University of Warwick's conference hotels, Scarman House. After a worrying journey, with a delayed train followed by a frightfully inept taxi driver who insisted on dropping me at the other side of campus, I was rushing to get there on time, so didn't have much time to absorb the surroundings. On arrival I was met by a member of the organisation involved, and told there was no time to check in, so dumped my bags in the left luggage room behind reception. Being a conference hotel they are flexible with check in times, and accept new delegates from 9am onwards with prior arrangement. I checked in at 5.30pm, when the afternoon's exercises had finished, and was directed to my room on the 2nd floor. The rooms, of which there are 200, are all en suite and spread out along long winding corridors over 3 floors. Strangely, thought, the lifts do not serve all floors, one doing ground to 1st, and a different one doing 1st to 3rd. Realising this when we were on our way up, we chose to climb the winding staircase to the next floor, rather than hunt around for the other lift. The corridors really do twist and turn here and there, more than any other hotel I've stayed in, but there are a few signs (not enough in my opinion) and the room numbers follow in a semi-predictable order, so we eventually found our rooms. Inside the first thing I noticed was a large sign reminding us to lock our doors whenever we left the room - making this the first hotel with non-automatic locking doors I've stayed in in western Europe for years. The room itself was large and rectangular, with a smaller rectangular bathroom taking up one corner. The usual suspects were provided (bed, desk, chair, wardrobe, iron) with a few nice extras - free mineral water as well as tea and coffee, free internet access, chocolate chip cookies on the hospitality tray. All rooms have double beds, tho
ugh most of these are only ever occupied by one person at once given the clientele of this hotel (conference guests and administrators). The bathroom was spacious and clean, with a large, high bath that I found hard to step out off after a shower since, following a recent trampolining mishap, I am currently sporting a hand so bruised it is black on one side and a lovely green colour on the other. Otherwise the bathroom was nice, and came with heated towel rails though these housed only one large and one small towel, and no extras were to be found anywhere in the room. The toiletries were posh 'uns - from the Gilcherst and Soames Spa Therapy range - and a nice mixture of shampoo, shower gel and body lotion bottles were provided, along with an "essentials kit" of cotton wool balls and buds, plus a tiny nail file. The room was warm, and though only one window opened, I was able to cool it down thanks to the fan that was waiting for me on the desk. Given that I went in March, I imagine this would be an essential item during summer. The view from the windows was nice - of rolling grass plains and a large, calm lake - showing me just how different university campuses can be. A TV completed the room, though it had poor reception of channels 3 and 5, and no sky or cable ones to make up for it. There was a good selection of lighting, from strong overhead lights to dimmer mood lighting to bright over bed reading lights. The rooms were not very soundproof - I could here the girl next door splashing in the bath around midnight - and many people commented over breakfast the following morning that when their neighbours fiddled with the locks of their own doors, it felt like theirs were being opened. I too felt it was the first UK hotel where I wished I'd brought my door alarm - something that I had to get after an alarming trip to a supposedly posh hotel in Slovakia a few years back. Little knocks and rustles kept me awake for a while, which is
not the kind of night you want before an intense day of graduate assessment. Inside the hotel is a gym which I braved during my stay. It is a tiny room, with one treadmill, one stepper, one rower and two bikes, but half the equipment was of a high standard, making up for the other bits that seemed to have been there for decades. Guests can use the university sports facilities for free, but these were across campus, and I didn't feel I had time to walk. If you had a car with you, a climbing wall, swimming pool and fully equipped gym were available, along with squash and tennis courts, and football pitches. The restaurant, located on the ground floor, serves 3 meals a day to delegates if they need them. We were booked in for dinner, all 500 of us, and we were seated and served efficiently. A special mention has to go to the restaurant manager that day, who, on being told my an alarmed waitress that I was not eating, came over personally to find out why, and what he could do about it. I explained the story, fussy eater, minute selection of fancy food on the set menu, blah, blah, blah, and he then assured me they had every food imaginable in the kitchen and the chefs would cook me whatever I wanted. I agreed that some pasta might be nice, and he reappeared a moment later to offer me a selection of shapes and sauce options Once more I explained that I don't do sauce, and that I hoped this would not upset the chefs since some have been offended in the past by my refusing to try their food. He then replied that the chefs were paid to cook whatever he told them, and that plain pasta would be on its way with the rest of the groups' food. Sure enough it turned up, and was delicious. He popped back several times to make sure everything was ok, and to ask it I was staying all week, and also what I would like for breakfast. He was an outstanding member of staff who offered a level of service I would never expect, and have never had outside of my re
gular, local restaurants before. Breakfast in the morning was a buffet affair, where I was happy with the "normal" selection. A cooked breakfast (nice but cold was the verdict from those who had it), selection of cereals, large fruit salad bar, rolls and croissants were all available, along with tea, coffee, and two types of fruit juice. Not the most extensive breakfast buffet I have ever tried, but certainly adequate. Lunch was again a buffet style meal, but we did not get to try it, being provided instead with packed lunches to take away. The conference facilities were good - room after room of tables, chairs, plug sockets (in my "office" we had 12 laptops and 12 printers all needing to be plugged in), flipcharts and so on. Each one was clearly labelled, so although we were sharing with several other conference teams, we never got muddled. Every floor had a coffee room, with hot and cold drinks (fresh fruit juice and chilled mineral water) and plenty of snacks - baskets of mini packets of biscuits, and tray after tray of pasties, muffins and donuts. Needless to say we never needed to be told twice that we should maybe think about taking a break. Scarman house is a nice conference venue, and one of the better ones I have been to in recent years. It's expensive as they all are, but since companies pay or at least wangle subsidised rates, that doesn't really affect us. The hotel is 4 miles from Coventry station, and two trips showed me that in usual daytime traffic this is a confirmed £7.40 trip. Busses also link the campus with the station and town areas. The nearest airport is Birmingham, which is 20 minutes from campus. Free car parking is available on site, and driving directions can be found in pre-conference delegate packs, or on the website. Note the Warwick University is miles and miles from Warwick - Coventry is by far the nearest city. Prices start at £158.00 per person, full board including s
nacks and conference rooms and equipment. More information on the hotel, and what prices include can be found at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/conferences
For those of you who have read a few of my ops you will probably have guessed by now, that two of my favourite hobbies are travelling and eating. I have seen the inside of many hotel rooms both for business and pleasure, as long as it is en-suite, all the hotel rooms start to blend into one, it is the facilities, location and food whch distinguishes them. We chose the Novotel based solely on price for a visit to the NEC a few years ago. LOCATION The hotel is situated at Junction 3 of the M6, and has 98 en-suite rooms. Mid-week charges vary, but we paid £110 for two nights bed and breakfast (I believe this has now risen to £150). Despite being underneath an M6 motorway bridge and thus having a birds-eye view of the lorries trundling across it, the rooms were surprisingly quiet, due to effectively fitted double glazing. If you want to socialise outside the hotel, there are a few pubs and a chip shop within about 15 minutes walk, but for a more scintilating evening you will need to get a bus from the Foleshille Road adjacent to the hotel to get a bus into town, they run fairly regularly and the charges aren't too bad. The other alternative is drive of get a taxi. There is a bar at the hotel, but not too many guests appeared to use it when we were there. The restaurant apparently serves food up to midnight, although we gave this a miss, preferring the charges of the local chippie. THE ROOM The room was of standard fayre (I am begining to think the only difference between these hotels is the size) en-suite, with telephone, satellite TV, and tea and coffee making facilities. THE FACILITIES It has a large car-park, Conference facilities, air-conditioning, bar restuarant, garden and 'outdoor swimming pool' - (November in Coventry? - NO - we didn't try it). BREAKFAST This is the main reason I would go back to this hotel, It has not been surpassed anywhere. All food was available on a self
serve basis, and provided coffee/tea, a wide range of rolls, croissants and pastries, cereals, fresh fruit, fruit juices of all descriptions, full english, bacon, sausage, black pudding, hash browns, scrambled & fried egg, mushrooms, beans and tomatoes, and a do it yourself rotating toaster. During the first day of my visit, I managed to develop a tooth abscess and could hardly eat anything, (still I got one day in before it started) but I will return there one day, just to make sure it hasn't changed SERVICE Was polite and helpful, but felt like I was under scrutiny as we didn't book in as Mr and Mrs. SUMMARY A hotel pretty much the same as any other, but with the best breakfast I have ever had -yes, even better than the Little Chef and don't know why they have a swimming pool. Contact details: Wilsons Lane, COVENTRY, CV6 6HL Tel: 024 7636 5000 Fax: 024 7636 2422 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org