Introduction During a recent work trip to Middlesbrough, my colleague and I needed somewhere cheap to stay, and after a trawl through the possibilities on the Internet, came up with this Premier Travel Inn. Amazingly, it is hard to find reasonably priced hotels in the Middlesbrough area, at least ones that were not already booked up. Although the cost of hotels is covered by work, we need to keep costs to a minimum as far as possible. We looked at the choice of Premier Travel Inns in the area, having stayed at a number of satisfactory and cheap Travel Inns in the past. There are three, unfortunately none of which are in Middlesbrough itself. This one is actually in Thornaby, rather than Stockton-on-Tees itself (although it is listed as being in Stockton-on-Tees/Middlesbrough on the website), there is another in Stockton-on-Tees itself and another in Guisborough, which is very close by. We picked this one because it seemed to be the closest to Middlesbrough city centre. Booking We booked online with the company credit card with no trouble at all. On arrival, we were not asked for further credit card details - very different from most hotels I have stayed in, who still want my own credit card details (we can't take the company credit card with us). Booking is very quick and easy - just go to www.premiertravelinn.com and choose the Stockton-on-Tees/Middlesbrough hotel. Other contact details: Premier Travel Inn Whitewater Way Thornaby Stockton-on-Tees TS17 6QB Tel: 08701 977 244 Fax: 01642 671464 Surroundings We didn't really see much of Thornaby itself, although we got off the train in Thornaby (the Darlington to Middlesbrough train line runs straight through it). The hotel, a short taxi ride away from the station, seems to be in the middle of a retail park area, where for some reason an Olympic standard white-water rafting area can also be found. So perfect if you like white-water rafting. I didn't try it, wasn't quite the right time of year. The immediate surroundings included a car park and a Beefeater restaurant and there is a cinema and entertainment complex down the road. If you like being in the city centre, this isn't for you. Personally, I thought it was quiet and pleasant. Getting a taxi into Middlesbrough itself was very quick and easy - the receptionist phoned for one, which turned up a couple of minutes later - the journey into Middlesbrough then took about 10 minutes. Arrival We arrived at about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, to be told that we couldn't check in immediately, but we could leave our bags and return later. However, the receptionist was very pleasant and after a couple of phone calls, found that our rooms were ready and let us check in. The reception area was small, but clean, with room to sit down and huge amounts of leaflets about what to do in the local area. The rooms My room was on the first floor (the top floor) and was just about the furthest from the entrance. However, the room itself was clean, with white bedding (always a good sign) and a spotless bathroom. The room had obviously either been recently decorated or the hotel was new - everything looked and smelled brand new. The size of the room was excellent - not too big to be uncomfortable, but roomy enough not to feel claustrophobic. The room was cold on entry - but the heating can be easily put up/down as necessary, so I turned it up and left it to do its job. Facility-wise, there were tea and coffee-making facilities, a television and soap in the bathroom. There was no telephone and no hairdryer. Not a problem for me because I had brought my mobile and hair-dryer. For those needing to use a public phone, there is one down in reception. My only criticism is that some of the rooms on my floor were smoking rooms, which is fine, but the smell pervaded the corridor, which I didn't find particularly pleasant. But then I am an ex-smoker and a bit sensitive about such things. Food There is no restaurant/café in the hotel itself. Food is served next door at a Beefeater restaurant. I was very impressed by the restaurant, which was clean, cheap and had efficient staff. The menu is quite broad-ranging - probably not ideal if you are staying for longer than one or two nights, but perfectly adequate otherwise. My colleague and I both had steaks, but there was also chicken, pasta, pizza, jacket potatoes and just about anything else you might want. We paid £50 for two people, which included two main courses, two desserts and a bottle of wine. Breakfast was in the same location. Usually, there is a buffet breakfast at Premier Travel Inns; in this case, the continental breakfast was laid out as a buffet, but a cooked breakfast had to be served. The continental breakfast costs £5.95; the cooked, which includes as much as you want from the buffet as well, was £6.95. The staff All the staff were very polite and efficient. One lady, who was clearly the manager, seemed to spend a lot of time checking the rooms before allowing the next guests to move in. Staff were very helpful when we asked them for directions, advice on where to eat and how to get a taxi. Checking out No problem at all; we just dropped the keys at reception. The price The rooms, which were double, were £49.95 each per night. The price drops to £46.95 during the weekend. Conclusion We were staying for just one night and had no particular need to be located right in the centre of Middlesbrough, so this hotel was absolutely fine for us. If you want to be within walking distance of the city centre with a choice of restaurants and entertainment, then you will probably want something in Middlesbrough city centre, for which you will have to pay more. For me, the hotel was close enough to Middlesbrough for it not to be a nuisance, the food was good, the staff were polite, the rooms were clean and for £49.95, I thought it was excellent. Recommended.