“ Address: Ambassador Rd / Solihull / Birmingham B26 3AW / United Kingdom „
With tickets to see veteran rocker Meat Loaf at the LG Arena at Birmingham NEC, we decided to stop at a hotel rather than take the 2 hour drive home straight after the concert.
There's a number of hotels available around the NEC and airport with a variety of prices. I did a bit of research and ended up going with the Ibis Birmingham Airport Hotel. Why? Well, it's a brand I know well as I've stayed in a number of Ibis hotels before, and their prices are usually very competitive.
A tip for those thinking of staying at the Ibis Birmingham Airport Hotel or ones nearby. Book the hotel as soon as you can, don't leave it until just before your event or flight!
When I first looked into hotels for the night of the concert, the Ibis was only around £40. When I finally booked the hotel a week before the concert (I'm usually more organised than that!), it had gone up to £69. Still a reasonable price, but it's all in the timing when it comes to booking hotels!
I booked the hotel room through the AccorHotels.com website (Accor Hotels is the parent company of Ibis) and their booking system is quick and simple to follow. They have a number of offers on throughout the year and so I booked a standard twin room under their UK Ibis Easter Offer and added the "All-you-can-eat" breakfast buffet option for both of us (which was £7.95 each). So in total we paid £84.90. Accor Hotels took prepayment for the booking, so we didn't have to worry about that on the day.
On the day, we took the train rather than having the hassle of a two hour drive and airport parking (plus it probably worked out cheaper!). The hotel is easy to find from Birmingham International train station... Once you alight from the train, take the stairs or the lift up to the concourse and then turn left, following the signs for the airport. There is an "Air-Rail Link" (basically a mono-rail) which runs every couple of minutes throughout the day and less often at night. The Air-Rail Link will take you directly to the airport in under 2 minutes for FREE. Once at the airport, simply exit the building, cross the road and walk around the corner - the Ibis Birmingham Airport Hotel will be in front of you. The hotel also has a free shuttle bus, but we didn't have any need to use it as the Air-Rail Link is so easy.
Checking-in was swift and the receptionist friendly. We were given a room on the 9th floor, so took the lift adjacent to reception. To use the lifts, you need to swipe your room key card, so it adds an element of security.
Our room was a typical Ibis hotel room with twin beds, a desk, chair and seating, tea/coffee making facilities, storage space and a compact bathroom with a roomy shower, toilet and sink.
Our window looked out over another hotel, but we could also see the airport runway. I don't like flying, but for some reason I quite enjoy watching the planes taking off. Birmingham Airport isn't a large airport, so there was a bit of a gap between flights. As we could hear them taking off during the day, I did worry that they would disturb our sleep at night, but I needn't have worried as there didn't seem to be any night flights from the airport.
We headed back to the LG Arena at the NEC via the Air-Rail Link and had a fantastic time seeing Meat Loaf's Last At Bat concert (supposedly his last UK tour), before heading back to the hotel. Obviously, quite a few others were also staying at the airport hotels after the concert, so you may find you have to wait for the Air-Rail Link as it fills up.
We were hungry after the concert, so popped into M&S Simply Food at the airport (there are plenty of places open there during the day, but only a few at night) to grab sandwiches, salads, crisps and drink, and we took them back to our hotel room. The hotel does have a bar/restaurant area but I didn't want a full-on meal at that time of night.
The beds were comfortable and we actually had a great night's sleep. I often don't sleep well when staying away from home and having to share a room with somebody I don't normally share a room with, so I was surprised to find I'd had a good night of sleep.
Breakfast is served downstairs in the bar/restaurant area next to reception, so we headed down for breakfast to fill up before going home. Surprisingly, it was quite quiet there that morning, with only one or two others down for breakfast. As with most Ibis hotels, there was plenty of food to choose from - cooked breakfast (sausages, bacon, hash browns, egg, beans etc), croissants, bread, cereals, juice, tea, coffee etc. It's a relaxed affair there and the staff are helpful if there's anything else you need. I was also quite surprised to see a couple of uniform policemen walk in and have their breakfast too!
Check-out was very swift and we headed back to Birmingham International station via the Air-Rail Link.
All in all, despite being a brief stay, it was an enjoyable stay. An ideal location, comfortable, quiet and at a reasonable price... What more could you ask for? I'll certainly consider staying there again when attending concerts at the LG Arena or events at Birmingham NEC, or even if I've got an early flight to take from Birmingham Airport.