“ Address: Shude hill / Sheffield / S1 2AR / South Yorkshire / England „
I have to admit I am not usually crazy about staying in hotels that belong to a chain. I much prefer to look out for unusual and obscure establishments but on my trip to England the other week I knew we were visiting Sheffield which is the city I always call home having lived there the longest (over 19 years) and where my son was born. The reason for the trip was to show my Polish daughter-in-law the sights of Steel City and as we would be staying over needed a room.
Now, I totally dipped with this booking because I was under the impression that my son had booked a family room in the Ibis until about 7 days before we were due to leave when I realised he had only booked a double and that there would be no room for Mum in his room with his wife and daughter. So what did I do? I booked a room for myself online through Booking.com which was simple - just followed the instructions and filled in my name and address and paid by credit card. By booking with this organisation I managed to save £6. If I'd booked on-line direct with Ibis I would have had to pay £56 which seems a bit strange but that's how it was - I paid £50. My lucky boy only paid £30 so remember try to book 30 days before. Breakfast wasn't included in this price, by the way. You could order a breakfast at an extra charge of £6.95 but we had to leave very early the next day so thought we would just get a sausage sandwich from the railway station.
For the life of me I have been trying to rack my brains about the situation of the hotel and what was the building before it became the Ibis. I think it was a nightclub but not 100% sure but never mind, on with the review.
This particular Ibis hotel is classed as central rather than south Sheffield and it is situated on Shude Hill in a good spot because it isn't too far away from the railway station, coach station, tram stop and within walking distance to the Crucible and Lyceum theatres, the City Hall, city swimming pool or Pond's Forge International Sports Centre as it is called now and the main shopping streets. To look at from the outside the building looks quite small with a red brick façade and the usual Ibis neon light flashing away. It does look smart compared with the older buildings like the Post Office sorting office which are engrained with layers of pollution.
After arriving at Doncaster (Robin Hood) airport a little bit tired and grumpy due to the fact that we left Warsaw (work was being carried out on the runway) to go to Lodz at midnight and hadn't had any sleep for god knows how many hours, we decided to take a chance and go straight to the hotel to see if a room was available or at least if we could off load our luggage. I think check in time is 2pm but we were at the hotel at around 10.30.
The manager who is very smiley, French and quite charming was indeed helpful. He checked his computer and said that one of the rooms was free and that we could all use it to leave the luggage and have a rest. The other room would be ready later. A sigh of relief all round because the bags we were carting around were heavy, plus a pram and a lively child.
We didn't at first spend too much time in reception but my first impression was that the lighting was good - very mellow and I liked the pale yellow ( I think it was pale yellow) walls and pictures of which there were many. There was a real buzz in this area as it is the lounge/café/bar area and I can only assume that people were still eating their breakfasts. Overall the area seemed very nice if a bit too cramped.
My room which was the one allocated was on the fourth floor and there is a lift in working order. The connecting corridor to each floor of the hotel was thickly carpeted in a jazzy design that looked like it had seen better days and the doors of each rooms were painted turquoise. It reminded me of when I was very young and first moved up to Sheffield and lived in a rented house. The doors were very heavy and the entrance into the room was enabled by using a swipe card. I had problems with mine a few times - obviously inserting the card too quickly.
The room space was ample with a large double bed covered with an off white duvet/bedspread and two large pillows. Now, this is a budget hotel so I wasn't expecting anything grand and I was happy enough with the décor although it was very bland; cream walls with bits of teak panels here and there. There was a small built in wardrobe with several shelves and a rack for hanging clothes. One brand new pillow in a polythene carrying case was placed on one of the shelves and at either side of the bed was a small bedside cabinet with a plastic - non-descript wall light above. Not very attractive but when the main light was switched off the effect was soothing enough. The window was covered with three blinds in rusty, amber colours and when opened, the view in front of my eyes was an interesting industrial landscape - the new walk over bridge with Park Hill flats behind it. These flats are being renovated and look a lot better than they used to. The room was quite stuffy because it was a hot day but unfortunately the window didn't open to its full capacity. In the evening the room seemed quite cool on entering but once under the covers it was warm enough.
The bed was very comfortable and all of us took our shoes off and sat on it while we got our breath back. Facing the bed was a teak sort of structure with a shelf underneath. A flat screen TV was perched on the top with a keyboard and there was a notice stating about the TV package but to be honest I didn't really pay much attention. I think it was £9.99 for the package. My son did turn the TV on and it seemed that regular channels were available without the package and only my granddaughter used the keyboard thinking it was a toy. None of us had brought our laptops but I think if we had we would have been able to get Internet access free. Mobile phone coverage was good and none of us had any problems.
Underneath the TV was a tray with a kettle, 2 white mugs and sachets of Nescafe coffee (2), decaffeinated coffee (2) and tea (2). Also sugar sachets and little cartons of milk. No biscuits - why not? I was starving at this point and could have eaten a biscuit with my cuppa.
The bathroom was larger than I expected as I thought it would be similar to the bathrooms in Formula 1 hotels. The shower area seemed quite large and the wash basin was a jade colour. A large mirror was placed over the wash basin which steamed up immediately the shower was turned on. No complaints about the hot water - piping hot. Two small glasses were placed near the taps and a small bar of soap with the Ibis emblem on. I was happy with the bathroom and pleased that I had three soft white towels. Plenty of loo roll too - well you never know when you need it!
Nearly forgot - a list of food and drinks was available. They looked quite pricey and as we were going out to eat I didn't study the list. I assume you could eat/drink these in your room.
So there you have it - not the Ritz but not bad for a budget hotel. After we had taken a small rest we were up and about and walked through the city to Broomhill where we lived when my son was a tiny child. It was about 6pm when we returned and by that time the other room was available which was on a different floor but looked exactly the same as mine. We said Goodbye for the night as we really were tired and had to get up very early the next morning to leave for Boston. I did think about going to the bar to have a beer or two but never made it - after all the walking I fell asleep on the bed until 8.30 and then the trouble started.
At first I could smell smoke and I thought - where the heck is that coming from - knowing that the hotel had a no smoking policy. It was actually coming into my room from a door that had been covered with a panel. It states on the web site that there are smoke alarms - obviously on this occasion they weren't working. Behind the hidden door was another room and inside were two football supporters who were very drunk. Sheffield United had been playing Portsmouth. The language was terrible - every word a swear word. One of the guys was having a very aggressive phone conversation with I assume his girlfriend and I could hear every word. I was a bit taken aback and a bit scared because they did sound just a bit crazy and extremely aggressive. I didn't want to phone my son as I knew he would be asleep and I didn't want to confront these people myself so I just sat on the bed trying to block the noise out by having the TV on. Trust me to get landed with these two ruffians! I was worried that I would get no sleep but after about 20 minutes the swearing and noise stopped and everything went silent. I never heard a door bang so I can only guess that they fell into a drunken stupor. With great relief - I hid under the bed clothes and fell asleep until 6.30 in the morning when a huge bang on the next door and more swearing started up again. I should have gone down to reception to report them in retrospect but only two young girls were at the desk and I really don't see what they could have done - I suppose call the Police.
My view was that the management aren't responsible for their guests - they can't vet every person. I have stayed in some posh hotels and encountered noisy and rude guests. It's just one of those things that sometimes happens and I didn't let it bother me too much. I certainly didn't let it spoil the rest of my trip.
Once packed I took the lift which actually did smell slightly of urine and went to my son's room. They had all slept like babies and heard no nose at all so I was just unlucky on this occasion.
To sum up - I think the Ibis Hotel in central Sheffield is okay. You get what you pay for. Both of our rooms were clean and adequate for an overnight stay. The manager was very helpful in letting us check in early and the hotel's situation for visitors to the city is perfect - everything is at hand and even Meadowhall, the big shopping complex is only about a 15 minute tram ride. I know it isn't on par with any of the hotels I have stayed in on the Costa Brava but I didn't expect it to be. I just wished I had paid £30 instead of £50. As for the noise - it could happen to anyone, anywhere. Shame about the stinky lift though - not good!
A low budget weekend getaway (thanks to National Express for the £1 each way offer!) called for a low cost hotel. I remembered someone saying that the Accor family member Etap now had a hotel in Sheffield but, situated by the Don Valley Stadium, it was a little too far out of town to be practical for such a short stay. As I am now the proud owner of an Accor hotels loyalty card I decided to check the Accor website and see if any other reasonably priced hotels presented themselves and this was how we came to choose the Ibis. I know this will sound strange to those readers who like a certain "standard" of accommodation but I have rarely considered Ibis hotels because I've always thought them to be pricey; in any case I tend to look at hostel and bed and breakfast accommodation before I look at hotel options.
We were quoted £49 for a double room (including a £10 discount) with a bonus multi-media package, usually costing £9.99 for 24 hours, free of charge. However, on arrival at the hotel we saw a notice in reception saying that the price for a standard double for one or two people was £54. Usually you can get a cheaper price by booking on line, but clearly not in this case. To get this price we had to pay in advance and we could not get a refund if we canceled.
The hotel is situated a stone's throw from Sheffield's bus and coach station and a fifteen minute walk from the train station. You should know that this is at the very bottom of the hills on which Sheffield stands so you will have quite a climb to get to most of the shops, museums and other places of entertainment in the city. There is a multi-storey car-park next to the hotel. The area is quiet but is close to the amenities of the centre. Within a minutes walk you'll find the heart of the city so this is a very good location.
As with all Ibis hotels the public areas are small and functional. Reception doubled as a bar and also the breakfast room. We didn't eat breakfast there but we were told it would cost an additional £5.50 for a continental breakfast. There was a vending machine here selling soft drinks and snacks, and newspapers to read but these had to be kept in the lounge area. Check in was quick and easy and we were issued with our key card and directed to the sixth floor. Something that struck me as excellent design was that rather than one long corridor, there were several corridors off the lifts, each with a door to cut down on noise.
The room was fairly small but there was enough room to move around. The en suite bathroom was the "pod" kind where a plastic bathroom can be found within a plastic kiosk in the corner of the room. Why do these things exist? Why not build a proper partition and just have a bathroom? I am sure there is some cost/plumbing thing behind it but nevertheless I hate these things. At least the plastic pod was spotlessly clean and fresh; we had piping hot water whenever we wanted it and the place didn't flood when you had a shower like is often the case. The vanity mirror had the largest magnification I'd ever seen from a mirror - the type that shows the tiniest little blackhead on your nose and makes you not want to leave the room for fear of looking like a troll.
There was a television, a keyboard for using television internet and a kettle and tea and coffee making stuff. It was all functional but clean and in good repair. In short it was like just about any other Ibis room, bland but acceptable.
The only issue I had at all with the room was that during the night it was in turn too hot then too cold. The first time the temperature changed we altered the heating accordingly but this just became charade of getting in and out of bed to re-adjust every twenty minutes and as a result I spent a restless night either tossing and turning with the heat or shivering into the quilt.
There was room service with a small selection of dishes and snacks and drinks but this was quite pricey and you can find places locally that are open late. However, if you don't want to go out, at least the option is available.
Obviously this is not a hotel for people who like magnificent views and lots of facilities. Yes we had the free multi-media package but we didn't have any opportunity to take advantage of it. Even if you do not pay for this package (or get it free of charge like we did) you still get the basic television channels and radio stations. We did however try to use the television internet using the keyboard provided which turned out to be the most arduous and pointless exercise known to man. Fortunately if you have a laptop you can plug in your computer for internet access. The multi-media package also gave us free films from a selection and use of the "music jukebox" which was pretty limited and not much to our tastes.
For leisure visitors who expect to spend most of their time outside the hotel and to spend most of that time in the city centre this is a very good choice. If you want a gym or a swimming pool, perhaps a restaurant and a cooked breakfast, then this isn't the hotel for you. Of course, for these things you'll pay more so if your budget is your main concern, you should certainly consider the Ibis. One thing that strikes me, though, is this: why do Ibis hotels charge that little bit more given that they don't really provide anything more than their cheaper stable mate the Etap? There is really no difference between the two.
Ibis Sheffield Central
Located in the city centre.