* Prices may differ from that shown
I stay in Blackpool at least once a year for a weekend break and generally stay at a bed and breakfast, however this year we decided to stay somewhere a bit more upmarket as i seem to be getting accustomed to the luxury lifestyle! We decided to stay at The Imperial on the North Shore of Blackpool as i had seen it many times in passing, i have also seen it in the Luxury Hotel brochure so i thought this would be a luxury hotel. The other hotels that i have stayed at in this brochure has been fantastic. I telephoned the hotel to book in and i was quoted £95 for a superior room including breakfast for 2 people. Excellent price for a luxurious hotel. Upon arriving at the hotel, i was very impressed by the grand exterior. It truly is one of the best looking hotels - from the outside. When we went inside into the reception/lobby area it was still very nice, quite a warm and homely feel. Check in passed without incident, our room was ready and the receptionist was friendly. Our room was located ont he first floor so we decided to take the lift. Here the problems began. We pressed the button for the first floor and the doors only closed half way. The lift did not move and we were stuck. We had to prise the doors open with our hands in order to get out. We reported this to the receptionist and she just laughed and said she would get someone to look at it. We decided to take the stairs. The hallways leading to the rooms are well lit and carpets are in good condition. When we went into the room it was a good size, clean and basic. Just what i would have expected from a bed and breakfast - not from a 4 star hotel. Things got worse. In the bathroom the tap was dripping constantly, the hot water tap had to be turned round and round until a good flow of water could come out and to my horror the toilet hadnt been flushed. The only thing i was happy with was the condition of the bedroom and the breakfast area all of which were clean and comfortable. I would not reccommend this hotel and i will not return. For £95 i thought it was cheap for a 4 star, now i know why.
Regular readers of my reviews will no doubt already know I am a huge fan of Blackpool and that I travel there on a regular basis. Now I am the first to admit that when I visit Blackpool it is more about the place itself than the accommodation and therefore I usually just opt for a very inexpensive B&B but I do on occasions like to treat myself to a luxury break in a hotel and have stayed in the Big Blue hotel that overlooks the Pleasure beach (already reviewed) and also in the Imperial Hotel which is what I am going to tell you a bit about here. I stayed in the Imperial in late 2004 so I do apologise if there have been changes that I fail to mention in this review but I am assured after talking to friends who I recommended the hotel to and are recently back from their stay that it is every bit as good now as I told them it was then. The Imperial hotel is noted as being Blackpool`s most famous and impressive hotel and at first sight you will appreciate why it is rated impressive. Situated on the North Promenade this stunning Victorian hotel which was built in the 1800`s and has since been fully restored sticks out like a sore thumb in it`s somewhat typical English sea side surroundings, it brings a touch of real class to Blackpool and is as beautiful if not more so inside than it is out. When I visited the hotel as a guest I had already seen it many times in passing and admired its beautiful exterior but here I was booking in and looking forward to all it had to offer which is plenty. Inside this beautiful hotel you are presented with a stunning hallway and reception area where we were handed our key to our room, we were splashing out and really treating ourselves by staying in a suite for the four nights but there are plenty rooms to choose from. The suite we were staying in was breathtaking, on entering the room I just looked at my fiancée who was staring open mouthed at the room before her and we knew we were somewhere higher class than anywhere we had stayed before. The suite was massive and beautifully furnished with old fashioned burgundy leather seats and a beautiful burgundy leather sofa, there was a built in fireplace set in white stone with a gorgeous and very elegant brass framed mirror over it. The massive windows overlooked the Irish Sea and as the illuminations were on, the view at night was awesome. The bathroom and bedroom of the suite were equally as impressive as the main living quarter's with a king size four poster bed in the bedroom and the exceptionally beautiful bathroom suite. The cleanliness of the rooms was as impressive as the rooms themselves. I have stayed in many hotels worldwide and no matter how nice or how many stars they carried you could always tell that it had been stayed and slept in by many before you whereas with the Imperial you could honestly believe you are the first to stay in the room. On leaving our room and checking out what else the hotel had to offer things just got better and better. Inside the beautiful hotel there is stunning eating and drinking areas all of which are fully climate controlled, there is a fitness suite packed out with treadmills and various other exercise equipment, a 13m swimming pool for those early morning dips, a sauna with separate sections for man and women, a beauty suite to keep the ladies happy, a steam room which I personally loved and a solarium for topping up the old tans because let's face it you are not going to go home from Blackpool all bronzed otherwise. The hotel really did have everything you could wish for and was almost good enough just to keep us indoors for our entire four days and nights but being a huge Blackpool enthusiast I just had to venture out lol! Once we had arrived at the hotel and parked the car in the hotels car park which incidentally is plenty big enough to accommodate the needs of all the guests we decided as we usually do that we would not use the car again for the duration of our stay. The Blackpool transport system is easily good enough to make this possible and with a tram stop right outside the front of our hotel I could travel the way I most enjoy on visits here. I am fairly sure no matter what you expect from your stay in a hotel the Imperial in Blackpool will eclipse your expectations, it certainly did mine. It is not just the hotel itself that makes the stay so good it is the staff also. I have never met such a friendly bunch of people (ok they are probably well paid to be that way but they do, do it well). The service is second to none also with the option there for you to have your curtains drawn and your bed turned down for you every evening, a selection of toiletries at your disposal and replaced each morning, doors held open for you at every entrance and a person of high authority available at all hours of the day or night I doubt there is anything you could ask for that is not already taken care of. The manner in which we were treated and spoken to throughout or stay in the Imperial left us feeling very important and extremely impressed with the whole experience. I have since recommended the hotel to a few friends who have all taken my recommendation on board and been very glad they did. I plan to return myself this year and really am excited about it already. If you have booked for breakfasts, lunches, evening meals or all three or if you just decide to purchase them on occasions during your stay then you can rest assured that the choices of food and the quality of the food matches everything else the hotel has to offer. As well as the food being very good there is always lots of it, I am not the biggest eater and often found myself unable to finish what was put in front of me. If you are on an all inclusive as I was then I would suggest taking it easy with the breakfasts because you really do need to leave room for the large lunch and the massive and very delicious evening meals. The cost of buying drinks from the bar is slightly more expensive than buying in the pubs but not much, I was paying £2.20 for a pint back n 2004 whereas it was around £2 exactly on the high street. The only thing we found to be very expensive from the bar was their range of cocktails, they were very basic cocktails but the prices were anything but basic. Stcik to sensible drinks and the difference is too minimal to notice. ROOM OPTIONS Premium Double x 20 Premium Twin x 3 Sea View Deluxe Double x 12 Standard Double Room x 82 Standard Single Room x 14 Standard Twin Room x 25 Suite x 9 The price obviously varies depending on when you stay but here are some examples. 2 adults and 2 children staying in a premium family room with upgraded toiletries, bathrobes & use of leisure facilities for 4 nights in July 2008 - £620 room only or £720 with breakfast. For exactly the same family in exactly the same room staying 4 nights in September would cost - £517 room only or £597 with breakfast. For a couple looking for a weekend break in July 2008 a Sea View Deluxe Double Room with sea views, upgraded toiletries, bathrobes and full use of leisure facilities will set you back a cool £770 including breakfast and dinner. However the same couple could opt for a Standard double bedroom with wireless internet & refreshment tray for a less expensive £590 with breakfast. If you are looking for a family fortnight in Blackpool in august then a premium family room will set you back £1842 room only or £2122 with breakfast. Now as you can see from the prices above the Imperial hotel in Blackpool is not the cheapest place to stay by any stretch of the imagination but if you really want to treat yourself then you can't go far wrong with this place, when it comes to hotels you really do get what you pay for and when you pay for the Imperial you get pure luxury and brilliant service and a holiday you won't forget. Even as a huge fan of Blackpool I have to admit much of the old place is going to the dogs as far as cleanliness and service is concerned and trailing the pleasure beach with kids or even just walking the golden mile of an evening can really take it out of you. If you are booked in at the Imperial you at least know that after a fun but tiring day you can relax with a drink at the beautiful bar then indulge yourself in a luxury bubble bath before settling down to some late night TV and preparing yourself for the next day's events. MY RATINGS Location - 8/10 Service - 10/10 Rooms - 10/10 Cleanliness - 10/10 Facilities - 9/10 Food - 9/10 Value for money - 10/10 Over all - 10/10 I am sure from what you have read that you have figured out that I rate the hotel very highly. I honestly cannot recommend this place highly enough, as I say I am looking to return there this year and I can't wait. I might well update this review after my visit. FOR FURTHER INFO CONTACT THE HOTEL North Promenade North Shore Blackpool Lancashire FY1 2HB United Kingdom Tel: 01253 623971 Fax: 01253 751784 Thanks for reading! ©2008 thebigc1690
The Imperial Hotel stands on the sea front of the North Shore of Blackpool, between the North Pier and Gynn Square for those of you who know the area. It is one of sixteen hotels owned by the Paramount Group. There is a huge car park to the front and the side of the building and we have never had any problems getting a parking space. We just park our car when we arrive and don’t use it again for the duration of our stay, as the famous Blackpool trams run along the seafront from Fleetwood to Starr Gate and there’s a tram stop right outside the hotel. The Imperial is a beautiful Victorian building built in the late 1800’s, which has been carefully restored to its former glory, and has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment. It is close to Blackpool Railway Station and just two miles from Blackpool Airport. It has 183 bedrooms, some of which are Premier Rooms, and 10 suites, all of which have been decorated to reflect the original character of the building. All the rooms have the usual facilities hair dryer, telephone, satellite colour television, hospitality tray and trouser press. The Premier Rooms also have mineral water, mints, fresh fruit, a newspaper of your choice delivered to your door, a set of Neutrogena toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe for use during your stay. We have been regular visitors to the Imperial since we joined the Leisure Break Club, which gives us discounts on the cost of our stay. We usually go for a weekend in March, when the offer at the hotel is two for the price of one and the Pleasure Beach rides all cost 80p, and again in October to see the illuminations. This year we booked our weekend in March and, as a surprise, my partner mailed the manager at the Imperial and asked how much it would cost us to upgrade to a suite. He explained that I had had a rough time when I had been dismissed from work due to my continued ill health. He wanted to do something really special to c heer me up. We had paid £150 for dinner, bed and breakfast for the two of us for two nights in a standard room and Dave was told that upgrading to a suite would cost us a further £100 per night. He knew how cross I would have been if he’d paid that sort of money so he just told me what he’d done and that he’d said no, it was too expensive. I told him that I was pleased he’d tried and it was the thought that counts, and I quite agreed that it was too expensive. When we arrived at the Imperial we were given the key to our room and the room number – imagine our surprise when we got to the room to find that it was the Dickens Suite! At first I thought that Dave had gone ahead and paid the £200 but no, the manager had decided to give us the suite for no extra cost, as it was vacant that weekend. Admittedly there was scaffolding up across the windows on the front of the building as the refurbishment was still in progress, so maybe they couldn’t let out the room at the normal price. The suite was amazing, I have been in smaller flats! There was a lounge with a huge fireplace and mirror above. There was a two-seater settee and one easy chair, a dining table and three chairs, coffee table, television, video, telephone and sideboard with built in fridge! The bedroom was enormous with a king-sized bed, wardrobe, two bedside cabinets, a table and chair, television unit with television and an easy chair. There were all the usual facilities including tea tray, trouser press, chocolates, fruit, bottled water, bathrobes and another telephone. The bathroom again was large with a big bath and shower, heated towel rail, loo and sink set into a unit. There was a range of Neutrogena toiletries for us to use, which were replaced the following morning. Dave had arranged for my favourite flowers, freesias, to be in the room when we arrived but that was the only thing that we had to pay any extra money for. I felt like a Princess for the weekend, the luxury was truly lovely. Even though the scaffolding was up on the windows on the front of the hotel, our suite was on the corner and so we could still see the sea from the side windows. When we arrived at our room the housekeeper was in the room drawing the curtains and turning down the bed for us and she asked us if there was anything further that we needed. The following evening Dave was having a shower and I was in the bedroom when the telephone rang. I answered it and it was the housekeeper asking me if I would like her to come and close the curtains and turn down the bed for me! I said no, thank you, of course, but how’s that for service? She again asked us if we had got everything that we needed. The hotel also has banqueting facilities and eight conference suites. It also has a swimming pool, sauna, spa, solarium, steam room and fully equipped gymnasium. There are also facilities available for beauty therapies including massage. I can’t comment on the standard of these facilities, as we always like to go out and about rather than just stopping in the hotel. The Palm Court Restaurant has recently been refurbished and is even nicer than it was before. It actually reopened the first night that we were there in March this year. You would never have known it though, all the staff, in their new uniforms, were all as efficient as ever, and no one would have guessed that the layout and procedures had all changed. The food is very good indeed. Everything on the carvery menu is now buffet style, which may conjure up a cafeteria set up but nothing could be further from the truth. The starters are in bowls set in crushed ice to keep them cool and you help yourself to as much or as little as you need. The soup is obviously in an urn to keep it hot. The waiter brings a selection of bread rolls to your table for you to choose from. The carvery main course has two or three different joints of meat together with two or three other alternatives such as lamb steaks in minted gravy or chicken breasts in a delicious sauce, and there is always at least one good vegetarian main course. The chef serves this to you and then you choose your vegetables from a good selection on display on the heated surface. The sweets are again in dishes set in crushed ice and there is a good variety of cheesecakes, fresh fruit, fruit flans, gateaux etc and plenty of fresh cream to pour over. The hot sweets are on the heated surface near to the vegetables and there is a jug of hot custard if you prefer that to cream. They also have a good range of wines and other drinks served by either the bottle or glass and brought to your table by your waitress. The carvery meal is the one that is included in the dinner, bed and breakfast package, but you can also opt for a la carte for an extra charge if you prefer. This is served to your table by the waiting staff. The breakfast is also served in the Palm Court Restaurant and is also a buffet style. You are shown to your table where your order for tea or coffee and toast is taken and you are told to help yourself to everything else. The breakfast consists of six different fruit juices, four cereals, about eight different bowls of fresh fruit ranging from prunes to fresh fruit salad, pots of flavoured yoghurt, a bowl of plain yoghurt, meat and cheese. There is a wide selection of bread and rolls and of course an urn of milk for the cereals. You then move on to the cooked part of the breakfast, served buffet style, which consists of fried eggs, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomatoes, baked beans, fried potatoes, mushrooms, and hash browns! Trust me, when you’ve had a breakfast like this you daren’t eat much at lunchtime or you’d never be able to eat your evening meal! The No 10 Bar is a stylish yet cosy place to have a pre or post dinner drink. The décor is of huge mirrors with the inscription of the names of Prime Ministers and various photographs adorn the walls. They have an extensive range of drinks including all the Scottish malt whiskeys. Snacks and light meals are also served in here. There are numerous lounges where you can sit and watch the sea while taking morning coffee or afternoon tea. The staff are all extremely helpful. The reception desk staff make checking in and out a quick, efficient and painless process and they take notice of you too. If you have booked for a birthday celebration for example they notice and wish you happy birthday. It’s the little things like that, which make you feel welcome. The staff in the bar and restaurant are also very efficient and will do anything to make sure you are satisfied with your stay at The Imperial. Once I asked the wine waiter for a glass of dry white wine and he was most apologetic as they had run out. He asked if I would be eating in the restaurant following evening and I said that I would. He told me that he would personally go out and fetch some dry white wine in case the order still hadn’t arrived! Now that’s what I call service! The only slight criticism that I can make of the Imperial is that there is a garage directly behind the building, which opens for business early in the morning. If you are unlucky enough to be in a room at the back of the building the noise can be intrusive at times. We love Blackpool in all it’s tacky glory and the Imperial is a haven to which we return each evening to be pampered. As a footnote I have just booked a two-day break for £39 per person per night for bed, breakfast ad evening meal, as we are regular guests! It is only in a standard room I grant you but you can’t get a much better deal than that can you?