“ Address: Innkeeper's Lodge Chester Northeast / Warrington Road / Mickle / Trafford / Chester / CH2 4EX / Telephone: 0845 11 26 021 „
We wanted a cheap place to stay while we had a couple of days visiting Chester and the surrounding area, this lodge suited us fine. We paid £40 for a room including buffet breakfast which I think represents good value.
The room was a reasonable size with a double bed and a sofa bed - there were only 2 of us so didn't use the sofa bed (we didn't fall-out!). I would say the rooms are better than Travelodge, they aren't quite as basic but work on the same principle.
The TV has Sky Sports which was good for when we got back to the room at night.
The buffet breakfast was good and replenished frequently. The room was clean and functional, perfect for a cheap night away. Yes, the toilet roll holder was slightly coming away from the wall and the lock on the bathroom door was a bit dodgy, but for £40 I don't mind! I wasn't expecting the Ritz, I was expecting a clean functional room for 1 night and this is exactly what I got.
Excellent location just off the motorway, couple of miles to the zoo for park and ride into Chester and no more than a 10 minute drive from Cheshire Oaks outlet.
We'll definitely use this lodge again, especially at the advance purchase rate!
Note: based on my review originally posted on Trip Advisor.
WHY DID WE BOOK THE INNKEEPERS LODGE CHESTER NORTHEAST?
Once, maybe twice a year, business takes me to the Chester area. Being a historic city of Roman origin, as well as a shopping Mecca for the North West of England at Christmas, hotels and bed and breakfasts, whilst plentiful in the area are not renowned for being inexpensive. Business does not draw me to the city centre anyway; the location of a hotel is not of great importance in my case, only that it is convenient for the motorway network of the area.
Adittionally, being something of a fan of the Innkeepers Lodge brand, having two located in the Chester region makes selection and booking an easy task at a time of the year when I simply do not have time to be performing internet searches for available hotel rooms.
HOTEL DESCRIPTION / OUR PERCEPTION FROM HOTEL PUBLICITY
The Innkeepers Lodge website and published promotional material is honest and factual in its description of this, and from experience, all its other Lodge accommodation. You know what to expect when you arrive, generally speaking the properties, as in this case, are rather more friendly and welcoming than you would think having read the publicity material.
All Innkeepers Lodges are attached to public houses, mostly chain establishments, in the case of Chester Northeast that is a Toby Carvery. If Toby's are not your "thing", then only two miles away is another Innkeepers Lodge - Chester Southeast, which is attached to a rather more homely "Vintage Inn".
HAVE WE STAYED THERE PREVIOUSLY?
Yes we have, and on at least three previous occasions. The service is consistently good and the rooms are of a good standard. The Toby Carvery here is a particularly popular one too, although we did not eat there this occasion, we have on three previous visits and I am happy to report that this is one of the best Toby's in the country.
BOOKING PROCESS 10 / 10
Simplicity itself. Due to recent illness, my business trip was planned at unusually short notice - and two weeks closer to Christmas than would usually have ideally been the case. We booked via the Innkeepers Lodge website at only a weeks notice and were happy to find that they had rooms available for our chosen, mid-week date of 12th December.
The site is fast to load, easy to navigate and presents you with all the required information. In my experience there is no faster, or more efficient, booking method than this. If the Lodge of your choice should be fully booked, the site automatically offers you a list of the nearest Lodges available.
Now the "surprise". We needed a double room and were more than happy to find it available. That we qualified for the discounted (non-returnable, non transferable) "Advance Saver Rate" of £29.95 was a real bonus. On this tariff you pay in advance, by card over the net and are sent email confirmation of your booking.
Payment in all cases is by the room, rather than per number of occupants. Bearing in mind the free breakfast provided, for a family of two adults and two children this can provide the most economical possible accommodation away from home.
There is the option of a standard flexible booking on which the terms are very generous. You do not pay until arrival; can swap dates, or even Lodge (up to 1.00pm on the day of arrival). You do however pay the standard rate per room in this case.
We were presented with a choice of the two tariffs, naturally having already made my business appointment, we opted for the Advanced Saver Rate - nobody could accuse me of squandering the Company profits!
LOCATION 10 / 10
To be honest, as a business traveller, I had never given a lot of thought to the location of this lodge. For my purposes, located on the very last junction (J12 Chester) of the M53, it is very convenient for my main appointment at Broughton and also various customers in the Chester and Wirral area.
On this particular visit, my wife and I discovered that it was also extremely convenient for the best outlet shopping village that we have ever visited. Two junctions to the north of here, five minutes in the car on the motorway, is located the well known Cheshire Oaks, a McArthur Glenn outlet village of some renown. So impressed with this site were we (I do not even enjoy shopping), that it lead me to wonder at the need for Innkeepers Lodge to offer cut price rooms in this location.
Of course there are locations and locations! Staying in Lodges situated adjacent to a motorway junction in some cases can be a purgatory experience, at the end of a hard days' motorway driving, it is the last place I want to finish up - been there, done that! However, here, whichever side of the building you find your allocated room on, you are below the motorway and unable to see it. The location is actually quite "villagey" in character, reinforced by the name of the Toby Carvery: "The Hoole Village Carvery and Inn".
FIRST IMPRESSIONS 7 / 10
Whilst the Toby Carvery side of the building has a suitably homely, village appearance, in this case the Innkeepers Lodge building attached to the side of it looks rather barrack like in appearance. It would be good to see a little more architectural and environmental consideration given here.
However, the car park is large and there is a ramped approach to the door, for the less able bodied amongst us. Initially you are required to enter the Lodge via the Carvery in order to check in. Having checked in you have, attached to the room key, an electronic key fob which opens the Lodge door, saving you the walk through the bar and Carvery each time you enter or leave.
CHECKING IN 9 / 10
Check-in is swift, efficient and mercifully smoke free. Your credit card is swiped (if on the standard tariff), in our case this was already pre-paid, and having filled in your car registration and signed for your room, you are handed your key and given instructions as to how to find the room.
There is no check-out. During the evening a VAT receipt is slipped under your door, upon leaving you drop your room key into a box by the door when you depart. This is particularly useful for very early risers, those off to catch an early morning flight for instance.
ON THE WAY TO THE ROOM i.e. how easy is it to find your way around? How accessible is if for less able persons? What condition are the public rooms and passageways in? 9 / 10
We have not visited a scruffy Innkeepers Lodge yet. The one here at Chester is no exception to that. Whilst the Carvery has a cosy, but "well used" ambiance about it, the passageways and small lounge in the Lodge are brightly lit and immaculately clean. For budget accommodation it is also well appointed and has a welcoming, homely feel about it.
Between the Carvery and the Lodge is a comfortable lounge area containing several easy chairs and a very well stocked stand containing local attraction leaflets.
This Lodge has full disabled access to the ground floor by way of a short stair lift down approximately half a dozen stairs. There are raised platforms inside the Carvery, but the majority of tables are at ground floor level.
All Innkeepers Lodges are "No Smoking" zones and smell all the better in the common ways for that.
THE ROOM 9 / 10
What the building lacks in character on the outside, it more than makes up for in the quality of the room. The layout and décor here is probably the best of all the Innkeepers Lodges that we have used, many of which have been converted from much older buildings. This one is modern in its design; the rooms are of a good size, with fully opening windows and are very well lit.
On this occasion we were actually allocated a family room which is a little larger than a standard room. There is no additional charge if you wish two children to stay on the pull out double bed / settee. All rooms have desk facilities, a direct dial telephone and modem link, operated by swiping your credit card, plus a comfortable arm chair.
Adding to the homely feel here are the quality dark wood wardrobe, bed head, bedside tables and desk come dressing table.
A decent size TV, offering the usual terrestrial channels, plus Sky News and Sports channels is provided - very good TV reception too, unlike several Premier Lodges in which we have stayed.
As you would expect, tea and coffee making facilities are provided, as well as complimentary packets of (very fresh) biscuits - Custard Creams and Ginger Nuts in this particular case.
A hair dryer is also provided in the room, an iron and ironing board will be provided upon request at reception.
Being a double room, that is exactly what we got, a king sized, proper, not two singles pushed together, double bed! Our room added the double bed / settee to that quota.
Since our last stay, twelve months ago, the rooms have been subtly up-dated, with new pictures and repainted walls lending a comfortable contemporary feel to them.
THE EN-SUITE 6 / 10
OK, being really picky, this was not the best of Innkeepers Lodge en-suites. I would guess that this is the next area due for refurbishment here. Unusually for lodge accommodation, this family room was equipped with a bath as well as the over-bath power shower.
Whilst clean, the bathroom was showing signs of "distress" the Dove soap holder was broken and laying on the side of the basin unit, similarly the basin plug was sitting with its' chain detached from the unit.
A very good Innkeepers Lodge touch is the little notice stuck to the wall in the bathroom saying that if you've left your toothbrush or shaving kit at home, complimentary ones will be provided at the check in desk.
DID WE GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP? 5 / 10
I have had better. Whilst cosmetically the rooms have been brightened up, unfortunately the bed rather matched the bathroom in terms of wear and tear. This one spectacularly failed the "Princess and the Pea" test - RICHADA was clearly able to feel the springs through the mattress cover wherever he lay on it!
Mattress apart, there is no reason why one should not get a decent night's sleep here, the rooms are well insulated, have individually controlled heating and sufficiently heavy curtains to allow a lay-in on a bright summer's morning.
I am pleased to report that all bedding and laundry items, as always in an Innkeepers Lodge, were good quality and immaculately laundered. Extra towels and pillows are provided inside the wardrobe on the top shelf.
FACILITIES ON OFFER - No score here, different grades / prices of hotel understandably have different facilities.
There are 36 rooms at Chester Northeast, in spite of disabled access being provided to the building and ground floor rooms, according to the website there are no rooms specifically containing disabled facilities.
Unlike many Innkeepers Lodges, there is no meeting room here either.
This is a Lodge, not a hotel. However for two or three night stays - longer even if necessary, all the facilities that I require are provided. This is not an isolated location, there are many country pubs and of course Chester city centre is at most a fifteen minute drive from here.
BREAKFAST / OTHER MEALS, FOOD & DRINKS 8 / 10
Using the rationale that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, the complimentary breakfast provided is, for my taste, especially when on business, more than adequate. A standard continental breakfast buffet is provided, if you want toast you do it yourself, but a good range of bread and croissants is offered along with preserves to spread upon it. Fresh fruit is welcome too as are a choice of yoghurts.
If you were staying for more than a few days, the evening meals available in the Carvery may prove a rather limiting factor. We tend to prefer a hearty Carvery type meal at lunchtime, having a much lighter snack in the evening. This is where a Toby tends to fall down, if you are looking for a light evening meal then you will need to get into the car and look elsewhere, which incidentally is how we discovered Cheshire Oaks in the first place!
OVERALL VALUE FOR MONEY 10 / 10
At £29.95 for a double room of this standard, in this location, how could I possibly award it less than ten out of ten! Maybe my company was paying the bill, but if you are drawn to Chester and its many attractions, for two or three nights, this would prove a very economical and convenient place in which to stay.
The full weekday rate is £49.95, whilst at the weekend that increases to £55.00.
HOW LIKELY AM I / ARE WE, TO USE THIS HOTEL AGAIN?
We are 90% certain to use this hotel again, although next time when visiting this part of the world, I would like to try the Chester Southeast Lodge as a comparison. Adittionally, the food on offer in a Vintage Inn is far more varied and interesting than the admittedly superb value Toby Carvery menu.
Innkeeper's Lodge Chester Northeast
Tel: 01244 301 391
RICHADA'S HOTEL RATING 83 / 100
As a comparison, now that I have reviewed several hotels using the same scoring criteria, here is how Innkleepers Lodge Chester Northeast compares to other places in which we have stayed:
Innkeepers Lodge, Chester Northeast - 83%
Chadwick Hotel, St Annes - 63 %
Innkeepers Lodge, Stockport - 83 %
Looking at the two Innkeepers Lodges, the standards are incredibly consistent. There are aspects that I prefer about the Stockport Lodge, particularly the bed and en-suite, whilst at Chester Northeast, being a much more modern building; you avoid the steep, narrow staircase. That both should score an identical - extraordinarily high 83% is a tribute to the overall value provided by the Innkeepers Lodge chain.