* Prices may differ from that shown
Introduction It's my mam's 50th birthday this month and we decided to away with my sister, her husband and their children. We've never gone on holiday with them altogether before and initially we were going to go for an overnight stay but we decided to make a weekend of it and went for three nights. My dad always books all our holidays online, and this weekend break was no different. We've stayed in Marriott Hotels in various countries within Europe, so we were pleased with my dad's choice. We stayed from Thursday 20th -Sunday 23rd August. My dad booked the two rooms together by phoning the hotel direct. On Arrival The hotel looks nice from the outside and the entrance looks welcoming. My sister and the children arrived and checked in before us so we told them we would meet them there. Checking In The lady on the check-in desk was not very friendly. She said I wasn't allowed to stay in the same room as my mam and dad as it wasn't stated there would be three adults in the room on booking. My dad did specify exactly how many people were staying and the ages of me and my sister's children so they did know that I was an adult. As it happens, my brother-in-law was unable to make it last minute so we told the receptionist I would stay in the room with my sister, and one of the children would stay in my parent's room, which is what we did. I don't know what we would have had to do, had my brother-in-law been there, but it would appear that we would need to pay more. Other than this check-in was quite smooth and my sister said she had no problems with check-in either. The other lady on reception was much friendlier and said hello whenever we saw her. We asked for someone to help us take our bags to our room, and someone did so within about 10 minutes. It would have been quicker if we'd done it ourselves but my dad asked the reception staff before we really thought about it. Reception Area The reception area is bright and spacious. On entrance to the hotel there is a large table with a bouquet of flowers, which looked quite nice. There was a seating area and the reception desks were a good size. The reception area led to the bar and to the lifts and stairs to the rooms. The Rooms Both rooms was quite large, each with a king-size bed. They both also had a sofa bed which slept 2 and a camp bed for 1. In our room we didn't need the sofa bed but it was put up by mistake. My nephews took it in turns to sleep in my parents room though, so it did get used. There was a desk and TV in each room as well as a mini bar area. The mini bars were not turned on, and there was a note saying that should you wish the mini bar to be filled, you should ring and ask reception. There was a kettle and cups in each of the rooms, with complimentary tea, coffee, long life milk, and biscuits. These were replaced every day as necessary. The storage space in the room was quite good. The wardrobe was a good size to hang our clothes and it had a shelf at the top. It was tall enough that we could hang our clothes in and still use the floor of the wardrobe for our shoes etc. There was a chest of draws (beneath the TV) which had ample room to store the remainder of our clothes for the two days we were there. There was also a safe in both rooms, which were free to use. It was locked when we first arrived so my dad told the receptionist on our way out and when we came back to the room the safe was open so we could set our own code and start using it. There were instructions about setting up a PIN number, which my dad found quite easy to do (he's good at things like that! :) The window in our room looked out onto a little bit of a grass area and another part of the hotel. It wasn't a bad view, but it wasn't particularly exciting. The Bathroom The bathroom was clean, though it was quite small. The bath was quite long; I don't like long baths as I slip (I'm not really very tall) so I just had showers. The shower was very powerful and refreshing. There was soap, shampoo, body wash and body lotion provided in the bathroom, as well as face clothes and towels. The Lifts The lifts were quite small but were efficient. We were on the ground floor and my sister was on the first floor (as is the swimming pool) so we sometimes used the lifts. It was just as quick and easy to use the stairs though, which were located right next to the lifts. I don't really like lifts so if I was going between floors on my own I just used the stairs. The Food The only food we ate in the hotel was breakfast. This was a hot and cold buffet with quite a good choice. We all found plenty of food that we liked and it made a good start to the day. Although it's self service, there is a chef there and bringing the food out and you can ask him/her to cook an omelette etc. My dad had a ham and mushroom omelette on the first day and he said it was really nice. There are two bars and one restaurant. One of the bars serves snacks all day and closes at 11pm. The other one takes over as the residents bar at 11pm (but it is open before then). There is a wacky warehouse about a 5 minute drive down the road from the hotel, which is where we ate as it was more suitable for the children and the meals were 2for1. Leisure Facilities The hotel has a swimming pool and gym, as well as a golf course. We only used the swimming facilities. Swimming was free, although you did need a £1 coin for the lockers, and towels were provided. The swimming pool was quite large and had a section in the middle of the pool for swimming only. The pool was clean, as was the surrounding area. There was also a Jacuzzi, but the bubbles were not always on. There were tables and seats next to the pool so you could sit and watch if you didn't want to swim. The female changing area was clean and spacious and my dad didn't complain about the male changing areas, so I assume that was the same. The lockers were large enough for me to share one with my mam (and also my niece, one day when my sister didn't go swimming) so we found we only needed to take £1. The lockers also had space to hang your clothes too. There were toilets and showers in the changing area as well as a machine to spin the water out of the swimming costumes, which worked very well. I didn't know what it was at first but my dad told us about the one in the male changing area so I went back into the ladies and used it. Checkout Checkout was smooth and easy and we had no problems. Cost The room prices vary depending on the room type and when you go but they start from around £89.00 per night. It's worth looking on the website or ringing up to see when they have offers on though. Other Hollins Hall is located in Yorkshire about 27 miles from York. There is wireless internet access in the hotel but we didn't use it as it was £6.50 per hour (or £15 for 12 hours) so for how long we were staying we didn't think it was worth it even though I had my laptop with me. There are also 2 computers with internet access in the reception area and this starts from £3 for 15 minutes. The hotel seems to be a popular location for weddings as we saw 4 wedding parties in the 3 days we were there. I can see why though, as the hotel is set in beautiful grounds. Overall I thought this was a lovely hotel but we found that it is not as good as the Marriott's outside of the UK. However, I would definitely still recommend this hotel as we all had a pleasant stay. Address Marriott Hollins Hall Hotel & Country Club Hollins Hill Baildon Shipley Bradford BD17 7QW Phone 01274 530053 Thanks for reading!
Well, if anyone’s been wondering where I’ve been all week (as if you cared?), I’ve been poked, prodded and generally observed like a lab rat in a maze to see whether I’m capable of further progression within the company. Of course, it was discovered that I am completely incompetent but not until after I’d had a chance to review the hotel I stayed in for my lovely Dooyoo friends. ***Overview of the Hotel Chain*** Marriott International, Inc. is a leading worldwide hospitality company with operations in the United States and 63 other countries and territories. It had sales in 2000 of $19.8 billion. The company has approximately 152,000 associates and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Its operations include three major businesses: Marriott Lodging, Marriott Senior Living Services and Marriott Distribution Services. ***First Impressions*** Hollins Hall is 3 miles from Shipley and set in The Yorkshire Dales. It can be found by taking junction 42 of the M1 and picking up the M62. Junction 26 takes you onto M606 off which you take the A650 turning following the signs for Salt's Mill. A straight road all the way to Shipley takes you to a major set of traffic lights. Cross over still going straight on via A6038 to Otley and the hotel is a further 3 miles on the left. The journey from Northampton took me 3 hours. Alternatively, from Leeds join the A65 to Guiseley and then pick up the A6038. At the crossroad turn left down Hollins Hill. The hotel is on the right hand side (Leeds/Bradford airport is close by). Hollins Hall is an impressive sight. Built in 1878 it is set in the rolling hills of the Dales and has a stately home appearance. The façade appears predominantly Georgian in style with spectacular ornate, rectangular windows dominating its appearance supplemented by vines and other greenery climbing tastefully up the walls at selected junctures. This is a large ho tel with 122 bedrooms on 4 floors. The car park is ample and has space for 250 cars (no charges involved). Surrounding the hotel is a championship standard golf course that is in great demand all year round. Upon arriving at reception I was given a friendly greeting by the staff and a porter whisked my case up to the bedroom. The service was so good I was left wondering just how much the Company was paying for these few days (he wouldn't even take a tip from me – said it was his pleasure after giving me a tour of the bedroom and explaining what was what). ***Accommodation*** The bedrooms come equipped with free SKY TV along with terrestrial TV and 4 radio stations. The satellite TV came in very handy as I kept abreast of developments in the Test Match in New Zealand. There were the obligatory pay movies (£7.50 a throw) including decent movies plus the dodgier porno stuff. Each room has hairdryer, modem/fax link, mini-bar (the items are on sensors so if you don't want to pay then don't disturb the contents!), direct-dial telephone, tea & coffee making facilities, trouser press, ironing centre and voice mail. The room I had was very spacious(2 double beds, in fact) and the bathroom was fully tiled with bath/shower. There's even a bottle opener on the wall for you to open your bottle of Miller with (had to ring down to discover this after trying to get the top off for ages using either my hands or my knife and fork!). ***Food and Drink*** 24-hour room service is available with a £2.50 additional charge for the service and a promise that failure to deliver within 30 minutes would result in no charge (not that I cared as I wasn't paying). I used RS on my first night. It's a bit pricey with a small chicken and rice dish costing £12. The meals are generally available from 11am – 11pm. Otherwise; it's a choice of sandwiches and drinks. Heathcliffs is the main restaurant. The food i s excellent albeit a bit nouvelle cuisine (small but perfectly formed). 3 of us ate in there one evening and it cost £96 for a 3-course meal for the 3 of us including a couple of beers each. The menu was excellent with, generally, meat dishes available e.g. duck, beef, chicken and so on. The ambience was OK with a light airy atmosphere and the service reasonable although we had spent a couple of hours in there by the time we'd ploughed through our fodder. No sign whatsoever of any Basil Fawlty types, sadly with everything being fairly straightforward. Long Weekend Café Bar & Hollins Bar are the areas to get a drink and food is available in the Long Weekend Café Bar. The latter had a sports theme where you could catch the latest footie etc. Naturally, this was checked out when ManU played Bayern Munich although we needn't have bothered as it was a bore no score draw (suiting both teams...how convenient). ***Business*** There are 6 conference rooms, a business centre and 4 syndicate rooms accommodating 200 delegates. The rooms that we used were pretty spacious with plenty of room for flip charts, OHPs and the like. All the usual pre-requisites were present i.e. supplies of sweets, water, cans of drink, writing pads etc. ***Leisure*** Apart from the impressive golf course and driving range, there is a complimentary heated swimming pool, 3 gyms, a steam room, aerobic studio, sauna, spa bath and activity classes. I did use the running machines in the gym at one point and all were state of the art (so much so that I took a few minutes to work out the controls). The gym had overhead TVs and was well attended with it looking a popular destination for many of the locals. Other facilities include solariums, a health and beauty spa and, how could I forget the Internet café? (Couldn't get on as the server was down!). ***Local Attractions*** Apart from the Yorkshire Dales themselves, York isn't too far way along with more locally Leeds and Bradford. Haworth and Bronte country are close at hand and The Woolpack pub from Emmerdale is literally only a couple of miles down the road (didn't get chance to go). Bolton Abbey, National Museum of Film, Photography and Television (Bradford), Saltaire Victorian Village/David Hockney 1853 Art Gallery, Ilkley Moor, Royal Armouries (Leeds) and the Alhambra Theatre (Bradford) all add up to plenty to do. ***Room rates*** You can view the hotel and find out more from www.marriotthotels.com/Ibags. Reservations are held for guest arrival by 4pm. Booking through Credit Card, switch or cheques supported by a guarantee card. My room cost £99 per night but there are other deals available according to your need. Just go to the link above and tap in your requirements in terms of price range, dates involved etc. ***Overall*** This is a definite recommend. There are special deals for weekends away and it's well worth a look on the website to see what's on offer. The service was immaculate throughout. My only reservation would be the cost of dining. Certainly, if you are a golfer then this is Nirvana. I'm just about recovered from my experience now and ready and raring to go in terms of Dooyoo again. Of course, if you want to get rid of me simply lobby my company to get me promoted as I wouldn't get time for this site any more (as he gets bowled over by the cyber rush to hit the e-mail button...man, I thought you guys liked me) Thanks for reading Marandina