“ Address: Queens Promenade / Blackpool / Lancashire / England „
A few weeks ago, I was "lucky" enough to stay at the Norbreck Castle hotel, Blackpool, as part of my new job. Now, shall I start as I mean to go on? When I informed my friend that this would be where I was staying, he grimaced, and told me he would have McDonalds on order for me every night, to save me from the disasterous dining. So now, you know how this review is going to go, right?
Where is The Norbreck Castle Hotel?
The hotel is situated right on the promenade of Blackpool's North Shore.
It is within easy distance to Layton and Blackpool North railway stations, the airport, and all of Blackpool's best hotspots for fun filled days and nights. This includes the Blackpool Tower, Pleasure Beach, Zoo, Illuminations (during the winter months) and the promenade and beach itself. Funny Girls, a popular attraction with visitors, is only minutes away.
What is the initial overview?
Pulling up in my car, I was impressed by the ample parking spaces on offer, and no parking charge - brilliant! I soon realised, however, that a hotel like this certainly needs that much space for guests - the hotel in enormous! With 480 bedrooms, ranging from single to 4-person family rooms, 22 meeting rooms, the Noralympia Conference Centre (which can seat up to 3000 people) and the attached Spindles Health and Leisure club, it's no wonder that this hotel had such a large car park.
Walking in through the front, revolving doors, I was greeted by a slightly dingy but somewhat homely reception area, and one receptionist, who was friendly enough, but looked slightly bored, and took her time with everything (so I wouldn't expect anything doin quickly!). During the week, I came to understand that at best, there would be two people on the reception desk, and both would be as slow as each other. Not a good thing. However, the hotel had made a promising start.
As I couldn't check in to my room until later on in the day, I left my suitcases in the room we would be using for rehearsals, and wandered into the Conservatory Bar area - a pleasant, light and airy space, with a well-staffed bar, plenty of seating (or so I thought...) and a slightly sad looking stage area. In the corner, there was a small cafe style food serving hatch, where you could buy sandwiches during lunch hours for reasonable prices, although there was not much selection. I could not complain about the views available from this area - the hotel is very well placed to offer fantastic sea front views, making for a pleasant holiday.
Eventually, we could check into our room - as I was sharing with two other girls, we were given a family room which could sleep four. We dragged our suitcases full of dance gear to the lift, hopped in, and, with a very obvious groan from the lift, indicating it's age, we were hauled to the first floor. An easy dragging of suitcases awaited us to our rooms, or so we thought - it took approximately three minutes to get from the lift area to our bedroom, number 94, and during this time, we had to negotiate descending stairs, and a rather steep ramp. This did make me wonder what the situation was for disabled guests - wheelchair users would not be able to access these rooms at all! It was extremely frustrating to drag our suitcases for such a long time, and made me understand the grandness of this hotel fully. The corridors were cold, then hot, then cold as you passed through each fire door, getting gradually narrower, but I was impressed by the security system in place, which you could hear click as you walked past, indicating that it was picking up your every move. This did make me feel safe!
The room itself was extremely large - the bathroom had both bath and shower facilities, and plenty of extra space to store our suitcases in there too! The bedroom had a double and two single beds, a dressing table, bedside cabinets and a small wardrobe hidden behind the door. Two windows let in ample light, although the views were nothing to look at - a busy side street and a dingy view of the other side of the hotel were all we had on offer. There were tea and coffee making facilities, a television, and, quite hilariously, but frustratingly, just two plug sockets. This meant that you could make tea whilst watching television, but then you had to unplug the kettle to charge your mobile, and no, you could not plug your laptop in at the same time if you wanted to watch television! In such a large room, I would have expected more sockets!
The beds were basic, and yet very comfortable - the headboards were slightly wobbly, and so leaning on them was a no go, but other than this, I got a good nights sleep each night. Occasionally, I was slightly chilly, but the duvet covers allowed me to snuggle down and drift off.
So far, so good - I was impressed by the room, and although the hotel gave off an air of being a bit dated, it was comfortable enough. And I continue to think this until food was served at 7pm.
Trekking to the Boston Restaurant made me starving, and the thought of a help youself buffet style dinner made my mouth water. I was soon in search of a sandwich shop, however, after the disgusting food on offer. Options included chicken in a funny mushroom sauce that had no flavour, a dodgy looking pork chop, or steak pie each night. It was the same food rolled out night after night, with sloppy vegetable and over or under cooked potatoes, depending on which night it was. The chicken was pink inside, and left many of our cast members vomiting, and a funny shade of grey the next day. The steak pies were cold, and never replenished with fresh supplies. The veg was over boiled and tasteless. And dessert was nothing to be desired - a "selection" of the same cakes were put out each night, alongside massive jugs of cream - I soon understood that to make the cake edible, dousing it in cream was the only option. Jugs of over-lemony water were placed on tables, alongside week old bread buns and packets of butter. All this, and not included in the price of the hotel - it was £12.50, according to a poster, to eat there!
Breakfast was even more disappointing, with overstewed tea and coffee, a lack of selection and soggy toast. I gave up with breakfast after the second day.
The restaurant itself was pleasant, with ample space, comfy seating and pleasant music. There was an area with special mood lighting, for certain guests, and a very enjoyable place to sit. Mid week, however, we were moved to the larger restaurant in the hotel, due to so many guests being there for the weekend (Dickinson's Real Deal was being recorded there that Saturday) and then the standards dropped considerably. The same disgusting food was produced, but this time we were crammed on to tiny table, so your water jug had to be placed on the floor to fit you all in, you knocked knives and forks off the table on a regular occurence and it was a general awkward disaster. There was also a hospital style smell lingering in the air, and grumpy staff made for an unpleasant hour at dinner. Thumbs up to the hotel for using their initiative and moving us into the larger room, but it certainly needs working on to make it as nice as the main restaurant.
The meeting rooms
As we were rehearsing, we were using two of the meeting rooms. There is not much to comment on with them, except that one was particularly large, light and airy and a nice place to work, with a dance floor area and space for seating. The second room we used was slightly dark and dingy, but comfortable enough to work in all the same.
As mentioned at the start of my review, the Spindles Health and Leisure centre is situated within the hotel, and I had a quick nosy, and it looks very pleasant, with a pool and spa facilities. It also didn't seem too busy, although I did notice a lot of locals turning up to use it, as well as guests.
Copper Faced Jacks is the hotel's bar area, which also shows live football events. Again, I had a quick look, and although small, it looks perfectly nice.
The hotel puts on entertainment nightly - and this is where I may sound a bit biased, but each night, the cabaret acts were superb. Each singer put on a marvellous show, with a wide range of songs, comedy and pizzazz. This was until Saturday night, where the Lionel Richie tribute act which had been booked, disappointed me completely. Unable to reach the top notes, he cheated the audience of half the songs, he struggled to engage even the most drunk guests (thanks to the free bar) and was a general let down.
The stage area itself is in dire need of an update, but there is space to dance, which makes for a good night in the hotel if you're in the mood.
The hotel also has a cinema, which shows films on a regular basis. Pirate of the Caribbean was showing one day whilst we were rehearsing.
The final part of my review is the staff, and how they did their jobs. The word appalling comes to mind, for sure. Each day, I saw cleaners hauling big bins up to everybodies rooms - and each night, I came back to my room to find it completely untouched, except for one thing - a new packet of biscuits had been placed on our tea tray each day. Other than this, the beds were unmade, the bathroom uncleaned, and on one particular day, I had to trek back down to reception to ask for toilet roll, as they had not even bothered to replenish this. Towels were left dirty in our bath tub, although a sign clearly said that if you wanted them changing, this was where to put them. It was a disgrace, and I wondered what it was that the cleaners did exactly, other than give us new biscuits. The didn't even change our tea cups, meaning we had to rinse them out for two weeks straight to enjoy a cup of tea.
The staff were, however, friendly and polite, if not slightly slow. They were smiley 90% of the time, which I would suggest is an achievement in such a dingy hotel! So thumbs up for that!
Overall, this hotel is in serious need of a revamp - it is far too large for any real work to be put in by the cleaning staff, and the quick solution of regurgitating the same food nightly to accomodate the large numbers of guests makes for dismal dinners. The hotel does have the potential to be great - it has a wonderful cosy feel to it that makes me believe that once upon a time it was a marvellous hotel. The views on offer are stunning, if you're lucky enough to grab a room with a sea view, and the hotel is perfectly placed for the local attractions.
Entertainment is sufficient, although sometimes disappointing, but night after night it is packed with guests, demonstrating its popularity. Staff are helpful and polite, particularly behind the bar, and the facilities that the hotel has on offer are excellent in their own way.
All in all, I would never recommend this hotel as somewhere for a friend to stay if they're looking for a fantastic holiday. However, I would never put it down as one not to use as an overnight stay solution, perhaps for a hen weekend, or if you've planned a late night out in Blackpool. Not absolutely awful, and yet not fantastic, it is sufficient but not the best.
I never actually stayed in this hotel however did visit it (no more details are required!!!), and although I can not fully comment on the full scale of the hotel, I am able to provide a basic review on my few hours in the hotel!
Norbeck Castle is located on the Queens promenade Blackpool, and is located quite a distance from the town. The Hotel overlooks the seafront on the North Shore, and is close to Blackpools' major attractions and entertainment.
The hotel has 480 bedrooms, many with sea views. All rooms are described on the website as being "tastefully decorated", rooms are en-suite and offer TV, Telephone, Hairdryer and Tea & Coffee making facilities. I found that the decor of the rooms is a little outdated, and not very modern.
The Boston restaurant is spacious and open to the public while the Castles restaurant is perfect for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and serves set menu meals. Norbreck Castle also has a Conservatory bar. Copper Face Jack's Bar is the busy bar with large sports screens. This hotel even has a 36 seater Cinema and Arcade room.
Spindles Health and Leisure Club has a great range of facilities including swimming pool, state of the art gym, sauna and spa. Children's facilities include a Splash Pool. The Norbreck Castle Hotel features live entertainment every evening. The Cabaret shows offer fully costumed, professional shows that provide great entertainment for both Adults and Children. The Hotel has 22 Conference, Meeting and Banqueting rooms. This includes Blackpool's famous Noralympia Conference Centre, the largest conference venue in Blackpool, capable of holding more than 3000 people. WIFI is available throughout all public areas of the hotel.
I found the rooms to be very old fashioned and out dated, and in desperate need of modernisation. The bathroom was awful, with no window or extraction. The walls in the room are really thin and you can hear everything, so just think what your neighbours can hear from your room! The bed was very uncomfortable and the linen looked like it had been used a million and one times.
The reception staff were quite friendly considering it was around 5am, and very happy to ring a taxi and be of assistance...maybe they were just trying to get rid of me!
The hotel itself is huge, and you could quite easily get lost here. From Blackpool you dont really expect a lot from a hotel, however as this is not a budget hotel you do have some expecations which this did not meet. I would not recommend staying this hotel if you are planning on going out clubbing as it is quite a distance and a good 10minutes in a taxi ride away, not good when you are drunk, and definatly not good queuing for a taxi. This hotel may be more suitable for families, as it is out of the hustle and bustle of the town centre. However for the price, you probably can find better elsewhere.
THE BRITISH HOLIDAY CASTLE
The norbreck castle hotel is in Cleveland Blackpool situated on the front of the promenade. THE Norbreck Castle is as it says a castle to look at from the outside. This is a popular hotel for families and has lots of entertainment venues and plenty for the children to do also. There are lots of treatment rooms also. i had an eye lash tint done for an incrediabls £6 with perfect results. The Norbreck Hotel has swimming, saunas, steam bath all free in with the price of your accomodation. The gym is a ridiculously low price as well £2 for an hour.
In the price is a buffet breakfast which is like something from America its big , there is so much to choose from and you could easily have a 5 course breakfast if you could eat it all with no eyes raised. The sea air does give you an appetite. I wasnt so keen on the set evening meal though so ate out at nearby cafes and takeaways and shopped at the local supermarket.
Evening is a good time to watch the shows they put on. I have visited here twice now, each morn is nice to wake up to the beach and the sea air and also a free morning paper from reception.
The staff are very sociable and make sure your stay is enjoyable and all this if you book on the internet costs only £25 approx per person per night. unbelievable
This is a review of the Norbreck Castle Hotel. They are part of the Britannia Hotels chain.
We went in a party of six for my parent's wedding anniversary in September this year. It was the first weekend they turned on the lights so we were expecting it to be busy. The reason we chose Blackpool was that we always went there every year when we were younger so it has many happy memories for us!
We booked online at a total cost of approx £700 pounds. So that works out £60 ish per person per night (including breakfast) and we stayed Friday - Sunday.
The hotel was busy when we arrived so it took us almost an hour to check in. What added to the confusion was a huge international line dancing convention that was being held at the hotel.
The overal impression as you approach the hotel is that it is quite a grand building. Not so grand inside though! I should also add that this hotel is just outside of Bispham so is a LONG way away from the centre of Blackpool. There were no lights outside this hotel, it is that far out. As driving is not an easy option (no parking) you are stuck with getting the tram really which is a novelty the first time but it soon wears off.
Anyway, back to the hotel. We were issued our keys to three double rooms and we made our way up a flight of stairs, down numerous corridoors on various levels and down more stairs, up a few more (walking for approximately 10 minutes from reception). When we got to the rooms, it was a smelly little corridoor and we opened the doors to three of the worst hotel rooms I have ever seen in my life.
One faced to the front with a sea view. The room was small and not exactly clean feeling (I didn't want to have bare feet or put anything on the floor) and there was a spider (alive) in one of the tea cups. This was the best of the three rooms.
The second room had a drafty creaky window and faced on to a demolished building on a side road. The bed was really uncomfy and creaky. Again, not very clean.
The third room was a joke. It had an entire sheet of wallpaper hanging off and a 'mouse hole' in the skirting board that was blocked up with a dirty tissue. Yuck.
I can't believe we actually stayed in this hotel. My Mum and Dad treated us to this break and were apologising the whole weekend. We laughed about it at the time and Mum said she didn't want to complain as she worried that they would offer us a free weekend in the hotel - as if!
At the time they only charged half the bill to Dad's card so he said he didn't think he could complain for £25 a night. When he got home, they posted a bill for the whole £700 so we did end up paying what we originally thought.
The breakfast in the hotel was again, the worst I have ever seen. There were no staff. Not enough tables, not enough food to go round and it was self service and really bad quality. You just wanted to eat and leave as quickly as possible. As it was paid for we felt obliged to stay and eat but really we should have left it and found somewhere else to have brekky.
This hotel is dirty, smelly and a total pile of rubbish. We are not the type of family who complains but this was just rotten and an awful way to celebrate my mum and dad being together for 39 years.
The only thing that saved this break was a wonderful Italian restaurant about 20 minutes walk from the hotel in Bispham. The food there was excellent and we ate there on Friday and Saturday night. We would go back to this restaurant if we ever venture back to Blackpool but definitely not the Norbreck Castle.
I am awarding one star but only because it won't let me give none! It should get minus stars really!
This review was originally written and published on Ciao in 2003 just after our visit to the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool and I had forgotten all about it until I read a more recent review over there and realised that this hotel doesn't appear to have improved since our visit!
First of all I will tell you a bit about the place.
It is situated on the seafront at the far northern end of the promenade at Blackpool, so it is well out of town, which is great if you like to be away from the noise and commercialisation that is Blackpool.
The hotel was built in the 60's or 70's, I can't exactly remember when but I do remember seeing it being built when I visited Blackpool with my parents for our holidays when I was a child.
As the name suggests it is built to look a bit like a castle with battlements on the top of the roof, although the outside looks very tatty and dated these days.
The hotel has 363 en suite bedrooms and 19 conference / banqueting suites. It also boasts a leisure centre with gym, steam room, spa, dance studio and beauty treatment rooms and a 36-seat cinema.
The rates are currently from £40 per person, per night for bed and breakfast based on two people sharing a room for a minimum of two nights.
Anyway that gives you a feel for what you might expect from the Norbreck Castle, now for the reality!
Dave and I won a night's stay here a couple of years ago as part of our prize from the Pleasure Beach to be amongst the first to ride Valhalla on its opening day. We had already booked a couple of nights at our favourite hotel The Imperial and this prize just happened to be the preceding night - how co-incidental can you get?
We thought that we were extending our luxury break by an extra night at no extra cost; however the truth of the matter was to prove somewhat different.
When we arrived I was surprised to see how dirty and scruffy the outside of the hotel looked, but I knew that it was one Blackpool's premier hotels so I figured maybe they were due to refurbish the outside soon.
Check in was chaotic with the member of staff who dealt with us taking ages to find the booking even though it was part of a large group of prizewinners.
We were given our key and directions to our room.
To get to our room we had to cross the lounge bar, which was spacious and well decorated with plenty of seating and a small dance floor. This was better; obviously the inside of the hotel was better looked after than the outside.
Then we turned into the corridor leading to our room and the smell hit us! It was vile. It smelled to me as though the cleaners had put their mops away still dirty and wet and the smell was permeating the whole corridor and it was strong too, not just a little whiff!
The corridor was dimly lit and, despite the smell of drying mops, was actually quite dirty. Never mind maybe it was bad day; surely our room would be better.
Well, that was a short-lived hope! The room to be fair was clean, but nothing special considering the reputation of the hotel. The paper was peeling off the walls in places and there were cigarette burns on the bed linen. Never mind, at least we have a lovely en suite bathroom.
Wrong again! As a room it was just OK, nothing special but the worst bit of the room was the exposed wires hanging from the ceiling! In a bathroom for heaven's sake! Now, even I know that water and electricity don't mix! We were both very careful not to splash any water when we used that
bathroom I can tell you.
Oh well, it was only for one night, it was free and the at least the food would be something special! OK so I give people the benefit of the doubt a bit too much - that's how I am!
Yes, you guessed it the meals were a real eye opener.
We went into the dining room for our evening meal expecting nicely laid individual tables, but what we found reminded me of the old style Butlin's layout, with long tables in rows down the room. On closer inspection there was a gap of about two inches between our table and the next, adjoining table but hardly laid out to afford any privacy whilst eating. It was clearly a case of sticking as many tables as possible in as small a space.
The menu was basic, the food was ok, but I expected something a bit special from a so-called top class hotel.
We stayed in the lounge bar during the evening and had a drink or two whilst watching the cabaret, which to be fair was very good.
We had a reasonable night's sleep, a very careful shower (due to the dodgy electrics) and then off to breakfast, surely it would be better than dinner last night?
I will digress for a minute to say that a buffet breakfast in The Imperial Hotel just down the road is a triumph! There is everything you could wish for and as much of it as you want, so we were expecting pretty much the same of the buffet here at The Norbreck. How silly!
The choice was fairly basic for a top hotel, a couple of fruit juices (not the 6 we get at The Imperial), just a few different cereals, grapefruit and a selection of hot food. Now the hot buffet was where the Norbreck really excelled! I am talking tongue in cheek you understand!
There was the usual bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, etc., but it was 'served' by a waiter rather than being a 'help yourself' set up.
I enjoy a cooked breakfast when I am on holiday and I usually eat reasonably well but not to the point of being greedy, but this waiter left me feeling as though I had asked for more food than the rest of the guests put together! I just wanted a sausage, a rasher of bacon, an egg, a tomato and a piece of fried bread - sounds reasonable? I thought so, but the waiter had a real attitude problem and had to be virtually begged to hand over the food!
I have to admit I did get quite upset about this as I was made to feel as though I was being unreasonable in my request.
The next bit of our stay at the Norbreck was the best of all - the check out! Not because it was particularly efficient, perish the thought, but because we could get out of the place never to return. The experience was made even sweeter by knowing that we were off to the Imperial for two nights of REAL luxury!
I did write to the manager and tell him about all the problems which we had encountered during our stay but he just sent us a brochure for all their other hotels and offered us a small discount off their high rates if we would like to book a further stay.
Needless to say we decided not to risk another of their hotels thanks!
As I say this review is based on a stay in the hotel in 2003 but having read recent reviews I have no reason to believe that the hotel has improved at all since then.
The hotel overlooks the Irish sea and was renovated in 2005. The hotel also boasts a leisure club with pool, sauna and jacuzzi.