“ Address: Maingate Team Valley / Kings Way North / Gateshead NE11 0NU „
Looking for a budget stay in Newcastle, the decision to book the Team Valley Premier Inn was based solely on the price. It was a Sunday night in the middle of the Jubilee bank holiday weekend, and this hotel offered the lowest deal at £29 per night. Looking at the price for the Saturday, I could see that I would have to pay £84, so I was pleased at the bargain.
~~ Booking ~~
Booking the Premier Inn via the website was not as easy as I expected. I was sharing a room with my teenaged son to save money, and I obviously wanted to ensure that the room contained separate beds. It was almost impossible to find this out via the website and I had to call the hotel to find the answer. The only number on the website was an 0871 number at 10p per minute, so I searched for the landline alternative on the internet. Once I had made contact, the helpful receptionist told me that twin rooms were available, but she could not offer me the same £29 web deal over the phone.
Once I knew what to look for, I found it easy to book a twin room for £29 on the website, and from there on in everything worked very smoothly.
~~ Arrival ~~
I checked in at 5pm and found a short queue for reception. This quickly cleared and I received an apology and a warm welcome from the receptionist. She reminded me about the Premier Inn Good Night Guarantee policy, where any customer can claim their money back if they do not get an good night's sleep. I had used this in the past and had been able to claim my money back with no problems.
The receptionist then warned me that several large parties were staying and told me that I should dial 0 for reception if they were too noisy. I was completely reassured by this and thought it was an excellent sign of good customer care.
~~ The Room ~~
My room was on the 4th floor and a very clean and fast lift took me upstairs where my key card opened the door and operated the lights /electricity. On my way back down later I used the stairs, and found these to be very well decorated and clean - the sign of a well-cared for hotel.
My room was spotlessly clean and everything looked very new. It contained one full sized double bed and one small double bed, both with fresh white duvets and pillows. The pillows had a label which told me that they were hard pillows but softer ones could be found in the cupboard in my room.
The room was newly decorated in the Premier Inn colours of cream and purple and was lit by 3 wall lamps; one each side of the beds and one over the desk. Tasteful flower prints were hanging on wall with one large mirror over the desk. Furniture consisted of an open wardrobe with hangers and a luggage rack for suitcases, a desk and chair and two side tables on each side of the beds. It was all very simple but extremely well designed and clean.
The desk had two drawers; a Gideon bible and hairdryer in the top one, and an ingenious bottom drawer which pulled out to form a shelf and contained the kettle, tea and coffee making equipment. There was a flat screen TV on the desk with a phone.
~~ Other facilities ~~
The temperature of a hotel room is very important to me - too often I have been kept awake all night by excessive heating that I could not turn off. Premier Inn were excellent in this respect; there was an electric radiator on the wall which had a temperature control. This control was initially set to low, but when I felt a bit chilly and turned it up the response was immediate and the room quickly came up to a comfortable temperature. A large fan was clearly visible in the wardrobe for use if I felt too hot.
An electric trouser press was on the wall by the door, but I did not have any need for this so cannot comment on its effectiveness.
There were clear instructions in my room about the Wi-Fi. Premier Inn offered me 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi and gave me clear instructions on how to log on. I had to type in my name and contact details, but this was quickly done and not a problem. The signal was strong and the connection fast. I found that 30 minutes was all I needed to check my emails, the weather, the news etc. After that time I could have paid fore some extra time, but I did not need to do so. I could have staggered my 30 minutes across the day if I had wished to do so, or paid £3 for an extra 24 hours. This is a huge improvement for budget hotels - in the past high Wi-Fi prices had put me off using the internet at all.
~~ En-Suite bathroom ~~
The en-suite was a real delight. It had been cleaned to the nth degree and was gleaming; the shower was enormous with an integral seat which made me wonder if I had managed to get the extra large version for disabled guests. The jet was beautifully warm and powerful and there was a pump dispenser of imperial leather shower gel on the wall.
The heated towel rail contained two towels, one large and one small - and there were further towels on the shelf.
The toilet was in the same room as the shower and this room had a solid sliding door for privacy which was reassuringly heavy and seemed more soundproof than many I have seen.
The hand basin was located outside the bathroom - but was very impressive. It seemed very modern and designer in style, with a flip-over chrome plug, a Carex hand soap wall dispenser and a large mirror above the sink with its own separate lighting. I imagine that the hand basin was located outside the bathroom because I was in a twin room which often had unrelated guests staying together.
~~ Breakfast ~~
I did not book the breakfast in advance and therefore did not have the option of the discount. At £8.50 for an all-you-can-eat cooked breakfast, I felt that it was outside my budget for this stay. In addition, I really didn't want a huge breakfast, preferring a juice, coffee and croissant. As any smaller breakfast was not available, I simply made myself a cup of tea in the room and walked next door to the adjacent Greggs to buy myself a simple breakfast snack. On the other side of the Greggs there was a small local café which was offering a competitive sit-down breakfast for £3.50.
On my way back I took a look at the Premier Inn breakfast. The room was busy and the food looked very good. I saw that there were hash browns, fried or scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, croissant, toast, cereals, fruit, yogurts on offer. A good selection that looked very tempting.
~~ Other areas ~~
The hotel has a restaurant which is open from 5pm to 10pm. The menu for this was in my room but I chose to eat in central Newcastle with my oldest son rather than stay in Team Valley. The menu offered a two course meal deal for £11.95 or an ultimate meal deal for £22 which included three courses, wine, beer or a soft drink - and included breakfast in the morning.
Typical fare was steak (8oz sirloin steak for £13.70); burgers (£9.35), fish and chips (£8.95) or selection of pizza for around £7. I took a look around when I returned to the hotel around 8pm and the restaurant seemed very busy, full of diners enjoying themselves.
There was also a small horseshoe shaped bar in the reception area, in between the restaurant and the breakfast area. The whole reception / restaurant area was well kept and compact - a very non-threatening place to sit. A variety of small tables and comfortable sofas and chairs were arranged in the reception area and there was a large flat screen TV.
~~ Location ~~
The location of the hotel explains the availability of the cheap deal on offer. There are many Premier Inns, Comfort Hotels and Travelodges in the centre of Newcastle or in more lively locations on the outskirts.
Team Valley Premier Inn is in the middle of a deserted industrial area. The building itself is in the middle of a small and bleak retail park, with only an HBSB, Greggs, small convenience store, café and lighting store to keep it company. There is a large gym next door to the hotel, but the whole place seemed completely lifeless during the duration of my stay.
Opposite the retail park is a huge wasteland - obviously a building site, all you can currently see is acres of rubble, which gives the whole area a rather spooky feel.
The large parties that were staying were obviously going into central Newcastle for the night, but it took me at least 10 minutes to drive into the centre. The website tells me that it is 2.5 miles to Newcastle centre, so perhaps I took a less direct route than the taxis that ferried the party-goers to their clubs.
I had a great night's sleep, undisturbed by any of the large parties on their return. I found the walls to be well soundproofed, and the double glazed window cut out any noise from the car park or road outside.
The bed was extremely comfortable and the room contained everything I could possibly want during my stay.
My only regret is the location of the hotel. I did feel a little bit unsafe when I returned - it seemed too deserted and bleak in the car park and I rushed into reception a little to fast to be completely happy. This could have been because my son decided not to stay with me in the end, and I stayed as a sole occupant in the room. I was more than happy to do this, and felt completely safe and secure inside the reception and the room itself - it was just the drive through the industrial estate and the car park itself that made me a little uncomfortable.