“ Address: Roby Road / Huyton / Liverpool / Merseyside L36 4HD „
July 2012 saw us visiting to Liverpool for 4 days with plans to explore the Culture Capital of 2008. Having thoroughly enjoyed our last stay at a Premier Inn with their really comfortable beds we opted for another Premier Inn branch, this time choosing the one situated about 5 miles out of the City Centre at the Premier Inn in Huyton in Roby Road. We booked our room online for 3 nights and printed off the email confirmation of our booking.
As we came off the M62 after a 3.5 hour journey from London we found Roby Road just off the roundabout that we exited the motorway from and were pleased to see that Roby Road looked charming. Within a few moments we spotted the Premier Inn sign and turned into the rather large car park and were somewhat disappointed to see how shabby the exterior of the hotel looked. It was badged as Premier Inn but also as Derby Lodge which I presume is its original name.
CHECK IN/CUSTOMER SERVICE
We found the reception staff to be charming and friendly and our check in was quite fast, we just provided a copy of the email we had received to confirm our booking. We were advised our room was on the first floor and directed to the lift. We found the overall check-in process efficient and felt this was a good sign.
We found the lift to make random odd noises every time we used it and on a couple of occasions we wondered if we'd even make it to our floor without it breaking down.
On entering the room we weren't expecting anything overly special so we weren't disappointed. Our last stay at a Premier Inn was in Norwich for 2 nights and we'd booked in at the Roby branch for 3 nights so were slightly disappointed that there was just one armchair and no separate table aside from the table where the TV was located. As an aside the Norwich Premier Inn had two armchairs in the room with a side table too and was fairly well ventilated considering we stayed there in the hottest weekend of that year!
We were rather surprised to see a an old CRT TV but we weren't planning to watch much TV BUT then again the Olympics had just started a few days previously so we did want to be able to watch a bit of TV in between our trips out into Liverpool. The volume on the TV had a limiter on it which is fair enough but it meant that you were barely able to hear the TV at all from the bed and there wasn't enough room or seating provided to watch the TV from anywhere else - and hubby and I are definitely not hard of hearing! Two chairs one in the form of an armchair at the end of the room and a basic chair at the TV/dressing table weren't really very practical for watching TV. I appreciate that one does not stay in a hotel to watch TV but we had at least wanted to enjoy the Olympics coverage in the evenings after our planned days out.
The room air conditioning or cooling system didn't work at all, it was rather warm and even though there was a table fan provided with 3 speed settings, this really was of very little use as it was only effective if within 12 inches or so of it. It was no use to us at night and there were no further plug sockets in the room to plug it in closer to the bed. The room a/c unit or heating/cooling unit seemed to be set at 23.5 and no matter how much we increased or decreased the setting it just jumped back to 23.5 within seconds which was actually way too warm for the room.
The bed was as comfortable as we expected but it really was just too warm each night to get a decent night's sleep as well as for other reasons which I'll come back to shortly.
The bathroom was quite small, nothing less than we expected and the toiletries consisted pretty much of two dispenser units on the wall - one next to the sink for hand soap and one on the bathtub wall and body wash/shampoo. Note the body wash and shampoo were the same item, so unless you bring your own shampoo you'll be stuck with using these, although they were of good quality. I had brought both shampoo and conditioner with me having experienced Premier Inn's basic facilities previously. I was rather disappointed to see mould on the hand rails in the bathtub and on the floor by the door as well as badly scuffed taps in the sink.
We found during our stay that the noise from upstairs was quite unreasonable. On the first night from about 12:30 to 02:00 we heard what can only be described as someone stomping around. We had no idea what this noise was and were pretty miffed at the noise as it woke us up and we had planned an early start the next morning, then it started up again around 06:00. By the time we went down to breakfast we were pretty exhausted from the lack of sleep. This noise during the night carried on during our stay and when we complained about it to reception they said it must be the night security man doing his rounds. We were quite horrified as we wondered what sort of footwear he was wearing to make this level of noise and how it was that other guests hadn't complained. We felt the noise was coming directly from a room above us. Weird that they limit the volume on the TV yet can't do anything about sound-proofing heavy footed staff or residents noise coming through the ceiling!
We found the room service staff to be pleasant and polite but I can't really compliment their cleaning skills due to the mould in the bathroom and the dust on the skirting boards and not so clean carpets. I expect to be able to walk around barefoot in a hotel room, i.e. the floor should be spotless but this was not the case here so I had to make sure I wore my flip flops that I'd luckily brought with me.
On our first evening, we had a few drinks in the bar/restaurant area. We found the service to be rather slow, even though it wasn't busy. The staff seemed to dawdle quite a bit and we felt we were ignored a few times and people who came to the bar after us were served - so the staff didn't even seem to notice who'd been waiting first. We sat inside the bar for drinks one evening and sat outside in the garden area on another evening for a bit (until the sun disappeared and it started raining heavily) - the garden area was very picturesque and I imagine many people would be sitting out there on a warm summer's day with lots of space for children to run around and play in.
We didn't make a fuss about the slow service at the bar as we wanted to enjoy our stay without sounding like a moaning couple. Unfortunately on subsequent days we found the same attitude from different staff, not very welcoming and not serving people in the order they came to the bar. The only time I encountered someone genuinely friendly at the bar was when we were paying for breakfast on one of the mornings when the chap who took our money was very chatty and friendly, although it seemed like he was a manager. Maybe he should pass on some customer service skills to his staff!
I wouldn't say the bar prices were at all competitive; it was about £5 for a large glass of wine and about £4 for a pint.
We had breakfast in the hotel on 2 of the 3 mornings. Breakfast in the Table Table restaurant is charged at £8.25 a head and children eat free (no use to us with no kids, mind you). You can help yourself to cereals and yoghurt, jams and marmalades but you have to order cooked breakfast which is a bit of a pain as you had to tell them exactly what you want. For that price I would rather have a full buffet available so I can pick what I want and if necessary go back for more. For £5.25 there was the continental option. But this is the Premier Inn way, so we ordered the full English with some items removed such as black pudding which we both hate. There are facilities to make your own toast and ample white and brown bread to do this. The toaster like others similar I've experienced in hotels was rather annoying in that you either have to put your bread through twice to get it as "toasted" as you want or up the heat and end up with very burnt toast, there just didn't seem to be a happy medium. I have to admit the servers at breakfast on both mornings were very jolly and helpful and the cooked food was brought out within about 10 minutes - enough time to make the toast!
We didn't spot anything overly interesting on the menu to tempt us to have dinner at the hotel during our stay and the fact that we saw people having dinner in the restaurant having to come out to the bar to order their own drinks made us glad we opted to eat out each evening!
CHECK OUT/CUSTOMER SERVICE/RATING
On one occasion when we had cause to go to reception to ask for an extra bed sheet as it was too hot to use the bedcovers provided, there was a group of about 10 people checking in. One member of reception staff was dealing with this group who kept changing their minds about which rooms each individual within the group wanted whilst another member of staff stood on doing nothing. We waited 15-20 minutes patiently before the first receptionist finished and gave us the bed sheet. We were rather annoyed as the other woman there was definitely a receptionist as we had seen her serving people at reception earlier in the day. We couldn't understand why she just didn't offer to help us whilst the other group was being served.
On check out when handing in the keys we were asked if we had had a nice stay. I said quite politely that we had not had a decent night's sleep the whole time we were there - the receptionist was quite shocked. I imagine people usually say "Yes lovely" most of the time and leave quietly. Not me! I explained the problem with the noise every night and she initially offered to refund me £29. Seeing as we'd paid for 3 nights at different rates due to some of the nights being weekend nights, I was not impressed as we'd paid £59, £39 and £29 as well as a £2 charge for using a credit card. She eventually offered me a refund of £61, the cost of the first night and the £2 credit card fee which I accepted, albeit not happily. The adverts say they guarantee you a good night's sleep or your money back, considering we didn't have a good night's sleep on any of the nights, they should have refunded the full amount but there you go. I definitely would not go back to this branch and I won't be staying at a Premier Inn again in a hurry as they don't honour their money back guarantee.
The main reason I chose this hotel over the dozens of others we could have picked was that I fully expected a decent night's sleep after days out exploring various places in Liverpool. The last Premier Inn we stayed at we received excellent service and had relaxing sleep throughout our stay. I felt we couldn't make the most of our days due to our lack of sleep during this particular stay; therefore I'm unable to give this branch of Premier Inn more than 1 out of 5 stars.
Premier Inn (Roby)
Tel: 0871 527 8616
Fax: 0871 527 8617
Premier Inn (Roby) Liverpool is 7 miles from Liverpool John Lennon Airport and very close to the M62. There are no shops within close walking distance but the city centre is 5 miles away. There are approximately 55 rooms with ample car parking for all guests. People seem to pop in from the local area for dinner/drinks in the restaurant/bar.
Having been contacted directly by the hotel during October I provided details of my reservation and I was somewhat pleased to have been refunded the full amount of my stay. Whilst this was a good gesture on their part (although this should have been done at the time not 3 months later) - it doesn't make up for the fact that our whole visit to Liverpool (not something we intend on doing regularly as we live in London) was marred by the lack of sleep and therefore I don't feel I can change my rating in this instance even in light of the refund.