I stayed at this hotel around 2 years ago when it was the Quality Hotel, it has since become The Newgate Hotel after owners 'The Real Hotel Company PLC' went into administration. For a while there have been plans to completely demolish the Newgate Centre below it (which is in dire need of it!) and create a new development so don't think it's likely that an substantial amount of refurbishment work will have been taken out. There was a period where it was completely closed until new owners and during this time the staff lost their jobs, I don't however know if they were re-employed by the new management or whether new staff were recruited (hopefully).
We booked a two night stay for £44.50 BB a night through the Real Hotel Company's website, a knockdown from the £69 RO a night rate advertised on the official website for the same time. At £44.50 it is just passable and at £69 wouldn't have given up until I received a refund!
Having learned that the hotel has both refurbished and non-refurbished rooms I booked a guaranteed non smoking twin online and then enquired in advance through e-mail directly with the hotel for a refurbished room who checked availability and found my choice of a refurbished twin non-smoking room was available and this was confirmed for us in a closing e-mail signed by the General Manager. With this I thought I could rest easy knowing we wouldn't get an old room, though of a hotel and company of this size no one should have to worry about getting an 'old' room.
We arrived at around 2:30pm and as pedestrians had to use the street door, as we live local to Newcastle knew how to access it but can imagine the problems others would have had trying it find it - it is hardly outstanding to say the least! The glass door is etched with the logo and to the right of the entrance to the Newgate Shopping Centre (awful) which there is a large sign for on Newgate street so if you are unsure where to go look out for that. Once in you pass through a maze of doors and empty and rundown old rooms until at reception. There the two staff didn't acknowledge us and spoke to each other about a sheet they were holding while walking around behind the desk and then out to the back room then when ready the man returned and the woman emerged after him. He said nothing and just glared expectantly at us, and assumed he wanted a name. He got a highlighter and marked our name off on a clipboard on the desk and searched around aimlessly for a key as if he didn't know where he was and provided a few choice facts like breakfast times etc and anything said to him a short delay followed making an awkward feel, I was glad to be handed the paperwork and key card. He informed us the room was 306 as is said on the tear-off slip on the bottom, but on the bill itself it stated the room was 306 which was then crossed out and 311 written in blue biro on top. The lift call button is right next to the desk, but once pushed calls a lift right next to it, or an alternative one at the other end of the lobby. You can't really fail to miss though as the noise the far lift makes when opening is mad, so if with a lot of bags you should probably leave them in the middle as the doors are hasty in shutting again too.
The lifts are wall papered with carpet, and have no display telling you what floor you are actually on but once on the right floor, 3, went to 306 and low and behold it didn't work so tried 311 as was written on the receipt and the door opened, only it was a refurbished double room not a twin so back down to reception to the same man while the other woman again watched over as I explained the increasingly frustrating situation. He hunted around behind him and allocated another room and gave us a new keycard for a different room (can't remember the number) on the 3rd floor. Back up in the lift this time the other one but still no floor display and on entering the room the high hopes we had flew out the open window as this time it was an unrefurbished double!! Back down to reception again to the same man at which point the other woman snootily interrupted me asking "Do [I] want a twin room do you??" implying I had booked otherwise. I said yes and pointed out on the tear-off paper that it said room type 'Twin'. At this he uttered "Ohmygod" to himself quietly as he realised that I had a twin booked all along and the other woman said nothing further and faded into the background. An obligatory 'Sorry' was uttered and nothing else and finally was given a regular key to room 222 on Floor 2 which was easy to find being it was the first on the corridor and behind one of the lifts. I was glad to find this WAS a twin room, but it wasn't refurbished, which was evident at the point of seeing the door handle!
The T.V. was left on when we entered, which was ironic as there was two tent cards next to it saying to turn it off fully rather than leave it on standby! It only picked up four main channels and channel 4 had 'ghosting' and there was also a PlayStation controller, on-demand movies and wake up alarm system. Both beds were evidently old with the level of sagging and ripped sheets, and one of them squeaked at the slightest move mixed with the squeaking from the lift going past at all hours was enough to drive you crazy and there was no way I would think about changing rooms again either. The desk next to the T.V. was tiny and if you sat at the desk it blocked the T.V. from sight from the bed. On the desk itself was the energy saving cards and a menu, and an abundance of 6 wonky switches on the bottom of the mirror, some worked lights etc others appeared to do nothing. In the same unit was a draw labelled hairdryer and a cupboard labelled hospitality. Everything in there had to be taken out to use it as there was no plug. There was a letter on another unit explaining the policy on smoking in the room and a few directories for the Choice Chain. None of these were specific hotel information, just a hotel brochure advertising the services like conferences etc they offer, it did give us a much needed laugh as the starting clause included the line "which prides itself on giving you a warm and friendly welcome"!! The room had a full length window, covered by horrible old curtains, which slid open the full length and didn't have any form of restrictor so be careful if with kids, and there was no lock either. Storage wise there was a flushed cupboard (Iron & Ironing board inside) with hangers and doors, and an outlying unit with two shelves near the T.V. Note also that on the facilities page on the hotel website it states that there is trouser presses in every room, ours didn't have one. The room door was very flimsy and had a 100-year old sticker on it saying to push the middle in with a 'long object' for extra security!!
Unlike with many of the reviews we weren't disturbed by noise from the streets, there was very little at all in fact and we were only on the 3rd floor up. However it was a Monday and Tuesday night we were there.
Bathroom was OK, everything was as clean as it could get given what there was to work with (as was the entire room in fact) but still appeared dirty as the facilities were old and worn out (again, the same for the room). For example the bath was rusty and worn and appeared filthy and off putting but was technically clean as none of it washed off. No take away toiletries just a dispenser of Dove nowhere near the sink behind the shower curtain and a Lux dispenser next to the shower head and there was two glasses on a shelf. On the first night the water was hot enough for a bath, the second night it wasn't, but was good enough for showering and hand washing. Unlike a lot of other hotels the bathroom door locked fine too.
When leaving the room for the day, one of the maids wished us a good morning and asked if we would like the room serviced and before we got to the end of the corridor she was already in the room! Another maid who was in the way when we came back apologised for getting in the way and hurried off, normally at any hotel you are lucky to get a word out of the maids, so well done to the housekeeping department at least!
Breakfast is served on weekdays from 7:30 - 9:00 and was again fine, nothing special but good for being included in the price. On arriving you get asked you room number and asked your choice of hot drink, other than that everything was self service. The tables seemed a bit excessively set up for breakfast with a variety of glasses and knives, forks etc which looks nice but just gets in the way. The tables themselves appeared new but the chairs looked as if they came with the hotel and the bases were ready to fall out - they were very unpleasant to sit on. No music was played in the restaurant, though the chef's music could be heard coming out of the kitchen. The buffet was in the middle of the tables and offered a mix of cereals, pastries, muffins, juices, fruits, yogurts and a separate table at the side carried the toaster and bread - on the second day the white bread ran out promptly while the staff stood around talking to each other doing nothing about it, other things were well stocked though. There was a table of fried food but I never had any of this or even looked at it - not my thing.
Check out involved putting the key through a hole in the desk labelled 'keys' which when done made a few loud clunks as if it was simply a hole - not a box - and nothing else and the key seemed to just fall onto the floor! The reception area is a complete contrast to the room and corridors; it is full of bright reds and browns and wood. See the photo of the stairs too, every step is taped up, but the flight of stairs leading from reception upwards has a brand new red carpet - very deceiving.
I wouldn't advise this place unless you want a bed for the night or all the other city centre hotels are booked.
Jurys Inn in Newcastle is by far my favourite hotel for fairly economical business travel. End of. However, I cant always get into Jurys good tends to mean popular, you see. So when Ive been unable to get into Jurys I sometimes pull the virtual short straw and end up somewhere far inferior. That place tends to be the rather unfortunately named Quality Hotel. Let me explain further. Ill be as fair as I can.
Location and Getting There
The hotel is situated right in the bustling centre of Newcastle. I have to say that the location is superb for anyone visiting the centre for shopping or socialising, because you really are slap bang in the middle of everything. The Gate (a complex of bars and restaurants) is literally about four doors up from the hotel and all the big shops and shopping centres can be reached in less than ten minutes by foot. From the train station, the hotel is probably about ten minutes walk not bad if youve travelled lightly, but otherwise a taxi might still be a good idea. This isnt a hotel that I would recommend if you were driving. Whilst the A1 and ring road are fairly easy to navigate, it is the last stretch that generally causes the problem as you end up on one of the main thoroughfares through the citys shopping centre. If the traffic is bad, you could end up sat there for twenty minutes every time you go in and out other hotels (including Jurys, for example) are much better.
The main problem with the location is that the hotel is actually very difficult to find. I looked for directions on www.yell.co.uk and concluded that the place would be very easy to find. This really wasnt the case. The only clue to the hotels presence is a rather faded sign in one of the two glass doors that lead straight off the street into the hotel. I walked past it once. I asked for directions and I walked past it again. I literally had to be directed step by step until I could find it. The entrance is completely innocuous and looks more like an office than a hotel. This was all rather frustrating after having travelled and lumped several heavy bags up the street.
Im not aware of a lift that goes right down to street level either, which means that disabled guests would probably struggle here.
Suggestion for Improvement
Better signage possibly a sandwich board on the street to direct people into the place. The hotel would be unlikely to benefit from much passing trade as things currently stand.
Reception and Greeting
Once you have actually found the main entrance, you have to climb a couple of flights of stairs and then navigate your way through a labyrinth of double doors and rooms until you actually reach the reception area. The first thing that will probably jump out to you as you wander along is the very tired décor. The carpets are worn and scruffy. The wallpaper is peeling and old-fashioned and the whole place generally smells a bit musty and it really doesnt feel very welcoming. The walk to the reception desk is additionally unwelcome and you do wonder whether you are lost.
The hotel has its own car park, which comes into the hotel just round the corner from the reception desk, but isnt signposted. The reception desk is small and characteristically tatty. The staff members are polite and courteous enough but they all look like they could do with a good wash. The checking in was all fairly efficient but the hotel has a very old-fashioned computer system so if there is a problem, you could be waiting for some time. Room keys are of the old-fashioned variety, so you get a nice chunky fob with a proper key on it rather than a swipe card.
Suggestions for Improvement
This will apply throughout the hotel but the place needs to be closed down for a complete refit. The general décor is old and tired and you just get a cheap and nasty feeling wherever you go.
If budgets wouldnt permit this, then the hotel should at least invest on making the entrance more inviting. Better signage directing guests where to go, possibly with some posters or something to brighten the place up a bit. Additionally, at night, the main entrance is locked, so you have to buzz to be let in it doesnt say this anywhere, so a little sign might be a useful idea too.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms
The rooms are arranged across five floors the building rises above the street like a hideous 1960s concrete tower block. There are both executive and standard rooms available, but dont expect much from either.
Shabby may be chic, but genuine shabbiness is shite and these rooms are genuinely shite. The décor is really old and worn. The carpets are so dirty and marked that I felt uncomfortable walking bare foot. Basic facilities (trouser press, kettle etc) are provided but even the kettle was a bit mucky and I really didnt fancy trying any of it. The beds are surprisingly comfortable but too short for us tall people and theyre burdened with horrible old fashioned bedding that seems to be haunted by decades of dirty weekends. The television offers a movie channel and a couple of satellite stations but the sets are really small and the picture quality isnt fantastic.
The bathrooms arent any better. Theyre worse, in fact. The décor is still tired but there are the additional luxuries of lime scale on most of the fixtures and fittings, along with mould on the shower curtains and the grouting. The showers are horrible. They feel as though they are going to come away from the wall, and shoot out narrow little streams of water that have been so highly pressurised that the jets genuinely hurt. I had to resort to baths. The sensation of the water from the shower actually made my skin sting. Complementary, hideous toiletries are provided that look as though they have come out of a Christmas cracker. Why bother?
Suggestions for Improvement
A complete refit is once again essential there is just no excuse for a hotel that is part of such a large chain to have such shabby rooms. Id like to see the carpets replaced with hard floors (much more hygienic) and proper power showers fitted as standard.
The rooms need air-conditioning. Even during April and May, the rooms are uncomfortably warm and the windows only open a fraction.
Bad freebies are worse than no freebies at all. If you cant be bothered to supply branded toiletries then just dont bother tacky and vulgar.
Eat me, drink me, spare me
The rooftop restaurant sits on the sixth floor and continues the theme of shabby shoddiness. The bar is horrific it reminds me of a working mans club and carries a small range of over-priced beers and spirits. The enclosed area has no air-conditioning and a desire to be smoked like a kipper by the hordes of old soaks sat at the tables is compulsory.
The restaurant isnt much better. The large glass windows mean that the sun beats in at a horrendous temperature, such that the room is adorned with several cheap stand-up fans. The décor is rather like a cheap wedding reception, with very tired upholstery and back areas that would give Gordon Ramsey nightmares. The waiters and waitresses are fairly polite and efficient (if not slightly jumpy) but the place has a real feeling of unhappiness about it not a pleasant dining atmosphere at all.
Surprisingly, the quality of the food is quite good. There is a set menu, an a la carte menu and a list of daily specials, which, when combined, offer quite a good choice of different world dishes. The last time I ate here I opted for an asparagus and Parma ham starter, followed by a broccoli and cheese parcel with fresh vegetables and simple apple pie for afters. With two beers, the whole lot came to about £17.90, which is fairly good for hotel prices and the meal was really quite nice. It was all fresh, well-presented and tasty a bit of a surprise if Im honest. Breakfast was of similar quality (quite expensive for £10.75) with a good selection of hot and cold items.
The restaurant experience is generally really poor though. The last time I visited, there were three buckets on the floor, accumulating dirty yellow water that was gradually dripping from the ceiling. I wasnt allowed to sit where I wanted (the cool side of the restaurant had been set for breakfast at 19:00 the following evening) and the service was rather slow. The staff all looked harrassed and unhappy too I felt like I was a nuisance when I asked for another drink.
Suggestions for Improvement
The quality of the hotel food is such that I think the dining area could become very popular. As well as the ubiquitous refit, the place needs an identity a theme or something and needs to try and be more welcoming.
The place is also very strict about opening times. Food can be ordered from room service, but at 18:25 hungry guests were clearly waiting to be allowed to eat in the restaurant let them eat when they want!
Value for Money
After that description, you might expect the Quality Hotel to be a budget chain at least it would then be cheap. Sadly, this is not the case. For the privilege of staying in what appeared to be a run-down office complex with beds in it, I was charged £80 bed and breakfast (standard rate is £99). This is disgraceful the hotel simply cannot justify charging anything more than £40 a night at most. When you have brand new hotels charging £65 for modern, spacious, comfortable rooms, The Quality Hotel seems even less desirable. To be fair, the food prices were not as high as I expected but the bar prices seemed quite high - £3.00 for a bottle of Budweiser is in line with nightclub prices these days.
You CAN save money by booking online, joining their discount schemes or using a travel agent. The hotel claims savings of up to 75% for advanced online bookings, so this might be worth considering.
Suggestion for Improvement
Until the management can sort out the interior décor, the Quality Hotel needs to greatly reduce its tariff. £80-£100 is fairly expensive for business travel and isnt justified. The Malmaison (new and luxurious) is only £120 bed and breakfast. Similarly, if youre going to serve drinks in a working mans club, at least have the decency to charge working mans prices.
Is there anything else?
The hotel uses manual receipts to charge items to your room. This takes ages. I asked for my bill in the restaurant, watched someone sit and write it out and then ten minutes later actually got a copy myself. Similarly, when I once checked out, I had to have a hand-written receipt as the basic computer system wasnt running. A little injection of technology seems like a good idea to me.
Who would stay here?
Cheapskates! Apart from that, desperate business travellers or families looking for a cheap base might find the place suitable. If you wanted anything remotely romantic or stylish, then avoid like the plague.
Avoid this place. Whilst the food shows promise and the location is irrefutably handy for the centre, the place really is an over-priced hovel. I usually find myself feeling genuinely sorry for the staff who had to work in such a depressing place. The name of the place is a constant joke amongst guests too. This really is my last resort after a bench in the park, the toilets in Revolution and the waiting room on platform 4 in Central station.
Next month, I am moving up to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to become a postgrad student ? the other week, I rather unfortunately heard that I had not got a place in halls, so I needed to take a trip up there to go house hunting. During my days away, I stayed at the Quality Hotel in Newcastle; my choice of accommodation was guided more by what was available at such short notice (3 days!) than anything else. The Quality Hotel chain is a nationwide company that also owns the Comfort Inn and Sleep Inn names (I believe they also have a number of hotels on the continent too), but I had never stayed with them before. To be perfectly honest, I am never likely to again unless forced to by a lack of rooms elsewhere! LOCATION The Newcastle Quality Hotel in situated on Newgate Street, at the south end of the city centre near St James? Park ? it is about 5 minutes walk from the central train station, and roughly the same from the heart of the shopping centre. The two universities in the city are about 15 to 20 minutes walk away, and the nearest tourist information is only a few streets from the hotel. The hotel does have its own car park, but I wouldn?t like to comment on what driving is like in the city as I took the train! Overall, a good central location and not to far to carry your bags from the station, although you may need to ask for directions as I discovered it is quite a hard hotel to find, not being especially large ? it is also quite a busy, noisy street being city centre, but as my room was on the fourth floor, this didn?t bother me. 4/5. THE ROOM Easy to find, as all room numbers are clearly displayed and signposted, but a very temperamental lock meant it sometimes took several minutes to let myself back into it! Twice, the lock jammed on me and I had to get the manager to let me back into the room, which was quite embarassing! It was quite small for a twin room, but was en suite and provided a colour TV, travel size hairdryer, i
roning board & iron, and tea & coffee making facilities (it was classed as 3 star BTW). The TV reception was watchable if not brilliant (though BBC1 was really fuzzy), and the beds were reasonably comfy. They would have been comfier if adequate pillows had been provided, of course. In the bathroom, I was very disappointed by the range of products provided (just a couple of sachets of shampoo and one of shower gel) which was far less then I have had in hotels of a similar price ? and just how exactly are two people supposed to be able to share one (very small) sachet of shower gel? In other hotels of this type, I have had miniature bottles of shampoo, conditioner and even moisturiser, along with shower caps and tissues. The shower was more of a drip as the water pressure didnt want to work on this floor, but even so there still managed to be a surprising amount of mildew on the tiles (yuck). The room was good enough for a short stay such as this, but for the £35 per person per night we were paying, I would have expected something a bit better to be honest ? a distinctly average 3/5. THE REST OF THE HOTEL Reception was a long way from the street entrance, located on the first floor on he opposite side of the building, and took some finding. The décor looked old fashioned and a bit worn in places, and the business conference bit of the hotel hardly inspired me, although to be fair there was some redecorating going on while I was there. Only one of the three (very small) lifts was working, so there was usually a wait of several minutes for one, longer at breakfast time when more people were about. I?ve been to better presented and laid out hotels, and wasn?t too impressed by what I saw. Oh, and the roof leaked. 2/5. THE STAFF I noticed the quality of staff varied greatly ? the receptionists were excellent, very friendly and helpful and nothing was too much trouble, while the restaurant staff were careless a
nd disinterested. With the exception of the girl who was on reception when I first arrived that is - I had to wait a full 10 minutes to be served while she ignored me in favour of gossiping on the phone. When I asked for extra bedding for my room it was provided the same day, and a change to my booking (I left a day earlier than planned as I had sorted out what I needed to do) was made without any problems. I suppose that averages out at 3/5 overall. THE BREAKFAST I have spent quite some time searching for the words to describe the breakf asts at this hotel and can?t seem to find the right ones; ?disappointing? just doesn?t seem to do it justice. I always look forward to hotel breakfasts as they are usually plentiful, varied and enjoyable, so perhaps I felt doubly cheated by the standard of this one. The breakfast room was understaffed by largely disinterested employees. The queue was long, tables took ages to be cleared (and even then were not done at all well) and the selection on offer was quite frankly pathetic (many of the things on the menu not being available). The promised ?chilled orange juice? was warm, when stocks ran low they were not replaced, and service was so slow that you actually had to get up and ask to have your order taken. Easily the worst hotel breakfast I have ever had, and certainly not worth the £11 advertised. 0/5. THE DINNER I'll admit that I only took dinner in the hotel as part of a bargain offer that made it better value than eating out. The package included three courses (started of soup or salad; main of bacon steak, lamb, pasta or fish; whatever pudding was available) and a side order if desired (chips, potato wedges, salad). Service was incredibly slow, but once you eventually got your food it was most enjoyable, even if the choice wasnt brilliant. Excellent value as part of the £35 package, but I wouldnt have paid the £18 for it alone. 4/5 methinks. OVERALL Thank goodness I didn?t have to stay here long! A very mediocre hotel, saved only by virtue of a good central location ? I don?t think I would bother with Quality Hotels in the future if there were an alternative. :-( See http://www.qualityhotelnewcastle.activehotels.com/SMH