* Prices may differ from that shown
A couple of month's ago we were invited to accompany some friends in the Midlands on a night out at the Buffet Island Restaurant in Birmingham - which turned out to be amazing and I have written a review on it if you are interested. Since our friends do not have any spare accommodation we decided to book into the Ramada Birmingham North Hotel in Cannock very near to where our friends live. We just wanted one night's comfortable accommodation for a good night's sleep before travelling home to North Wales the following day. Where is it? Well it is listed as Birmingham North but it isn't in or near Birmingham - it is actually in Cannock just off the Birmingham Northern Relief Road. The address is Watling Street, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 0DQ. How do you get there? If you are coming from the north just come off at exit 12 on the M6 southbound, take the first exit on to the A5 towards Cannock and the hotel is about 3 miles down the road on your left. If you are coming from the south just come off the M6 toll road at junction T7, take the third exit at the roundabout, the first exit at the next roundabout and then the second exit at the next roundabout. This takes you under a railway bridge and the hotel is then on your right. First Impressions Before I start I will say that we used to live just down the road from here so we know the area well but hadn't been back since the hotel had been built. We knew that the place where it had been constructed wasn't a particularly large area so we didn't really know quite what to expect. It might not cover a large area but it's tall! It dominates the skyline of that particular part of Cannock. It was easy enough to park and the car park seemed large enough to accommodate the hotel guests without any problems. We walked into the reception area and were impressed by the modern décor and clean lines. The reception area was clean, neat and tidy with a few chairs and tables and plenty of leaflets giving information about the surrounding area. Check In We arrived at the hotel at about 5pm on Saturday afternoon and there were two other people checking in as we got to the desk. We didn't have to wait more than a couple of minutes and the check in procedure was quick and efficient. The member of staff who dealt with us was friendly and made us feel very welcome. We were given our room key, told where to find our room and asked if we wanted any help with our luggage. Since we had only brought overnight things no help was needed so we set off to find our room. The Room We found the room easily and noticed on the way that everything was very clean and tidy with the same modern décor that we had seen as we entered the hotel. The room was unlocked by passing the key (which was actually a credit card sized piece of plastic) over a reader in the door. This same card was then inserted in a reader in the room which then activated the electrics in the room - lights, TV etc. The room was big enough without being huge and was furnished in beech wood. It consisted of hanging space on the wall with drawers beneath, a double bed with bedside tables, an easy chair, a desk with a mirror over it on which was a 22" TV, a keyboard and a tray of tea and coffee etc. There was also a hair dryer, a full length mirror, a folding suitcase stand and a mini bar. Again everything was spotlessly clean. The bed was comfortable and we both had a good night's sleep. The Bathroom The bathroom consisted of a shower cubicle, and oval sink and a toilet. It was compact but not claustrophobic and again it was very clean and had an extractor fan that worked. That's something that isn't always the case these days even though it is required by law. Facilities in the Room Apart from the TV and the mini bar that I have already mentioned there is also Internet access from the room which is provided via the TV at a cost of £10 although I can't remember how long this was for, sorry. The room has air conditioning and also a small safe. The service provided by the TV was nothing if not comprehensive and deserves a paragraph all of its own! The channels provided were BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky News and BBC News. There were films available on a pay per view basis and were split into sections of This Month's Releases, Action/Adventure, Thriller/Crime, Animation/Family, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Adult. There were up to twenty films in each section. You could also access music via the TV at £4.50 for 24 hours in the form of a huge selection of CD's. The sections for the music were Hip Hop, Soul, R & B, Opera and Classical, Soundtracks and Stage, Rock and Pop, Alternative and Dance, World Latin and Reggae, Jazz and Easy Listening and Country, Blues and Folk. There were up 54 albums available in each section. I can't give you any information as to how could the pay per view or pay per listen was as we didn't actually use either. There was also a free radio service with an excellent reception and this covered World radio, UK, Europe, North America, Central and South America, Asia, Middle East and Africa, Oceania, together with all the radio channels that broadcast via broadband. There was also a world clock and lots of hotel information including access to your bill. Facilities in the Hotel The hotel has a 12th floor sky room with a 360 degree view of the surrounding area which accommodates up to 100 people for functions including weddings and business meetings. It is licensed for civil ceremonies. There is a conference centre complete with wall mounted HD ready plasma TVs and free broadband access. There are also 7 executive meeting rooms all with natural daylight. The hotel has a fitness suite with a fully equipped gym but as we didn't go and see this I don't know exactly what facilities it contains. Eating in the Hotel Again I can only tell you what facilities the hotel has as we went out with friends for our evening meal and we decided not to stay in the hotel for breakfast the following day. The hotel has a restaurant which serves a selection of meals prepared by the hotel's professional chef using fresh seasonal ingredients. This is complimented by a full wine list. There is also a café called Costa Café serving tea, coffee, cakes etc. Reception is open 24 hours per day and claims to cater for your needs. When you book at the Ramada the booking is for room only so breakfast is extra. I think from memory it was about £9 per person so we went out for breakfast. OK I admit it we went to McDonalds! Booking Hubby booked our room via one of the late booking sites and it was £59 for the two of us for one night. If you look at the website for the hotel at http://www.ramadabirminghamnorth.co.uk/ the current price is £89 per room although I am sure that there are deals to be had if you look for them. In Conclusion We enjoyed our stay at Ramada. The cost was fine, the room was very clean and well appointed and the staff were friendly and efficient - what more do you want from a hotel? This review may get posted on Ciao at some point.