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Sporting Lodge / Greyhound Hotel
I spent a night at this hotel just a few days ago, so thought I would write a review while it's all fresh in my mind. Firstly, let me explain how this came about - we wanted a couple of days in the Cheshire area to take the kids to a couple of local attractions (Blue Planet Aquarium at Ellesmere Port and Knowsley Safari Park at... er... Knowsley!). We wanted somewhere that was reasonably priced and not too far from Knowsley as we wanted to go there straight after breakfast. I used one of those internet searches to find a cheap hotel, and this one looked pretty good. We usually stay at a Premier Lodge, which costs around £50-£55 per night. The Greyhound Hotel came up at £50 per night, and on paper it looked a better quality hotel so we thought we'd give it a try. The things that made it look better than the Premier Lodge were as follows:
Sky TV in the room
Leisure facility including swimming pool
American sized 'family' room
So, let's look at these plus points one at a time.
Slightly cheaper - Well, as I said the two Premier Lodges I considered were £51 per night and £55 per night respectively, and the £55 one was demanding an additional £5 just to park your car so that one was out of the equation straight away! The Greyhound Hotel was listed as £50 per night. I actually telephoned them with an enquiry prior to booking, and the receptionist mentioned that the usual cost was £69 per night. When I said I had seen it online at £50 per night, she explained that to get the room at that price I would need to book it online - which I intended to do anyway, so no problem there. Breakfasts were priced at £7.95 per head for a full English breakfast, or £4.95 per head for the continental breakfast. When we checked out and they made up our bill I noticed that they had charged £8.95 for the full English breakfast and when I queried it the receptionist guessed immediately which website I had used for booking, and commented that the website was wrong. Obviously something she had encountered before. No problem though, she simply made up another bill so we didn't pay any more than we had anticipated.
Sky TV in the room - well, I was expecting proper Sky TV, as we have at home. Silly me! You actually get about a dozen channels, including the terrestrial. So the Sky channels were Sky News, and a couple of music channels. I'm not sure if there were other Sky channels but when I scrolled through the channels a few of them were too fuzzy to watch, so we just stuck to Sky News and the terrestrial channels.
Leisure facility - well this was really the clincher for us. My children LOVE swimming and I just knew they would love a hotel with a swimming pool. There is also a gym and a steam room. You get use of these facilities included in the standard cost if you have booked one of those American sized family rooms. The only restriction being that the children weren't allowed to use the steam room - which didn't matter at all as it was the swimming pool they were interested in! The swimming pool is open from 7am to 10pm. As we were guests at the hotel this meant access was free and towels were provided.
American sized family room - well, looking at the photos online and perhaps reading too much into the 'American sized' part of the description, I was just slightly disappointed with the size of the room. Yes, it was larger than, say, a Premier Lodge room, but just not quite as big as I had been expecting. The room was large enough to fit a double bed and a double sofa bed quite comfortably. There was a large dressing area with a mirror, a desk, tea and coffee making facilities and a hair dryer. This space was large enough to fit a single bed. They had a sort of coffee table/pouffe thing, which we were impressed to see actually opened out into a little bed. Unfortunately the one in our room was broken so the children had to share the double sofa bed instead. The receptionist said she had not known the single pull-out bed was broken but would report it to Housekeeping. However, she didn't seem over-keen on replacing it for us - I think she was busy as she did comment that this was 'check-in time'!
The room also contained a mini ironing board and an iron.
The bathroom was an odd arrangement, to my mind. There was a bath with an overhead shower, and a toilet, in a small room, but the wash basin and mirror was in an alcove outside the bathroom, in full view of the room. I couldn't lock the bathroom door. There was no toilet roll holder - we just had to leave the toilet roll on the cistern, which was a little awkward to reach.
Now to breakfast. The options are the full English (basically a fry-up consisting of bacon, eggs, tomatoes, beans and sausages) or the continental breakfast (croissants, toast, cereal, yoghurt, fruit). It's all self service, so you can pile up whatever you want onto your plate, and go and get as many second helpings as you choose. They have one of those rotary type toasters where you put a slice of bread in at the top and it comes out at the bottom when it's ready. Personally I kind of like the self service approach as it means you can just help yourself without feeling like you are putting the staff to any trouble. Mind you, it can be a bit difficult if you want toast but there is no butter left, so you have to wait for them to refill the supplies.
The hotel has plenty of free parking outside. I had been a bit concerned about this as the website said that parking was 'available' on site, and having read some other hotel websites where they had stipulated that you had to pay for parking or that there was a limited number of spaces, I was worried about this - but in the event it was fine.
I would say this is primarily a hotel for business people, but that said, it was fine for us as a family of four. We didn't see any other families while we were there, just business people, but we were there for only one night.
My Mum had asked me to check disabled facilities for her, as she is in a wheelchair. The receptionist confirmed to me that the hotel has full disabled access. They have two rooms set aside for disabled guests and there is disabled access to the swimming pool, too.
The branch of Sporting Lodge that we stayed at is:
The Greyhound Hotel
Tel: 01942 671256
The other branches are:
Tel: 01642 578100
Five Lane Ends
Tel: 01274 611111
There is a new Sporting Lodge opening this year (2008) in Humberside.
It looks like the reviewer did not sleep in the bed of this hotel. It is not possible to spend a night in it, you can feel every single spring. In fact it feels as if the bed only exists of springs, the material must have desintegrated
I travel extensively and it is not often you come across a hotel that blows you away. I recently stayed at the Sporting Lodge Inn on Highfield Rd in Bradford. My room could only be described as very spacious, I would say two to three times the size of Travel Inn room (it had a couple of two seater sofas). Not only was the room equipped with its normal double bed and tea tray. It had a BIG TV (with a good 12 satellite channels), you also get a video recorder and CD midi HIFI. Hairdryer, Ironing board / trouser press. The hotel is in the process of being refitted and so there is no phone in the room - yet, a minor point. The hotel has its own health club (with a pool) which you can use and has two bars, one dedicated to sport and the other more like a traditional pub.