“ Address: Middleton St. George / Darlington / County Durham / DL2 1PD / England „
We stayed at the Spa Hotel when visiting Middlesbrough for the football at the beginning of the season (we're Sheffield United fans). As the match was on a Friday night, we decided that an overnight stay would be better than driving back at night. The wife did what she does best and booked the Spa Hotel at Durham Tees Valley Airport which is around 15 minutes drive away from Middlesbrough town centre.
The directions on the website advise you to follow the signs within the airport to get to the hotel... what signs!?!? We went to departures and found nothing, had to turn back twice and eventually made our way down a dodgy-looking service road that actually led to hotel.
Now, I've stayed in some poor and cheap hotels before, but the Spa really takes the biscuit. It's a one-floor craphole that looks as attractive and basic from the outside as the town of Middlesbrough in general (another place I wasn't impressed with). Inside the hotel is fairly run-down and could do with being bulldozed or burned to the ground - leaving a smouldering pile of rubble would be an improvement over what's currently there.
The rooms are of a decent size and seemed relatively clean... if you ignore the large frequent stains on the carpet. The room had a double bed and a 12-inch TV that looked as though it had been recovered from the local tip. The lock on the door was decidedly dodgy and I never felt 100% confident that we'd return to find our belongings still there - a feeling I became accustomed to for the 24 hours I was in the north east!
To be fair, the bathroom was adequate... if you don't require hot water! The shower was powerful enough, but was obviously plumbed incorrectly - hot was cold and cold was hot! After my shower, I needed a shave only to find that at the sink the cold tap was cold and hot tap was helpfully cold as well!
We were woken several times during the night by noisy guests getting up to catch their early flights - I know this is a possibility at all airport hotels, but the walls at the Spa seemed to be paper thin. It did give you a good chance to earwig into people conversations though - one couple split-up in the middle of the night and the guy went to stay at another hotel - very entertaining!
The morning's breakfast was... well, basic to say the least. There were about 5 different cereals to choose from, complete with lukewarm milk! A toaster was the only other option for food - continental it certainly wasn't!
I feel I must make a special point about the staff at the Spa who were mostly helpful, but looked as though they'd been taken from the local council estate and been asked to dress-down for work. They blended-in with the other (local) guests and I couldn't tell who was staying at the hotel and who was actually running it!
On the plus side... it's cheap(ish) at £32.50/night. You are supposed to pay £4.50 to park your car as well, although we seemed to get away without paying this fee!