Last year we were living in Essex and we took a holiday in Pencelli, Wales. It is a very long drive and not one that you really want to do in one go. We decided to have a stop over on the way back at Cheltenham Travelodge. Not because we wanted to visit there, just because it seemed a good point in the journey for a stop and they had a budget room available when we were looking to book.
We booked a double room for just £26, a bargain you have to agree.
The hotel itself is on a very busy roundabout and was very easy to find, we had no problem getting there but we did have a print out of directions which meant we couldn't really go wrong.
There was plenty of parking and we even managed to park under a tree so that the car wouldn't be hot the next day when we left.
We tuned up just after 3pm and found a large queue to check in and had to stand and wait for about half an hour to get checked in. not ideal, especially when it is really hot and you are suffering from heat stroke as I was.
We went up to our room that was the usual basic Travelodge style you expect. A comfy bed and a small clean bathroom. Nothing there to complain about. The mirror doesn't steam up when you have a shower, I wish I knew how they did that! This room was a shower only bathroom, some Travelodge rooms we have had have had showers over baths.
As soon as we walked in the heat was overwhelming. The window had been left shut and the air was still and so hot.
We opened the window and lay on the bed. I went to sleep for an hour as well as getting some water into myself to try and get over the heatstroke. My other half watched Crocodile Dundee on the TV, which he found hard to get to work it wasn't easy at all. (Can you tell there was nothing on that day?!)
The heat in our room just wouldn't budge, the window only opened about three inches, there was a safety lock on it, we were on the first floor and it must be there to stop people jumping out. You expect that kind of security in a family room but not in a double.
We thought that the room would cool down when it did outside later on in the evening.
We went down to the restaurant next door, a Brewers Fayre. It was rather busy and loud. I wasn't exactly feeling well so I would have preferred somewhere quite but it was a nice place, clean and the staff were polite.
I had some scampi and my other half had a meal he still raves about, tagliettelle. A nice evening.
We went back to our room and even though the temperature had dropped considerably outside, our room was still unbearable!
We went down to reception and asked for the security lock to be undone, we were told he didn't have the key only the manager did and she was at home. We were very unhappy with the response and asked him to ring her, as it was not possible to sleep in that heat. He refused. He told us that there had been a lot of complaints over the few days leading up to our stay. He also complained that reception was too hot for him, to us it felt fine but we were comparing it to our oven of a room.
We sat outside for a while not knowing what to do.
We went back to our room with no other option. Every half an hour we were taking it in turns to have cold showers, by cold I mean as cold as the shower would go. It was that hot that a cold shower was your only relief. Neither of us wanted to get out of the shower once we were in there.
Even lying still on the bed naked (I know, too much information but necessary to demonstrate how hot it was) it was still unbearable. We were sweating all over just laying there. Where the window didn't open enough there was no air circulation at all.
It was unbearable! I have never been that hot before or since and don't plan to be either!
Where the hotel is on a busy roundabout had we not been able to sleep anyway the traffic would have disturbed us a lot. If we had gone in the winter and not needed the window open at all the traffic wouldn't have bothered us, as the rooms are double-glazed.
We checked out very early just so we could escape the heat. We waited until the manager got there and complained. She was rather rude and unhelpful. Her attitude was basically you used the room last night so why are you complaining now? We had no choice other than to stay there, as we couldn't go anywhere when my other half had drunk a few pints, so was unable to drive. She said they were planning to get fans for the rooms the following week but how was that going to help us?
We were advised to complain to Travelodge in writing but we just didn't in the end, we couldn't be bothered but we should have done because the standards you expect from any hotel no matter how cheap were not met. Not being able to open the window ruined our night and made our stay hell.
We now do not stay at a Travelodge without taking a fan with us just in case. We go away again in a few days to a Travelodge and the fan is primed and ready.
Do I recommend this Travelodge? That is a hard question, we had a very bad experience because of the heat and the fact that the staff hadn't planned for such eventualities even though the heat had lasted several days and they had recieved complaints before. If it hadn't been for the heat the stay would have been ok.
I am going to say that I do recommend this hotel but if it is likely to be warm take a fan with you and if your window doesn't open fully don't expect the room to cool down when it does outside, ask straight away for it to be unlocked. The rooms were clean and comfortable which is all you really need.
This hasn't put us off of using Travelodge hotels in future but we make sure that we are better prepared. That said we will not be staying at this hotel again.
Although I do recommend this hotel I am giving it just one star(I'd give none if I could!), sounds very strange I know but I am basing my recommendation on the fact that our experience wont happen to others if the take my advice of taking a fan if it is likely to be warm and my star rating on my experience which was hellish!
If you book online you can find very cheap rooms that are in some cases £15 or £26, for these offers you need to book well in advance because as you would expect those rooms get booked very quickly. You can actually book up to one year in advance.
If you book online you pay at the time and they are non-refundable. It looks like the basic room rate without the offer is £50 on the site, if you just turn up and are lucky enough for them to have a room available it may be slightly more. I cannot see any rates for single rooms on the site, if you are interested the Travelodge number is below.
Travelodge website is excellent and you can easily find rooms in specific hotels or close to where you want to go. www.travelodge.co.uk
Golden Valley Roundabout, Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6TA.
Tel: 0870 191 1701
Fax: 01242 241 748
The journey back from St Ives in Cornwall is a long one, especially with two children under the age of 5. Because of this we like to split the travelling up into to two shorter sessions with a stopover. Previously we have stopped in Weston-Super-Mare as this is about halfway for us. However I was only interested in taking advantage of the Travelodge internet offer of £26 rooms and therefore choice was more limited.
Finding £26 per night rooms on the Travelodge website has recently become a lot easier as you can now search for rooms in a particular location and it will list the nearest Travelodges and show which ones have £26 rooms available on the date of your choice. If you're willing to be flexible, you can get a great deal, especially as they have now added £10 rooms to their internet rates, the current offer running until December 2005 to be booked at least 14 days in advance. Remember, the rate is for the room, not per person so it works out to be incredibly cheap. Also it is for room only, although a takeaway continental style breakfast can be purchased at Reception at check-in for approx £4 per meal to be delivered to your room between 5am and 7am and a lot of Travelodges are situated at service stations or next to restaurants so food availability of some kind is usually very good.
£26 and £10 rooms will not be refunded if cancelled, however, if paying the full price which at Cheltenham was £52, then you are able to cancel bookings up to 4pm on the day of arrival and receive a full refund. Check in is after 3pm and the room had guaranteed late arrival so we were able to check-in as late as we wanted.
The first place coming north up the M5 that we could stay for £26 was in Cheltenham. The Travelodge is incredibly easy to find located just off Junction 11 of the M5 and following the A40 into Cheltenham. The hotel is on the first roundabout you come to. It really couldn't be easier.
All Travelodges accept up to 2 domestic pets in the rooms at an extra cost of £10 per pet and most hotels have internet access from the rooms for those travellers with a laptop. As I don't have a laptop I couldn't tell you if Cheltenham does or doesn't have internet access or how fast the connection is. If this is important to you a quick phone call to the helpdesk on 0870 191 1600 should sort any queries.
First impressions of the hotel were good. It is quite a grand looking building from the front, not at all like your usual motel style Travelodge. The car park was well signposted and round the back there was ample free parking. The entrance to the Travelodge is situated off the car park so there is no need to be carting luggage round to the front of the hotel.
The Reception area was brightly lit and welcoming, if a little bare. A couple of vending machines, a map of the country showing all the Travelodges and a small armchair was all that greeted us.
Check-in itself could also have been quicker. Even though we arrived at 10.45pm with two tired children in tow, another couple had arrived just before us and were being served. The computer seemed to be running slowly that night and with only one member of staff on duty we had to wait about 10 minutes before being served. Our actual check-in was less painful. I had already paid for the room when I had booked through the website so my booking was confirmed on the computer and I was handed the key card to enter the room. Payment for rooms is required at check in if you don't book through the website or you book a standard rate room. This enables checking out to be a case of dropping your key in the box on Reception and leaving the hotel. Also if paying for your room by cash you will need a form of photo ID so paying by debit or credit card might be less hassle.
The member of staff was polite and efficient and gave us directions to our room which happened to be on the first floor. Modern lifts were available as well as stair access to the first floor and you actually have to use your key card to access the stairs - a nice security touch I thought.
I had booked a family room on the website which sleeps a maximum of 2 adults, 2 children (under 16) and an infant (under 2). Having a child not yet in a bed, I do need a travel cot when staying somewhere. We usually take our own travel cot with us just in case of emergencies but I do think this is one area booking through the Travelodge website could be improved.
When booking a family room with Premier Travel Inn, it automatically asks if you would like a cot. Say yes and a cot will be put in your room for your arrival. Unfortunately the Travelodge website has no such option so you have to ask for one when you arrive. Of course, there is then the obvious wait while the member of staff on duty hunts for a cot and brings it to your room and also the risk that all travel cots may be in use. I was told I'd have one in 10 minutes.
20 minutes later no cot had arrived and I had a 4 year old and 1 year old bounding round the room at 11.15pm! I just wanted them to get to bed but without the cot to put the younger one in, there was no hope. I went back down to Reception where the member of staff apologised and went to get me one straightaway - she had forgotten! Finally at around 11.30pm we finally had both boys in bed but this was 45 minutes after we had arrived and I think service could have been better in the area.
The room itself was basic but clean and comfortable. To be honest if you've stayed in one Travelodge then you've stayed in them all. They all have identical layout and décor, including blackout curtains which are excellent to calm down young children who are still awake way past their bedtime and also useful for a bit of a lie in, in the morning. No early sunrise gets through these curtains and disturbs you from your slumber.
The en-suite bathroom was situated on the immediate left and consisted of a toilet, sink, bath and overhead shower. The shower was actually quite impressive and gave a good blast of water instead of a mere trickle that can sometimes be found in these places. Directly opposite the bathroom was a hanging space for clothes and a few deep shelves most of which contained extra pillows and duvets. There were also tea and coffee making facilities, a remote controlled television and a direct dial telephone which annoyingly you couldn't phone down to Reception from which is why I actually had to go down myself to enquire about the whereabouts of the travel cot. The room was not huge but housed the main double bed, a sofa with pullout bed underneath and the travel cot comfortably. There are also bedside lights by each side of the double bed.
Another niggle I had though was that at around midnight we were disturbed by other guests. The walls were not exactly soundproof and even the quietest of conversations could be heard, except these particular guests weren't being particularly quiet and spent about 20 minutes banging doors, shouting to one another and had obviously just come back after a night out. If I had been on my own or just with my husband I could have put up with this slightly more but when they woke Jon who had struggled to get off to sleep as it was, I was not happy. Our headboard also shook as people walked past the room! I know noisy guests are not directly the fault of the Travelodge but if I had specific family rooms then I would make sure that they were altogether and that families were staying in them so as not to be disturbed by other guests and so that children could not disturb customers staying there without children. Just a thought.
I personally found the bed to be slightly on the soft side although not too uncomfortable, just different to what I'm used to. But all in all we had a comfortable and good nights sleep after the noise stopped.
Check out was by 12pm which gave plenty of time for a cooked breakfast at the Brewers Fayre next door. There was no indication about how much the breakfast would cost but we paid £14.89 for 2 Full English Breakfasts, a bowl of Rice Crispies, a bowl of Weetabix and all the toast, muffins and bagels we could eat and as much tea, coffee and fruit juice we wanted to drink so I found that to be good value.
As a quick stopover I found the Cheltenham Travelodge to be satisfactory for our needs even with the slight annoyances. If I wanted to visit the area again, I would certainly have no worries about staying there so long as it was at the cheaper internet prices. That's not a reflection on the Travelodge itself, I just wouldn't pay the full price for any Travelodge knowing I could probably be staying in a different nearby location for half the price. The hotel is well placed for Cheltenham itself with regular buses running into the town centre and is situated 5 minutes away from the Park and Ride. Buses also run into Gloucester from near the hotel too.
Helpdesk: 0870 191 1600