“ Address: Moto Service Area, A1 / Old Craighall / Musselburgh / EH21 8RE / Tel: 0871 984 6138 „
Travelodge is a brand of hotels which I was quite familiar with a number of years ago and they were my first port of call when looking for a budget-priced room for a stop-over whilst travelling or for a weekend break away. I always found that whilst some of the hotels were better than others, they suited my needs and were fine for the price paid. However, after staying in a Premier Inn, Days Inn and Express by Holiday Inn, I quickly came to realise that these other hotel brands offered a higher standard of accomodation for a similar and sometimes even cheaper, amount of money. Because of this I came to prefer the other brands of hotels and therefore when I was looking for a reasonably priced hotel in Edinburgh recently for one night for myself and partner, it was not a Travelodge I booked. However, when at fairly short notice our plans changed slightly and we decided to travel to Edinburgh a day earlier than planned and so needed to book another night, I found the hotel we booked to stay at was fully booked and so we had to find an alternative. After searching online I discovered that the Travelodge in Musselburgh, Edinburgh was available on the date I needed and as it was only £29 for one night, I decided to book. ~~ Travelodge Musselburgh ~~ The hotel is situated at the Services area off the A1 at Old Craighall, Musselburgh and although we had never stayed at this hotel before, we did know where it was, as we have stopped off at the services on this site many times when visiting Scotland. I had always thought it looked nice enough from the outside and the site itself always seemed quieter than many other service areas. Adjacent to the hotel I recalled there was a Little Chef and a Burger King. Whilst I had no intentions of visiting Little Chef, due to bad past experiences, I thought Burger King would be handy. However, when we arrived, we were surprised to notice that the Little Chef and Burger King site was closed and boarded up. Although the outside of the hotel looked ok, because of the main building being closed, the area was looking a little run down. Travelodge do state on their website that the Little Chef has closed, but I had failed to notice this. It wouldn't have made any difference to my booking had I known, but it is beginning to look run down - a fact that may put people off staying here. It is possible to buy snacks and drinks from the petrol station located on another part of the site just up from the hotel and there is a vending machine inside the hotel selling crisps and chocolate. Failing that, there is an Asda about a mile up the road. The hotel is situated approx 3 miles from Musselburgh Racecourse and 7 miles from Edinburgh Castle. It was ideal for us as we would be driving into Edinburgh centre the next morning. ~~ Checking In ~~ I had booked and paid online for the room, therefore checking in was very quick. We arrived around 3pm and greeted warmly by the receptionist and given the key to our room. She reminded us that check out was at 12 noon the next day and that if we needed anything just to pop along to the desk. ~~ Our room ~~ Our room was located at the rear of the hotel overlooking trees. On opening the door, my first impressions were that the room looked a little 'tired'. It wasn't dirty, just looking shabby and in need of refurbishment. I instantly remembered why I prefer to stay in other hotels. The room was spacious enough with a double bed and large pull out sofa bed. The bed was made up with crisp white linen although there was only one pillow for each of us. Also in the room was a work space with an old CRT TV sat upon it. There was also hanging space and a kettle with a couple of sachets of coffee, sugar, milk and one teabag. The rooms do look sparse due to lack of a telephone, hairdryer etc, but overall I felt although it was clean, it looked drab and dull. The bathroom was equally tired-looking and dull. There was a small bath with overhead shower. No toiletries are provided but there was two large bath towels and two hand towels. Like the room itself, the bathroom was clean and there was certainly no evidence of mould or any chipped tiles. I decided to have a shower to freshen up and to be honest I was not expecting it to be anything special, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how powerful it was and there was plenty of hot water. I was aware there was no hairdryer so had taken my own, but I believe you are able to borrow one from reception if need be. I particularly liked the fact there is a sliding glass panel across the window in the room which keeps out any draughts or noise, but as it was a mild afternoon and evening we had the window open anyway, but I would imagine this would help in the colder months. Because it was mild, we had no need to use the wall mounted heater in the corner of the room. ~~ Our stay ~~ We were thinking of driving along to Asda when we decided to ask the receptionist if she had any takeaway menus instead as we were feeling tired after driving up from Newcastle and didn't really want to go out again. She was very helpful and gave us four different takeaway menus, stating that they all would deliver to the Travelodge. We decided to order some food from a local takeaway and not long after phoning our order in, there was a knock on the door and our takeaway had arrived. The bed was comfortable enough, although it seemed to dip slightly in the middle. Overall I'd say whilst the bed was nothing special, I have slept in far worse! The black out curtains did a grand job at keeping out the light. There was no noise in the hotel although there were a few other guests staying and we were not disturbed at all during our stay. Of course, with the Little Chef being closed there is nowhere to go for breakfast, but like I said earlier, this does not bother me as I would not visit Little Chef anyway. I am aware that Travelodge offer a breakfast bag for £4.50 which again does not appeal to me as they usually consist of a cornflake twinpot, muffin, fruit and juice or similar and I think they are overpriced for what you receive. So we did without and ate in Edinburgh instead a little while later. On checking out it was a different receptionist and whilst she gave me a friendly smile and said goodbye she didn't ask if everything had been ok, which surprised me as that is something I expect to be asked. Overall, for £29 I think I cannot complain really. The hotel and the room was very clean but it is in need of refurbishment. The fact that the adjacent restaurant site has closed and is boarded up limits the appeal of this hotel from the outside and I wonder if this will affect the Travelodge as it is beginning to look run down and could deteriorate further if nothing is done. I would stay here again for convenience if I needed to, but only if it was a £19- £29 rate. I certainly would not pay the usual rate of 'from £59.85' per night, as for that money there is much better alternatives available.