“ Address: Moto Service Area / M2 Motorway Junctions 4-5 / Rainham / Gillingham / ME8 8PQ / Tel: 0871 984 6198 „
Travelodge was originally the baby of Scott King who, back in 1939 introduced the brand and slowly integrated it into the UK in 1985. Employing nearly 5000 people, this brand is just a smidgen behind Premier Inn and Holiday Inn. I'm sure you've seen Sleepy Bear & his Sleepy Gang doing their bit for Travelodge, and that was what first enticed me to book a room with these napping bears. The level of TLC the adverts promoted made me feel, from the offset that this would be a good choice. We got a good deal for £39 per night, which was reasonable. The reason why it was so cheap was that it was non-refundable, and that was fair enough. In terms of locality (Medway M2) it was strategically well placed for access to the motorways (especially the M25). The hotel was placed directly off the M2 in Gillingham, which was ideal for my needs as I needed to be in Rochester in the morning (approximately a 10 minute journey). Building work was being carried out, which was mentioned on their website and they made sure the noise was kept to a minimum and not after 5PM. As we knew this prior to booking, I felt that they had at least given us all the information we needed. Considering how the hotel is situated next to a busy motorway, the noise levels weren't too bad. The windows more than adequately kept the noise out, and this enabled us to have an interruption free night of kip. The vending machine, as you'd expect was ridiculously priced but conveniently located at the entrance. The sole radiator in the room worked, although we didn't make use of it (for the purpose of this review we checked that it was functioning). The staff were friendly and hospitable. The bedding was fresh and adequate, with extra pillows and towels for your convenience. Right, I think i've exhausted the positive aspects of our stay, so now I will go over to the 'dark side' :- The first noticeable thing as soon as we walked into our room was that Bob The Builder had recently been in - the walls had areas where replastering had been done, in a shoddy manner and that was clearly visible. The walls themselves were so thin, that you could hear people having conversations, which was annoying. Luckily we didn't spend much time in the hotel. The bathroom was also in a state of disrepair. The mouldy, sickly smell hit me when i walked in - imagine driving past a sewer, and inadvertently falling in, the smell that would hit you comes close to how this impacted on me. There was congealed rust on the rails which was threatening to fall off straight onto my head whilst having a shower. The lavatory itself wasn't exactly anything to write home about either. The parking wasn't too clever either - you have to log in your car registration at the check in as they do not own the car park. You would automatically be posted a fine, should you forget to do this. Also, the spaces were not enough to accommodate a full hotel. Cars were literally strewn all over the place and made it awkward to leave or get in. Considering how we went in early June when it was 20 degrees, the lack of air circulation within the room was mind boggling. The windows only opened the tiniest amount, so there was a definite lack of air - fresh, or otherwise. I can't imagine what people have been going through these past few weeks! I've been to other budget hotels which have been equipped with some form of air circulation (even a desk top fan would have been adequate) and feel that they should pull their finger out and provide this in future. Now, onto the technology - the TV simply had 4 channels!!! I thought i'd gone through a time warp! Even the worst hotels have Channel 5 now! I struggled with this idea, but luckily we weren't staying for too long and my many channel world was not too far away :-). Would I recommend this hotel? For the price, as long as it's just a stop off point it's not too bad. If you're after a quality hotel with decent facilities, then don't go here! As their original statement of intent was to shun fancy frills, I can say for sure that they lived up to this! I consider this to be a 1 start hotel, and if you bear this in mind when you book you'll go in, eyes wide open. Thank you for reading.