“ Address: Forster Street / Quayside / Newcastle NE1 2NH / United Kingdom / Tel: 0871 984 6164 „
Attending a concert in the centre of Newcastle recently with friends, is what led us to us booking rooms at the Newcastle Central Travelodge. Although I live in the area, some friends were travelling from other parts of the country and therefore needed to stay overnight, so I decided that I also would book a room for myself and partner and make a night of it.
At the time of booking there was a Travelodge sale on the website with rooms available at their hotels from just £10 per night and we managed to secure a number of rooms at just £12 per night. At this price, it was cheaper for myself and partner personally to stay over than pay for a taxi home and my friends were also delighted to secure rooms at this bargain price.
Usual room rates vary, but you can expect to pay over £80 per night at weekends for a room at this hotel as many people visit the city for a night.
We were staying midweek and usual rates seems to be around £45, although again this can vary.
The Travelodge is ideally situated near the Quayside area of Newcastle, which is literally a two minute walk from the hotel, indeed you can see the Tyne Bridge from the windows of some of the rooms.
The hotel is huge and consists of the main building and an annexe which is accessed via an enclosed glass tunnel. It is certainly the largest Travelodge I have ever stayed in.
We took our car to the hotel as car-parking is provided under the hotel, however there is a £5 charge for 24 hours.
Friends of ours were arriving at Newcastle train station, which is a couple of minutes drive away from the hotel round the one-way system and they all paid around £4 for a taxi from the station to the hotel, therefore it is very centrally located and easily accessible.
We arrived at the hotel around 1.30pm in order to meet our friends. I knew the hotel had a bar so we would be able to have a drink until check-in at 3pm.
As you walk in to the hotel there is a large area with sofas, chairs and coffee tables where you can sit and relax with wall mounted TV's on the walls. Beyond this is the bar area and this is where breakfast is also served on a morning. We didn't book a breakfast, although one of our friends did and received a £1 discount on the price, paying around £5.65 for a buffet style breakfast. It is worth mentioning that up to two children eat free with every adult breakfast purchased.
We headed to the bar area and a member of staff came over to serve us, she mentioned that we would be able to check-in from 2.30pm using the automatic check-in machines which are located in the reception area.
By 2.30pm all our friends had arrived and we decided to check-in, get cleaned up and meet back in the bar area before leaving to go and meet up with others at a nearby pub, so we headed over to the check-in machines. They were quite easy to use, you simply enter your confirmation number, or if like me you forget to take it with you, just entering your postcode and name will suffice. The machine then gives you a slip of paper with your room number on it and a plastic keycard to gain entry to your room.
There was a very helpful staff member on hand, who helped us all with the check-in process and when there was a problem with my friend's check-in as her room wasn't ready, he said he would simply move her to another room. It was at this point that a female staff member who appeared to be in charge curtly told him he couldn't do this and to ring housekeeping and find out what was wrong. I felt a little sorry for him as he was very friendly and helpful and her manner was quite surly we thought.
After a couple of minutes my friend received her keycard and we headed off to our rooms. We were directed through some double doors, however the doors would not open and just as a member of our party went to tell the staff, we noticed a keycard slot on the wall and stuck our card in it. The doors opened just as our friend was returning with the woman from reception, who said "so the doors are not broken then?" We apologised but pointed out that there wasn't a notice on the wall about inserting your keycard into the slot and nobody had mentioned it to us. Indeed we witnessed other guests having the same problem as they arrived.
One of my friend's rooms was located quite near the doors and she discovered her keycard wasn't working, so it was back to reception again and the same woman came along and eventually decided she would have to allocate my friend another room.
Our room was on the ground floor but raised above street level, although you do not need to use the lifts or stairs. The room was located along a couple of long corridors and through the tunnel to the annexe. Fortunately our keycard worked ok and my first thoughts on entering our room was that is was fairly small and dingy.
To the right was the bathroom which I have to say was spotless. There was no bath but the powerful shower was fine for us. No toiletries are provided, but there was one of those small bars of guest soap. The towels provided were clean but on the thin side and three pillows were provided for the double bed. We wanted four and so had to ask at reception for another.
The bed linen was spotlessly clean too, but the room itself although clean enough, wasn't really impressive. It was small and the small window didn't allow much light in and we didn't have a room with a view of the bridge, just a brick wall, which was also probably blocking the light.
Nevermind, I thought to myself, we weren't going to be spending any time in the room anyway, other than to sleep.
There was a stain on the carpet and some scuff marks on the walls, a small CRT tv stood on the workspace, along with a kettle, cups and sachets of coffee and tea etc. Clothes could be hung up in the open hanging space.
After showering we joined our friends back in the bar area before leaving to visit a pub prior to the concert and we discovered that our friends all had better rooms than ours with nice views of the Tyne Bridge. I went to have a look at one of my friend's rooms and must say it was far nicer than ours as well as being larger and brighter.
Later that evening we all returned to the hotel and enjoyed a drink and chat in the bar before retiring to our rooms in the early hours. The hotel bar also serves meals but we got a takeaway delivered instead.
I would love to say I got a good night's sleep but I didn't. The bed dipped in the middle and the quilt was quite thin. The heating in the room was very warm, however, we made the mistake of opening the window a little, only to find we couldn't shut it again and there was some sort of generator whirring away outside. It was fairly noisy and this and the fact the bed was uncomfortable prevented me from sleeping.
The next morning I bought a coffee in the bar area which you pay for and then get it yourself from the machine. We met up with our friends again who also said they didn't find the beds very comfortable, but their rooms had been noise-free and they had slept better than I did. My friend who had paid for breakfast said it was ok as you could have as much as you wanted, but the cooked items were pretty average.
One of my friends had gone to the vending machine earlier for a bottle of water and found when she returned to her room the keycard wouldn't work and so she had to walk back to reception again where the female staff member from the previous day gave her another one. She commented that she wasn't keen on the female staff member's attitude and I must admit I tend to agree, as I had a problem locating a cup for my coffee and she seemed slightly annoyed when I asked for help, but all of our party agreed that the other staff we encountered were all helpful and friendly enough. To be fair, she did seem to have a lot to contend with as the hotel is so big, but that isn't the guest's problem.
When we returned to our room to pick up our stuff before leaving we also found our keycard did not work and had to go back to reception. Given the distance of many of the rooms from reception, this isn't really ideal.
Overall, I am not sure how to rate Newcastle Central Travelodge as I would stay there again if a similar situation arose, but only if it was cheap and I would try and get a better room than what we had. Because we paid only £12 for one night, we found it ok for that price, but had I paid £45 upwards I would not be as content and I certainly would not pay the weekend £80+ room rate to stay here, but plenty of people do of course.
If I'd had a better room I think I would have enjoyed my stay slightly more than I did, but overall this didn't spoil the enjoyment of my night out with friends.
Travelodge Newcastle Central Hotel
The Travelodge in Newcastle Central has the most beautiful location. Right by the river, on Quayside - you have views of the river Tyne and the magnificent Sage building from most windows. You can walk to almost every tourist attraction in a matter of minutes; this Travelodge should be one of the most perfect in the UK.
We arrived a little early for our 3pm check-in. Fighting our way through crowds of smoking young people in the entrance, we made our way to reception. The surly young receptionist growled at us that we were 15 minutes early and we would have to wait. Turning around we saw that many other guests were also waiting, drinking pints in the bar. Most of them had T-shirts with 'Groom', 'Best Man' and 'Groom's Dad' on the back. Looking at the young women smoking in the entrance, we noticed that they were all wearing tiaras and pink wings. Our hearts sank.
Eventually 3pm arrived. The surly young lady informed us that there was no key to our room. She didn't seem to have an explanation for this, but told us to go upstairs and wait. A man eventually appeared to let us in - but the key did not appear for the entire 2 days. We were let into our room time after time without having to produce ID, or proof that it was ours.
The first thing I did (as we were on the top floor) was to go to the window to see the view. I could barely see through the smears and greasy marks.
The double bed was nice and firm, but our son was sleeping on the pull out mattress underneath the sofa. On previous occasions this has already been made up for us, but not this time. He could clearly see the nasty brown stains on the mattress, and was not at all happy about sleeping there. The sofa itself had seen better days and was dingy and dirty.
The bathroom was clean and the shower was adequate. There were 2 towel sets for the 3 of us. There was no soap or shampoo, but luckily we had brought our own. A notice told me that a hairdryer was available at reception, but when I dripped my way downstairs I was curtly told "All Out".
The lift was broken for most of our stay. It had a nasty curling rubber floor in the lift, which smelt strongly of vomit. The staircase was in need of decoration, with holes in the wall that looked as if they had been kicked. Some of the holes were patched roughly with white plaster. The staircase too smelt of vomit.
The bar served alcoholic drinks and snacks. The furniture looked old and faded and I would not have liked to order a meal.
Breakfast was only served once I had presented my voucher to the grumpy waiter. My son ate for free, which was a nice perk, and my breakfast only cost £5.50 as I had booked online. We had to toast our own break in a broken 4-slice toaster that burned the bread at one end, and did nothing at the other end. A variety of mini cereals boxes were on offer, with a hot selection of mushrooms, scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon. The breakfast was adequate, and my only complaint was the orange juice which was strangely brown and foamy as it came out of the machine.
We caught the train to Newcastle, and the Travelodge was an easy walk from the station. Parking is available at a cost of £5 for 24 hours.
The website had the following warning : "Due to location of this hotel some exterior noise may be heard. Due to large groups at weekends some noise maybe above normal levels we apologise for any inconvenience."
I expected a fair amount of noise from the party people staying at the hotel, but was pleasantly surprised to have an almost undisturbed night's sleep. I'm not sure if it was thoughtful planning or luck that we were booked into a top floor room, but it sheltered us from any clubbing noise.
What I did find intolerable was the dirt, the attitude of the staff, and the general feeling of being run-down and uncared for. There were no special offers on this stay - no £19 room deals, and I expected the same standard of facilities that I have experienced at other Travelodge hotels. I was very disappointed.
When we finally checked out (we obviously had no key to hand in) the receptionist wasn't there, but a passing member of staff growled "you can just go now".
A fitting end to an unpleasant stay.