“ Address: Oxthorn House / 60 Oxford Road / Reading RG1 7LT / Berkshire „
Earlier this year I was invited to a friend's housewarming party in Twyford, Berkshire, the invite also extended to being able to stay over on her floor with our sleeping bags. Deciding we were too old for sleeping on the floor, my boyfriend and I decided to look for a nearby hotel to stay the night. As it was to be one night in mid-January we were not too fussed about facilities and wanted somewhere cheap. Although there was a local B & B/Guest House type place round the corner from her, it was £65 a night. I happened to spot the Travelodge in Central Reading for the bargain basement price of £39.95. As my friend was near Twyford station which was approx 5mins by train from Reading station (near where this hotel was), we plumped for that option.
Booking online was swift and painfree. They do have a number of additional options on their website which made me think I was somehow booking a Ryanair flight and was going to find a lot of hidden surcharges.
The extras included:
Room cancellation insurance (£1.50)
A breakfast bag of cereal with milk, croissant, muffin and fruit juice (£4.05)
Early check in or late check out (£10 each)
Wi-fi (from £5 per hour up to £30 for a month)
SMS confirmation (15p)
Domestic pet (from £20 - guide/hearing dogs exempt)
We didn't go with any of these, so just paid the £39.95. There is a £2 surcharge for credit cards (debit cards free) but when I put in my AmEx details I was informed that I would have to pay on arrival. However when I got there, the receptionist didn't add on any surcharge.
Travelodge Central Reading is on Oxford Road, and should not be confused with Travelodge Oxford Road. Just to add to the confusion I think there are two Oxford Roads as well. I printed off the map and directions from the website and it looked really straight forward. I printed off another central Reading map from another source for a more detailed perspective in case that was helpful. It wasn't. It took us and hour and twenty minutes driving to Reading and a further hour and twenty minutes to find the hotel. Somewhere we went wrong and got lost driving round the streets of Reading in their one way system. At one point we spotted the lodge but couldn't get to it, it was very frustrating and we were both slightly grumpy by the time we got there. They are not big fans of adequate signage in Reading.
The receptionist who greeted us was very helpful and directed us to the car park a few streets away in strongly, accented English. Although I found her hard to understand at times, her manner was polite and friendly and her directions accurate (which we needed!). The car park was off-site and was situated a couple of streets away. Called the Q Park, Travelodge guests get a special voucher entitling them to £2 parking if parking between 3pm and 10am, and £8 for up to 24 hours. It took just 5 minutes to walk back to the hotel.
We were assigned a room on the third floor. It was clean and compact and quite bare. Apart from the double bed with clean, white bedding, there were two bedside tables (more a box shaped shelf) with reading lamps, which frustratingly, were controlled by the same switch so they both had to be on or off - not great if only one of you wants to sit up reading. There was a small TV with remote control which only had one battery in the back. This rested on an open desk/shelf unit which also had tea/coffee making facilities and a small mirror. The wardrobe was also open, with no door, and those fiddly hangers where the 'hook' remains attached to the rail so that when you try and put the hanger back you have to jiggle it about for ages before giving up and leaving your stuff on the floor. I suppose one advantage of having open cupboard and shelf space is that you don't leave anything behind as everything is always in sight. The bath room was compact with shower, WC and basin. Towels were provided, but no bath mat so one of the hand towels was reassigned that role.
When we left to go out for the evening, we asked for directions to that station and the same receptionist was helpful and accurate in her directions. It took about 7 minutes to walk there. You are right by the shops of Central Reading in this location - all the big store groups like Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Debenhams are represented and just minutes walk away. We weren't really looking for restaurants or pubs and bars, but I would think there were a few round here. We did spot three Burger King Branches just on our walk to the station alone if you got desperate! There is also an ATM outside the Travelodge but it does charge - walk two minutes towards the town centre and you have all the usual banks present with ATMs.
There is no breakfast on site, just a breakfast bag that can be ordered when you book and is left outside you room, which we decided against. Check out is normally 12 noon, but preferring to pay £2 instead of £8 for the car park, we checked out earlier, collected our voucher from reception and headed to pick up the car, before driving round Reading for a further 15 minutes vainly hoping to see a sign for the M4 and find our way out.
Overall we had a reasonable night's sleep. The bed was comfortable and the room adequate for our needs for one night. There was some traffic noise outside though as there was a major road right by the hotel. I would have though they could have put in double-glazed windows however to minimise this. Our room overlooked another hotel opposite, but the windows didn't open for our own safety (or so it claimed). I would recommend this establishment if you want a convenient one night stay centrally in Reading and are prepared to put up with a certain amount of traffic noise. You have no facilities to speak of, just a small, clean basic room in which to sleep. If you can't or don't want to splurge on something a little nicer than this will tick the boxes. Please note that prices seem to vary depending on how busy the hotel is, and how late you book. We booked only three days before, so potential bargains await the organised amongst us.