Premier inn (Manchester North, Middleton)
After booking tickets for a concert in Manchester recently, we were in need of somewhere to stay overnight and I turned to Premier Inn as I had already secured some fairly cheap deals with them this year thanks to their regular offers when booking in advance. I always book hotel rooms online and when looking on the Premier Inn ... website I noticed they had a number of hotels to choose from in Manchester.
The concert we were attending was at the Phones 4u Arena (formerly the MEN Arena) and we were going to be driving over to Manchester from the North East, so we needed somewhere with a car park, but also didn't fancy having to drive right into the city centre. I am still haunted to this day by a memory of getting lost driving around Manchester a number of years ago and it wasn't something I fancied repeating anytime!
I really was looking at the location, wanting somewhere not too far away from the venue but also out of the city centre, not too far from the motorway and at a decent price.
My requirements led me to Premier Inn, Manchester North, which seemed to tick all the boxes. Ideally located for easy access to M60, M62 and M66 motorways, this hotel is also advertised as being well positioned for many of Manchester's attractions including Manchester city centre. It has free car parking on site and is adjacent to The Wilton pub/restaurant. Better still, the date I wanted was available at just £29 saver rate (which means you must pay when booking and cannot amend or cancel) which I thought was a fantastic price for a Saturday night! The night before was also available at £29 too and so we thought we would book for two nights as it was so cheap and also it was my birthday weekend so it would be an extra treat.
Premier Inn Manchester North is situated on Manchester Old Road in Middleton. A quick look on Google maps showed this hotel to be very near to the M60 motorway and our journey would consist of crossing over to the west on the M62 and joining the M60 for a couple of minutes before exiting onto the A576 to Middleton. Go straight through some lights the directions stated and the hotel is behind the Wilton pub.
It was indeed very straightforward which is exactly what we wanted and the only slight problem we had was when we found ourselves accidentally in the wrong lane coming off the motorway, which was down to very poor ( and late!) road markings, but fortunately the road wasn't too busy at the time and we were able to get into the right lane. After this, the hotel was just a couple of minutes drive from the junction. We drove into the spacious car park, noticing it was well protected with a number of security cameras and found a space opposite the main entrance.
On first impressions, this hotel looked a little shabby from the outside, as did the pub/restaurant, but to be fair both buildings looked quite old, especially the pub and after all it is what is inside which counts and I had no doubt in my mind that the hotel would not be clean and comfortable, as I have came to expect a good standard from this chain based upon my experiences.
On walking into the Reception area, I thought it seemed a little dark and dingy, there is a lot of mahogany wood around on all the doors, skirting boards etc which makes the hotel reception areas and corridors appear dark too and overall the hotel has an 'old' feel to it as you step inside and not as airy, bright and modern as some hotels in the Premier Inn chain.
The woman on reception greeted us warmly and apologised admitting she didn't usually work on reception but she still managed to book us in without any problems and gave us a keycard to access our room up on the second floor. The keycard is also needed to gain access through a door from reception to the rooms, which is another good security measure I feel. Check-in time was 2pm, we had arrived just after this and our room was ready.
I didn't notice a lift, nor did she mention there was one, but we were fine using the stairs. I would advise checking there is a lift at this hotel though if stairs are an issue as we had a couple of flights to walk up to our room.
Despite having a dark look and feel overall, this hotel was very clean and the same goes for our room. On opening the door, our room appeared quite dark which was not only due to the window not being very big but also because there were some large trees right outside which block the light. Apart from this, the room was very spacious with a large double bed and open and closed wardrobe space which you don't normally find in Premier Inns. There was the usual workspace, tv, hairdryer, kettle, cups, glasses and sachets of tea and coffee etc. There were bedside lamps and lights over the workspace which made the room look quite cosy when switched on.
The bathroom appeared a little dated compared to some but it was spotlessly clean with adequate lighting and fluffy white towels. There was one large bath towel and one hand towel per person and shower gel and soap were provided via dispensers on the wall, but I always prefer to take my own toiletries anyway. You can also buy kits from reception should you have forgotten some other toiletry item. There is a bath with an overhead shower and although we did not use the bath we found the shower to be very powerful and refreshing and there was always plenty of hot water.
I did notice there wasn't much toilet roll in the bathroom and mentioned this to reception on our way out a little later. She apologised and when we returned we found two toilet rolls had been left in our room.
Overall, the room was very clean and comfortable and I must give special mention to beds at Premier Inn hotels as I always find them extremely comfortable and I love the selection of pillows you are given also.
After settling in, we went across to The Wilton pub for a drink and something to eat. I wasn't too impressed when walking in as it appears quite dark and dingy too and the only customers were some men propping up the bar. However, there is a separate restaurant area which I preferred to the main bar area and the meals which are typical 'pub grub' were ok and reasonably priced at two for £10. More customers arrived for meals whilst we were there and there seemed to be a lot of locals who regularly drink there too.
After returning to our room we settled down for the night and I can confirm the bed was just as comfortable as expected and looked forward to a good night's sleep.
Just after 1am we heard a group of girls outside in the corridor and it seemed some of them were entering the room adjacent to us. We could hear them talking but once they had gone into their rooms it was only muffled voices we heard and not enough to keep us awake. However, some of them began going in and out of the room next door and across to another room knocking on the door. The knocking was ignored at first and they persisted knocking until some lads opened the door and they began having a conversation and laughing and giggling in the corridor. To the boys credit, I heard them saying to the girls to go back to their room as they were going to wake people up and that they weren't letting them in. The girls persisted however, knocking and shouting through the door and we just got the feeling that maybe we weren't going to have a good night's sleep after all. My partner got up to go and have a word with them to be quiet, but it appeared someone else just beat him to it as we heard a voice from further along the corridor asking them to be quiet. The girls went back to their rooms and it all fell quiet shortly after and we managed a good night's sleep after all.
I thought maybe the next night would be similar as it was a Saturday night and there appeared to be a number of young people at the hotel, but it was surprsingly quiet. We returned to our hotel via taxi after the concert around 11pm and a number of people were just leaving, ready for a night out it seemed, but we were not disturbed at all despite expecting to be woken at whatever time they returned.
We got a taxi direct to the arena from the hotel and this took around 10-15 mins costing around £10 each way which I felt wasn't bad at all. The guy on reception on the second night advised us about taxis and kindly booked us one. I found all the staff we encountered to be friendly and helpful.
You can book to have breakfast at the adjacent Wilton pub, but we declined this. We did go in and have a coffee though before we left to drive home and I can confirm they serve a very nice latte!
Overall, in terms of the price we paid this hotel was excellent value for money and was clean and comfortable. I would stay here again if I ever need to be in Manchester and could get it at a low rate as it suited our needs, although you need to bear in mind it could be a little noisy at weekends. My only niggles were the dark feel to the hotel overall, it would benefit from having the dark wood removed or painted and also some of the rooms are quite dark with small windows and trees blocking light, however once it is dark and you have the curtains closed and lamps on, they are very cosy.
I am happy to recommend Premier Inn Manchester North, especially if you can get a room as cheap as I did as then it really is a bargain.
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We'd already booked a holiday up near Penrith, but decided that we'd like an extra day up there to go and explore a bit more of the Lake District before we met up with our friends for our main holiday. So I was looking round the internet for a cheap hotel for the night. I came across the Travelodge Penrith which for us was ideally ... situated just a few miles from where we needed to be and at only £49 for the night, seemed a reasonable price to pay.
The booking process was very straight forward I simply typed in the date I wanted to stay, the number of people, the number of rooms I wanted on the Travelodge website and it came up with a list of hotels in the area that I could choose from. I chose the Penrith one. It then gave me the option to add on "box breakfast" for an additional £4.95 per person if I wanted to. This looked like an airline breakfast box with juice and a muffin, which I declined as there's a Little Chef next door to the hotel which sells breakfast, which I have to say are quite tasty. Once I'd made my payment I was sent an email confirmation through with the booking reference number on. Simple.
When we got to the hotel, which is really easy to find, it's on the A66 just off junction 40 of the M6, set slightly back from the road, but there is a large sign so you can't reall miss it. If you do you have to go to the next roundabout, go all the way round that and back to the motorway roundabout and go all the way round that as well as the A66 at that point is a dual carriage way with no crossing point. It's about 2 miles outside Penrith. Check in was really swift, I was simply asked for my surname and the first line of my home address. I was then given a key, yes a proper key, none of those key card things which have a tendency to not work and told that our room was in the annex building. Now don't panic, you're not put miles away from the main hotel, it's simple that this hotel is split into two small buildings which are side by side but have different entrances. I pulled my car round to the annex and as it happens parked it outside our bedroom window. The building is two stories and has 14 rooms, we were on the ground floor right at the end of the corridor which meant that we didn't get anyone walking past our door. The staff at check in were very friendly.
The room its self was surprisingly spacious, there was a double bed, 2 chairs, a table/ dressing table attached to the wall which had the television on it and a large mirror over it. An open plan wardrobe with coat hangers on it and shelves. There was a small kettle, two mugs and a couple of plastic beakers and tea, coffee, sugar and milk so you could make yourself a drink. There was possibly enough room at the side of the bed to get another single bed in it or a cot it was that spacious. The room was clean and tidy and simply decorated in blue and white with a picture over the bed. Nothing special but just right for a couple of nights.
The bathroom was basic but had everything you need, a bath with a shower over it, a sink and a toilet, but again it was clean and tidy. However there were no toiletries like you get in most hotels, there was just a thin sliver of soap, which looked like it would disappear after just one use. But seeing as I'd got my own toiletries this didn't worry me. There wasn't a hairdryer either, which maybe a disadvantage for some, but I sometimes prefer to let my hair dry naturally anyway, so it wasn't for me.
The bed was very comfortable and the room surprisingly quite being as it was situated on a dual carriage way, the sound proofing definitely kept the noise out. The only thing we heard were the guests staying in the room above us, who had seemed to walk around rather heavily, but even that wasn't that loud. There were also plenty of lights in the room. Most hotels seem to put a light next to the bed and a couple in the ceiling, which don't seem to do much. This one had a light at either side of the bed, one near the door, one near the window and one either side of the mirror. This made the room very bright if you put them all one, but even with just a couple on, it was still brighter than some more expensive hotels that I've stayed in.
Check out was surprisingly simple, you just popped the key into the box by the door, there was no need to go back to the reception desk and hand it in.
We did have one small problem with the room, there were no towels in the bathroom and as there wasn't a telephone in the room my other half had to walk round to reception to get some. Not a big issue, it was soon retified and an apology given.
I'd definitely go back to this hotel again, it was clean and tidy, the staff were friendly and it's a great base for exploring the Lake District.
You can also take your pets with you. There is a £20 per pet extra charge to pay for the extra cleaning that they have to do to make sure that the room is fur free for the next guest, but if you can't bear to be parted from your beloved pet, it's a small price to pay.
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Holiday Inn (Walsall)
We have just returned from a few days away to visit Thomas Land. We booked a package deal through Caledonian Travel which entitled us to bus transport, two nights bed, breakfast and dinner and also our ticket to Drayton Manor and Thomas Land. The hotel that was included in our package was the Holiday Inn in Walsall. Our package deal cost ... £119 per adult and £99 per child. On the Saturday evening, the standard 'walk in' rate was £99.00 per room per night but you can get it cheaper by booking online in advance from around £63.00. Breakfast can be added for £10.00.
~Holiday Inn, Walsall~
20 Wolverhampton Road West
It is worth noting that there is a Holiday Inn Express across the other end of the motorway - don't confuse them! We arrived by bus and the driver was able to locate our hotel easily despite it being tucked behind some trees just off the M6. The hotel is located within a residential area in the outskirts of Walsall. It is in a good location to travel to Birmingham AIrport and other local attractions.
The hotel has 156 bedrooms and is fully non smoking. There are three fully accesible bedrooms for those with wheelchairs, an executive wing and also standard bedrooms to accommodate up to 4 people in total. The hotel offers free carparking and coach spaces. There are 10 suites within the hotel for events and they also offer wedding packages. The hotel is set across two floors and there is no lift within the hotel so please keep this in mind if you have mobility issues. Other facilities include the J10 fitness suite and swimming pool, a bar, lounge area with Sky Sports, a gaming area and a restaurant serving food and snacks throughout the day. Guide dogs are welcome.
When our coach arrived at the hotel, the on duty supervisor came to greet us. As we had been travelling for 8 hours, we were all tired and desperate to get off the bus. We weren't pleased to be asked to remain on the bus and come forward when our names were called. It wasn't particularly well organised. We were given a key card and told when to expect breakfast and dinner. Check in is from 2pm. Check out is from 12pm but we were leaving around 9am so handed our key card in at the reception desk with no issues. A wedding event was being set up as we were leaving. Service was friendly.
The exterior of the hotel is nice enough and as we entered, we found the reception and lobby to be welcoming especially as they had a Christmas tree in the corner to promote their Christmas packages! The reception area is bright and airy and everything is well sign posted. The hotel is easy to navigate with the dining and lounge facilities being in one area and the rooms and fitness facilities being in a different area. There are a few vending machines in the lobby which weren't too expensive compared to a lot of other hotels. There are spacious and clean toilets near reception.
The carpets within the lobby areas could really do with a good scrub. The low lighting is possibly to stop you from noticing the dirt stains but it doesn't really work! We were on the top floor and noticed that the bannisters leading up to the rooms were a bit wobbly and not terribly safe. These issues need addressed. Aside from limited access to the first floor, the hotel is wheelchair friendly throughout. Aside from these issues, the interior of the hotel is nice. There is an outdoor seating area to the back of the hotel with picnic benches and a large lawn which looks well maintained. There is no bank machine in this hotel but they accept card payments.
We were travelling as a party of seven and requested two family rooms. We were given rooms 277 and 278 which were identical in layout but back to back. We found our room to be spacious and the decor to be neutral. The furnishings were nice enough and there was everything we needed to make our stay comfortable. We had a good sized, comfortable bed with immaculate sheets and a selection of both firm and soft pillows. I didn't personally sleep well due to feeling unwell but my fiance slept like a baby as did my sister in the next room. I was pleased to discover a double plug socket at the side of my bed for charging my mobile. Our son had a pull out sofa bed which was already assembled on our arrival. It didn't look particularly durable but my son was comfortable sleeping on for two nights and my nephews in the room next door had no issues with their sofa bed. It is fine for children.
Our room also had a long desk with a large flat screen television featuring an array of free channels and also pay per view channels. In the cupboard within the desk was a kettle, mugs and a lovely selection of teas and coffees. Our room also had a spacious wardrobe with hangers and a safe which was easy to operate and perfect for storing the DS consoles whilst we were out. A chair and small table were also included. There was a sufficient amount of lighting in the room which could be controlled with various switches. We were able to put our bedside lamps on whilst my son was sleeping with no issues. There were two good sized mirrors in the room too. Our room overlooked some trees and other rooms. The window sill could be doing with a paint in my opinion. The heavy curtains blocked out the light perfectly well. There were plenty of plug sockets within our room and also a hairdryer and bins. Wi-Fi is available within the rooms but is only free for members.
Our bathroom was reasonable in size and had some rather cool green LED lighting under the sink. This could be turned on without the need for the ceiling light and provide sufficient light for going to the bathroom during the night. The bathroom had plenty of space for toiletries and there was quite a number of towels available in different sizes and also a bath mat. We had a shower over the bath which was easy to control but not particularly powerful. There was plenty of warm water for us all to shower. Our bathroom was acceptably clean except for a little bit of blackness between the tiles. A cheap looking dispenser of soap wash was available but I personally preferred to use my own. You can request complimentary toiletries at reception if you have forgotten something. My sister received a toothbrush.
Overall, I would say our room was comfortable. We didn't spend a great deal of time in it except at night as we watched some TV before bed. The room has a temperature control unit which we found fiddly to use and quite noisy so we chose to open or close the windows to get the room to the right temperature. I found the room to be quite hot during the night and even thought the duvets weren't particularly thick, I preferred to kick them off. I did hear a slight murmur of flight traffic coming from overhead when the windows were open but no motorway noise which I was pleased about. The rooms appear to be well sound proofed and we didn't hear my sister and the kids or the other family in the next room either.
Sadly, my sister wasn't quite as pleased with her room. It was spacious enough for herself and the three children. She requested extra pillows which were promptly brought - that was fine. She called me in and asked me to have a look at her bathroom floor. Here, we discovered some rather unsightly 'extras' in the form of a few clumps of pubic hairs which hadn't been cleaned prior to my sister being offered this room. On our way out to the supermarket, my sister went to the main desk and complained. She informed them that she expected it to be clean by the time we got back. On our returned an hour later, the pubic hairs were still there and untouched so she had to complain for a second time. She was given complimentary drinks for herself and the children as way of apology and the mess was cleared. I know things can be overlooked but that is just gross! She also discovered a rather big blood stain on the chair in her room. The chair was removed but another was not brought as a replacement.
Rooms are serviced on a daily basis. Our beds were made, bins emptied, towels replenished and the tea tray replenished on a daily basis. They didn't move any of our stuff but the room was suitabled tidied to a good standard as was the bathroom. Bedsheets are changed less frequently so weren't changed during our stay.
Breakfast served from around 7.30 until 10am. Dinner was served from 6pm.
We dined here for breakfast and dinner each day in the Seasons Restaurant. Room service is available but we didn't use this option. The website states that guests have a choice of a specials or formal menu but this didn't seem to be the case on our visit as all guests were presented with a buffet selection. The dining area was nice enough but again, the carpet was dirty and we noticed food remaining on the floor from dinner the previous evening so it hadn't been cleaned properly. The tables are moved to suit different sized parties but on the second evening, we were given very limited space and were bumped by everyone trying to get past. This was mainly down to a function being held in one half of the restaurant (with partition doors to seperate) and wasn't particularly organised. The restaurant staff were friendly enough and quite to take plates away when finished.
The breakfast selection was excellent and well presented. There was a chiller with a lovely selection of fresh fruits including berries and pineapple along with yoghurts and whole fruits too. A wide variety of boxed cereals, fresh milk and dried berries could also be chosen alongside toast (you had to toast it yourself), croissants and pastries, jams and other spreads and a range of fruit juice. For those who wished to have a hot breakfast, you had a choice of egg, sausage, bacon (crispy too), beans, tomatoes and hash browns. There was no vegetarian sausages on offer. I found breakfast to be delicious and there was a fantastic selection. Everyone in our party was happy to fill up for the day and the hot food was piping hot and cooked thoroughly as well as being replenished on demand. On the last day, we managed to take a few bits for the journey home.
Dinner was good to. You aren't going to get top notch, restaurant food but there was something that would appeal to most and a varied selection. Vegetarians (that don't eat fish) may find the selection a little limited and I do feel the hotel could offer a bit more vegetarian options. The food changes each day. The chiller section offered a range of cold pasta dishes including tuna pasta and coronation pasta, coleslaw and other salady bits which were ideal as a starter. Everything tasted fresh and tasted good. On the first evening, I had some delicious soup though couldn't figure out what flavour it actually was. The second evening was a rich tomato soup which I very much enjoyed.
The main meals on offer were quite good and they catered for children too if they prefer plain food. My son is a really fussy eater and wouldn't eat anything but fries and bread rolls for two nights despite there being pizza, chicken, gourjons and fish fingers but the other children had a great selection on their plates. On the second evening, the chef prepared a pizza for my nephew on request which I thought was a kind touch. Service at the hot food varied between being self service and a chef being there to dish it up. I love a selection and enjoyed a bit of tasty fish with a bay leaf in it on the first evening, some potatoes, pasta bolonaise bake and a few other bits. Everything was delicious and full of flavour. On the second evening, there was a steak pie which was really nice and gammon with pineapple. I asked for a piece of chicken with bacon and cheese but found that it was a little undercooked so didn't eat it. Everyone in our party enjoyed the main meals and between us all, we managed to try nearly everything on offer. I certainly couldn't go hungry at this hotel.
The desserts were fantastic. We asked for plain ice cream for the children and they received a good sized portion each evening. On the first evening, there was a selection of fresh fruit salad, a meringue and cream type dessert, lemon cheesecake, torte and a few other bits. The lemon cheesecake was lush! On the second evening, I took a small portion of apple tart and cheesecake and both were delicious. I returned for a slither of the chocolate fudge cake on display and it was so moist and absolutely amazing! Drinks can be purchased from the adjoining bar which we opted for on the first evening and it was the last time we ordered from the bar. £9.00 for a Fruit Shoot, Pepsi Max and a bottle of beer - extortionate! On the second evening, us adults chose to make use of the complimentary water and took drinks in for the children. The bar is well stocked with beers, spirits and soft drinks but very expensive so be warned.
We made use of the other facilities on offer within the hotel. We found the lounge/bar area comfortable to sit in thanks to the large sofas on offer. There was a small games area with a pool table (£1.00 a game) which we made use of during our stay. My fiance, son and nephew made use of the pool on both evenings. The J10 fitness centre is open from 6.30/7.30am until 9/10pm each day and is accessible to all guests by obtaining a key card. The key cards are valid for 15 minutes from issue and you need to use them by this time or they don't work. I had a look in the changing area and found it to be clean enough. The gym was quite small with a few running machines and rowers. The indoor pool was 10m and had an adjoining jacuzzi which wasn't working. My fiance said that the pool was heated well and they enjoyed spending time in there for a few hours. It was quite popular with those on our coach party and also other guests. A sauna is also available. The facilities within this hotel are really good in my opinion.
The Holiday Inn in Walsall isn't perfect by a long stretch but it was fine for us for two nights. It appeared to be popular with families, couples and also business users. It does offer a good range of additional facilities and caters for events in a seperate area of the hotel. It is possible to pay extra to upgrade to a bigger room with seperate lounge area but we didn't have that option as we booked as part of a package deal. The hotel was comfortable for my family and I. Staff appeared to be friendly towards both adults and children and were happy to provide high chairs on request. It was accessible from the motorway and it took us around 30 minutes to get to Drayton Manor from this hotel which wasn't too bad. If we did choose to go back down, we would take this hotel as part of our package again but wouldn't book it if it wasn't part of a package as there are better hotels. I swayed between 3 and 4 stars as the main issues were only experienced by our own party whilst every other family had nothing but praise for the hotel. Hopefully the hotel will take the comments I submitted on board and continue to improve.
Thanks for reading :)
Further information can be found here : http://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/gb/en/walsall/bhxwa/hoteldetail
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