The Miller's Inn Arms (Canterbury, Kent)
~~~~~THE MILLERS ARMS, CANTERBURY, KENT~~~~~ ~~~THE REVIEWER'S TALE~~~ ~~IS THERE ANY ROOM AT THE INN?~~ I knew in advance the date of my son and his fiancée's graduation ceremony, which was to be held in the beautiful Canterbury Cathedral, ... but the actual times of the ceremony weren't sent announced until the date was drawing near.
My husband, myself and the graduands, decided we would like to stay the night in Canterbury after the ceremony. After all, this would be in January and there was a good chance that the weather conditions could be bad and so to save having to drive home in the dark, on possibly icy roads, we thought it would be prudent to book a room in the town. Also, this would mean we could enjoy a meal with my son's girlfriend's parents and my husband could enjoy a glass of champagne to toast the graduates and perhaps enjoy another drink or two as he wouldn't need to drive. The trouble was...we didn't know until near to the time of the ceremony that there would be so many students and their families filling up Canterbury. In fact, three graduation ceremonies were to take place on that day meaning that Canterbury would be a very busy place on this winter's day...and night. Because of this finding somewhere to stay on the Friday night of the graduation wasn't an easy task.
As my son had lived in this area for three years he knew which establishments were near to the cathedral. I have difficulty walking too far and so accommodation within close proximity to the cathedral was necessary. But little was available and our choice seemed to be very limited. We must have looked on-line at every hotel and bed and breakfast within a ten to fifteen minute walk from the cathedral. Very few had availability.
We ended up with a rather limited list of hotels and pubs/inns to phone and double check for vacancies. We crossed them off, one by one from our list, as we were told they were full. There really didn't seem to be any room at any of the inns in Canterbury for us. I was getting worried by now as we were looking forward to our night away. I was even considering asking a certain reviewing acquaintance, who lives in this area, if he had a spare sofa or two! We just hadn't anticipated quite how full Canterbury gets on graduation days.
But we had found one strong possibility when looking online and that was The Millers Arms Inn. My son remembered having a drink in here when he had a while to wait for his train at the nearby station of Canterbury. Although he hadn't seen the rooms he thought that the pub was of a good standard with a good clientele. We noticed online that there were a few rooms left.
I could have booked online through various sites or the Shepherd Neame website but as I wasn't sure about the parking here I preferred to telephone and ask for more information. So I did this and fortunately was told that two double rooms were available.
I gave details of my debit card which is standard when booking rooms and details were taken down. The rooms would cost £75 each which included full English breakfasts. As two of us don't eat meat we were pleased that a vegetarian breakfast was available. All necessary details were recorded and the booking process took no more than five minutes.
And so we were booked at last and all gave sighs of relief; we could now look forward to this momentous occasion, for us all.
~~ANY MORE ROOMS?~~
But then when full details of the actual ceremony arrived we found that the graduands had to arrive quite early in the day to obtain their hired gowns, mortar boards and to be in time to have professional photos taken at their former university. The ceremony itself was for two thirty p.m. When thinking about this I had a bright idea! Or not!
"Let's treat ourselves to two nights in Canterbury!Then we won't have to worry about getting caught in traffic on the Friday morning." Everyone thought this was a good idea and we felt that the night prior to the ceremony would be easier to find accommodation. But it seemed many others had the same idea as us and had planned to spend two nights in Canterbury. I again rang the Miller's Arms (and a few other places) asking for rooms for the night before the graduation but was told that they only had one room and it was the more expensive four poster room. Well, I only wanted a bed for the night plus a shower-nothing as fancy as this. We continued trying to find somewhere else for the Thursday night but without success.
Eventually we all decided that the best thing to do was for the younger couple to stay at another hotel for the first night, which was further away from the cathedral than the Millers Arms (but they are young and like to walk!) and my husband and I would see if the four poster room was still available. Fortunately, It was. The price for this room was £98 for one night with bed and breakfast. I asked for a discount and was given a small one. I was told that although we would have to change rooms on Friday morning, as the four poster room was booked, we could leave our luggage securely, if our new room wasn't ready when we had to leave for the ceremony.
~~THE INN ON THE MILL~~
Taken from the website: http://www.millerscanterbury.co.uk
'The Millers Arms was built in 1826 to serve local mill workers and overlooks the Cathedral and the site of the old mill on the causeway. The pub, which includes 11 en-suite rooms, has been fully refurbished with modern facilities while retaining its character.'
The inn is old and historical and as the rooms are named from Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' I feel the effect is even older. But then, Canterbury itself is full of history and for those receptive the past is evident in many a nook and cranny.
~~LOCATION OF THE INN~~
For our needs this was in a great location within easy walking distance to both the university and even nearer to the cathedral. Our car was able to have a nice rest in the car park for the time that we spent in Canterbury. Shops, pubs and restaurants were close by.
On arrival at The Miller's Arms we paid five pounds for a car park pass and were asked to sign a registration form. It was mid-afternoon and our room was ready for us. We explained that our son and his fiancée would arrive the following morning and would need to leave their luggage in this hotel early so to arrive at their graduation (before the check in time) as they would by then be checked out of the other hotel. We were assured that staff at The Millers Arms would try to get a room ready early and if one wasn't ready in time then their luggage would be kept securely. Also, the young lady on reception wrote a note requesting that our room for the following day also be prepared early enough for us to move our things into it before leaving for the ceremony.
We were shown to our room which was up a small flight of stairs and along a narrow corridor. It was apparent that this was indeed a very old building and I loved it! The door was opened upon a lovely room which, I thought, looked nicer than it had appeared online.
'He thought he was Henry V111 but I still have my head.'
The Millers Arms has eleven en-suite rooms.
~THE MILLER'S TALE (Four poster room)~
This was the room we spent our first night in. I was surprised by the size of the four poster bed-it was as wide as it was long. It must have been super king size. After the long drive my husband sank upon the bed and looked quite comfortable.
"Get up!" I exclaimed, "You look like Henry the eighth!"
Immediately I noticed the warmth of the room (it was cold outside) as the radiators were switched on in the bedroom and also in the bathroom.
I fell in love with this room immediately. I thought it looked much better than it had in the on-line photos I'd viewed. But then, I admit I'm a sucker for quaintness.
The Millers Tale (rooms are named from The Canterbury Tales)is a large corner room with two windows showing different aspects-one was of the road and car park opposite (nicer than it sounds) and one a lovely view of the weir opposite. It was fairly busy outside with people going about their business but it was interesting and, in my opinion, quite charming.
The bedside tables each had reading lamps but these were a little awkward as they had to be switched on and off at their sockets which were behind the bedside tables.
The room was furnished with a leather sofa, table, chest of drawers/table, dressing table and wardrobe (with further drawer space) which held extra bed covers.
The bed had a mattress topper on, pillows and cushions. The natural fibre duvet felt luxurious but on account of it not being synthetic may not appeal to everyone. I didn't sleep that well; it was a little noisy in the very early hours of the morning, I think perhaps due to staff arriving and things being moved around. But I was still comfortable.
A flat screen television with remote control was in the room as was a telephone.
The dressing table housed a hairdryer, lamp, a further spotlight lamp and a box of tissues.
The hospitality tray was well equipped offering tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, milk and a choice of biscuits.
To move quietly in the room was impossible; the old floorboards creaked easily. But I loved this as it reminded me of the history and character of this inn.
The sash windows were single glazed and could be opened.
The floor was carpeted.
The bathroom was large and contained toilet, basin, radiator, heated towel rail, large corner Jacuzzi bath with an attractive shower above. The shower was good with plenty of hot water.
I liked the supply of toiletries; two small bottles of all-in-one shampoo/conditioner, two shower/bath gel, two shower caps and two small soap tablets.
The bathroom had an automatic extractor fan but no window. The next morning the walls and floor were wet with condensation-a drawback of a building as old as this I think.
~THE SQUIRE'S TALE~
The room we moved into on our second day was called The Squire's Tale and this was very close to our first room. We were given a choice between this and The Pardoner's Tale. The Pardoner's was nicer, in my opinion but up a further (short) flight of stairs and it was easier to simply walk a few steps with our luggage and we were sorted. Also, we thought after the lovely room we had stayed in on the previous night it seemed only fair to let the young couple have the superior room.
This room was a standard double and markedly smaller than the four poster one but still perfectly adequate and with plenty of storage. The view wasn't as nice, showing rooftops, but was as expected.
The bed was comfortable. The room clean and well heated.
There was an over bath shower in here and it gave a lovely constant hot spray.
The toiletries supplied were the same as in the first room.
Both rooms had a good supply of fluffy white towels.
~~BREAK YOUR FAST~~
When researching this hotel on-line I was impressed with the vegetarian choice of food on its menu and also saw that a vegetarian breakfast was supplied.
When my husband and I entered the dining room the first morning of our stay, we were told to help ourselves from the selection of juices, cereals yogurts and bread. We were then asked if we wanted tea or coffee by a waitress and were asked what we would like for breakfast. The menu offered:
Full English breakfast, vegetarian full English breakfast, smoked salmon and scrambled egg, eggs Florentine muffin, smoked salmon and smoked salmon and scrambled egg on a muffin or pancakes with banana and bacon.
I requested the vegetarian breakfast and my husband requested the full English. We were asked how we wanted our eggs served- poached, fried or scrambled.
The waitress went away but soon returned to inform me that they didn't have vegetarian sausages. I was offered something extra from the menu so I chose an extra hash brown. I later heard another guest ask for a vegetarian breakfast only to be disappointed and someone else asked for haddock and was also disappointed. I'm actually not that bothered if I have a vegetarian sausage or not but do think if a vegetarian breakfast is offered then catering staff should ensure they have a few vegetarian sausages in their freezer; if they run out then someone should quickly get some in, after all I did inform them when checking in the previous day that I (and my son's fiancée) were vegetarians. But I must stress that this did not detract from my stay. My breakfast was enjoyable but I do feel that many hotels/inns should try harder when catering for vegetarians. I feel vegetarians are often treated as an afterthought and this needs to be addressed. Vegetarian sausages weren't available the next morning either.
Yes, breakfast was lovely. In fact the scrambled eggs I ate at The Millers Arms were the best that I have ever tasted- I think they must have been made with cream.
The standard of the food was very good and so was the service. Food was cooked in a reasonable amount of time and the waitress was attentive.
From the dining room could be seen a pleasant looking outdoor area with seating. This would be lovely in warmer weather.
The bar was quaint and had a 'real' and very welcoming inglenook fireplace within. There was a generous amount of candles flickering on tables adding to the 'old fashioned' ambience. The bar itself was long and the room narrow. The bar offers traditional Kentish cask ale.
There were toilets off of the lounge bar and further toilets off of the restaurant. I found these clean and well equipped.
I asked staff if the hotel could cater for physically disabled guests with a view to reviewing it and providing any relevant details. As I had thought, I was informed that because the hotel building was so old, that it was difficult to accommodate guests needing wheelchairs. There are no lifts and all rooms are accessed by some stairs. However, if walking difficulties are moderate then there are first floor rooms which can be reached by only having to ascend a short flight of stairs. Wheelchairs users, I believe, would find this hotel unsuitable.
~~HELPFULNESS OF STAFF~~
The staff of this small inn greatly added to our pleasure of staying here. We found reception staff knowledgeable regarding the area and very helpful. We asked them to call us a taxi a couple of times which they did. Staff were polite and accommodating at all times.
Maids preparing the rooms were extremely helpful and as they knew we wanted to move our luggage into our new room before we went out they ensured that our next room was prepared as quickly as possible.
The room was available for our son at 10.30a.m. This was rather than 2.00p.m. (Normal booking in time) which helped to make things run smoothly and to schedule.
I felt staff here showed flexibility and a willingness to help. I believe they showed pride in this hotel. Even when we were checking out on Saturday morning and the rooms were being cleaned we weren't rushed at all.
The Inn doesn't have its own car park but for the cost of £5.00 a twenty four hour pass is given for the car park opposite. This however, doesn't guarantee parking if spaces aren't available but it does ensure that parking is a reasonable option in regard to cost.
While we were here we noticed that there were always a few available spaces in this car park, although car parking in Canterbury isn't easy and this was an especially busy time.
~~PILGRIMAGE TO CANTERBURY~~
(How to get there)
Canterbury is in the county of Kent (the garden of England) which is in south east England.
Canterbury is on junction 7 of the M2 motorway.
Canterbury is served by two rail stations, Canterbury East and Canterbury West. The Miller's Arms is nearest to Canterbury West.
2 Mill Lane
Telephone: 01227 456057
~~TO END MY TALE~~
I thoroughly enjoyed staying here. I found the food good and the rooms comfortable with good storage space. I read several reviews of the Miller's Arms before booking and was a little worried about staying here when reading a few unfavourable reviews, but I know form past experience that people look for different things in accommodation. Of course we didn't have much choice in where we stayed as the city was so full, but I would stay here again. I have to say that I cannot understand how anyone could find it dirty. I had a good look in our rooms when first being in them and can honestly say that the three rooms I saw whilst staying here were very clean. I also witnessed both mornings of my stay the chambermaids' cleaning-polishing, vacuuming and changing sheets.
This is a very old listed building and for me and my family staying here was a treat.
It was worth paying the extra for the four poster room yet I also felt the Squire's was comfortable and perfectly adequate for a short stay. I would be happy to stay here again.
This inn is not best suited for those wanting ultra-modern accommodation that perhaps lacks character. Yes, the floors did creak but this is a very old building. For me, well, I prefer to stay in inns and hotels that have something more than sterile rooms on offer. Give me the history anytime.
I would say The Millers Arms inn was better than I expected.
Read the complete review
Holiday Inn Express Leicester Walkers Stadium (Leicester)
We'd booked the Holiday Inn Express Leicester Walkers Stadium for a visit to the area last summer. Originally we'd hoped to stay at the Barcelo Hinckley Island for 3 nights but as they were fully booked for the third night we had to find somewhere else to stay. This hotel was not our first choice as an alternative but it turned out that ... the Marriott and the Hilton were also fully booked, and the Holiday Inn in the town centre has no on-site parking, so we ended up here.
I'd booked a family room for us and our two daughters, breakfast included, and found out that their website is really easy to use.
The hotel is located directly next to the stadium, which makes it really easy to find as the way to the stadium is well signed out. I've seen a bus stop around the corner but with a facility like a football stadium at the doorstep you'll probably never have to worry if you have to rely on easy access to public transport.
We arrived by midday and were rather surprised to find lots of police around the hotel and stadium. It was the weekend right after the riots and we'd assumed that the match in Leicester had also been cancelled, which wasn't the case.
To get to the hotel's parking lot you will have to pass from a barrier and here the police wanted to see our hotel reservations. They asked whether we were planning to go to the match, we declined and were told that the whole area would be closed for traffic later on. We weren't planning to come back until after dinner from the trip we'd planned so this would not affect us but if you stay here on a match day and are planing to get back to your hotel during the afternoon you should consider this .
No surprise, the hotel seems to popular with football fans and we found some sitting and enjoying a few pre-match beers in front of the back entrance which overlooks the parking lot.
Checking-in was quick and easy, there is no porter service and we had to ask for a trolley for the luggage, which was supplied quickly. Strangely, the receptionist told us that the closest restaurant is around 10-15 minutes drive away, she must have meant walk as we'd passed a few on the way that I would consider to be in walking distance. The hotel itself doesn't have a restaurant.
Our room was on the third floor and we had to fiddle with the key card a bit until it let us in.
I guess "compact, bordering on cramped" describes it best, at least if you take the family version. I assume that the second double bed is originally a two-seater couch, which surely is great if you arrive alone or just as a couple, when it is turned into a bed though it fills all free floor space and there is hardly enough space to sit on the chair at the desk. The room was rather sticky and we were glad that we could open the window a few centimetres; ours overlooked the stadium where more and more fans were arriving.
The bathroom had a really nifty design as the entrance door did not just only serve to separate the bathroom from the sleeping area but also functioned to separate the toilet from the rest of the bathroom. There is only a shower, pressure was so-so, a corner sink and nice blue mood lighting. We had to ask for more towels at the reception, they'd forgotten to supply our daughters.
Apart from that we had some shelves where we found the hospitality tray (enough coffee and tea but not milk, no cookies) and hair dryer and an open hanging rack for a jacket or a very limited number of clothes. No storage for the luggage anywhere which means the little bit of floor that wasn't covered by furniture was occupied by our bags, and the kids had to climb a bit to reach their bed.
You could say that they really use every inch of the room to provide you with the necessary, it's functional but not exactly comfortable. On the plus side the room was spotlessly clean.
We left and returned after a fun day out at Conkers and a Pizza. By the time we made it back the football match was over long since and fans and police troops alike were gone, what was left behind and would stay there until after we left the next morning was a collection of empty beer glasses, both plastic and glass, along the front entrance that faces towards the stadium. Nobody seemed in a hurry to clean this mess up. If it was my hotel I wouldn't want its front entrance to be decorated with dozens of half-empty/empty pint glasses.
The kids tried the shower quickly and fell in their bed, not without quibbling a bit that they had to share one double and totally exhausted after their day out, and we made our way downstairs towards the bar.
The bar is located next to the reception desk and has about as much flair as a Mac Donald. There was a choice of 4 beers, I didn't check any other drinks, which were sold at a very reasonable price.
The leather chairs are comfortable but the light was much too bright, the music almost ridiculously loud and as the sitting area is not divided from the reception and breakfast areas, it feels impersonal and is not the most inviting place I've ever had a beer in. Around eleven pm the receptionist/barkeeper finally realised that he'd forgotten to put his bar stools out and placed them in front of the bar, I doubt that he needed them as the other two tables had left at this point and we had no intention to change our place. There is a flat screen TV that was turned off which we quite appreciated as the music made it hard enough already to have a conversation.
In the far corner you can find a desk area with a PC that you can use for a fee.
Around midnight we were still the only guests left. Some other guests arrived after a night out but nobody else stayed for a late night drink and I couldn't blame them, it's really not a great bar. If we'd had a separate sitting area in our room we'd probably rather have stayed upstairs.
The bed was anything but not comfortable, it was sacking and you'll definitely meet in the middle, whether you want it or not. Pillows came in a choice of hard and soft and were really great but that didn't stop me from waking up several times, the husband was moaning too.
We didn't really expect a lot from the breakfast and were positively surprised as it was better than we thought it would be. There could have been a bigger variety of cheese and cooked meats but what was there was fresh and tasty. Warm options included sausages, bacon, scrambled egg and beans. The scrambled egg was nice, the sausages lovely and the beans where as they should be. I don't eat bacon so can't say anything about it.
The variety of cereals was fine for us but would probably disappoint a connoisseur, the juices were nicely chilled and there were rolls, pastries, fresh fruit and yogurts too.
The coffee/tea machines were a bit tricky to work and we weren't the only guests who needed a moment to figure out how they worked.
Overall this hotel is OK for a short stay and you can expect a clean accommodation and a breakfast for a very reasonable price. The location is nothing special, neither is the hotel, it's a no-frills place I'd recommend to couples or business travellers who only need a crash pad for the night, and fans who want to attend a match or event at the stadium . It was OK with the kids but due to the size of the room I really would not have wanted to stay here for several days, and I think my back would not have wanted to stay a few more nights in that bed either.
Read the complete review
Caledonian Hotel (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Arrival I arrived at the 3* Caledonian Hotel via the back door so to speak, as I had located the free parking and went for the nearest door. I am writing this review before my first night's sleep on the basis that I will update it as my stay goes on. It is however a review of my visit and therefore I will not be able to ... (afford) to make use of all of the facilities on offer to review them in detail.
The hotel was built in 1870 and has been 'extensively' refurbished over the last 5 years.
My stay had been booked via the Peel Hotels website, a chain of hotels of which the Caledonian is one of. My booking was extremely easy and hassle free. After selecting my hotel and the dates, I was given several room options to choose from and book.
My stay is costing me £110 for two nights for a standard double room with en-suite but without breakfast.
The hotel sits on Osborne Road in the Jesmond area of Newcastle. I drove past the hotel unable to locate the parking, but having turned around I could see that the hotel and parking was signposted from the main road and then again indicating that these facilities were around the back.
There are approximately 35 spaces at The Caledonian Hotel, though I could only see about 15. This is described in the literature as "ample parking", though for 91 rooms that may be questionable. Thankfully when I arrived at 3pm there was indeed ample parking and finding a space was not a problem. The car-park is overlooked by CCTV but all visitors park at their own risk and the hotel will not accept responsibility for any damage caused whilst any vehicle is parked.
The back door is just a few small flat steps away and this opens into the foyer/reception area. The front of the hotel has a very grand looking entrance from the road, but the rear door is nothing special.
The reception area is host to a stair case with wide flat stairs, fully carpeted in a pattern which isn't so good on the eyes when walking up them. The bar/restaurant is situated directly ahead of the reception desk and a menu stand is located for visitors to the foyer to browse.
The whole of this area is carpeted, making the entire space feel warm and inviting.
Relaxing music played softly in the background as the receptionist checked me in. I was asked to pay the outstanding balance on my room upfront, and anything else you buy I.e. room service, is billed on check out. The lady at reception gave me a key card and a car pass as well as my receipt. The car pass swiftly went into my vehicle.
Now I understand the reasons behind a car pass, however, I'm not keen on having my surname on full display in my vehicle, which this pass has. It also has the room number written on it. The receptionist gave me no further details. I had to ask where I would find my room to which I was told it was on the first floor and I could use the stairs or choose to use the lift.
The key card worked like magic on the door to my room and the door closed behind me without slamming. My room is spacious and airy, though had evidently just been cleaned judging by the smell of cleaning products. I had no idea prior to my arrival what time check in was, so I was impressed the room was ready, as in experience most check-ins are around 4pm. Check out is 12pm.
The room itself has a double bed, made with 4 pillows, a duvet and an additional throw on it, whilst there are more blankets in the cupboard. Tea and coffee making facilities are available with two cups and saucers, two glasses and enough tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar and milk pots available to cater for two people. The television has terrestrial channels, whilst Sky Sports and music channels are available in the Billabong bar downstairs.
Beside each side of the bed is a side table each with three drawers. Whilst above the bed are two lights, each with a light switch in the bedside tables or by the front door.
There is a long dresser which also had three drawers; this is where the TV and facilities are sat.
The room has an additional cupboard, which stores a heater, ironing board, press and iron which I never take advantage of when away from home, but is handy to have if you need to make yourself presentable.
Two chairs, a large mirror with lights both side and an information rack make up the rest of the furniture. The room has a gas radiator as well as an electric heater on separate sides of the room. On entering the room it initially felt nice and warm, but after I had settled I could feel the chill. I attempted to turn on the radiator but it remained stone cold. I am assuming they come on, on a timer, rather than by user request, that said the one in the bathroom is working. However the electric heater works fine if you don't want the fan to run. I accidently pressed the fan button first assuming it was the 'on' button and it made a horrendous noise. So I used just heat and no fan which has warmed the room nicely.
The en-suite is huge. A family sized bathroom with bath, shower, toilet and basin.
There are also enough towels for two, both hand size and bath size available on a towel rail. Hotels seem to have phased out samples of shampoo and soap, in favour of larger squeezable bottles which are fixed to the walls. I understand this is a money saving exercise but also means that the guest can use as much as they choose without running out.
The hand soap in the bathroom is Dove hand cream and was a nice surprise. There is plenty of space to manoeuvre in the bathroom, unlike some which offer a shower cubicle almost on top of the toilet.
The shower itself is good and heats up instantly, everytime. The pressure was just right, but no power shower. The bath however, is a different story. I attempted to run a bath last night and as the taps are so close to the wall, they only turned a quarter of the way. As a result the water pressure was limited. Within minutes the water was barely flowing, forcing me to abandon the idea of a relaxing bath. This probably wouldn't be an issue if you had small kids with little water, but for an adult it would take hours to run.
Attention to detail
The room was clean and fresh when I walked in, and I have no complaints regarding it's cleanliness. I even had a hotel inspector moment and ran my fingers across the tops of the pictures for dust, and found none! It caters for everybody, with free Wi-fi, a bible for those who choose to use it, information on the hotel and local area as well as enough storage to move in.
The only complaints I have are attention to detail. The light bulbs in the wall lamps were of different kinds. Above the bed I had 1 candle bulb and 1 round bulb offering different levels of lighting which for me was fine as I sat between the two with my computer or book, but for a couple this may not be too helpful if each are reading.
The television is an old style portable shape with basic channels, excluding Channel 5 which seemed to phase in and out of effectiveness. The remote control is missing the 'menu' button, whilst others are void of any description. Also if you press the wrong button the volume jumps or the signal deteriorates. Most people wouldn't use the TV much when away, but I travelled the length of the country for a football match on my own and 4 channels to entertain me all evening could be a struggle, especially with the amount of rubbish on television nowadays. I informed the receptionist that I could only get 4 channels and she said that not all rooms have Freeview - (this isn't what their website says) and when I queried that I had lost signal on the channels I did have and whether that meant that I would have to make use of none she agreed. I thankfully took my laptop and can review and rate instead :)
In the bathroom there is the facility to have a hairdryer. However, in my room the hairdryer part had been broken off and there was only a box with a small part of hose attached to the wall. I didn't notice this until I went looking for a hairdryer in the drawers, which I duly found as a replacement.
The decoration is fine in this standard room with a warm red feature wall complimenting the other cream walls. However, the cream walls have scuff marks and/or dents in them which with just a bit of attention could also be forgotten. Also the sealer around the bath is dated and appears to have been painted on with no consideration for the tiles.
When I initially wrote this I had currently been sat in my room for 3 hours and it appeared to be extremely noisy. I am located at the back of the building, which is the quieter area, due to the popular bar and weekend nightlife on Osborne Road. However, the person above me sounds like an elephant which appears to like running around and the number of slamming doors I have heard so far is a little concerning. Like in most hotels you can hear the water from rooms around, when a toilet is flushed and its filling up.
During the night I was awoken by a group of lads about 2.30am who took great pleasure in drunkenly waking everyone up. Despite that I realised I am staying under the stairs and rather than have a noisy family above me, Infact have creaky steps. Thus, without moving rooms I am not going to resolve the noise issue.
During the night I couldn't really hear the nightlife, which I suppose is an advantage of having a room at the back of the building. I could however hear that initially relaxing music played in the foyer and when I woke this morning it was still clear as day. Not so relaxing afterall.
I left my earplugs behind.
Noise aside, my bed was extremely comfortable and I slept really well in it. I suffer with back problems and whilst the mattress is standard my back had no complaints this morning when I woke up.
The hotel offers all guests 50% discount on the Pinetree Health and Fitness Spa which promotes classes, spa features, a gym massage, hair studio, crèche etc etc. However, this is not located on site, whilst still in Jesmond, not being familiar with the area I wouldn't have a clue where to find it.
The Billabong bar appears to thrive with student clientele, has plenty of seating and offers food as well as drink. The menu is reasonably priced with pub food suiting most tastes. There is a menu in my room which is handy and there is also one in the corridor up the stairs so you can't fail to miss what's on offer. A main course is on average £9.50, whilst wraps, sandwiches, pies, potatoes, burgers and sides are also available. I'm impressed with their Sunday offer of a traditional roast with all the trimmings for £9.50 (not so impressed) or 2 for £12.50 (very impressed). They also serve brunch on weekends for those unable to raise their heads early in the morning for their fry up.
All food is buy one get the cheapest one free Monday to Friday 12pm - 5pm which is a bargain.
The hotel staff boast an excellent service in their literature, with wake up calls, taxi's being booked, room service, newspaper delivery, messages, mail service and whilst they don't have a laundry room they do re-direct you to a local service.
I would put this hotel at 4 stars. (up from my initial rating when I first got here) For the price I have paid its a bargain and very good value for money. It also has excellent links to the city centre with the Metro being close by and taxi's which wait outside. It was for the price and location near the city centre that I booked the room and those needs have been catered for. The staff have met all my needs, even getting me a fork on request so I could eat my (bought from Tesco) dinner in my room. They did this without question. They also gave me good directions to the Metro - the only thing they couldn't give me was a Toon win on my 650 mile round trip.
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3 Star Hotel National
Hotel National / Address: 159 - 161 Sussex Gardens, Hyde Park, London W2 2RY
Address: 89-91 Mount Pleasant / Hotel National / Liverpool / L3 5TB / Tel: +44 (0)151 709 3477
Address: 36 Lancaster Gate / Hotel National / London / W2 3NA / England / Tel : 020 7402 1101
Address: 79 Lauriston Place / Hotel National / Edinburgh / EH3 9HZ / Scotland
Address: Midsummer Boulevard / Hotel National / Milton Keynes / MK9 2HP / England / Tel: 0044 (0) 1908 843700
Hotel National / - A convenient stop-over point also for holidaymakers, with your airport check-in just 100 yards away.
Address: Pearse Street
Address: Park Road
Address: Palatine Road / Hotel National / Northenden Manchester / M22 4FH
Address: Oxford Road
Stratton St Margaret SN3 4TL
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