“ Address: Catcliffe / Rotherham / South Yorkshire S60 5BD / United Kingdom „
We recently stayed at the Aston Hotel in Sheffield (it's in Rotherham actually, but really only just!) for two nights as part of a cracking deal we got through travelzoo.com, which included a couple of tickets to Chatsworth House, which is nearby (ish). The hotel is really lovely and the staff are wonderful and we really enjoyed our stay.
*Location and Getting There*
There are excellent directions on the website for the hotel although it gives you a choice of postcodes for satnav purposes. The actual hotel postcode apparently sometimes doesn't work on older satnav devices, but I would recommend giving it a try because the alternative postcode leaves you in the middle of the nearby industrial estate, which is only about a minutes' drive away, but confused us because we couldn't actually see the hotel from where we were! We found that the actual postcode was recognised by our smart phone's satnav. If you don't have a satnav the directions are fairly simple to follow and you should have no problems at all.
As I said, the hotel is located very near to a massive industrial site that seems to be full of mainly huge office buildings. There isn't much else around the hotel either so it does feel like you are stuck in the middle of nowhere really. If you want to go for a walk, the best thing you have nearby is a Boundary Mills Store outlet and a Morrisons, which are both about a fifteen minute walk away. There is also a bus stop almost right outside the hotel where you can catch a bus to Sheffield city centre every half an hour. This costs £4 for an adult return ticket. We used the service on the first day we were there and found it was very good and easy to use.
*First Impressions and Checking In*
The hotel is pretty simplistic from the outside; it looks a lot like any typical hotel really. It is very new though (I think it was only built about 5 years ago) and it doesn't have much character at all. It is a purpose built building that provides somewhere for the many businesses nearby to host clients and meetings. It does sell itself as a business and leisure hotel but I would say it is very much geared towards the former and has to use packages like the one we were on to attract leisure visitors really. That's not to say it isn't very nice because it is. As the old saying goes, you should never judge a book by its cover. Or a hotel it seems! Inside the hotel is very well designed and very much has an up market feel to it. The communal areas are lovely and modern but with comfortable twists like big comfy sofas and luxurious carpets. They obviously do a lot to maintain the hotel and it still looks brand new inside and out.
Checking in was a very simple and pleasant affair and gave us our first taste of the high level of service we got all weekend. The lady who checked us in was obviously very experienced and welcomed us genuinely, which I really appreciated. She explained all the facilities to us efficiently and was able to answer our questions about getting into Sheffield and she even offered us advice on the things we could do once we were there.
Whilst nothing to shout about, the rooms were indeed very nice and well presented. We found that they had everything that we needed and a little bit more. Thanks to the relative newness of the hotel, there were no signs of aging in the room and everything still felt very modern and inviting when we entered. The bed was massive and the mattress was really thick although a little on the soft side. We had two really good night's sleep on it and found it really comfortable, although I was slightly disappointed to find that it was two single mattresses pushed together. Not problems with falling down the gap in the middle though because it was so thick that one did seem to weld into the other! There are huge thick curtains on the windows which make the room very dark at night which also aided a restful sleep and the air conditioning system was excellent, reasonably quiet and easy to use.
The facilities in the room were all very good and what you would need if you were staying as a business customer; there is a huge desk with an individual work lamp on it as well as a little table and a couple of chairs. There is a tea and coffee tray discretely hidden in one of the many drawers and storage areas. There is a huge wardrobe which follows the contemporary look of the room. The only thing that I thought the room could have done with is a safe. I understand you can store things safely at reception, but I much prefer a personal safe in my room when I stay in a hotel and there is more than enough room to put one in this hotel's rooms.
The bathroom is lovely and very much benefits from the fact that the hotel is new. There are no signs of aging whatsoever in the bathroom and this is something that I think is very important because it makes it look and feel much cleaner. There is no bath, but the shower cubicle is very roomy and has a fully sealed door so it is much more like a wet room. The power of the water wasn't great, but there was never a problem with getting hot water. There are a few toiletries in the bathroom along with the promise of more available from reception if you have forgotten anything. There is also a hairdryer in the room which was pretty good actually.
We had breakfast included in our stay as well as a three course evening meal on our first night, so we made full use of the hotel's restaurant, Brasserie 59. The restaurant isn't massive by any stretch of the imagination and I would strongly recommend booking for an evening meal as it is only open from 6.30pm until 9pm and there is nowhere else nearby to eat so it is popular. It is though well-presented and there has been thought and attention given to making it more of a high end restaurant where you could entertain business clients. It has however managed to bridge the gap between high end and relaxed so that it is a nice place to enjoy a nice meal without being pretentious or stuffy in the slightest, which we loved.
Breakfast was really very good and although the buffet area was fairly small, there was plenty of choice and more than enough to get yourself a full and satisfying breakfast before starting your day. There is a wide choice of hot food that is regularly replenished so that it does remain hot and the food is obviously of a good quality. The usual choice of bacon, sausage, fried egg, mushroom, hash browns, toast, beans, tomatoes and black pudding are there, but you can order other kinds of eggs, omelettes and kippers separately. There is also a selection of cereals, fresh fruits, pastries and yoghurts if you want something healthier. Coffee and tea is brought to your table, although we found this service was a bit hit and miss and found it was easier to just pour it ourselves from the big jugs near the hot food counter. Everything was well cooked and tasty and if it isn't included, I'd recommend paying the £10 per person and would actually say that it is pretty good value for money really.
Dinner was lovely. As I said, a three course meal was included for us in our package and we were allowed to choose anything from either the main menu or the specials menu, which changes every day. There were some things that carried a small supplement. Strangely enough, the starters of prawn skewers or lamb rolls carried no supplement, but the tomato bruschetta and stuffed mushrooms did, which we couldn't work out the logic of. The only main dishes that carried a supplement were the steaks (£6 each) and the lamb shank (£3). For starter, I opted for the prawn cocktail at the recommendation of our server and my husband for the chicken spring rolls. The prawn cocktail was indeed very good and the spring rolls were packed full of tasty seasoned chicken. For main course my husband had the steak which was a hefty piece of meat that was cooked exactly how he ordered it and was served with chunky skin on chips and homemade onion rings. I had beef bourginon, which was served with a lovely creamy mashed potato. It was delicious. The portion sizes were huge but that didn't stop us from having a piece of chocolate fudge cake and a slice of lemon cheesecake for dessert that were both lovely. The menu would have cost about £40 for just the food for both of us had we paid, and I would say that it was worth about that to be fair because the portion size was very generous and the food was good - we had no complaints.
Room service is available from 11am until 9.30pm with a £3.50 tray charge. There is a menu in your room and it is pretty comprehensive, including most of the dishes available in the restaurant. If you are going out for the day, you can pre order a packed lunch for a fairly reasonable £5. For this you get a choice of sandwich, a packet of crisps, a piece of fruit and a bottle of water. If you do go for this, I'd recommend asking for no butter or only a little bit because they put absolutely loads on our sandwiches!
This is where I think that the hotel mainly caters for business visitors rather than leisure visitors to be fair because the leisure facilities are sparse. There is a rather nice bar near the restaurant that offers a comfortable place to while away a couple of hours whilst watching sport or the news on the huge TV screen. There are lots of comfy chairs and sofas, although the prices of drinks are typical of hotels, so it'll not be cheap to sit there for ages! Aside from that there isn't much in the way of facilities apart from conference rooms (I think I read that they have seven of these, varying in size and catering for up to 100 people). There is free wifi available throughout the hotel and it is quite good too. But that is your lot as far as I could tell. To be honest we didn't need any more than that because we were pretty busy during our two days there, but a gym or swimming pool would have been nice to fill the few hours between activities, especially considering that the location means that there is nowhere nearby to go for a nice walk or anything.
Outside of the hotel there is a couple of things you can do. Obviously our main reason for being there was Chatsworth House which is about a 45 minute drive away. The drive is quite a nice one though, through the countryside, although there are many hotels much closer if this is your sole reason for visiting the area. There is also Meadowhall shopping centre about five minutes' drive away, which is definitely worth a visit if you are a shopaholic. There is also a huge cinema and plenty of places to eat in there.
*Price, Packages and Value*
So our package included two nights' accommodation with bed and breakfast on both mornings, a three course evening meal for two with a bottle of house wine on the first night, two tickets for Chatsworth House and gardens and a packed lunch on either day. We paid £138 in total for this which is exceptionally good value for money and meant that I really couldn't complain about anything! The hotel does a similar package when you book directly with them and it isn't much more expensive. For example if you want to go next weekend, it'll cost £82.50 per night for a two night stay (although you don't get the packed lunch and you get 20% off a bottle of house wine rather than a complimentary bottle as far as I can see). This is still pretty good value for money in my opinion as the hotel is lovely and the food is definitely worth it. If you are simply wanting to stay for bed and breakfast I think the nightly rate starts at about £60 which is still good value for money in my opinion.
Overall I would definitely recommend the hotel because it is suitable for a number of things. OK it isn't the closest hotel to Chatsworth House, but the deal is so good that it doesn't matter in my opinion. If you are wanting a convenient business location it is good for that too. It isn't the best for leisure visitors but it is convenient for getting about, the food is very good, the staff are excellent and the hotel itself is very comfortable. Recommended.