“ Address: Palatine Road / Northenden / Manchester M22 4FH / England „
Having stayed at The Britannia Country House Hotel, about a mile up the road from this one, I would not have chosen to stay at another Britannia Hotel if my life depended on it, however we were working here and had to stick it out for a couple of nights in October. I have to admit I was expecting the worst.
As you approach the hotel you are me with one of the worst looking hotels you have ever set eyes on. I am not exaggerating, this hotel really is an eyesore, it is simply a huge mass of pebble dashed concrete, and resembles a block of ugly high rise flats, it is also about 100 meters from the M56, which is handy for getting to the airport amongst other things, but also adds to the eyesore and, obvously, noise factor. It has a multi storey car park to the left of it and an open air car park to the rear, the picture above has been very carefully taken so as to block out the multi storey car park and the motorway which are directly behind the main building in the middle of the picture.
There is small in and out driveway in front of the hotel to serve as a taxi drop off to the main doors, these are automatic doors and open to allow you to enter. As you walk into the Britannia Hotel, the reception desk is directly to your left, just past that on your left also is a raised area with a pool table and a few antique computers. to you right is the bar area and beyond that the resturaunt. It is a little tired and in need of a refurb but I have seen worse to be honest. Unfortunately this is probably the best part of the hotel, apart from the business centre which was being refurbished while we were there (that is why we were there).
If you carry straight on past this main entrance area you will come to the toilets, and off to the left past the bar is the lift and stair area, this is a dark and dingey stair well with two lifts serving it and a concrete stair case, I know it is concrete as there was no carpet on it when we visited so it was just bare concrete and the fronts of the steps where the stair nosings had been ripped off were un-even and quite honestly, very dangerous. There was also a nasty dirty smell in the stair well.
The bar is located on the ground floor in the entrance area as described above. There is a raised seating area in the middle of the main room and then it steps back down again to the bar itself, it is all a little tired really and in need of refurbishment, however like I say, I have seen worse (I have seen the rest of the hotel!). There is a large screen TV and they have Sky. It is quite dingey as there is very little natural light to this area of the floor. They have two lagers on draft, a bitter and Guiness, although the Guiness was off on our first night. They also have a few wines to choose from and the usual spirits and soft drinks.
They have a happy hour from 5-8pm, where the Fosters and I think the bitter are on at £1.50 a pint, however after 8pm they go back to £3.00 a pint and the Fosters is that badly kept that we found it undrinkable. We had a couple of Kronebergs each at £3.20 a pint and this was pretty bad also, so we decided we would have to drink bottled drinks. The bar is also completely lacking of any atmosphere what-so-ever and feels a bit like a waiting room, we considered going out for a wander to see if there were any pubs or bars nearby, unfortunately though it was freezing outside and the hotel is also situated in a rather bad area of Manchester so we thought better of it and stayed put. They do have wi-fi in the bar area so I could at least use my laptop there.
The resturaunt is just beyond the bar to the right and is at the front of the hotel. It is just as tired as the rest of the public areas and has two main seating areas one is slightly raised. Each houses about 20 tables. They serve the breakfast in here and also they serve the main menu in here until 9pm, or you can eat in the bar up to 9.45pm, I would not recomend either.
On our first night we ordered two pizzas and a burger, this came to nearly £30.00 and none of it was very warm. the pizzas were obvously frozen bought in ones and the burger looked the best of a bad bunch, it was just about edible and we ate as much as we could and only because we had put a long shift in that day and were all very hungry. The second night I had a burger which was cold again, my mate had scampi which was also a very bad choice as it was the cheapest scampi you can buy and was also cold, our labourer chose the chicken dish which looked awful and tasted as bad as it looked, according to him, this was also cold, I think they must have a problem getting their meals served in time, or maybe the kitchen is in the car park, either way not one meal we had in two days was warm.
I really must congratulate the Britannia Hotel for their breakfast, they have managed to put together a fried breakfast with toast and coffee that is completely in-edible, this is a feat un-matched anywhere else in the world that I have stayed. The warm breakfast is made up of; bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, beans, tomatoes and hash brown. This is all in trays under a food warmer and you help yourself, firstly it looks as though each tray has been out for about 3 days and secondly they must have deals with people who supply food to cat and dog food manufacturers, as I have never ever tasted such poor quality food. I thought it was impossible to get bad tasting bacon, I was wrong they have managed it at The Britannia, I kid you not, even the toast, which you make yourself, was awful.
The tea and coffee were un-drinkable, the cereals were cheap and nasty tasting, but then so was the milk you had to put on it so that did not help. There was even some tinned fruit, which I tried on the second morning an I had to leave that. The only thing that was edible I found was the orange juice. If I really had to stay here again and eat breakfast here (it would be kicking and screaming) I would have to take a Warbuttons toastie loaf with me to toast in the toaster provided.
Amazingly they want to charge you £7.95 for this concoction of rubbish and advertise it on posters all over the hotel against the price of a breakfast at the airport, my advise; wait till you get to the airport and spend the extra money!!! If you spend the £7.95 you will only leave the breakfast and get to the airport hungry anyway. We had the breakfast included in our room deal as we working here, otherwise there is no chance we would have had it again the second morning.
We got to see 3 rooms as they put us in two seperate rooms the first night and then moved us to a different room the second night. The two rooms we had the first night were just about acceptable really, They were similar to the rest of the hotel in that they were in desperate need of refurbishment, however they served a purpose and the beds were just about comfortable enough. The bathroom was fairly clean and had a bath with shower over. There was ample wardrobe space and plenty of drawers should you need them, there was also a decent sized television and enough room to get dressed in. When you had tired of the room and television you could drink in views of the carpark and the M56. There is also a room service menu but having experienced the food downstairs, I would not reccomend trying this, as they find it hard enough to get warm food to a table on the ground floor so I would not like to chance getting a warm meal up to the 5th floor!
The room we had on the second night was terrible. They put all three of us in the same room the second night, the labourer had to sleep on a camp bed, but the normal beds were bad enough to be honest. This room was not just in desperate need of refurbishment, it was almost a legal requirement if they are charging money for it! The carpet had holes in it, the furniture was bashed and damaged, the bedding and curtains were faded and ripped, the decor was so tired it looked like the original decor from when the hotel was built about 40 years ago. None of the beds were very comfortable and there was an awful smell. If I had been staying here with my wife I would have asked to be moved, however as we were working there and it was just somewhere to shower and doss down we put up with it.
Surprisingly the staff at this particular hotel were really good. All the staff we met, and dealt with, including the hotel manager, were polite, happy to help and seemed to be very good at their jobs. Maybe Britannia spend all their time, effort and money on staff training, they certainly do not spend any of it on their hotel buildings in my experience. Although service and quality of staff in a hotel are very high on my wish list and they did live up to my standards at this hotel, unfortunately the state of the hotel itself, coupled with the poor quality of food and drink had already ruined it for me, and however good the staff were there was no way back for this hotel.
Other Points Of Interest
I feel I should mention one more time and stress that this hotel really does need closing down and refurbishing. It has gone beyond maintaining now and needs a lot of money spending on it. The communal areas are really awful, carpets in the room corridors are filthy and un-hygenic looking. Wall paper is dirty and peeling off in a lot of the building. Furniture is old, bashed and dirty, I would not wear anything light coloured in the bar unless I was not planning on sitting on any of the seats as they are stained and dirty, as they are in the resturaunt. The toilets in the communal areas are smelly, dirty and have broken tiles etc..
I would also like to mention the fact that they charged my card an extra time after we had checked out. We checked in on the Wednesday and did not pay anything up front. We then realised on the Thursday that we would not have the job finnished in time so would have to stay on the Thursday night also. At the time of checking in on the Thursday evening I paid for the two nights stay for all of us on my debit card. When I checked my bank accout online on the Monday, I noticed another £30.00 had been charged to my card on the Friday, I had not got my card out of my pocket on the Friday. I had to ring up twice to get this matter sorted out and they said it was just a mistake, however in my opinion they would have had to get my card details and run them through their machine again with me not present, this all but amounts to card fraud in my opinion and I almost took the matter further, but decided in the end to just put the whole bad experience behind me and try to forget about it since I did get the money back eventually. I must also mention that I have spoken to someone since who has stayed at The Britannia and had this happen to them also, so I would advise you to pay for everything in cash at this hotel if you really have to stay here.
So to conclude, would I stay here again? No! Would I recomend it to anyone? No! Is it good value for money? No! In fact the only thing I can say about this hotel, apart from the present staff being very good, is that it is very handy for the airport, and you can park here and get a bus to and from the airport, however I should imagine there are hundreds of hotels operating this service in the area and it would not be difficult to do it better than The Britannia Airport Hotel. Also I am not sure I would want to leave my car here for two weeks. I should also add that there were three of us stayed here for two nights, we paid £60.00 for our stay including breakfast as we were working for Britannia, so thats £10.00 per person per night bed and breakfast and we still felt ripped off!! As I said at the top I was expecting the worst and I got it!!
Thanks For Reading, Also On Ciao!