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Not the best hotel chain in the UK today.
Britannia Hotels in general
Member Name: Tortelloni
Britannia Hotels in general
Advantages: This particular hotel is not too bad
Disadvantages: They have lots of awful, nasty hotels
This review relates to the Britannia Hotel near Newcastle Airport. It is one of their better hotels, which in a way I suppose is a poor reflection on the company.
We were checked in fairly quickly by a polite robot that covered all the basics about the hotel, breakfast times etc. and asked if we wanted any newspapers, wake up calls or a restaurant reservation. We were given the option of keeping the account open to charge to it or to close it then to ensure a quick checkout. This meant we were given a blue stamp on our guest card, to show we could purchase, but had we chose not to we would have been given a red stamp. She also pointed us to our room and told us to enjoy our stay, which was a nice unexpected touch.
Our room, 111, was near the end of an unlit corridor, which then lit up once you walked down it. The sensors are located at a few intervals throughout which meant when exiting your room the lights didn't come on until you had walked a distance. The room was rectangular in shape, being very deep but not very wide at all. It appeared to have been recently refurbished but left to defend itself since then with no help from maintenance and hadn't been looked after much. A new lamp was not at all in-keeping with the style of the room and had obviously been added in last minute. The new carpet was stained, the desk chair front leg was broken making it dangerously wobbly, both chairs were left to collect dust and crap, and the wobbly edge design of all the furniture meant that dust collected in every groove. Not really the cleaners fault, just the impractical design. In the refurbishment the TV clearly hadn't been replaced, it was an ancient 14" portable with a strange mix of channels and a few channels displaying Skybox errors. The secondary glazed windows had also been forgotten about. They were absolutely filthy (both the glass and frames) and even had mould growing around them, and the glass didn't fit in the frame. In between the two layers was a blackout blind with string that didn't work. The only plus being the windows could be opened all the way as the restrictors could easily be lifted up.
The beds however were comfortable and clean with fresh plain white sheets and a large headboard as well as individually controlled wall lights above each, as well as a large three draw chest in between the two with a hotel information leaflet and phone on it, as well as a broken pen and some paper. The room was well lit with the original lights on, but with the additional standing lamp near the door on you would be forgiven for thinking it was daytime. There was lots of hotel and local area information on a large stand next to the TV with everything from a large 'Times' magazine to a card from the 'FRIENDLY MAINTENANCE TEAM' saying that Britannia Hotels is like the Fourth Bridge as they are always maintaining their hotels, which I somewhat doubt. In the drawer in the desk was a laundry service card but no bag, and a tiny hairdryer which was actually useful as the huge eyesore from the 1800's dryer on the bathroom wall pushed out a useless flow of lukewarm air.
Aside from the contraption on the wall in the bathroom there was very little else, in the way of toiletries was two glasses, two small round soaps and two packets of basic shampoo. These were placed on either side of the sink which was cracked and stained red. There were plenty of fresh towels on both the rack and shelves all of which varied in size and were clean and white. The towels surrounding the bath were clean as well as the curtain, and hot water was also available to as and when desired. The toilet flushed well and everything in the bathroom besides the sink was clean.
There is a small gym on 1st Floor named 'The Bodyclub' which was a nice addition to the hotel considering it was free. It was extremely basic but would be sufficient for anyone with a regular workout routine and had two TVs. It is divided in to two halves, one for cardio and one for resistance. There was a broken treadmill, a stepper, rowing machine and exercise bikes in cardio, and various dumbbells (no barbells) and arm, chest and leg weight lifting machines. There was air conditioning which was defeated since all the windows were wide open. Also was a changing room which was simply a walk in cupboard with a light and locking door which strangely had sign about sun beds! A sign said that the gym could only be used by under 16s that were supervised, though the door to the gym was always open (it sticks - seems locked but is actually open, pull the handle right down and it will open) and it was unsupervised, but there was a few cameras.
We headed down to the bar later, which serves snacks until 10:45pm and is open until 'late'. Our food, a mountain of melted cheese served on a bed of bread and tomato puree which was referred to as pizza, was served quickly by a pleasant barman who was kept constantly busy by a continuous stream of customers but managed to remain smiling even though the glasses from the restaurant were also being stacked up to be cleaned too. Apart from the huge overload of cheese the food was very nice and the bread was homemade and crispy. Many chose to drink in the lounge as the bar was lit but the sitting area was close to pitch black and the TV volume was on the lowest it could go so it wasn't the most pleasant place to dine but it had also been refurbished so the furniture was clean and comfortable.
We both slept badly, mostly to blame was the unbearable temperature of the room, the noise from the airport was surprisingly minimal considering the location so it did at least mean that we could leave the windows wide open but this didn't really help. We noticed wild rabbits eating the grass outside our window, five at once at one point! There was a miniature fan which was so manky I cleaned it myself as I didn't like the feeling of having all that mess blowing in my face. The towel I cleaned it with was black at the end. The beds were not really causing a problem sleeping, the quilts were not too thick and the mattress was fine as well as the pillows which were good quality and fluffy. Once asleep we were not disturbed by anything except the alarm on my phone in the morning.
Breakfast was included in the rate which I was glad of as it was not worth the prices they were charging, though there wasn't any problems with it and was sufficient. We didn't have any of the fried selection so can't really comment but did see that it was always well stocked, but none of it was replenished at any point in the 45 minutes we spent there. There was a lot of continental stuff that no one touched like cottage cheese and prunes which to some would have been impressive as I haven't been to a hotel before with this much continental choice, but there was no fresh fruit - just tinned. There were two huge water urns containing hot water and coffee as well as a small machine for lattes and cappuccinos and so on, though everyone who used it felt a little embarrassed as when dispensing it screamed a loud high pitched noise for the duration! There was a stock of tea and coffee pots and a variety of normal and flavoured teas. The toaster had an OK stock of bread, but a pitiful supply of pastries - two dry croissants sprawled in a huge wicker basket. There was a choice of three different cereals in dispensers with upside down lids that crushed the cereal for you, Weetabix and Alpen were in bowls. Grapefruit, apple and grapefruit juice as well as milk were left to go warm in plastic dispensers. The tables were cleared quickly however once someone left, all by the same waitress.
The same robot checked us out fairly quickly, but stated £30 to pay. She was unaware that we had added extras to the room until we were informed of this. She went out to the back and came back a few minutes later stating the new price of £40.75 which was correct. Strangely in the time that she was in the back room a tiny dog ran out from the room for a few seconds behind the reception desk and then ran back in!?
Summary: Choose a different brand
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