Make It Easy on Your Purse
Member Name: fizzywizzy
Advantages: Can be cheap if you can book early enough, clean, comfortable
Disadvantages: Cost mounts up if you add extras, no frills too basic for some
It was my first time in an Easyhotel but I did understand the concept; the accommodation is basic, the cost is generally low, with the cheapest prices being available for early booking. I booked a double en suite room (with window! - these rooms cost slightly more) through the company's website. During the morning of the day of our arrival I emailed the hotel to say what time we'd be arriving, to ensure that our room would be available, and to check whether there would be a receptionist, and if not, whether we needed an access code to gain entry, which is not uncommon at some no frills hotel chains. There was a reply within a couple of minutes; our room was reserved and our time of arrival noted, and there would be a receptionist on duty throughout the night.
The hotel is situated less than a minute's walk from Luton Central train station (not Luton Airport Parkway) and just across the road from the entrance to Luton's Arndale Centre. There are a couple of pubs close by and a couple of restaurants and fast food joints. The bus stop for services to the airport is about two hundred metres from the hotel. There is parking available close by in a number of car parks. The hotel occupies a corner property and the distinctive, but surprisingly discreet, orange sign is easy to spot. The entrance is on the main street.
As promised there was a member of staff there to check us in. She was a quiet young woman who was very polite but didn't offer much in the way of additional information. There turned out to be a television in our room but to be able to watch it you need to pay something like £5 and then you get the remote control to operate it; check in would have been a good time to suggest this to guests but the receptionist didn't bother. It didn't matter at all to us as we intended to go straight to bed, but it could have been a missed opportunity with many guests. We were given a swipe card for the room and directed to the lifts. Our room was on the third floor; as we made our way through the maze of corridors we got a strong whiff of cigarette smoke and hoped we hadn't inadvertently booked a room on a smoking floor; we hadn't but someone had either been smoking in their room, or on the nearby fire escape.
Although the corridors were a little labyrinthine it turned out not to be such a bad thing because, although we had to pass by several rooms, nobody needed to pass ours. There is plenty of signage so we were able to find our room quite easily; however, the corresponding signage to get us back to the lifts was not so clear and we did take an unnecessarily long route on our way out.
The room was surprisingly large but with only one item of furniture in the room - the bed - there was always going to be plenty of floor space. The fair-sized double bed had been pushed into one corner which meant the person sleeping by the wall had to either climb over the other person, or get out at the bottom of the bed. A flat screen television was mounted on the wall at the other end of this wall and, as a result, it wouldn't have been very easy to watch, even if we'd have wanted to.
Three walls were painted an off white colour, the other was orange. The décor wasn't nearly as horrific as I'd imagined it might be and the nice laminate flooring was tasteful and hard-wearing - no dubiously stained carpet here. The other flash of orange was the door to the capsule bathroom, which bore the distinctive Easyhotel logo in large white letters. The bathroom was small but functional and the shower was excellent. There were wall mounted containers of a nice crème wash beside the washbasin and the shower, and also plenty of extra toilet paper: I hadn't expected even expected a little bar of soap so I was pleasantly surprised to find these items (and I do mean EXTRA toilet rolls, I had just expected one small roll of something cheap and horrible). There was also a towelling bath mat, something else I hadn't expected. The best touch was the mirror over the washbasin which was the kind that doesn't get steamed up; it was particularly appreciated because it was the only mirror in the room. There were also several hooks in logical places which may seem like a given but i can think of lots of hotels where there's been nowhere to hang your things in the bathroom.
When we first went into the room it seemed rather warm but the temperature was actually fine. The windows were not double glazed and occasionally a large lorry would rumble by, raising quite a racket; on the whole, though, we had a peaceful night and slept like logs in the comfortable bed. The bed linen was crisp and pristine while the pillows were good quality and comfortable. I've stayed in more expensive places that were much less comfortable than this hotel and I woke up feeling refreshed and relaxed.
As anyone who has experienced the "Easy" brand will know, prices start low and increase as you add the extras; this is not so good if you have specific requirements, but fine for us as we can get by with the minimum. Our netbook had thrown a wobbly the day before so we were computerless, but for an extra charge we could have had wi-fi, or used the internet terminals on the ground floor. Also on the ground floor, a vending machine sells a range of drinks and snacks. A medium-sized towel is provided per guest, if you require more, you have to pay for each towel. As there are no chairs in the rooms you'd have to picnic on the bed or floor if you brought food into your room, but there is a small dining area on the ground floor near the vending machines, and as far as I know, you are permitted to eat food here that you may have bought elsewhere. Easyhotel guests can get a discount at Bar38, the bar and restaurant next door to the hotel.
There is a left luggage facility if you need to stash your bags having arrived early or having to check out of your room (check is from 3.00pm, check out by 10.00am) but it costs a hefty £5 per twenty-four hours which is really extortionate, in my opinion.
We found this hotel perfect for our needs and I might even consider staying at an Easyhotel abroad if they are this good. However, the lack of chairs or beside tables and reading lamps would be an issue for me if I was staying longer than one night. Given the lack of simple provisions such as these, this is really a hotel that offers little more than a place to sleep; we arrived around 11.00p.m. and left around 6.00a.m, climbing into bed when we arrived and showering before leaving so we had no other requirements than a clean, comfortable bed which is exactly what we got.
Other Easyhotel locations can be found using this link http://www.easyhotel.com/hotels.html
I probably wouldn't think of using them in places like Budapest where there's plenty of reasonably cheap accommodation, but I'll certainly take a look for a stay in Zurich where accommodation can be pretty costly.
We paid £36 for a double with window, booking around 4 months in advance
Summary: No frills accommodation in Luton town centre but still close to airport