“ Bullrush Grove, Balby, Doncaster, DN4 8SJ. Tel:+44 (0)1302 314 100 „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Express by Holiday Inn is my first choice when looking for reasonably priced hotel accomodation. In my opinion they cannot be beaten for price, standard of accomodation and the fact that breakfast is included in the price. Having stayed at both Travelodge and Premier Inn, I feel able to justify my claim that Express by Holiday Inn offers the best value overall, unless you secure one of those £9 rooms etc that Travelodge sometimes make available!
They also offer an excellent rewards scheme which is free to join and you can collect points for each stay, which you can redeem for free nights. The rewards scheme operates at all hotels in the chain including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. Bonus offers to earn more points are often sent to you by email and offers regularly appear on the website, HiExpress.co.uk
I have been a member for a few years now and have enjoyed a few free nights.
So when I found myself needing a hotel for an overnight stay in Doncaster, the Express by Holiday Inn was my first choice.
I booked a room online for myself and partner, at the very reasonable rate of £39 which includes free continental breakfast. The room rate seems to average between £39-£49.
Finding the hotel was quite easy following the directions provided on the hotel website. After leaving the M18 at junction 3, the hotel was a few minutes drive away, located on a business park.
The Dome Leisure Centre and the Keepmoat Stadium home of Doncaster Rovers Football Team are both less than 5 minutes drive away. The Doncaster Racecourse is also nearby, and the airport is approx 8 miles away and would cost you approx £10 to reach by taxi from the hotel.
The hotel itself looked fairly new. A large modern building with ample car parking provided. The reception area is spacious and contemporary and checking in was easy. Having booked online, I only had to give my name and received my room key which was a swipe card that also operates the electricity.
Our room was spacious, very clean and had a modern contemporary look with a large abstract print above the bed. The TV contained a few Sky channels and also in the room was tea/coffee making facilities, hairdryer, workspace, telephone and space to hang clothes as well as a sofa bed.
The large bed was made up with crisp white bedlinen and was very comfortable with plenty of pillows provided.
The bathroom was fully tiled and spotless. There was no bath, but there was an excellent power shower . Shower gel and liquid soap were provided.
After getting ready to go out we decided to have a drink at the bar downstairs. The bar area was furnished with sofa's, low tables and chairs, and we ordered a couple of drinks, which with hindsight I wished I hadn't bothered as we were charged nearly £10 for 2 x spirits with a dash of coke!
Just opposite the hotel is a family pub/restaurant, Woodfield Farm, which is a much cheaper alternative to having a drink in the hotel bar. It is a two minute walk from the hotel and also serves meals as well as having an indoor children's play area.
When we returned to the hotel it was after midnight and we were surprised to find the corridor outside our room was very busy with children around the ages of 10-14 going in and out of each other's rooms. It was quite noisy.
We entered our room and thought maybe it would quieten down soon as we heard an adult voice in the corridor talking to the children.
Well we were wrong, and by 12.45am my partner had had enough as it was clear we weren't going to be able to sleep as the doors were continually opening and closing, and the children were running up and down talking and laughing.
On opening our door and peering out into the corridor, it was literally full of children walking and running up and down, going in and out of the rooms. We politely asked them to keep the noise down and settle down, but nobody appeared to take any notice and it continued. My partner went out again after 1am and found an adult in the corridor, trying (and failing!) to get the children into their rooms. My partner explained to him that we could not sleep due to the noise and was told that he was trying his best to get them settled.
By 1.30am it was as noisy as ever, the corridor still awash with children laughing and shouting, and I rang reception where I was told that 200+ children were staying in the hotel and to expect a bit of noise. I complained that it was now getting on for 2am and they should come up and witness what was going on and see if they then thought I was being unreasonable. The man I spoke to on the phone then came up and spoke to the adult who was back in the corridor again, before telling us that their teacher was doing all he could. My partner replied that whatever he was doing clearly wasn't working was it?
The staff member then asked my partner to calm down and to give things a chance to settle.
The noise did not lessen and at 2am, we rang and asked if we could move rooms, thinking maybe other parts of the hotel may be quieter. We were told the hotel was full, but a room could be found for us at another hotel. I explained that we could not drive as had been drinking and asked if I could have a refund instead as it was obvious we were not going to be able to sleep. I was told a refund would be sorted out for me in the morning, although the staff member seemed to think we were being unreasonable!
At around 4am it became quieter, but by 6am the noise began again. We had no sleep and decided to go and have some breakfast.
Breakfast is a self-service buffet and contained plenty of cereals, breads, toast, pastries, fresh fruit, muffins and yogurts. We helped ourselves to plenty of coffee in a bid to help us stay awake!
We checked out shortly afterwards and was asked by the member of staff on reception if everything had been ok. I replied that it hadn't and was she not aware of my complaint and the refund I had been promised? She replied no she was not. The night duty staff member had left and not reported anything. I explained the situation and was told she could not authorise a refund and I would have to speak to the manager, who was not in. I was also told again that I had been aware of the children staying.
My patience was wearing a bit then by this time, coupled with lack of sleep and facing a drive home, I could not be bothered to argue, so I left after asking when the manager would be in so I could ring.
Two days later I rang the manager who also knew nothing of my complaint but said that the staff had no right to promise me a refund and implied that this could not have happened. She promised to ring me back after speaking to staff.
I waited two days before ringing again. I stated I was prepared to write to Express by Holiday Inn guest relations if she was not prepared to refund me, as she kept insisiting that I knew of the children staying as would have been told when booking and again at check in. I explained that I had not been told until I complained to the night duty staff, but it seemed that she did not believe me.
Eventually, a week after my stay, I received a refund, but I was very disappointed by the staff's and manager's attitude to my complaint, as it is not what I have come to expect from Express by Holiday Inn, nor do I feel that I should have had to ring the manager twice on returning home.
On the plus side, the hotel itself is very nice and had the children not been staying there that night, then no doubt my stay would have been pleasant and uneventful. I would recommend the hotel itself, but for me the attitude of some of the staff let it down.