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An express stay with a bad breakfast
Express by Holiday Inn (Strathclyde Park)
Member Name: eilidhcatriona
Express by Holiday Inn (Strathclyde Park)
Advantages: Good location for what I needed, clean room in good condition, pleasant staff
Disadvantages: Breakfast and no wifi in rooms
Believe it or not, my recent visit to the Holiday Inn Express at Strathclyde Country Park was my first stay in a Holiday Inn/Premier Inn/Travel Lodge style hotel. I was attending a family wedding at a nearby hotel, and as it was fully booked, I booked two nights at the Holiday Inn Express.
The Holiday Inn Express is easily accessible at the M&Ds end of the park. As my parents were also at the wedding (although staying at the other hotel), I had a chauffeur (my dad), but had they not been there I would have been relying on public transport. Given the location of the hotel, I think it is better suited for those who drive.
I had booked the hotel over the phone, which was quick and easy. At first I had only booked the Saturday night, which would have been £75, but when I extended this to include the Friday night, it went down to £64.95 a night. I received an email confirmation from the hotel, but this was on request and when it arrived it was clearly not auto-generated - so I expect it is not standard practice for phone bookings.
The hotel reception is clean and smartly decorated - to the right of the entrance is the lounge where breakfast is served and there is a large TV. The lounge also includes a bar with very reasonably priced Tennents - I can't remember the exact price for two pints now, but it was less than in my parents village pub, which we usually consider the lowest price for a pint.
On check in they took my credit card details and I was given a swipe card key and advised about the times for breakfast - which I was slightly surprised about as I hadn't realised it was included. Had it not been included I would have opted to pay for it on the Saturday at least given that the wedding would be a long day. The staff at the reception were friendly and efficient, and got things done quickly. On check out their system was down so they said they would process payment later and post me the receipt. Payment has been take from my credit card, but I haven't recieved the receipt yet.
First impressions of my room were good. It was on the second (and top) floor, which was accessed by lift. The room was clean and in good condition, quite bright and pleasantly decorated. There was a choice of pillows labelled hard and soft (which amused me - I've never seen that before), tea and coffee facilities, a TV, and a reasonable sized bathroom. There was also a hairdryer and clothes hanging space.
The bed and pillows were comfortable, and I slept soundly both nights. The sheets were very clean and fresh, which is obviously important in a hotel. The shower was surprisingly good - my limited experience of hotel showers is that they are quite weak, but this was as good as my shower at home. My only complaint about the bathroom was that instead of little bottles of shampoo and shower gel, there were two wall-mounted dispensers, one in the shower, labelled "body, hair, hands" - a multi-function soap. I was glad that I had brought my own toiletries.
The hotel was very busy during my stay - I didn't see any other wedding guests there (I think they had all been quicker than me and managed to get into the hotel where the reception was) but there was at least one bus tour group all weekend. Despite this, I was not disturbed at all by noise, the reception was never crowded or rowdy, and there were plenty of seats at breakfast both days.
On both mornings of my stay I saw the cleaners doing the rounds of the rooms, but I decided to put the do not disturb sign on my door - I was only there for a short stay so I wasn't going to make much of a mess, and I'm never entirely happy about other people being in my hotel room.
My room at the Holiday Inn Express was not fancy, but it did the job. However, I did have two issues with the hotel which meant my stay was not as good as it could have been.
The first and more minor issue was that wifi was only available in the reception area. I didn't even have the option of paying to connect to wifi in my room - it just wasn't available. This was really only a minor inconvenience, but it was a disappointment. Wifi access in the reception is at least free, with an access code supplied by reception.
The second issue was breakfast. There's no way round this - it was rubbish. When I am staying at a hotel I like to take advantage of the hot breakfast - it's usually quite tasty and it's not something I often have at home. So at the Holiday Inn Express I bypassed the small selection of cereal, toast and a large bowl of sad looking pineapple chunks, and went to the hot food counter. There was a choice of scrambled eggs, beans and (meat) sausages. I'm not asking for a massive spread, but that seemed to me like a bit of a puny selection. The cold selection wasn't extensive either - some cereals, the sad pineapple and some yoghurts. As a vegetarian I could only have scrambled eggs and beans from the hot selection, and I don't even particularly like scrambled eggs. I also had two little pain au chocolats from the warm cabinet, which looked good but were stale and chewy. Even the fruit juices weren't brilliant. I had really wanted to fill up at breakfast as I knew that I wouldn't eat again until near 5pm. Later that day I spotted that the Toby Carvery restaurant next door was advertising breakfast for £5. Should have gone there.
The disappointments of the wifi and breakfast aside, my stay at the Holiday Inn Express at Strathclyde Country Park was fine. I might think twice about choosing the brand again if I want breakfast, but the room and the staff were absolutely fine.
Summary: Nothing fancy but does the job
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