On a recent trip to Legoland we chose this hotel because it was close to Legoland, near to the trains should we want to go into London, and best of all it offered a three day pass into Legoland
The hotel is conveniently situated off a main road, and yet set far enough back so that there is no traffic noise and offers lots of parking round the back.
Once we had taken our cases into the spacious lobby containing a big check in desk and lots of comfy sofas and chairs, the check in process was fairly speedy and simple, and we were given the keys to our room.
THE BEDROOM AND BATHROOM
Since it was only Little Miss and I, we had a twin room, containing, as expected, two single beds, bedside tables, desk and wardrobe with 4 hangers! No matter, we don't get to proud about hanging up our clothes! The room was clean and well maintained and quite tastefully decorated with a view onto the bins outside. Minor grumbles aside, the thing that did bother me was that there was no mini bar- not that I am an extremely prolific drinker but I had drinks for Little Miss which I would have liked to have kept cool. My friends who were in a triple room had a fridge and an altogether more spacious room, so we felt quite put out.
The bedroom led directly onto the bathroom with the usual bath and overhead shower, sink, large area round the sink, toilet and very plentiful towels...they brought us 6 new ones every day. There was the usual selection of Molton Brown toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, bath gel and soap, so we were well pleased on that front.
EATING IN THE HOTEL
We decided to give the hotel restaurant a go on two out of the three nights because after wandering about all day, the last thing the children needed was to be dragged out again. Not only that, if adults paid for the buffet, costing £23, then children ate free, so can't be bad.
The tables were set out randomly throughout the dining room, with plenty of space between them which was a good thing because the majority of people were eating the buffet.
The buffet itself served a good selection of starters main courses and desserts and there was a special selection of food which was likely to appeal to children, although they were able eat from the main buffet, which ours did. The buffet was set around a theme usually based on a type of food, for example, Mexican, Indian, although there were plenty of simple dishes like chicken which did not adhere to the theme.
Breakfast was also eaten in the dining room, and served a selection of cereals, cooked breakfast (including sausages, bacon, mushrooms, hash browns, tomatoes etc) and a mountain of different kinds of cakes and croissants. There was also several types of juices including orange, pineapple, apple. We were all free to chose as much as we wanted so it was inevitable that we left the hotel every day having eaten a very hearty breakfast.
Whilst I appreciate that the hotel probably has conference facilities, I will comment only on the facilities we used.
The hotel has a gym which we had to pass through to get to the swimming pool. The gym is reasonably sized and looks well equipped but I didn't have a go on any of the equipment.
There are family changing rooms just off the gym area and it was here we went to get changed for a spot of swimming. The changing room was large with shower and cubicles, and could be locked so we could have it all to ourselves. The swimming pool itself was just like any other pool, and guests in the hotel were free to use it at any time.
The staff in the leisure area were helpful and the small shop itself sold bits and pieces people were likely to need such as goggles, arm bands etc. For anyone not wanting to swim, the spectator area afforded the opportunity to sit on comfy sofas and read magazines.
Another facility we used was the small café just at the back of the main lobby area. Selling coffees, teas and a selection of cakes and sandwiches, I languished here after breakfast deciding on the itinery of the day.
One thing I have to mention is the extortionately priced vending machine situated at the front entrance. Very tempting for children, but with toothpaste priced around the £2 mark we didn't participate!
The hotel cost just over £200 for myself and Little Miss for 3 nights including huge breakfasts and a 3 day pass to Legoland. It was a reasonably priced hotel and suited us for what we wanted as it was about 8 miles from Legoland, in a quiet easy to find location, and also close to Windsor.
It's not in any way a special hotel and some bits look a bit tired. This is clean purely functional and not a romantic getaway. For Legoland trips with the children, it could be ideal!
Thanks for reading.
I stayed at the Hilton Bracknell for 4 nights while attending some technical training in Wokingham. I have to admit that I only booked the Hilton because it was the Hilton. Well, was I in for a shock! General ------- The Hilton Bracknell is probably one of the worst hotels I have stayed in. The building itself is very old and stuffy. I went into my room on the second floor and found a stuffy room which was smaller than what I usually expect from Hilton and there was NO air conditioning! The room had a work desk, 2 arm chairs that looked like they were left over from 1872, a king size bed (pretty good), a TV that was basically 20cm above the floor. So if I was to lie down on the bed, I could not watch the TV properly! There were the 5 UK channels and 4 other channels 1 being Eurosport, the other Bloomberg in German (like any good that is to me) and the other 2 just normal German TV channels! Brilliant – NOT! There is tea & coffee making facilities and a wardrobe with no doors!!! An iron and an ironing board are stored in that wardrobe as well. The wallpaper seems like it is left over from the 60’s or the 70’s – it is in good shape, but it is a dirty shade of yellow. There were sockets to connect my laptop into, but for some reason these didn’t work, so I unplugged the telephone and plugged the cable into my laptop, then it worked. At night and I am amazed at how hot the room can be even though I have the window open and it’s raining outside! I also hear this humming type of noise, which is actually so prominent that I can hear it even though the TV is on (just thinking about it is giving me a headache). Bathroom -------- Walk into the bathroom and found it reasonable size. The wash basin had the cold and hot water taps separated (I am sorry, I know it’s some kind of UK tradition but I absolutely HATE that! Why not c
atch up with technology currently implemented in the third world and get warm water? :-)). Anyway, turn the tap on and I get this very loud whistling sound… So, I go down to the reception and report the whistling. The man behind the counter looks at me with a look in his face that says “don’t all taps whistle?” and actually says, “yes sir, that is normal, it’s the pressure of the water”. It’s not just the pressure of the water you *&^%^*, but it is also the fact that the tap needs replacing! You’ll find the usual amenities, soap, shampoo, shower gel, but don’t expect anything extra. There is a bath with a shower head. The hairdryer was actually in the room and not in the bathroom. Food ---- I didn’t have breakfast at the hotel, only had dinner. The dinner was OK. The restaurant is large (should fit 150 without any problems) and the food tasted OK. A buffet dinner and a glass of house wine cost me about £25, which wasn’t too bad I guess. There is a bar located within the lobby and it was rather full every night. I can’t tell you about their service or prices though because I did not have a drink there. Other ----- The LivingWell health club seemed reasonably new (I think it was recently renovated) and the pool looked very inviting (it was a good size pool). There is also a jacuzzi. However, the gym was small and didn’t have much equipment. There is a lift, but I recommend you don’t use it. It is very small and very slow and does not feel safe. I only used it once and used the stairs every time after that. The hotel does have its own parking place. The hotel is about 10 minutes drive away from most of the major corporations there. They also have an agreement with a private hire company, so, every time you ask for a taxi they call you one of these and the private hire
company charges you almost double of what a normal taxi would charge you. :-) They say LegoLand and Coral Reef is nearby, I can’t say because I was only there for the training and didn’t bother going anywhere. Overall ------- The service was friendly but the place is no good. They also charge premium rates as if they are a 4 star hotel! My booking cost £120 per night and that was with a one night penalty should I decide to cancel the booking. Avoid if you can!
The room - I had a special corporate rate of 120 pounds a night, I honestly wouldn't pay more. The room was quite small but had everything I needed including hair dryer, ironing board and iron, kettle, team and coffee, double bed, TV with play station (charged at about 5 pounds an hour) and internet (10p per minute), your regular 5 TV channels and 3 german ones (no not that kind they looked like news channels), and a selection of pay movies, kindly listed on your bill as room service incase your on business and aren't supposed to expense films. They also have a deal where your spouse can stay for free, I don't have one so I don't know much about this. It also had some things you don't need like a trouser press, if anyone knows how to use this device, please leave me a comment with instructions in it. The bathroom was also well equipped plenty of towels, and a note requesting to put them in the bath if you wanted them changing for clean ones or leave them anywhere else and they would just be hung back up for you. There was 2 boxes of tissues, not sure why but defintely useful, a shower cap, bath salts in a cool little packet, conditioning shampoo (girlies will still need to take conditioner I'm afraid) soap shower gel and bubble bath. So top score on the toiletries, although some moisturiser instead of several variations of soap would have been useful. The major downside to my room was it was on the ground floor and had a window which had obviously been broken into at some point and which the cleaners insisted on opening and leaving open all day whilst I was out and my computer was in! Room service menu - I normally admit I am the queen of junk food reason being it's convenient and suits my hectic lifestyle, however when stuck in a hotel for a week, when someone else is doing the cooking I normally expect to get fed pretty well. But not in this instance. The menu was spilt into sections, burger bar, pi
zzeria, cincinatti chicken, oriental..., basically there was a section for each type of junk food you'd eat on your way home from a night out. The first night I thought I'd try a freshly made pizza, freshly made at the McCain factory before being frozen and shipped off to the Hilton and the price for this was 8.25! Next night I tried chicken tikka masala, a slight improvement it was served in one of those stainless steal bowls however it had been tipped out of one of those plastic microwaveable containers I'm sure. It was served with rice and Naan bread and although better than the pizza was very stodgy. Next night I walk to the Sainsbury's across the street and bought a chicken wrap sandwich for under 2 pounds and it was delicious. In my week long stay I called room service 3 times on three seperate days. Each time the phone tranfered to reception as noone in the kitchen answered it and each time the Sweet of the day was apple pie. Mini-bar - what minibar! I expected one but there was not, only a kettle with tea, coffee and shortbread biscuits which I admit were free but it was very sunny outside and I wanted a cold drink. After enquiring at reception I was told to refer back to the affore mentioned Room service menu. There was a list of about 8 drinks and then there was a note saying you could ask the bar for a more detailed list. Unbelieveable it was 2 pounds for a 500ml bottle of coke, I'm afraid I was off back over the road to Sainsbury's. Breakfast - So far I've done nothing but complain about the food, well I can say they did manage a pretty good breakfast. They had a very good choice from bread and pastries, to ham and cheeses, to yoghurts, to cereal, to dried fruits, to freshish (some of them looked like they were out of cans) fruits, to you full fry up including a little man frying your eggs and making belgian waffles. Also for extra cost you could have kippers or some other kind of fishy breakfast.
You also had a choice between coffee (very weak and watery and no they wouldn't let me have an expresso from the coffee bar), tea and numerous fuit juices. You could also have breakfast served in your room, if you had breakfast in with your room it cost 5 pounds extra else it was about 12 pounds, or you could have breakfast to go, I didn't try this service but it seemed pretty good, at no extra cost if you already had breakfast included or for 5 pounds if you didn't you could get a drink and a bacon sandwich ready to go in a brown paper bag, you could either have it delivered to your room or pick it up from the coffee bar at a specified time. Restaurant - There is a restaurant where you can eat on an evening but as I don't like to eat alone in restaurants, especially when they are full of men in suits I didn't try it out. Gym - The gym was open 6.30am to 10pm through the week, I only visited late evening but found it very goos, it has an 18m pool, spa, steam room, sauna and weight room. I didn't use the weight room as I found it rather crammed with equipment and mainly men clients trying to out do each other with heavier weights. The pool on the other hand was almost empty and very relaxing. The gym also had complimentary towels and toiletries, the only thing I found annoying was that you needed a pound coin for the locker but the gym staff were very kind and lent me one. Hilton Honours - When I knew I would be staying at the hilton I signed up for a Hilton Honours card on their website. They have lots of good ways of earning points, you can even double dip, this means if you have an airmiles card with their partner airlines you can also gain airmiles aswell as HH points. Even better if you flew with one of their partner airlines and show your boarding pass at checkin you get 250 extra HH points, actually no you don't I tried this, I got my airmiles but as for the HH points for the boarding pass the recep
tionist claimed he'd heard another customer mention this but he didn't know anything about it or how to credit me the points. Oh well I was happy enough getting HH points, airmiles and points from my credit card company for the stay (can you tell when I'm also a dooyoo addict?) Alarm calls - When I checked in I was asked if I wanted an alarm call the next morning and a newspaper, I declined the newspaper but asked for a call at 7am. Next morning 6.55am the phone rings it's my alarm call and if I hit any button it will give me another call in 5 mins. Actually not true if you hit one of the speed dial buttons for hotel services it actually calls them, luckily I hit the room service button which they never answer anyway (see above). But anyway as a person who relies on the sleep button to make sure she doesn't fall back asleep I found this very useful. You could also set an alarm on the TV but there was no sleep function. On day two I decided to set my alarm call from my phone myself. You call it enter your room number and for security reasons (I guess so people in other rooms can't accidentally set an alarm call for the wrong room) it calls you back and then allows you to set the time. I set it for 7.30am, it goes off at 6.50am Grrr!! Next night I try again 7.30am, I set the Tv as a back up as I'm now not too trusting of the hotel alarm system, it goes off at 6.50am. I enquire at reception and find that they actually set up your first requested alarm call for your entire stay, luckily on day four it was reset to a reasonable hour. Hotel bar/coffee bar - the bar had a pretty good selection and some very nice cocktails although rather pricey. But unfortunately the bar was kind of an extention to the reception seating area and also had to share it's seats with the coffee bar. The coffee bar was also rather expensive 2 pounds for an espresso! Anyway to me it ment there was no atmosphere and not really somewhe
re you could comfortably sit and have a few drinks. Hotel Taxi's - there are usually taxi drivers waiting in reception or just outside, they charge fixed hotel rates or so I was told in such a way I was lead to believe they were cheaper than normal rates, however in reality they were twice the price of local taxi firms so I spent the rest of the week calling my own taxi's from a local firm. In all this hotel was very average the staff were friendly enough the rooms were Ok but it was nothing special and certainly not worth the prices they charge. If your going for one or two nights it will meet your needs if your staying longer I'd look elsewhere.
It really annoys me when a sometimes good value supposidly 4*/5* hotel chain is so so variable in it's quality of service and vlue for money. The Hilton in Bracknell is pretty well situated on the A322, just off J3 on the M3, the grounds look nice - but be carefull of security...a colleague had his window smashed in the car park. Reception is ok, the usual soft lighting, reasonably short ques to check in, when I asked about the possibility of an up-grade on my H.Honors card I got a response boardering on rude which didn't impress. The rooms are really not up to standard, small, obviously not been decorated in years. There was nothing to really impress me. The TV didn't work properly either. We had a 3 day conference there, the food they served during the 2 lunches was appauling - plates of undescribed fried ** things **, no desert and whats more during the conference, while there were people speaking the kitchen staff were making so much noise it really disrupted the speaker. Lobby service around the reception area was pretty poor, with the admittedly good coffees and cakes taking ages to arrive - not what you need when you have a 15 minute break during a conference. What really got my goat however is that they had the cheek to charge £220 per night for this quality of "Hotel Product", this really does not compare even with other Hiltons overseas, £220 was the company rate when there were 60 people staying overnight, god knows what they charge for a business traveler staying for one night on his/her own. Moreover it makes it so much nicer if the people working in the hotel give the impression that they care and that you're welcome, this simply was not the feeling I got here, everyone was doing their jobs and that was the end of it. I may sound like i'm winging but c'mon Hilton surely you can provide a better service than this when we're paying top wack. Not impressed.