“ Holiday in Express Hotel located at Leicester City FC´s Walkers Stadium. „
* Prices may differ from that shown
We'd booked the Holiday Inn Express Leicester Walkers Stadium for a visit to the area last summer. Originally we'd hoped to stay at the Barcelo Hinckley Island for 3 nights but as they were fully booked for the third night we had to find somewhere else to stay. This hotel was not our first choice as an alternative but it turned out that the Marriott and the Hilton were also fully booked, and the Holiday Inn in the town centre has no on-site parking, so we ended up here.
I'd booked a family room for us and our two daughters, breakfast included, and found out that their website is really easy to use.
The hotel is located directly next to the stadium, which makes it really easy to find as the way to the stadium is well signed out. I've seen a bus stop around the corner but with a facility like a football stadium at the doorstep you'll probably never have to worry if you have to rely on easy access to public transport.
We arrived by midday and were rather surprised to find lots of police around the hotel and stadium. It was the weekend right after the riots and we'd assumed that the match in Leicester had also been cancelled, which wasn't the case.
To get to the hotel's parking lot you will have to pass from a barrier and here the police wanted to see our hotel reservations. They asked whether we were planning to go to the match, we declined and were told that the whole area would be closed for traffic later on. We weren't planning to come back until after dinner from the trip we'd planned so this would not affect us but if you stay here on a match day and are planing to get back to your hotel during the afternoon you should consider this .
No surprise, the hotel seems to popular with football fans and we found some sitting and enjoying a few pre-match beers in front of the back entrance which overlooks the parking lot.
Checking-in was quick and easy, there is no porter service and we had to ask for a trolley for the luggage, which was supplied quickly. Strangely, the receptionist told us that the closest restaurant is around 10-15 minutes drive away, she must have meant walk as we'd passed a few on the way that I would consider to be in walking distance. The hotel itself doesn't have a restaurant.
Our room was on the third floor and we had to fiddle with the key card a bit until it let us in.
I guess "compact, bordering on cramped" describes it best, at least if you take the family version. I assume that the second double bed is originally a two-seater couch, which surely is great if you arrive alone or just as a couple, when it is turned into a bed though it fills all free floor space and there is hardly enough space to sit on the chair at the desk. The room was rather sticky and we were glad that we could open the window a few centimetres; ours overlooked the stadium where more and more fans were arriving.
The bathroom had a really nifty design as the entrance door did not just only serve to separate the bathroom from the sleeping area but also functioned to separate the toilet from the rest of the bathroom. There is only a shower, pressure was so-so, a corner sink and nice blue mood lighting. We had to ask for more towels at the reception, they'd forgotten to supply our daughters.
Apart from that we had some shelves where we found the hospitality tray (enough coffee and tea but not milk, no cookies) and hair dryer and an open hanging rack for a jacket or a very limited number of clothes. No storage for the luggage anywhere which means the little bit of floor that wasn't covered by furniture was occupied by our bags, and the kids had to climb a bit to reach their bed.
You could say that they really use every inch of the room to provide you with the necessary, it's functional but not exactly comfortable. On the plus side the room was spotlessly clean.
We left and returned after a fun day out at Conkers and a Pizza. By the time we made it back the football match was over long since and fans and police troops alike were gone, what was left behind and would stay there until after we left the next morning was a collection of empty beer glasses, both plastic and glass, along the front entrance that faces towards the stadium. Nobody seemed in a hurry to clean this mess up. If it was my hotel I wouldn't want its front entrance to be decorated with dozens of half-empty/empty pint glasses.
The kids tried the shower quickly and fell in their bed, not without quibbling a bit that they had to share one double and totally exhausted after their day out, and we made our way downstairs towards the bar.
The bar is located next to the reception desk and has about as much flair as a Mac Donald. There was a choice of 4 beers, I didn't check any other drinks, which were sold at a very reasonable price.
The leather chairs are comfortable but the light was much too bright, the music almost ridiculously loud and as the sitting area is not divided from the reception and breakfast areas, it feels impersonal and is not the most inviting place I've ever had a beer in. Around eleven pm the receptionist/barkeeper finally realised that he'd forgotten to put his bar stools out and placed them in front of the bar, I doubt that he needed them as the other two tables had left at this point and we had no intention to change our place. There is a flat screen TV that was turned off which we quite appreciated as the music made it hard enough already to have a conversation.
In the far corner you can find a desk area with a PC that you can use for a fee.
Around midnight we were still the only guests left. Some other guests arrived after a night out but nobody else stayed for a late night drink and I couldn't blame them, it's really not a great bar. If we'd had a separate sitting area in our room we'd probably rather have stayed upstairs.
The bed was anything but not comfortable, it was sacking and you'll definitely meet in the middle, whether you want it or not. Pillows came in a choice of hard and soft and were really great but that didn't stop me from waking up several times, the husband was moaning too.
We didn't really expect a lot from the breakfast and were positively surprised as it was better than we thought it would be. There could have been a bigger variety of cheese and cooked meats but what was there was fresh and tasty. Warm options included sausages, bacon, scrambled egg and beans. The scrambled egg was nice, the sausages lovely and the beans where as they should be. I don't eat bacon so can't say anything about it.
The variety of cereals was fine for us but would probably disappoint a connoisseur, the juices were nicely chilled and there were rolls, pastries, fresh fruit and yogurts too.
The coffee/tea machines were a bit tricky to work and we weren't the only guests who needed a moment to figure out how they worked.
Overall this hotel is OK for a short stay and you can expect a clean accommodation and a breakfast for a very reasonable price. The location is nothing special, neither is the hotel, it's a no-frills place I'd recommend to couples or business travellers who only need a crash pad for the night, and fans who want to attend a match or event at the stadium . It was OK with the kids but due to the size of the room I really would not have wanted to stay here for several days, and I think my back would not have wanted to stay a few more nights in that bed either.