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I have stayed in this hotel numerous times for work. Our office is based in Trafford Park, but I prefer staying in the city centre to have a better choice of establishments for dinner. The hotel is ideally located next to Oxford Road train station. It's not the main station in Manchester, but a lot of lines do run through this station. It's also not far at all from Picadily so you can walk if you'd like, if not then it's a short taxi ride or jump on the free city centre bus. It's fairly new, so I find all of the rooms clean and spacious. Naturally it's a budget hotel, so you can't expect 5 stay, but it's definitely nicer than a lot of hotels I have had the pleasure of staying in. There's a large TV, double bed, sofa bed, tea/coffee facilities and a nice, new, fresh bathroom. Due to being there from work, I often order takeaway for convenience. The staff have always been lovely and offered me plates/cutlery for the food. The same staff have always been more than pleasant during check in/out.
On our very recent stay in Manchester (glad we are not there now) we decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Express as the Premier Inn we had stayed at the previous night would have been £92 with breakfast. This hotel was £69 for 4 with breakfast. The hotel is situated opposite Oxford Road train station but you can't enter in and out of the station opposite it, you have to walk round the corner. Book in is from 2pm and checkout 11am. As we were already in Manchester we went to the art gallery nearby before checking in. We thought we would then drop our bags off and go shopping. Most places let you book in a little early if the room is ready, so we turned up at 1.40pm. As we walked into the hotel there was a guy that told us reception was downstairs and as we had a trolley with us if we went in the lift the floor we wanted was minus 1. So off we went in the lift to reception and were told we could not book in before 2. The receptionist didn't even ask our name to check if the room was ready. We could take a seat in the bar and wait but couldn't get a drink either ..... because it wasn't 2 o'clock and the bar doesn't open until 2. A few more people also came before 2 pm and had to wait. If I was the receptionist I would have felt a little embarrassed sitting behind the counter waiting for the clock to get to 2pm. On the dot of 2 I leapt up from my chair and rushed to the reception desk so I could be the first to check in. (sad I know but the shops were calling). Booking in was simple enough pay by the card that was registered when I booked online and we were given a card for the room and it was to be used for the lift. The only floor you could get to in the lift without the card was reception and the entrance floor. Breakfast was between 6.30am and 10.30am.(this we were told at reception). We took the lift to the sixth floor, but had to suss out ourselves that we had to put the card in a slot inside the lift for it to go up. We found our room easily enough as once out of the lift there were signs on the walls for where room numbers were. As we opened the door to our room the bathroom was on the right and contained a toilet, sink with a big mirror on the wall and an enclosed shower. There was a shaver point and a soap dispenser beside the sink and one in the shower. After getting back from the shops and heading to the shower we had a problem. My youngest was the first in the shower I turned it on and then she got undressed and by that time the shower basin was almost full of water. - It wasn't draining, so I quickly showered her and then explained to hubby what was happening. We had booked a table at a nearby Bella Itailian (which wasn't too great) so didn't have a lot of time to get ready let alone go to reception with the problem. So we had to sort it ourselves my hubby looked and saw hair so that had to come out (ugh it wasn't ours) so I passed him a (sanatary bag disposal thing) lady bag (my daughters words) to put his hand into it so he didn't have to touch anything. Disgusting! He then took the plug out so it would drain quicker. It was ok but not great. The main room with the double bed and sofa bed was straight facing as you opened the door. The room looked very cramped there were the 2 beds and a desk with a chair but because of the sofa bed the chair couldn't move. At the side of the sofa bed was a big window which went to the floor. This I didn't like neither did hubby. So we put the cushion from the sofa bed at the side. The other side of the bed had all metal joints showing where the bed gets folded etc - didn't like this either so put the 2 cushions that we found over the top of the metal and tooked them in. The room had a kettle on a shelf with 2 teabags and 2 coffees and 4 milks. I don't think this was a lot as we had a drink as soon as we got to the room. Luckily I don't have milk, so my hubby could have 2 little cartons in each drink he had. There were enough sweetners as I don't have them and more than enough sugar. The TV was on the dressing table/desk opposite the beds which was a good position and it had freeview. We had problems getting the lights to work when we first went in and this is because you have to put a card in a slot near the door for them to work (which no one told us about). The usual shelves you find in places were at the side of the double bed and there was no wardrobe but a rail attached next to the shelves that the coffee making stuff was on for you to hang your clothes. Breakfast wasn't great. There was a queue but as we had grabbed a table first and left hubby and the youngest there it wasn't a problem. The first thing you came to as you made your way round the food part was the drinks, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and fruit juices. There was also cornflakes, weetabix and I think bran flakes. The problem was the flakes were in a container, and to get any you had to turn a handle but then the flakes crushed a bit. They also had blueberry buns and croissants. If you wanted a cooked breakfast the choice wan't very much sausage, beans and scrambled egg. When I got up to the hot food the beans were empty but then someone appeared with a fresh tray of them. The toast was to one side on another table and that was make your own. Butter, margarine and jams were available. They also had yoghurt. Not eating meat the only hot food we could eat was the egg and beans. The beans were cold and hard and the scrambled egg wasn't up to scratch but I can't say what was wrong with it. It wasn't nice but the toast was. They also had small baguettes which weren't that great. I think it would have helped the queue if the drinks were near the toast as I find most people like to have a refill and make more toast. There wasn't a queue at the toast table although there were plenty of people going up to make toast. On booking out we went to reception to hand the card in and the girl told someone else to book us out. We only wanted to hand the card in but they had to check on the computer, I presume it was in case we had booked a TV channel. The area that this hotel is situated is handy for the centre of Manchester whether it be for shopping or a night out. I didn't like the feel of the area although my hubby said he felt no danger and he is paranoid where me and the girls are concerned. One star lost for not being able to book in early. One star lost for room not being big enough and huge window and sofa bed not being great. One star lost for the blocked shower. 2 star I could take off a star for the annoyance on booking out but I might be being a little harsh. I don't think I will go back.