“ Address: Queens Drive Ossett / Wakefield / WF5 9BE / West Yorkshire / England „
A recent trip to Leeds and Wakefield meant I needed to book a hotel room. I have stayed at many Holiday Inn Express hotels over the years, but have only stayed at a couple of Holiday Inn hotels which are seen as superior to the budget 'Express' relations. Based on my experience I have actually preferred the Holiday Inn Express out of the two, but will always consider a stay at a Holiday Inn when weighing up my options.
I was browsing the hotel chain's website www.hiexpress.co.uk looking for availability in the Leeds area, when I noticed after logging in to the chain's Priority Club Rewards scheme of which I am a member, that the Holiday Inn in Wakefield was available on one of their offers. Using just 5000 reward points would get me a free night at this hotel and I decided this was too good of an offer to turn down.
There is more information on Priority Club Rewards on the website, but basically it is free to join and every time you book a room at one of the hotels in the chain you earn points, which you can then redeem for free nights or as part-payment. It is a worthwhile scheme and I have enjoyed some good free nights and offers over the years.
~~ Booking ~~
Looking at the types of rooms available at Holiday Inn Wakefield, I decided to book a 'Double Executive' room as all rooms were available on the offer. The Double Executive room rate was just over £100 for one night, so to get that free I thought, was a bargain.
I thought the rooms looked really nice on the photographs included on the web page for the hotel and also the promise of a few added luxuries which go with an executive room was appealing too. I booked online which only took a couple of minutes and jotted down the location.
A confirmation email of my booking immediately arrived in my inbox with full details of my stay.
~~ Holiday Inn, Wakefield ~~
The hotel was very easy to find, just a couple of minutes away from Junction 40 on the M1. As we pulled into the car park I noticed there were plenty of free parking spaces for the hotel.
Looking at the hotel from the outside, I must admit that some of it looked a little dated and shabby, although there is a nice enough decking area where you can sit outside with a drink on a warm day.
On entering the hotel however, the Reception area in contrast to the outside of the hotel, is quite luxurious.
Large and airy, with the restaurant, bar area and lounge just off to the left, it looked really lovely and welcoming. Checking in was fast and efficient, we were welcomed and asked if we wanted to book a table in the restaurant later, but we declined as we weren't sure of our plans at that time. We were told it was no problem as we could just come along to the restaurant anytime or have a meal in the bar area if we preferred. There is also the added option of room service, which is available 24 hours.
We were given two key cards for our room which was on the ground floor.
~~ Our room ~~
On reaching our room, I noticed a shiny plaque on the door advertising it was an 'Executive Room'. On opening the door I immediately noticed the bathroom to the right and enclosed wardrobes on the left, which I do prefer to the 'open hanging space' as is the norm in a lot of hotels.
The room itself, although large and certainly spacious enough did appear quite dark in comparison to how they looked on the website. There was a window but not a lot of light seemed to filter through, partly due to a grass bank outside, the thick net curtain and also the dark curtains hanging at the window.
It is difficult to describe the room as a small part of it was quite modern and contemporary but the rest was quite old or classic looking and the two together didn't seem to work. A large double bed made up with clean white linen and blue runner, also featured pillows labelled as 'soft' or 'firm', a contemporary lamp in the corner, a leather executive office chair and probably the best feature of all : a 37" flat screen TV, contributed to the modern theme, however the green carpet and dull pictures as well as dark furniture, a shabby looking chair and an old lamp on the workspace ensured that the room, although spotlessly clean didn't exactly have the 'wow' factor.
Housed in the cabinet underneath the TV was a mini bar, a safe and also tea and coffee making facilities. There was no price list for items in the mini bar, although a notice informed you that any items removed would be charged to your bill.
The bathroom was also spotlessly clean, with a shower above the bath. Small bottles of shampoo, shower gel and bars of soap are provided along with a mini sewing kit, shoe shine, shower cap and nail file. The towels were thick and fluffy and there was plenty of hot water throughout our stay.
Although the room wasn't to my taste, it was clean and comfortable. The large TV was something I have not experienced in a hotel room before and it was certainly impressive, but as we were not there to watch it, it wasn't something I really needed. Wi-Fi is also available should you need it.
The only complaint I had was that the room wasn't as advertised. By booking an executive room, the description states :
'ADDED LUXURIES LIKE BATHROBES AND SLIPPERS MAKE YOUR SMART EXECUTIVE ROOM AN INVITING HOME FROM HOME CATCH UP ON WORK FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR LEATHER OFFICE CHAIR WITH HIGH SPEED INTERNET YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF TO COMPLIMENTARY DRINKS AND SNACKS'
Now the leather office chair and high speed internet was available in our room, however, there were no robes or slippers and the complimentary drinks and snacks amounted to the usual tea/coffee sachets and one chunky Kit-Kat! I really don't think one chunky Kit-Kat can be described as 'snacks'.
My partner rang Reception to ask where the robes and slippers were and after asking us to check the wardrobe again and the back of the bathroom door, the receptionist apologised and stated she would get them sent along.
We began to get ready as we were going out but an hour later there was still no sign of any robes or slippers and nobody had got back to us with an explanation. We went along to the bar area for a drink before leaving and called at Reception. It was a different staff member on duty and she appeared to know nothing about it. She explained that if we didn't have any then it must be because there was none left. I pointed out that the room description stated they were included so if they did not have enough then they shouldn't state this. She said she would look into it and see if there were any and let us know. Once again we heard nothing more and no robes or slippers appeared.
It may seem trivial but as the room is proudly advertised as having these extras then they should provide them, after all the room rate for an executive room is higher than a standard room.
The bar prices were quite expensive as were the meal prices. The cheapest meal being a 6oz burger and chips which was still priced at over £10. There is also a short note in the small print on the menu stating a discretionary charge of 10% would be applied to your bill.
The restaurant and bar area were nice and we had a drink before leaving, but decided to eat elsewhere. There was background music playing and it was comfortable and relaxing at first. However, there was a party taking place in the adjacent function room, which you couldn't hear when the doors were closed, but the guests pushed them open and the music filtered through quite loudly, clashing with the music playing in the bar area. We were actually quite glad to leave.
On returning later to our room, we spent a quiet undisturbed night even though the heating didn't seem to be working either. A notice on the wall stated to get heat you simply had to turn the radiator on, so I did, but nothing happened. We were too tired to call reception again, so just went to bed. The mattress was a little on the hard side but I have slept on far worse.
On checking out the next morning I was asked if everything was ok and I pointed out once again to yet another staff member that I was disappointed there were no robes and slippers as advertised and that nobody had got back to us despite asking twice. I also pointed out that the radiator didn't seem to work and a chunky Kit-Kat between two people did not constitute 'complimentary snacks' in my book, to which she looked at me apologetically and said she would make a note of it all and pass it on.
I have written to guest relations since returning home to make them aware of this so hopefully they will take steps to rectify this.
If I had paid the £100+ for this room then I would have been even more disppointed as in my opinion the room wasn't worth that amount and the promised 'luxuries' failed to live up to the description advertised.
The hotel is nice enough and clean enough but because I have stayed in better hotels which cost less then I wouldn't be prepared to pay to stay here again and the fact that their guest service was a let down on this occasion didn't do it any favours either.
HOLIDAY INN LEEDS - WAKEFIELD M1, JCT.40
QUEEN'S DRIVE, OSSETT, WAKEFIELD, WF5 9BE .