“ Chain: Q Hotels / Rating: 4 star / Location: Mellor's Way, Off Woodhouse Way, Nottingham NG8 6PY / Tel: 0115 973 9393 „
Prior to having children, Mr Lools and I used to be regular travellers both outside and within the UK. Within the UK we used to prefer to stay in 4* and 5* hotels and during our travels we found ourselves staying in a number of hotels from the Q Hotel group. We had decided to have trip to the Midlands to visit some attractions and came across the Nottingham Belfry hotel on the Q Hotel website and decided it looked like a good choice of place to stay.
The Nottingham Belfry Hotel is located 5 miles from Nottingham City Centre and train station. It is 20 miles from East Midlands Airport. We drove to the hotel which was only a 2 minute drive from junction 26 on the M1.
My first feelings and impressions of the hotel were very disappointing. Although close to main transport links and close to the M1, it simply looked like a hotel on a business park. The location was not at all appealing and there was nothing particularly special or characteristic about the hotel, in fact it reminded me of a more upmarket Premier Inn! The business park was very quiet and although close to the M1 it is far enough away so that you do not hear traffic or motorway noise.
The Nottingham Belfry is described as "a stylish oasis of magnificent proportions. When it comes to hotels in Nottingham, the Belfry has it all covered. The geometric design of the building with its walls of glass, coupled with a plush, contemporary interior makes for one very special hotel experience."
Once I had got over the initial disappointment over the location of the hotel as we pulled up into the car park I was pleased to see that the hotel looked new but did feel it looked slightly uncharacteristic. I think I was expecting something a little grander as other Q Hotels we have visited have been quite impressive from the outside. The hotel from the outside looked large and is a three storey building in which there are 120 guest bedrooms. The entrance hall from the outside looked like it was made from glass although it didn't appear to be "plush and contemporary" like I had been expecting.
One positive on arrival was that the car park for the hotel was particularly large and would appear to be able to accommodate around 250 cars.
The hotel has two restaurants; The Lawrence Restaurant which is the more formal dining area and the Oaks Bar and Lounge which serves lighter snacks and bar meals.
The Nottingham Belfry has a spa which offers a number of treatments and also a leisure club which includes a pool, Jacuzzi and gym.
The hotel also has 13 conference and meeting rooms which can accommodate 700 people. As this was a leisure stay, we did not experience the conference rooms.
***Booking/ Checking In/ Checking Out***
Mr Lools and I booked our stay at the Nottingham Belfry online through the Q Hotel website (the chain of hotels The Nottingham Belfry is owned by). This was a case of entering the date and number of nights that we wanted to stay and the various options and room rates. There are four different room types which are a standard room, a superior room, a Q star room (more spacious than a superior room) or a suite (a bedroom with a separate lounge diner area).
The room rates vary depending on when you book but the average price per nights stay (room only) in a standard room is £70 which I think is very reasonable for a 4* hotel. The more luxurious rooms are available at a supplement which to upgrade to the top of the range suite is an additional £50 per night.
The room rates are very easy to understand the charge for breakfast is only £10 per room on top of the room only price and Dinner Bed and Breakfast only £50 added onto the room only price. We opted for the dinner bed and breakfast option.
In total for a midweek stay in a suite on the dinner bed and breakfast option we paid £135 for both of us which I think is extremely reasonable, although there was a special offer running when we booked.
It is also possible to call the hotel direct and book a room although the hotel does not offer as many special offers this way.
Checking In and Out of the hotel should have been very quick and easy however when we arrived and departed there was no member of staff at the reception desk, and we had to wait over 5 minutes each time until a member of staff came to the desk. The checking out process was quick and easy (as payment had already been taken for our stay) however because of the lack of staff I did feel the service issue let the hotel down and I would have expected a better quality service from a 4* hotel.
The reception area is open plan and very large and spacious with a number of seats located around this area. During busy times the reception area could easily accommodate a large number of guests, although it may be questionable if the reception staff could do so!
We booked a suite when we stayed at the Nottingham Belfry. In total out of the 120 bedrooms the hotel has 10 suites and all of these are located on the third floor within the same corridor. The suites are described as "lavish and perfect for relaxation and indulgence" and have "contemporary styling and "warm tones".
I was very impressed when I walked into our room. The suite had an entrance hallway which had fridge (with space for your own items) in addition to mini bar items and also a storage cupboard. There were three different rooms off the entrance hallway which were the bathroom, the bedroom and the lounge area.
Included in the room rate was "luxuries" such as complimentary bathrobes, slippers, toiletries, newspaper and a bottle of wine. This was on top of standard items such a hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, telephone, iron and trouser press.
The lounge area felt very warm and comfortable but maybe not as contemporary as the rest of the suite and what my expectations for it would be as the gold and bronze tones made it slightly traditional for my taste. The lounge had two two-seater sofas, a 32 inch LCD TV and a glass dining table with 4 seats around it. The lounge was very comfortable and it was nice to have a separate living area within the hotel bedroom.
The bedroom of the hotel was very attractive and modern with light walls and dark wood furniture and a king size four poster bed. I'm not usually a fan of four poster beds and find them tacky, but the modern square clean design of it was actually quite nice. The bed was very comfortable and had immaculate soft white cotton sheets on it.
The bathroom was the real attraction in the suite and was very large. Not only did it have two basin sinks, and a walk in shower it had a large two person bath with a 17" LCD TV above the bath. The overall design of the bathroom was extremely modern and contemporary with white fixtures and cream stone coloured walls. The bathroom was immaculate as was every other area of the suite.
My main criticism of the room was it felt very overlooked. Both in the bedroom and lounge area there were floor to ceiling windows however we kept the blinds shut as they were opposite the car park and also another guest's bedroom, not the views we were expecting. This mean the suite felt very dark and because of the "ambience lighting" I had to turn on all of the lights in each room so it felt bright enough.
The public areas of the hotel were very modern and contemporary and all very clean. The décor was varied but typically white walls, lots of glass and dark wood floors and a number of brightly coloured pieces of furniture. Dotted around the hotel are a large number of seating areas in addition to a courtyard with water features in the centre of the hotel.
Mr Lools and I dined in both dining areas in the hotel. We dined in the Oaks Lounge and Bar during the afternoon of arrival for a snack and drink. The bar area is very modern and has a light clean and airy feel to it in addition to overlooking the courtyard in the centre of the hotel. The prices are reasonably expensive as we ordered Panini's which were priced at £7 each and a pint of lager and diet coke came to £5.20. The food was tasty however very small portions and I feel £19.50 for a small afternoon snack and drink for two people is expensive.
The Lawrence restaurant is the main dining area in the hotel and where we dined for our evening meal. The restaurant is large and has around 30 tables all on one level although I did feel that the tables are a little too close together. The décor of the restaurant is new and modern but not as ultra-modern and contemporary as other areas of the hotel.
The meal was included in the price of the stay up to the value of £25 per person. For three courses we both stayed within this limit. There is a three course menu which has around 10 items to choose from for each course. The menu is varied and would be described as "contemporary British food" with a variety of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. The menu states that it is seasonal and changes depending on local produce available.
The quality of the food was fantastic and the food tasted amazing. My fig and goats cheese starter was delicious my only criticism was that it was very small. The portion size of my chicken and chorizo main course was very generous as was my chocolate and vanilla tart for dessert.
We ordered and paid for wine at the table although there was the option to pay for this as part of the room bill. The wine list was varied with around 10 separate red and white wines and 5 wines under the sparkling and rose list. There were also 3 champagnes on the menu. The wines were reasonably priced and we paid £13 for a bottle of house white which I think is good especially for hotel prices.
Service in the restaurant was brilliant. There was not a long wait between courses but courses were not rushed either.
Breakfast was fantastic and also served in the Lawrence restaurant. The main choice was a buffet full English breakfast. Usually buffet style breakfasts have poor quality ingredients and are dry or overly greasy. This was not the case the sausages and bacon are cooked perfectly and are excellent quality. There is only a small quantity of each item of food under the hot plate which is restocked every 10 minutes so food is guaranteed to be fresh.
There was a large choice of pastries, cereals, and fruit on the continental buffet in addition to the Full English.
The leisure club at the Nottingham Belfry consists of a gym, pool, steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi and is open from 6.30am- 10pm. We did not visit the gym but did look through the window and could see that the gym was reasonably large and spacious for a hotel gym.
The swimming pool was a 10m pool and the Jacuzzi was located at the side of the pool. I did find this was in an ample sized room and had a very open feel to it and was light and airy because of the floor to ceiling windows. However the pool area seemed very overlooked as it is at the front of the hotel so the windows are opposite the car park, which made me feel slightly uneasy as people in the car park can see into the pool area.
The steam room and sauna is also located in the swimming pool area. This is for use by both sexes. The male and female changing areas are separate but quite small. The ladies changing area was extremely clean and tidy. Towels are provided for hotel guests.
The spa is located on the ground floor of the hotel and was extremely clean and modern. The staff were very friendly but I did feel quite overwhelmed mainly as the spa was not busy so there were at least 4 members of staff standing around not really doing much.
There were a range of treatments available, manicures, facials, massages, mud wraps and the prices were very reasonable and what you would expect to pay in a city centre salon. I opted for a manicure and polish. This cost £15 for the treatment which lasted around 30 minutes. I was very impressed with the treatment.
Mr Lools and I both agreed we really enjoyed our stay at the Nottingham Belfry however both felt a little let down as there is nothing particularly special or exciting about the hotel. The hotel is modern and the public areas of the hotel are contemporary but the hotel also has no character and feels quite soulless. The rooms are large, clean and are packed with facilities to make your stay comfortable. Although because of the location your view will either be of offices in the business park or looking out over the car park.
Dining in the hotel was definitely the biggest positive for us. The food served both in the bar area, in the Lawrence restaurant for dinner and breakfast was delicious and beautifully presented.
The leisure and spa facilities are good, but not outstanding however I feel the location of the hotel spoils the attraction of this being a "spa hotel" as it just feels like a more upmarket Premier Inn which has been put in the middle of a business park. A more secluded, scenic location would have been more desirable although a positive about the hotel is its convenient location means it is a good place to use as a base if you are in the Nottingham/ Midlands area
A nice clean modern hotel but lacking the attraction to warrant a return visit unfortunately.
The Nottingham Belfry
Off Woodhouse Way
Tel: 0115 9739393
~~~~Also posted on Ciao 2011~~~~~