“ Address: A34 Kingsway / East Didsbury / Manchester / M20 5PG / United Kingdom / Tel: 0871 984 6162 „
We were lucky enough (or unlucky depending upon your loyalty!) to get some last minute tickets to see Manchester United at Old Trafford to, so we decided that as it is a five hour journey from our home, we would make the most of our weekend trip and book a stadium tour for the following day. After a frantic search for some overnight accommodation we discovered that most of the hotels in the area were already booked up as is quite common on match day. The only hotel within easy reach was Manchester Didsbury Travelodge so we paid £62 for a family room and hoped for the best!
We found the hotel extremely easy to find, and our Sat Nav took us directly to it. The hotel is situated within the Parrs Wood Entertainment Centre and the three storey building is highly visible from the main road. Coming from the Manchester direction you have to drive past it for a hundred yards before you come to the car park entrance, and the hotel is located at the very end of the complex. We arrived on a Saturday night and we found that the complex was very busy as it a very popular centre which includes several restaurants (which might be useful during your stay), a bingo hall, indoor play areas, a cinema and a gym. The car park was almost full, but there seems to be a fast turnover so we were lucky enough to find a space very close to the hotel, and the fact that it is free to park adds to the convenience.
Access to the main reception area (attended 24 hours a day) is via a locked door, controllable from reception or with your room key once you have it. The first thing I noticed reception was the pleasant floral aroma and the fact that it was spotlessly clean. We had already booked and paid via the internet (which was a very quick and easy process) so to check in (check-in is from 3pm onwards) we simply showed the receptionist our reference number and we were handed our key and given directions to our room - the whole process taking under 30 seconds! We were on the third floor so we opted for the lift which was quite slow to arrive, but of course, you can also use the staircase. We were also asked during check-in if we would require breakfast in the morning. We declined as I do not believe that tea/coffee, a small bowl of cereal with milk, a small smoothie and a flapjack is particularly good value at £4.50 each. If you are feeling peckish and you don't have any snacks with you, a food vending machine with crisps, chocolate and also salad bowls is located in reception alongside a cold drink machine - both of which are overpriced in my opinion, but I guess you are paying for convenience.
We have stayed in a Travelodge on several occasions, and our room has always been identical - this time no different. For the sleeping arrangements our family room consisted of a double bed which was fairly comfortable and gave us a good nights sleep, but it did keep slipping away from the wall every time we sat up in bed, and a single sofa bed with a pull out underneath; neither of which were all that comfortable but they were adequate for the children for one night. I had to go to reception to get another pillow as we were one short, but this was a hassle free process. On unrolling the duvets, I was quite dismayed to find a used plaster in one of them and although it turned my stomach, I appreciate (kind of!) that plasters are very sticky and this was purely a one off (I hope!).
The other furniture in our simply decorated room consisted of an arm chair, bedside cubbyholes on either side of the double bed (complete with the compulsory bible), and an open wardrobe with plenty of space and hangars also a large dressing table which doubled up as a coffee making station. A small cordless kettle, sachets of coffee (decaf and regular), teabags, sugar, sweetener and milk were provided but there was nowhere near enough milk so fortunately experience has taught me to bring my own! Two mugs are provided, which I find slightly bemusing as it is a family room for four, but it is easy to get extras from reception. A small television with remote control provides you with several channels but it is very basic and (being a bit too used to Sky+) we very quickly got frustrated when we couldn't find a TV guide of any sort!
This may seem unimportant to some, but we found the lighting in the room to be very useful. We could turn off the main lights so the children could get to sleep, but we had adequate lighting in our bed area to be able to read without disturbing them - for such a small room, I think that this has been well worked out. A slimline heater is controllable by you so you can adjust the heating accordingly and a smoke alarm is present for peace of mind. The opening of the windows is restricted to 5cm, which is enough to allow plenty of fresh air in, but is a useful safety feature if you are staying with young children. When I last stayed at a Travelodge, a hairdryer was supplied as standard, but now as a cost cutting measure they are only available to borrow at reception if you ask, free of charge.
The ensuite bathroom consists of a toilet, sink and a bath with a shower over it. I am a shower person and I enjoyed a lovely shower with fully controllable temperature and a massage feature on the showerhead. There was plenty of hot water for my sons to have a bath each and then my husband, but he found it a slight struggle as the bath seems to be shorter than usual, and it was definitely a lot shallower! In his words "the bath ran out before the water!" Soap and plenty of toilet roll is supplied, but if you require extra toiletries, reception is happy to supply them. A shaver socket and heated towel rail complete the bathroom line-up. Plenty of clean, soft white towels are supplied, and you are asked to leave used ones in the bath on your departure.
Check-out was even simpler than check-in, you simply pop your key in the box on reception and you're done. Check-out is by 11 o'clock, but if you need to extend your stay for a few hours, a £10 charge is added to your bill. In my opinion this hotel was absolutely adequate for our needs. Prices start from £19 if you book early enough and it is in a good location if you are visiting Manchester, being no more than fifteen minutes away from many major attractions including The Trafford Centre, Old Trafford, Manchester Cathedral and Art Gallery. Even though it is located on the main road, the traffic noise could barely be heard - and we had a room at the front. Travelodges are never going to be luxurious, but the room was clean, modern and tidy (with the exception of the unfortunate plaster incident) and it is more than comfortable for a whistle stop stay, the staff were polite and attentive when you needed them and I would happily stay here again.
Travelodge Manchester Didsbury Hotel
Tel: 0871 984 6162
Fax: 0161 448 0399