“ Address: Osbourne Street / Ferensway / HU1 2NL Hull / Tel: 01482/387500 „
Walking into our second floor room in Hull's IBIS hotel I had an awful feeling of déjà vu; it could have been any of the IBIS hotel rooms I've stayed in over the last couple of years in Carlisle, Sheffield and Leeds. (The IBIS in Graz in Austria was a welcome breath of fresh air and a complete contrast to the UK IBIS hotels.) You could argue, that with chains like this, you know what to expect, and I know that there are people who find that comforting (a bit like going on holiday to the same Spanish resort year after year, I imagine); on the other hand you're unlikely ever to step into an IBIS room and say "Ooh, isn't that nice!" After receiving an email from the Accor group announcing half price rooms in their hotels in August, we booked two nights in Hull, one at the IBIS and one at the Mercure. They are very close to each other and we wouldn't have much luggage so it would be no hassle at all to change hotels. Himself would have booked both nights at the IBIS as this would have been the same price as one night at the Mercure but I held out for a little more luxury. We arrived shortly after 9.00pm and made our way on foot to the IBIS which is a two minute walk from Hull's central train (and nearby bus) station. There is pay parking adjacent to the hotel if you're arriving by car. The location is a little unappealing, situated as it is next to a road junction, but, at the back of the hotel, we weren't bothered by traffic noise at all. Reception was unattended when we arrived but a male staff member appeared after a moment and when we said we had a reservation, he went off to get somebody else to check us in. The lady who did this was very friendly and helpful, though an enquiry about good restaurants in the area was answered with a recommendation of the St. Stephen's shopping centre where there we could find the likes of Nando's; further questioning did give us the name of Cinnamon, a nearby Indian restaurant that proved to be excellent. We hadn't booked breakfast but we were told that there was a special offer on with the breakfast buffet priced at £5 per person and we decided to take advantage. Usually if we take city breaks and book accommodation without breakfast we head for Wetherspoon's but as we were staying in Hull for two nights we thought it would be nice to have some variation. As we made our way to our room I noticed that the public areas were clean and tidy and everything appeared to be in good repair. I find sometimes that IBIS hotels can look a bit tired and shabby but this one was fine. Our room too was spotlessly clean and as good as new. IBIS rooms are never inspiring and always bland but at least this one was looking smart. We'd brought our netbook but didn't think it was worth paying the £9.99 charge for the media package which gets you internet access and movie channels. If you haven't brought your own device you can pay for internet access and plug in the keyboard (which every room has) and access the internet through the television. I tried this once in the IBIS in Sheffield when there was a promotion offering the media package free of charge and it was so long winded and fiddly I couldn't see why anyone would bother. The television comes with all the Freeview channels which were more than enough for our short stay. We'd brought our own toiletries though there is a wall mounted gel dispenser in the shower which, on this occasion was almost empty. As usual there was one woefully small towel each and no hand towel. On a brighter note I didn't manage to flood the bathroom when showering, noticing that the lip on this shower seemed a little higher than in other IBIS hotels. Breakfast was no better and no worse than you might expect from a buffet breakfast in this standard of hotel. I was pleased to see that, other than muesli which was in a glass dispenser, there were individual packets of breakfast cereal (dreadfully wasteful in terms of packaging but idea for nut allergy sufferers like myself); but the milk was dispensed from a small silver urn with a tap on it and if everyone had stood in front of it pouring their cereal into the bowl and then adding milk it would have caused a traffic jam. I decided to put as much milk as I needed into a mug and pour it on my cereal at the table. By the time we ate breakfast at around 9.20 a.m. the scrambled egg had been vulcanised and there was no bacon left. The sausages were dry from being kept hot for so long. Himself persevered with the cooked breakfast while I had a yoghurt and a banana. I avoided the coffee since it comes from a vending type machine and got myself a glass of orange juice instead. When I tried to get a glass for Himself, the machine sputtered to a halt and there was no staff member visible to ask to have it refilled. Another irritation was that although the tables appeared to be clean they did feel a little sticky although I could not actually find any offending goo on the table, perhaps it had been wiped with a sticky cloth. We were pleasantly surprised to find there was no night time noise in the corridors which was particularly appreciated as our room was near a fire door that divided the corridor. IBIS hotels are often used by groups of stags and hens, no doubt because of price, but certainly on this weekend we didn't see any signs of that (perhaps such parties don't favour Hull). While the location does not afford super views, the situation is good, especially for non-drivers as you're close to the train and bus stations and to the city centre and marina. Nobody could say this is a stylish hotel but I was impressed by how clean and well maintained it was. Aspects of the breakfast were disappointing but could easily be improved upon. We paid £21 for our room due to the Accor 50% off promotion but even full price would be fair given what you'd pay to go a grade higher in the city centre.