“ Innkeeper's Lodge Stockport, 271 Wellington Road / North Heaton Chapel / Stockport / SK4 5BP / Tel: 0161 432 2753. „
WHY DID WE BOOK THE INNKEEPERS LODGE STOCKPORT?
On this particular occasion, purely business sad to say! Stockport is probably the most productive individual town in our particular industry now, within fifteen minutes of this particular hotel I can (in turnover terms at least) visit around 30% of our customers.
For anyone conducting business in the area of south east Manchester or Stockport this Lodge makes a very good base.
HOTEL DESCRIPTION / OUR PERCEPTION FROM HOTEL PUBLICITY
The Innkeepers Lodge brand is rather less well known generally than the likes of Premier Travel Inn (who are much bigger), Ibis, Campanile or Days Inn. However, the website is very efficient, presents what appears to be an honest description of the property and clearly lists the facilities available.
An excellent brochure / directory can be picked up in any of their Lodges or ordered via the website.
Each Innkeepers Lodge, unlike their competitors, is attached to a pub. There are several different pubs; you will probably be familiar with at least some of them: Vintage Inn, Toby Carvery, Harvester, Ember Inn, Sizzling Pub Co or Pub Carvery.
The website or brochure makes it clear which pub is attached to the hotel, at Stockport it is a Toby Carvery.
The price of an Innkeepers Lodge room varies slightly according to location and which pub it is attached to. Some, Stockport included, also drop in price over the weekend, this too is clearly shown.
The front page of the website offers special deals - three nights for the price of two over weekends, other than that there are no gimmicks here, it is an easy and clear site to negotiate your way around - quick to load too.
In terms of any hotel description in my experience, I have found Innkeepers Lodge to be the most honest and straightforward. If anything, my opinion is that, they are "under-selling" the quality and value of their chain here - a very refreshing approach!
HAVE WE STAYED THERE PREVIOUSLY?
Unless I can help it, I never like to write a review based on just one sampling of a product. This particularly applies to hotels and restaurants, which can vary so much from room to room, or visit to visit. Yes, we are regulars at the Innkeepers Lodge in Stockport, probably having stayed there six times (around 15 nights in total) during the course of the last three years.
BOOKING PROCESS 10 / 10
The website makes this very easy for you, and as already mentioned it is fast to load up and slick in operation. Speeding our booking process even further is that we are registered with Innkeepers Lodge which saves us feeding in all the details each time we wish to book a room.
On one occasion, whilst away from home and the computer, we had cause to call Innkeepers Lodge by telephone in order to book a room at short notice. I am pleased to report that their telephone booking staff are helpful, friendly and efficient. There were no rooms available in Stockport for that night, they suggested and booked the hotel in Oldham (also attached to a Toby), nine miles away around the M60, for us in stead.
LOCATION 9 / 10
The Innkeepers Lodge Stockport is located at Heaton Chapel to the north of Stockport town centre heading towards Manchester on the busy A6.
It is in an incredibly convenient location with regards to the motorway network of the area, junction 1 of the M60 (the Manchester orbital motorway) is only a mile away. Manchester airport is nine miles to the west, whilst the railway station at Heaton Chapel is a few minutes walk, from here central Manchester is a ten minute train ride.
For my business appointments in the area, there is simply no more convenient a place to stay.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS 7 / 10
This is a substantial red brick building, of Victorian style with large bay windows on the front. In terms of appearance, from the outside, it looks uncannily like the last Hotel that I reviewed, the Chadwick in St Annes! Inside however, it is in a different era.
Your first impressions here may not be 100% positive. Many will ask 'where is the hotel?' The Toby Carvery is very prominent at the front of the building, the Innkeepers Lodge rather less so.
At Stockport there is a very large car park, which, at whatever time of the day we have arrived, has never been full. From the car park, which is watched over by CCTV cameras, there are only two entrances to the building - the open one to the pub, a locked one to the side for the exclusive use of Lodge guests.
I was made aware, following comments from a fellow reviwer, that the pub connection can be off-putting, especially for lone female travellers. In all of these establishments the check in area is in the bar.
CHECKING IN 6 / 10
As the rooms are pre-booked, the paperwork is already waiting for you to sign upon arrival. The problem is that if like us, you finish your working day at around 5.30 - 6.00pm, you may have a long wait at the bar to check in. The bar staff perform the duty of checking you in and if there is a long queue at the bar, you may be standing there bag and baggage like a lemon for some considerable time. We were kept waiting almost ten minutes before the two minute check-in process took place. Whilst the Lodge is entirely non-smoking, the bar and check-in side of the Carvery is not, and was unacceptably smoky. We were very glad to finally leave this area for the smoke fee environment beyond.
Obviously after 1st July 2007, that last criticism will be void anyway!
At check-in you are given clear instructions as to how to find your room and presented with a key and electronic key fob. The fob is to open the outside door which is locked at all times and then another locked door at the bottom of the stairs. We have been impressed with the security at all of the Innkeepers Lodges in which we have stayed; few hotels are as good at keeping strangers from wandering their corridors!
There is no "checking out" at Innkeepers Lodge, your receipt is presented to you when you check in. Upon departure, you deposit your key in the box at the bottom of the stairs and go. Very convenient, especially if you have an early morning flight out of Manchester Airport to catch.
ON THE WAY TO THE ROOM i.e. how easy is it to find your way around? How accessible is it for less able persons? What condition are the public rooms and passageways in? 6 / 10
A very mixed bag here. I am inclined to say that this particular Lodge is a place for the relatively young and fit to stay, and even then only if you are not weighed down with heavy luggage!
Finding your way around is easy, there is only one staircase, the rooms are all on the first and second floors, at 22 rooms this is one of the smaller Lodges too which helps. I was not aware of it from visiting the Lodge, but according to the website disabled rooms are available here - presumably on the ground floor as there is no lift access to the upper floors.
My main criticism is of the stairs, particularly the flight to the second floor which is the steepest staircase that I have ever seen! It is narrow too, which makes taking luggage, brief cases etc up to the room something of a logistical trial. As a consequence the walls are always scored and scraped by luggage, leading to a rather tatty appearance, totally at odds with the rest of the interior, which is clean, warm and cosily decorated.
The downstairs hall, beyond the locked door at the bottom of the stairs allows access to the bar and Carvery without you having to brave the elements outside.
THE ROOM 9 / 10
Whilst, Innkeepers, by UK Lodge standards, offer bargain basement value, the quality of the rooms simply does not reflect this. The quality of the room is more 4 star hotel than being directly comparable to any other of the Lodge chains in which we have stayed.
This is not a new conversion, indeed we do not think that it has been re-decorated in the three years that we have been staying here, but the rooms are still in very good condition. They lack that sterile "corporate" feel of all the large chains, having local pictures on the wall, free standing dark wood wardrobes with matching bedside and dressing tables.
The carpets in a rich red, cream and black patterned design add a warm and luxurious ambience to the room as does the generous amount of lighting (all energy saving bulbs). Just as importantly, this room is as clean and well kept as any that we have stayed in at any price.
Basic tea and coffee facilities are provided, although Mrs R was actually hankering for a hot chocolate, not provided in this particular hotel! There is a pay phone in the room (swipe your credit card), a hair dryer is also provided. Satellite television channels are available, three Sky sports channels, as well as Sky News. The TV has a larger (20ins) screen than many a hotel room TV in my experience too!
The view from the two windows is, to be honest, pretty uninspiring, but then this hotel is situated in the middle of a residential area.
THE EN-SUITE 9 / 10
Unless you particularly want a bath, this en-suite provides everything you could possibly need and then, in some cases a touch more!
Innkeepers Lodge bathrooms, shower rooms more accurately, are finished to a much higher standard than average. Brightly lit, sparkling clean and very attractively tiled in white and navy blue, with white porcelain, they even have a print hanging on the wall next to the large mirror.
Dove Cream Wash is provided in dispensers on the wall adjacent to both the hand basin and shower.
A very nice touch is the little notice saying that if you've left your toothbrush or shaving kit at home, complimentary ones will be provided at the check in desk.
DID WE GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP? 9 / 10
Yes we did! The bed is a generous size and proved very comfortable.
Efficiently double glazed windows kept out the noise - largely from aircraft passing over on their way in and out of Manchester airport. We have only ever been allocated rooms at the back of this Lodge, I am unable to comment on how noisy the front, main road, facing rooms might be.
Importantly, by comparison to many other chain hotels, particularly in our experience, Premier Travel Inn, the walls and floors are not paper thin here. Our room actually had a connecting door to the room next to us, unless very close to that door you could not hear a sound from the adjacent room.
FACILITIES ON OFFER - No score here, different grades / prices of hotel understandably have different facilities.
This section explains why this is NOT a four star hotel, but then neither are you paying four star prices. As Lodges go, the facilities here are very good. This is the best Toby Restaurant that we have visited anywhere in the country - we use them quite a lot when on business as they provide food of a reliable quality, cheaply and fast!
For small conferences or family gatherings, you can hire a Meeting Room.
BREAKFAST / OTHER MEALS, FOOD & DRINKS 8 / 10
Thanks to being tied to Little Chef's or Happy Eaters, in the past I have had some pretty dire stays in Lodge hotels. At Innkeepers Lodges that is never the case, here at Stockport, thanks to the Toby Carvery, you can eat well, plentifully and remarkably cheaply too.
In the room is displayed a Toby menu card, offering their typically limited, but nonetheless excellent value fayre - £5.25 for the carvery before 6.00p.m - £6.25 for two courses. At that price, bearing in mind the quality of the food, not to mention quantity of it, that really is unbeatable value for money.
Breakfast is another area where Inkeepers Lodge beats all of the competition - it's free! The competitors all charge between £5 and £7 for either a continental or cooked breakfast. Here you do not actually have a choice, a buffet continental breakfast is laid out and you take your pick, cooking your own toast if that is what you choose to eat.
Again, as with the Toby Carvery in the evening, this may not be haute cuisine, but it is a good quality selection of cereals, fruit, croissants, fresh fruit juices and various breads for toasting. Adittionally there is a good range of hot chocolate, coffees and particularly teas - flavoured and traditional - from which to choose.
OVERALL VALUE FOR MONEY 10 / 10
By English hotel or lodge standards, we have found that, repeatedly, Innkeepers Lodge provide by far the best value for money on the market. This is not cheap and cheerful accommodation. The Innkeepers Lodge Stockport provides a good quality room, with breakfast included, for £45.00 on Friday and Saturday nights, £52.00 for all other nights of the week.
HOW LIKELY AM I / ARE WE, TO USE THIS HOTEL AGAIN?
It is our first choice of accommodation in the Manchester area. We are therefore extremely likely to use it again, probably more than once a year.
This particular Lodge introduced us to Innkeepers Lodges, when booking overnight, or even several days accommodation anywhere in the country, this chain is always my first port of call. So far, having stayed in six different Innkeepers Lodges, we have not been disappointed.
Innkeeper's Lodge Stockport,
271 Wellington Road, (A6)
North Heaton Chapel,
Tel: 0161 432 2753
RICHADA'S HOTEL RATING 83 / 100 - 83 %