Ah, the joys of a break away from it all. Well, a corporate training course in Crewe to be precise, together with an overnight hotel stay. I like hotels. Free shower caps to protect my bald head. Wonderful cooked breakfasts and no washing up to do. My employer, in their wisdom, decided to put me up in the Jarvis Crewe Hotel, a 3 crown hotel located next to the town railway station. A most interesting experience. I shall take you through the brochure and translate for you, based on my brief experiences. WELCOME Once a stopover for Queen Victoria, this hotel has kept its luxurious elegance. This is an ageing hotel in need of major renovation and, other than electricity, has had little done since Vicky's visit. HOME FROM HOME There are 53 bedrooms. All have an ensuite bathroom, remote control TV, direct dial telephone and tea and coffee making facilities. The bedrooms are small with only basic facilities. TV channels are limited although you can pay £7.50 for some pornography. You can use our phones to ring home, but it is cheaper to use your mobile. We will ensure that there is inadequate milk to go with your kettle, to ensure you pay extra for a brew in the bar area. There is a reasonable chance that your bedroom will be next to the railway station so the furniture will rattle every few minutes throughout the night. The noise will be intolerable if you open your window, so you will be very hot. Our beds are a wonderful U shape to ensure a dreadful night sleep. TIME TO SIT BACK Relax and unwind in the Victorian style bar. And if you fancy something lighter, try Super Bowl, a new concept in bar food and room service. Served in a bowl. This is a typical hotel bar with pool table, fruit machine and over priced drinks. If you would like to pay a silly amount for a small meal, you can. FANTASTIC FOOD AND GREAT AT
MOSPHERE Hobsons restaurant offers a fine range of English fayre. Spaghetti Junction is a restaurant offering great Italian food. Hobsons choice. Bloody awful food from a limited photocopies menu or Italian food from an empty room with no staff. The worst hotel breakfast I have ever encountered. An inner city café would sell the same for £2, not the £11.50 charged here. A DAY TO REMEMBER The Gladstone Suit is the perfect setting for your wedding or special event. I did not see this suite, but surely there are nice venues in central Cheshire for such an important event. OUT AND ABOUT Close by are the historic Cathedral City of Chester, Stapeley Water Gardens and of course, Alton Towers. If you want to visit somewhere nice, stay at a hotel in Chester or on site at Alton Towers. The £80 my firm paid for dinner, bed and breakfast was not good value. The dining room staff were uninterested in customers and I was left clueless to the breakfast routine, waiting 10 minutes to be asked for my order. I would have been better off in a Travel Inn nipping out to McDonalds for dinner and breakfast. A place to avoid. 01270 213 204 is the number to ring if you really wish to visit.
We decided that we would like a short break and persuaded my wife's mother to look after our children so we could have a weekend away. After searching around the Internet we came across the Jarvis Hotels web site (http://www.jarvis.co.uk) and saw that they were advertising weekend breaks at up to 50% off the usual cost. The number of places on offer were restricted and bookings could only be made for Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights. The other conditions were that there had to be two people sharing the room, you had to book for two consecutive nights and you had to pay in advance. The hotels are split into three categories: City, Country and Leisure. For each hotel there is a full description of all the facilities, directions to the hotel and a list of local attractions. Obviously the different locations and types of hotel are designed to appeal to various groups of people, but there is a wide choice to choose from. The availability of any hotel could be checked and booked on-line so the whole process is very easy to use. We made our booking in a few minutes and printed out the confirmation form. A written confirmation was sent to us through the post two days later. You could also telephone and write off to make a booking, but the on-line system was very convenient and easy to use. We stayed at the Jarvis International Hotel and Country Club in Gloucester. (I have written a separate review about the hotel). Normally the price should be £49.50 per person per night for Bed and Breakfast. With this offer the price was reduced to £29.99, so we had a saving of £78 for the weekend. Whilst we were at the hotel we spoke to a number of other people who had taken advantage of this offer at other hotels in the Jarvis group and they all seemed very satisfied and agreed that it was good value for the money. If you are looking for a break away then why not have a look to see if there is an offer to suit you on th
is web site.
Having experienced one good hotel in the Jarvis Chain, this was our choice of venue for our weekend away to witness Spurs lose at Old Trafford. The footie may have been disappointing, but the hotel lived up to the quality reputation, save for a few minor mishaps. LOCATION The Jarvis Piccadilly is situated in the heart of Manchester, a short walk from the Arndale Shopping Centre. The hotel overlooks Piccadilly Gardens and the Tram Station, however, don't be fooled by any pictures you may see of the hotel, as where there was once rows of trees and shrubbery, there is now a building site, as the council and local firms busily prepare for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, to which Manchester is the host city. CAR PARKING The hotel has its own free car park, accessed through a side street behind the hotel. The driveway is very curvy, narrow and steep, both up and down, it is situated above a pay NCP car park, so be careful when approaching you choose the correct entrance, signs are located overhead. Prior to your visit, you can either obtain directions to the car park from the hotel, or download them off the internet, but you need to be alert and it is useful to have someone directing, as the traffic around this area is busy, hindered by the one-way systems throughout the city. On arrival you report to reception and the concierge will either allocate you a space, or park your car for you. RECEPTION The hotel reception is a real grand affair, synonomous more with your average regular travelling business-person, than the hundreds of football supporters that descended on it this weekend. Service is all computerised and processing is speedy and efficient, the concierge will assist you in taking your luggage to your room, for which you would be well advised to tip, my other half had the grand total of 70p change on him, whoops, not off to a good start. PRICES - GOOD NEWS AND BAD I shall give you the bad news
first, Rack rate prices are not cheap. A double room, without breakfast is £129 per night A suite without breakfast is £200 per night. Continental breakfast is £7.50 and full english - £10.95. THE GOOD NEWS If you are travelling at weekends, check out the Jarvis internet site for late deals. We secured a standard room including breakfast for £136 for two nights, i.e. £68 per room per night. A far cry from the extortionate prices in reception at the hotel THE ROOM The hotel has 272 bedrooms that are quite small, but adequate and contain all the facilities you would expect to find in a hotel of this standard, including, en-suite, King size bed, remote control TV with pay Movie Channels, all the sky sports channels were provided FOC, telephone & modem link, hairdryer, Trouser Press and tea & coffee making facilities. The hotel is 11 storeys high, and the rooms offer a birds-eye view of the city. The hotel offers a range of both smoking and non-smoking rooms. During our stay, we had a problem with our toilet tank that flooded our bathroom floor, despite reporting it twice, it was still playing up on our departure. THE FACILITIES The hotel has a wide range of leisure facilities including a good size indoor heated swimming pool and separate children's pool, steam room & spa bath, sauna & solarium, gymnasium, health & beauty salon and hair studio. The hotel also offers a choice of three bars, The Portland bar, which is actually adjacent to the hotel and accessed off the main street, but worth a visit as drinks are cheap, £1.50 for a print of John Smiths, and £1.50 for a pint of Fosters. This is not open Sundays. There is also a Club Bar which offers both 'basket' meals and drinks, this was not however open during our stay, I believe, because of the number of football supporters in the city. And last, but certainly not least, the Arts Grill and Bar. We opte
d not to try out the Gril as the prices were slightly more than we wanted to pay, but I believe you could have a meal here for around £15-£20 per person. The bar section had a large comfortable seating area, and a wide screen for sports fanatics. Primarily, the staff were friendly and helpful, although the prices were much higher than the Portland Bar, around £3.45 for a pint of John Smiths and half a Lager. Although this was high compared to the local pubs, the prices were still much lower than other hotels I have stayed in, and reasonable considering the Piccadilly is renowned as THE Business Meeting Place in Manchester. The hotel also offers a number of conference rooms for businesses. BREAKFAST The full english breakfast offered A wide range of cereals and fruits Orange Juice Coffee/Tea/Hot Chocolate Toast A range of pastries and rolls, accompanied by butter, marg and conserve if required Bacon, sausage, fried potato, fried & scrambled eggs, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms All on self-service, buffet style. It is worth trying, and if you can get a window seat, the restaurant offers a panoramic view over the City. The hotel is approximately ½ mile from Piccadilly station, Manchester and 10 miles away from the airport. SUMMARY If you can get a good deal over the internet, then it is certainly worth a visit, it is stylish, upmarket with good service and good food, situated in a convenient location both for shopping and site seeing, and travelling to outlying areas of the city. HOW CAN I STAY THERE You can book on-line at www.jarvis.co.uk Call central reservations on: 01494 436264 Or call on the hotel direct on: Telephone 0161 236 8414 (if you chose the last method, from experience, be prepared to pay higher prices. Jarvis Piccadilly Hotel Piccadilly Plaza Manchester M60 1QR