“ Address: 119 Eyre Street / Sheffield / S1 4QW „
~The Jury's Still Out on Jury's Inn~
I'm pretty conflicted when it comes to the hotel chain Jury's Inn. I struggle to work out what they are supposed to be. Are they a budget chain or not? Are they for 'normal' people or the accommodation venue of choice of every stag or hen group the length and breadth of the country? Do they want to be taken seriously or are they happy to be filled with men in T-shirts with unamusing slogans and girls in fluorescent tutus and L-plates?
My first experience of one of their hotels was in Birmingham about 6 or 7 years ago when I stayed for a dinner to which I'd been invited by a supplier. I really didn't like Jury's Inn's city centre hotel for its cold rooms and rugby scrum breakfast. I stayed away for a long time. Then last summer I was booked into the one in Brighton for another work event and hated the ridiculously overpriced local parking and the 'couldn't give a damn' receptionists as well as the ridiculously expensive wi-fi. When I'm paying my own money, perhaps I'm more easily pleased as we happily spent two nights (and our own money) to stay at the Jury's Inn in Gateshead last summer and really liked the place. With the jury hung at two votes against and one for, I decided to give them another go and booked the Jury's Inn Sheffield for the night that we were going to see Elvis Costello as Sheffield City Hall. My husband had started out saying "We'll just drive home afterwards" but as the journey is an hour and three quarters each way, I put my foot down and said we'd have a hotel. As you can imagine I made the booking with a slight sense of reluctance and a feeling that Jury's Inn were on probation. If they messed up this time, they'd be off my list of places I'd consider.
~Too good a deal to miss~
I booked through my favourite hotel booking site which is hotels.com and I used Topcashback to get a few pounds rebated to my cashback account. Using hotels.com's super-effective mapping tool I was able to quickly identify what was close to the City Hall and wouldn't break the bank. With Jury's Inn at just £58 for the night room only, I clicked the button and handed over my dosh. In addition to the cashback, I also clocked up another night in the hotels.com loyalty rewards scheme which gives you a free room for every 10 that you pay for - up to the value of the average paid for those 10 nights. Effectively this is worth 10% of each hotel booking and it's not to be sneezed at.
I knew before we went that the hotel has an arrangement with a local car park to offer discounted parking because they have no car park of their own. What I wasn't sure about was WHICH car park we needed. We conveniently (and probably illegally) parked up in the bus stop directly outside whilst I watched for buses and police cars and my husband ran inside to check where we should park. The answer was the Eyre Street Parking, about 100m down the road and on the other side. We arrived mid afternoon and had no problems at all finding a space. If you also use this park, remember to take the blue token that's issued on entry with you when you leave the car park as this needs to be handed in at the hotel reception when you leave in order to get your discounted token. When you take your things back to the car park at the end of your stay, put the token from the hotel into the payment machine and you'll be charged a very reasonable £4 per day instead of the full rate.
Parked and unpacked, we rolled back to the hotel and into reception which was bright, airy and clean. Trying not to stare at the fluorescent tutu-clad ladies who'd had a few drinks already judging by their dishevelled state, we went to reception and I asked to please be put somewhere that wouldn't be too noisy. The receptionist said they'd put us on a higher floor - presumably to block out the noise from the bar and since this is what had happened when we'd stayed in Gateshead, we figured that Jury's Inn try to keep the stags and hens away from the people who aren't going to find their activity quite so amusing. The receptionist also confirmed that all was pre-paid, checked if we'd like to add breakfast (we wouldn't) and then issued us with two room cards. At the desk next to us were two young men checking in at the same time. When asked to confirm they had two single bookings, one said in a leery voice "Yeah, unless we get lucky". My stomach turned over and I hoped he and any 'lucky lady' would not be near us.
We headed up in the lift - which is activated with one of the room cards - and then walked round three sides of a square to reach our room which overlooked the roundabout but was well soundproofed to keep out the road noise. Sadly it wasn't so soundproofed to keep out the braying hyenas in the room next door, but more about them later.
With our bags deposited we headed down to the bar area to get a coffee and a hot chocolate. Jury's have 'Costa Coffee' franchises in their bar so we ordered a coffee and a hot chocolate. We were the only people in the bar and the poor assistant was really struggling with the drinks machine, having to make four hot chocolates and hitting the choc powder widget lots of times before she finally got one that she considered suitable to actually sell.
Back to the room to see what my £58 had bought us and the answer was an entirely serviceable and utterly ordinary room with everything we'd have expected or asked for. There was a double bed and a fold out sofa bed (I assume that's what it was - I didn't unfold it to check or anything), a desk with coffee and tea tray, bed side tables, an open-fronted hanging space and a bathroom with shower-over-bath, a small vanity unit and a toilet. Toiletries were in wall mounted dispensers and were by Gilchrist and Soames.
The colour scheme was in earthy tones of browny purple and oatmeal with light wood furniture. Everything was in pretty good condition and even with my best 'hotel inspector' eyes in, I couldn't pick up on any faults to report. Everything was clean and serviceable and everything worked as it should. The bed was comfortable although the single pillow each side was a tad on the thin side but spares were available in the cupboard if I'd cared enough to do something about it.
Wi-fi is charged at £5 for an hour or £10 for 24 hours but I'd intentionally left my computer at home, determined to actually have a life instead of sitting about writing about one. However, I do find £10 for something that costs little to provide a bit steep on a room that costs less than £60. I would have hoped to find free access in the public areas but that wasn't the case. If I cared enough I'd have gone out to find a place with free wi-fi but for a short over-nighter it wasn't a big deal. Breakfast would have been available as an extra if we'd wanted it although I didn't ask the price but I recall from other Jury's Inn stays that it's not as shocking as many of the bigger hotel chains. Dinner is available with a two course option at £16.95 and three courses for £19.95 which seemed pretty good value to me, though of course there are no shortage of restaurants if you want to leave the hotel.
~Like the hotel, loathe the clientele~
Our room had an adjoining door to the room next door which was inhabited by the kind of women I'd definitely not want to share access with. They were noisy, braying, annoying morons who we hoped would stay out late, get horribly drunk and not roll home until long after we'd fallen asleep. Thankfully that was pretty much what happened. I contemplated cranking up the TV the next morning whilst we listened to the Archers Omnibus, thinking a cheery 'dumty diddly dumty diddly' might cheer up their hung-over Sunday morning but I decided to just be thankful that they were quiet and hadn't kept us awake during the night. I think they did make a racket when they came in and I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
Whether you'll love or hate the Jury's Inn may well depend on whether you're a drunk hen or stag without a care in the world and with no consideration for others, or whether you're hoping for some peace and quiet. All in all, it could have been a lot worse and at least we weren't next to the boys who were hoping to 'get lucky'. I would also suggest that how you feel about it will depend on the day of the week that you stay - avoiding the Friday and Saturday nights may well push your rating up by a star or two.
I found the staff to be friendly and helpful, the place to be spotlessly clean and the price I paid to be a bit of a bargain. If I went back to Sheffield again, I'd definitely consider returning but I might be a bit more explicit about wanting to be somewhere quiet. As it was we didn't do too badly as our room was at the end of a corridor without the potential for rowdies running up and down since nobody needed to pass our room. The Sunday morning was quieter than the grave without a peep from any of our semi-comatose neighbours.
119 Eyre Street
Sheffield S1 4QW