“ Kilton Inn Hotel / Warrington Road / Hoo Green / Mere / Nr. Knutsford / Cheshire / WA16 0PZ / Tel: 0870 990 6482 „
Yes, selfish of me I know but I have been keeping this one quiet for about ten years now. However, circumstances change (for reasons into which Im not going to go here) and my need to keep this great accommodation to myself has gone, so I feel that I can at last let you in on the secret. I first used to stay here back in the days when the hotel was run by Premier Lodge. It was not for reasons of being any great fan of Premier Lodge; they offered lots of economically priced accommodation all over the country in reasonable though not brilliant surroundings. Ibis, they were not. However, they were sufficiently respectable to be able to feel comfortable. The Knutsford-Mere hotel though, stood out. In addition, it is very close to Altrincham in Cheshire, which used to be a regular destination. Over the years the hotel seemed to maintain a homely but well used atmosphere but it was clear that no substantial amounts of money were being spent on it. There would be the occasional redecoration or re-carpeting but that was about it. However, everything usually worked and, for the price, around £45 a night, it was just what I was looking for. Then a couple of years ago, Premier Lodge merged with Travel Inn to form Premier Travel Inn and at last things (mostly) seemed to improve. My most recent stay has seen a complete redecoration throughout and the place is now looking better than it has in years. Let me tell you why this location is so handy. The hotel is located right on the A50 that runs more or less parallel to the M6 between junctions 19 at Knutsford and 20 just before the Thelwell Viaduct. To get to it you simply come off at either junction and head for the A50. The hotel is located immediately opposite a UK Petrol filling station and is marked by a sign, The Kilton, for reasons which I will get to later. There is plenty of car parking right in front of the hotel entrance, which is to the side of the building. The Reception is situated between the inn and the hotel accommodation, which consists of a block of around 30 rooms on two floors, each served by a central corridor. There used to be smoking and non-smoking rooms but, of course, with the UK smoking ban now in force (hooray!!!!), all rooms are now non-smoking. All of the rooms are pretty well identical, with the exception of a couple of rooms especially designed for disabled guests. Each is quite large, unusual in itself for accommodation at this end of the market. All have an en suite with a bath and with a shower over it. The rooms are all heated exclusively with electric convection wall heaters and, although these appear quite small I have never had any trouble in keeping the room warm even in the depths of winter. There are also electric heated towel rails in the bathrooms which, until recently, were disconnected. However, they now seem to have been brought back into use. Each room has only one fairly small window at the end. It is wooden framed and I did notice that the one in the room I most recently occupied was showing some signs of decay. The glass panels are double-glazed but only with very narrow gap units. Still, better than plain glass. The opening casements now have security straps to ensure that they cannot be fully opened; a security measure I guess. The rooms all seem to have very large double beds which are actually formed from joining together two normal single beds. They are very comfortable but do mean that you may have to communicate with your partner by semaphore!!!!! The rooms are provided with TVs and also drinks making facilities for your morning or evening cuppas. These are located on a desk arrangement at the foot of the bed. Normally you would expect this to double as somewhere for the ladies to apply their makeup but, bizarrely, on the wall is a picture rather than a mirror! There is a full-length mirror alongside, together with a wall mounted hairdryer, on a long flex. There is plenty of room for clothes including open hanging space by the door and opposite the bathroom. It should be adequate for most needs. There is, however, no trouser-press provided so yours will have to stay creased from the journey, unfortunately. Despite being situated on what is nominally at least a main road (A50), traffic noise is minimal since, unless there has been a serious problem on the nearby M6, the motorway carries most of the north/south traffic, leaving the A50 for mostly local access. I have never had a nights sleep disturbed by excessive traffic noise. So, you may ask, what makes this so special? After all, the accommodation is more or less what you would be likely to find anywhere although, with the recent refurbishment, it is fair to say that the standard could now be considered good to very good. What makes this my preferred choice is the attached inn, The Kilton. Back when the hotel part was run by Premier Lodge, you could have your meals in The Kilton and simply add the cost to your hotel bill. Since the merger with Travel Inn, only breakfast can now be included. All other meals must be paid for in the inn; this is the only drawback. For business customers, you have to manage two expense chits. However, you wouldnt want to go else where anyway. The hotel is of a very much more recent construction that the inn. It was clearly added on around 25/30 years ago Im guessing. The Kilton, however, is genuinely old though not as old as the décor would suggest. The Kilton is all dark wooden beams, open real fires and loads of nooks and crannies. All the furniture is also old and of a whole range of different styles. The effect is homely, cosy, friendly and warm, especially in winter when the fires are roaring. There is seating for an intimate assignation as well as for groups of up to ten or so. What is really special though is the food and the drinks. The Kilton has the normal fizz (i.e. lager) for those who really dont care what they pour down their necks but in addition they also have a regular three handpulls of real ale. On the latest visit the choice was the so-so Courage Directors and the truly disappointing (these days anyway) Boddingtons. However, what made up for this was the third pump and my choice, Charles Wells Bombardier. For those who prefer wine, there is an extensive list for all price ranges, including a couple of my favourites, whites and reds from Australias Wolf Blass winery. The food, though, is exceptional. The full list is written up on a blackboard in the main dining area with Specials on a set of blackboards opposite the bar. The choice from all of these is extensive, consisting of meat, fish, vegetarian and in English, Italian, Indian, Thai and a variety of other styles. I defy you not to be able to find something you will love. The food itself is very well prepared and of more than adequate quantity. Our recent visit was to meet up with our son, who lives in Manchester and we decided to share a starter of various cold meats, olives and other nibbles as we knew that if we had one each we wouldnt otherwise finish the meal. With starters, main course, desserts, coffees, wine and various other drinks along the way, the whole bill came to around £25 a head, and very good value it was. The accommodation has these days risen to around £55 per room with continental breakfast an additional £5.50 per person. If you are on your own and want to work then wireless networking is provided by the hotel but, sadly, I was unable to get this to work in the pub. It appears that the range of effectiveness of the wireless signal is limited. This is a real shame as many a time I would have loved to have enjoyed a pint in nice surroundings whilst dashing off a few emails or a report. I will continue to make The Kilton my preferred location whenever I am in the area in the future but that is less likely to be as frequent as it has been so, I invite you to enjoy it in my place now that you are no longer likely to prevent me reserving a room for myself. Enjoy!