Newest Review: ... in the mornings. Leisure and gym facilities *********************** The hotel is equipped with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room... more
A great hotel for family breaks
Lea Marston Hotel (Sutton Coldfield)
Member Name: jillycat
Lea Marston Hotel (Sutton Coldfield)
Advantages: Friendly helpful staff good facilities nice food overall good location good size rooms
Disadvantages: cooked breakfast not great, bathroom could be more modern no tickets for local attraction
The Lea Marsden Hotel is somewhere we decided to stay on a family short break last weekend. We want to take our 4 year old son away before the new baby arrived and as he is animal mad we decided to take him to Tywcross Zoo near to the hotel as a change from going to Chester Zoo as we often have done. I found a deal for a family stay on the Hotel's own website of a two night stay with breakfast for us all for £174 which I thought was a reasonable price to pay for a 4 star hotel for two nights.
Where is it
We travelled from York to the hotel which took just over two hours to do. The hotel was easy to find located just off the M42 at J9 and then travelling for about a further 2 miles to the hotel. The hotel car park is barrier operated but you need no codes to get in and out so how secure this is I don't know but we certainly had no problems during our stay there
We had pre booked our family room and check in was certainly nice and smooth the receptionist had all of our details ready and was pleasant and friendly throughout the check in process telling us where the various facilities were located as well as our room. The friendlessness of the staff during this process I found to be excellent and not only did she address my husband and I but also spoke to our son asking him about what he wanted to see and do on his holiday and this level of service I think showed a great first impression. She also took a swipe of our card details should we wish to place items on our room bill.
The room we had was located on the ground floor to the rear of the building. The room was well located for us as it was away from the conference and banqueting facilities so we knew we wouldn't be disturbed by the noise of a wedding party that was happening that evening. Our room was backing on to the hotels golf course so again was nice and quiet for us. The room was a lovely large size and contained a double bed and a single bed for our son and did not feel cramped or cluttered in anyway. The beds themselves were very comfortable and we were all able to get a good night's sleep which for me at 8 months pregnant is not always easy. The tea and coffee making facilities in the room worked a treat though the kettle was a bit noisy. The décor in the room has a modern feel to it with burgundy and cream colour schemes. However the modernisation didn't seem to extent to the bathroom which looked a bit like an 80's hotel room with peach moulded bathroom features. This I felt let the room down a bit as it appears that modernisation was only half done. However the great feature in the bathroom was the excellent shower this was a full on wake you up style power shower that certainly got us on nicely clean and awake in the mornings.
Leisure and gym facilities
The hotel is equipped with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna as well as a gym. For us it was the inclusion of the pool that was one of the key reasons we booked the hotel as we find it is often a nice way to end a day on holiday with a swim. The hotel only allows access to the pool for children at set times and if you are not going with children I would advise avoiding these times as it was a bit busy on the Saturday night with children so made swimming lengths a bit tricky. However on Sunday night we had the pool to ourselves which was a great treat. The access to these facilities is by the reception desk and you need to be buzzed though which wasn't an inconvenience for us. You sign in at the spa desk and can get your complimentary towels. These are full sized bath sheets which were lovely and fresh and more than adequate to cover my pregnancy bulge so should fit most people! The changing rooms are separate with no family changing so do decided who is having the children if you go down beforehand. There are lockers provided and these are nice and roomy and take a pound coin to lock that is returned. The facilities here are lovely and modern with powerful showers to help get you clean after a swim or a work out. There is also shower gel provided as well as hand cream and hair driers, these it does have to be said are not that powerful so it does take a while to dry your hair. The pool itself is a kidney shape with the Jacuzzi to the side there is no real shallow end. It was delightful, clean and the temperature is nice and warm. The pool is however highly chlorinated so if you get stingy eyes with chlorine make sure you do have a good set of goggles with you. My husband used the steam room and Jacuzzi and felt these were again nice and clean and more than adequate for a hotel size wise.
My husband is a bit of a gym freak and loves his work outs so one morning he went down to use the gym whilst our son and I slept soundly for a bit longer. He thought the gym for a hotel gym was fantastic with lots of modern equipment that was top of the range and compared very similarly to the gym equipment at his usual gym. He did have to sign a health declaration when going so do be aware of this.
There is a spa which I had hoped to book a treatment for but I stupidly didn't pay attention to the " be advised to book" that it told me on the website so was unable to book a treatment as they were fully booked on the Sunday so my advice would be to book in advance if you fancy a treat.
The hotel has two areas where you can eat on an evening the Addelery restaurant and Hathaway's bar. We chose the Bar area as this was less formal and would be more relaxing with a 4 year old. It seemed a lot of people had the same idea and on the first night Saturday the bar was very busy which meant a delay in service. We had to wait about 30 minutes for our order to be delivered on the Saturday which compared to the 15 minutes on the Sunday evening was quite was quite marked. However the service in bar was again very friendly ensuring we had all we needed when delivering the food. You do have to order the food at the bar which does make it very similar to some of the major pub food chains however the quality of the food I think is markedly higher. On the first night we ordered from the Prix Fix menu for both my husband and I and this does represent good value at £13.95 for two courses. My dish of chicken with pasta was cooked a treat though I could of done with a bit more of the pasta. My husbands braised beef was lovely and tender and made me wish I had picked it too especially as the dauhpinouse potatoes were also lovely and moreish. The puddings we chose were cheese and biscuits and Eton Mess. The cheese whilst nice was a little disappointing in that I expected there to me a bit more local cheese with it rather than a standard stilton and cheddar and only one local cheese of sage derby. The Eton mess however was delicious and I can certainly say it is the best Eton mess I have ever had, it not only had whole strawberries in it but a strawberry sauce running though the cream and meringue mix that made it very sweet and fruity. My son ate both nights from the children's menu one night he had the spaghetti and meatballs and the next chicken strips and chips. Both of these were well cooked and seemed homemade rather than massed produced and the chicken strips were defiantly proper pieces of chicken rather than reformed chicken. On the second night we both choose a steak for our meal which was cooked to perfection for us both with nice side orders.
Breakfast is served in the Adderley restaurant we experienced two types of breakfast on the Sunday morning everything was buffet style but on the quiet Monday morning the cooked section of the breakfast was cooked to order rather than being served on the buffet. On both occasion the cold items including cereal, rolls, juice and the continental breakfast were served buffet style. You are seated by staff in the restaurant and offered hot drinks which are brought to the table. The selection of cereal is standard fare with the usual items such as flakes, rice cripses muesli etc. the fruit that is on offer I have to say was great and lovely and fresh and not tinned, there was a good choice of freshly sliced melons, pineapple pink and white grape fruit and some strawberries all of which was hugely popular with our son both mornings. The rolls included plain rolls and Danishes or again for the younger guests some small muffins. The section on the continental breakfast of the various soft cheeses and air dried meats certainly made me wish I wasn't pregnant and could eat them as they looked delicious. The cooked breakfast I feel is the area that let the breakfast down. Buffet style the fried eggs were rubbery, the bacon tough and not really appetising and the sausages seemed to be not of a good quality really they tasted of nothing really and didn't have any flavour at all. The morning of the cooked to order breakfast was better with beautifully cooked poached eggs but still hard bacon and tasteless sausages. I always think the breakfast in a hotel is one of the last chances to impress the guest and I feel the cooked breakfast here just fail to deliver the way they should for a hotel of this standard compared to how well cooked the evening meals are.
This was again handled well with a great friendly approach. They were more than happy to split part of our bills over two cards and checked that everything had been ok. The bill was nice and accurate and we didn't need to question any charges on it all.
The hotel does have a golf course, driving range and gold shop so golf fans may like a break here. The hotel also has conference and banqueting facilities which seemed to be well used during our stay.
The hotel can get cheap tickets for Drayton Manor and Tywcross Zoo which are close by. I was disappointed in this and this may be due to going out of main season but despite ringing to check they did have the tickets for the Zoo when it came to the day to buying them the staff couldn't find them. They were hugely apologetic for this, but it did mean we paid about £10 more for the zoo than we would have liked.
I would definitely recommend this hotel to families who want to visit some of the nearby attractions as the family rooms are a great size and all the staff from check-in to the restaurant to the pool were very helpful and friendly. The hotel is also close to the Birmingham NEC and I think would make a good location for visiting exhibits there as we noticed a few people who had been to Crufts staying at the hotel. I always think the best indication of a hotel recommendation is would you go again and we certainly would. The disappointments of the cooked section of the breakfasts, the tickets for the zoo and the modernisation not including the bathroom mean I am going to give it 4 stars.
Hotel contact details
Lea Marston Hotel
B76 0BY Tel: (01675) 470468
Fax: (01675) 470871
Summary: A great hotel for family stays with nice facilities and helpful staff
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