I needed to book a hotel as I was in Gateshead for a fencing competition. The other half agreed to come if I booked a nice hotel so that is what I did! Initially we had planned to get the train so I booked this hotel, attracted by the fact that it's walking distance from the metro centre-this is like a hub of local trains so easy to get to.
In the end we deided to drive as trains are so expensive.
ANyway, I digress. I booked the hotel through Quidco and thus expedia. It was easy to book and cost £138. This is quite pricy but I wanted to stay somewhere nice and clean and generally feel like a hotel guest.
We arrived at the hotel at about 2230, which is quite late but this wasn't a problem at all. We were greeted by a very helpful and friendly member of staff and check in took about 2min. Always a good start.
I was concerned as there was a wedding party going on and previous experience has indicated that this can make for a noisy night...more on this later.
We were absolutely starving, having decided to do the trip without a break in order to get a reasonably early night so once we dropped our bags in the room, we checked out the restaurant. Unfortunately this closed at 2230 so we had missed the service. The menu looked pretty good though and reasonably priced for a hotel. We asked about restaurants nearby but because it's out of town, there was nothing that would be open. Room service however, didn't finish until 2300 and we could even order after that albeit from a reduced menu.
We decided on 2x burger with one pint of close arrest (Stella) and a diet coke, no ice. This (including the room service charge) came to £26 which I think is fairly reasonable (more than I would like to pay but better than going hungry!). This was delivered within 15min and all was well.
The room that we were allocated was on the 4th floor, it was very spacious with an en suite bathroom. Everything was extremely clean and tidy. The bed was enormous (to the point that I actually felt like I'd been reunited with OH when we got up the following morning!!) and the decor was tasteful. There was a TV, kettle and the standard complimentary biccies and tea/coffee etc.
Despite my previous concerns about the noise, the room was almost silent and the curtains were so thick I didn't even know it was the morning when I woke up! A brilliant night's sleep had by us both
Breakfast was included in our booking and there was an absolute spread laid on. Comprising cereals, pastries, cooked breakfast, continental cheeses and meats, fruits, juices etc etc. The service was quick and friendly and not intrusive.
We checked out in a matter of seconds and were off to some sword fighting (via the gate controlled free parking).
It's not cheap but you get what you pay for.
Well words cannot describe how excited I was to be going to the Marriott for a romantic night away!
Upon arriving my Fiance and I cannot help but notice how spotless the area is - inside and out. So good start!
IReception staff dealt with all customers quickly, no-one was kept waiting around for ages.
We actually got our room number, key and had our credit card details taken (for room service etc) within a very short space of time indeed! I would say probably only took about 4-5 minutes.
Staff at reception were very helpful offering to make reservations in the bar and grill for an evening meal and offering to have a paper delivered next morning.
We opted for a table at 7pm to have a meal as they had a special Valentine's menu on.
We had checked in just after 3pm so that gave us just under 4 hours of erm fun and frolicks shall we say? :)
All lifts were working so there were no delays waiting around - saying that we were only on the second floor so we shouldn't even have used the lift! Haha.
We rush to our room to find that the rooms are as spotless as the reception area, lifts and external area of the building.
Upon entering our room there were fitted wardrobes (mirrored) immediately on the left, the bathroom was straight opposite on the right. Bit scary to see yourself right there first thing on a morning when you open the bathroom door!! EEK!
The bathroom was very well lit and heated towel rails meant that I could keep myself nice and cosy after my shower without having to get dressed straight away! Oh and the bath has the plug in the centre and taps at the side to ensure a couple can enjoy a nice relaxing bath together. Ahhhh.
Anyway then we have the main room which had a giant bed with so many huge pillows that I nearly got lost! Very very comfortable too I might add!
And to give you an idea I could lie sideways on the bed without my feet hanging out - that is how big the bed was! And no I am not a midget. I am 5 foot 4 and a half! Don't forget the half - it matters ok?
The couch which was also a pull out sofa was also very comfortable - however not much time was spent on the couch to be honest ;)
For those of you looking for somewhere to stay whilst having business to attend to - there was the opportunity to pay for internet access for 24 hours or 1 week at a time. And this was available in your own room, with a cushty office chair and desk to sit your laptop on.
There wasn't a great choice of pay movies, so we opted to just stick the TV on, although there are radio channels available too.
So after some fun and frolicks we get dressed and pop down to the bar and grill.
The valentines menu was £26.95 per head.
We chose broccolli and stilton soup for starters criss crossed chicken in tarragon sauce with veg for our main and death by chocolate for dessert.
The main meal didn't seem to fill us for the price we had paid - however it was very tasty!
The dessert really did nearly kill us. One serving was in my opinion enough for 5 people and needless to day neither of us managed it!
The waiters were very friendly and were constantly checking to make sure everything was satisfactory and each course was served promptly.
(However I still wish we had opted for room service which boasted a far larger menu at more reasonable prices - we could have gotten a pizza between us for £12 and not even had to get dressed!! And if the food is not delivered with 45minutes it is on the house!)
After our meal we had one drink in the bar which again had very friendly staff and quick service.
We then decided to retire for the night.
Once we got back to our room we had a peek at the mini bar. It was pricey so just a small bottle of wine for £4.50 was purchased!
Breakfast can be delivered to the room so we left our sign on the door and you select what time you wish for breakfast to be served. We chose 9.30-9.45.
The curtains are lovely and heavy so the room is kept nice and dark to help assist that lie in!!
The next morning at 9.30 exactly our breakfast arrives. Mountains of it!!!
The full english actually serves:
A bowl of cereal, one slice of toast, 2 eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, pork sausage, 2 hash browns, 2 slices of bacon and a basket of baked goodies - buns and croissants.
Quite a meal!
Checkout was 12 so we got all of our stuff together after a nice shower and decided to spend the day at the Metro Centre which is literally just over the road.
Check out was as speedy as check in! The car park is secure and you are given a code to enter on the gate to remove your car.
All in all we had a fantastic time and I would love to do it again. However next time maybe we will make some time for the sauna!! :)
It's a refreshing break but if you choose wisely it can work out at a resonable price...
Bed and breakfast was £142 I believe for the one night - however you can opt for a themed room and the prices will vary.
DooYoo will no doubt refuse capital letters in the first few paragraphs. Ho Hum! Read On! Having recently visited Amanda's parents in Scotland, we decided to split up the return journey by stopping off in Newcastle - it's a very long drive otherwise and, whilst not exactly halfway distance-wise, it actually made an excellent stop-off point. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, in the North East of England, has heaps going for it and Amanda found herself in shoppers' heaven at the adjacent Metrocentre shopping mall. Baby Josh didn't do too badly out of the deal either, leaving with bags full of goodies from the "Warner Bros" store and "Toys R Us". Having selected Newcastle as our destination, I decided to book via "Priceline". To be honest, I'm something of a Hilton fan and I knew that Hilton had just opened a brand new hotel in Newcastle, which I was very keen to try. With "Priceline", however, the luxury of choice is denied and you have to go with what is offered. As it happens, I was very far from disappointed with this lovely Marriott - especially when my accepted bid offer was a mere £42.00 (plus taxes and charges amounting to about £10.00), representing a significant discount on the rack rate of about £135! Arriving from the north on the A1, the hotel is exceptionally easy to find and is located opposite "IKEA" and adjacent to McDonalds, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays and various other food outlets. A five-storey rectangular block, it has a tinted glass façade and, whilst not particularly attractive, it has a certain style. The car park is free - you press a button to open the entry gate and then enter a code (available at reception) to leave it again. We managed to get a space near to the hotel entrance and headed in with our luggage and Josh's various accoutrements. The lobby was bright and welcoming and the reception staff were efficient and friendly; it was n
ot long before we were allocated to our room (405) on the fourth floor and given our keycards. I'm a relative Marriott virgin and, based on reasonably limited experience with the brand, was expecting to be given a card to operate the room's electrics (as at Bristol and Birmingham, for instance). Not so here; the key gets you into the room and the electricity just - well - works! It was Halloween and there were special, pseudo-spooky menus for the restaurant (I'll spare you the corny details but you can imagine, I'm sure, what was on offer) - we were asked if we'd like to reserve a table. We declined, since (a) Josh would no doubt have ruined everyone else's dining experience and (b) there were other places in the immediate vicinity and we feeling slightly mischievous! We headed for the lifts, one of which was out of order, and were soon on the fourth floor, heading for our room, which we found easily. No huge surprise in terms of layout (traditional L-shape!), but we very impressed with the amount of space - the room was very large indeed. I have to say that my initial impression was that the room was rather gloomy. Amanda, on the other hand, thought that it had a somewhat "cosy ambience". It grew on me and, as time went by, I have to say that I soon came round to her way of thinking. As I've said, the room was large and featured a very spacious bathroom with a huge bath and over-bath power shower and a decent selection of "Neutrogena" products. Later investigation proved that the bath sloped at both ends and it was thus actually quite difficult to get up from a lying down position! Also, the side mounted tap tended to dispense water onto a ledge in the bath, causing quite an irritating spray - but, hey - these are minor criticisms! The bedroom itself was spacious, well decorated and impeccably clean. The bed must have been seven feet wide and was very comfortable; we enjoyed a
good night's sleep later on! There was a comfortable sofa (well, a sofa bed), easy chair, coffee table, working desk and an interactive colour TV. Storage space was adequate and the wardrobe contained a safe, iron and ironing board. There were ample tea / coffee making facilities and a minibar of the variety that charges you electronically if you so much as move anything. The air-conditioning was easy to operate and, apparently, switches off automatically if you open the window. What a tit-bit of information there! Everything, in fact, you needed was there - except for Baby Josh's cot - which I had specifically requested by 'phone when confirming the booking. These things happen. Regularly! Ho Hum - every cloud has a silver lining! We headed out to investigate the Metrocentre - a superb shopping mall that even has a funfair to keep the kids occupied whilst the "hunter-gatherers" hunt and gather. And there's a lot to hunt and gather! Even "chaps" will enjoy it! As we left, we asked reception to deliver Josh's cot to our room. Returning to our room, we were disappointed to note that Josh's cot was still not there. Time for a second reminder, and I drew the short straw. Somebody, after all, had to do it and, besides, what a perfect excuse to pop in to the hotel's Chester's Bar in order to ensure that the review of the hotel was complete! The cot got delivered efficiently whilst I enjoyed a few beers in the bar. I'd noticed, at check-in, that there was a "happy hour" between 6pm and 9pm (possibly part of the Halloween celebrations) and I enjoyed a few pints of "Stella Artois" at just £2 per pint - a good price anywhere, but a superb price for a hotel bar. The staff were friendly and helpful but the bar didn?t really hit the right pleasure buttons for me, to be perfectly honest. Inoffensive, comfortable and clean, but somewhat bland and lacking in character -
it was not an unpleasant place to drink, but it's really not the sort of place that I'd actually choose to drink in. I don't believe that televisions lend anything at all to bars and the fact that they had a plasma screen TV on the wall showing, first, "Sky Sports" in silence and secondly - wait for it - "Coronation Street" with sound was actually quite a turn off. I wish, in fact, that they'd turned off the TV. Sorry, but TVs and bars just don't mix, in my humble opinion. Amanda managed to pop down to the bar with me later. The TV was off and we actually managed to enjoy a decent conversation. We returned to our room and perused the 24 hour room service menu. It was then that I had a brainwave. I sneaked out and returned with a take-away pizza from Pizza Hut from across the road. Tasty, cheap and not a blinking of an eyelid as I sneaked it past reception! Classy, eh? No - of course not, but it filled a gap! After a very good night's sleep, we managed to check out quickly and efficiently the next morning and were soon on our way home. I'm still keen to try out the new Hilton in Newcastle but, I have to confess, I'd very happily stay here again. It certainly suited our purposes, was very comfortable and - thanks to "Priceline" - it was very attractively priced. If we'd had more time, we would have tried the leisure club - the gym and indoor pool looked very inviting! Andrew