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A Very Glassy Hotel!
Marriott (Newcastle Metro Centre)
Member Name: andymcf
Marriott (Newcastle Metro Centre)
Date: 03/11/03, updated on 03/11/03 (211 review reads)
Advantages: Convenient location, Comfortable accommodation, Great price via Priceline
Disadvantages: Had to ask three times for a cot, Hotel bar was somewhat bland
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!
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