Travelling to Coventry to one of my company's offices for the first time, I picked the Novotel thanks to our booking system which immediately pointed me to the cheapest option available. Some way out of town, I wasn't expecting it to be anything memorable, but I was at least hopeful of it giving me a decent nights rest. Here is what I found.
Apparently it's 10 minutes from the centre of Coventry, Birmingham Airport and the NEC and a walking distance from the Ricoh Arena, home of Coventry Town Football Club. It doesn't say whether this is 10 minutes is walking or driving. We were told there was a curry house about a 15 minute walk away, right from the hotel, under the railway bridge and straight on down Longford Road, Nashaa. We went there and I have to say it was excellent and I'd highly recommend it if you're staying in the area. There were also various takeaways and small supermarkets down that road so you'd be OK for facilities.
This was pretty simple, with 2 check in desks and no queue. I had to give my details and rather efficiently they ask for a business card so that you don't have to fill this in. Of course on this occasion I didn't have any with me. I found the staff to be very friendly and helpful.
Accor have the A|Club, which is their bonus scheme, and you can also use this at other Accor hotels such as Ibis.
Breakfast was £12.50 extra on the room that I booked. The restaurant was arranged into wooden tables of 4, with wooden chairs with red leather seats. To the left of the entrance was also 2 tables with an LCD flatscreen TV and headphones each, presumably for lone diners wanting to watch TV - I've never seen that before!
The food was an extensive buffet which comprised of many hot and cold dishes, including croissant, baguettes, bread, fresh fruit, yoghurt, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, sausages, vegetarian sausages, hash browns, bacon, waffles, tomatoes, mushrooms and a selection of cereals. There was also a nice wooden box of tea on each table, which had English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Assam, White, Camomile, Peppermint, and Fruit varieties. I had some fruit and yoghurt with cranberry juice which was pretty OK. I was also asked if I wanted tea of coffee when I sat down, and I picked tea, of which I got a nice pot. I also tried some of the warm dishes, purely for research purposes of course, and so I had a vegetarian sausage, fried egg, mushrooms baked beans and hash browns. I was quite impressed, as the dishes weren't greasy or heavy at all, with a pretty decent taste.
THE RECEPTION AREA
The hotel had a quite large carpeted reception area, with a couple of red leather sofas near the reception desk with several copies of The Independent sitting on a coffee table. Behind the sofas was a raised area partitioned with glass, and this comprised of the bar area, with several sofas, comfy chairs and stools. The entrance to the restaurant was also in this section.
There was a special offer that included internet and pay movies for £9.99 for 24 hours but I didn't need it so I didn't use it. There was an Ethernet cable next to the TV and I saw there was an Orange wifi network. I tried to connect to that for a laugh and of course it didn't let me in, opening a browser brought me to the paying account wifi access homepage.
The car park cost 3 pounds for the night.
The room overlooked some grass leading to some houses a little way back. The large, thick cream curtains would have blocked the light out well, had there been any seeing it was late autumn. Entry is gained with an electronic pass, and once you're in this isn't required to provide power to the room.
The room was quite sizable, with a small reception area containing a mirror and clothes rail with several wooden hangers. Below the main light is a full length mirror. The room itself was actually quite nice. A modern looking light wooden desk unit has a light, telephone, internet keyboard and (rather incongruously) an old CRT TV on top of it, as well as a small rack containing details about pay TV and internet access. A small notepad and green pencil lay next to the phone. To the lefr, the desk is on a lower level, and this had a kettle and 2 cups and some tea bags, coffee sachets and, sugar, artificial sweetener and UHT milk on a tray. A cupboard underneath contained 2 extra pillows. An iron hung on the wall to the right of the TV with a small ironing board hanging out from a wall mounted trouser press.
Unfortunately the water from the tap had a bit of a chlorinated taste, and when I had a shower it smelt distinctly of chlorine, so I wouldn't recommend drinking from the tap. Unless the local water is like that. I am sure xxfoxyredxx will tell me!
The lamps were pretty spacy, they looked kind of post modern in a budget hotel kind of way, i.e. they were made up of cheap wood cobbled together with opaque white plastic. The sort of thing that the Dr Who set designers in the 70s would have thrived on.
There was also a wall mounted mirror. Two matching light woodn chairs with a blue seat were pushed under the unit, with a small grey bin aso underneath. Under the TV was a small cupboard partitioned into 2 shelves.
Under the lamp were 3 drawers. The top one contained a hairdryer and local Yellow Pages and Thomson local guides. The middle drawer had some laundry bags and hotel stationary. The grey carpet with a little square pattern made the room look a bit dull. A thermostat was to the left of the bed on the corner of the wall.
The large bed with three red display cushions artistically arranged diagonally atop of 2 big square pillows was pretty comfortable and I was able to get a decent night's sleep. On each side of the bed was a small box attached to the wall which was a kind of tiny bedside table; never seen that before. To the right of the bed was a firm, largish grey 2 seat sofa.with a maroon cushion perched at the end. Above this was an arty painting of a woman sitting in a castle with each tower being marked with hope, love or tears; and a road leading out of it a bit deep for me.
Behind the bed and sofa were 2 large wooden panels. The white walls were plastered roughly with a patterned kind of look. The toilet and bathroom were separate. The bathroom reminded me of an Abis hotel, where the bathrooms come fre-fabricated in a kind of cube. In this case, he bath with shower attachment looked normal, but the grey plastic one-piece sink looked straight of of the Ibis cheap bathroom textbook. It did have some kind of a funky tap which looked quite modern. Two disposable plastic tumblers were to the right of the sink, along with a little Perspex stand for shampoo, Antistress Evening Bath and Energising Shower Gel. A box of tissues in a metal case hung on the wall. The toilet was a very small room with just the loo and paper. It looked a bit like a work toiler actually, as the roll was on one of those Kimberly-Clark holders.
I didn't have an evening meal there, but there seemed to be a decent selection on the menu. Nibbles included tortilla chips, potato skins and chicken brochette. You could choose from 4 mineral waters, 2 fizzy, 2 still. Several beers including Tiger, Hoegaarden and Peroni were available, as were 5 kinds of champagne (some bottles of which I noted cost marginally less than the room itself).
An "Elements" menu had some sort of pick and mix idea, with tasters, starters and mains chosen from dishes such as roasted halibut, rump of lamb, Chinese style belly of pork & noodles, corn fed chicken, organic reared salmon and vegetarian linguini. "Your favourites" included soup, ham terrine, porterhouse steak, thai green chicken curry, shoulder of lamb, confit of duck leg and deep fried fish in beer batter. Side orders included mixed leaf salad, French fries and garlic bread. Puddings included elderflower pannacotta, vanilla brulee, a selection of cheeses, stick toffee pudding and exotic fruit salad. Sandwiches included cluc sandwich, tuna and dill and avodado, hummous and sweet pepper. Light bites included chicken Caesar salad, omelette and burger. Hot drinks inclided espresso, cappuccino, café latte, pot of tea and hot chocolate. There was also a wine list with 10 reds. 2 roses and 10 whites, complete with a numbered guide to dryness and body.
The company I paid without breakfast was £55, but I'm not sure what the deals are like.
This is a fairly decent business hotel and the proximity of a decent curry house is a big plus.
Tel : (+44)2476/365000
Fax : (+44)2476/362422
E-mail : H0506@accor.com