“ Address: Morton Park Way / Morton Park / DL1 4PJ / United Kingdom / Tel: 08701 977300 „
The market town of Darlington boasts a number of central, characterful hotels but none could beat the spartan and uniform Premier Inn, located on the outskirts of town, when it comes to price. A Saturday night stay was available online for the rather meagre sum of £29 and wanting to keep our expenses down, we thought it was worth the short bus ride to and from the city centre for such a short stay. Had we stayed longer I would not have wanted to be so far out (perhaps two miles from the town centre) but for one night we didn't mind the location at all.
This Premier Inn is located at Morton Park, a small business and retail park, handy for access to the A1 and for Tees Valley airport. There is a large Morrison's supermarket close by as well as a number of other retailers. If you aren't driving, it's simple enough to reach the hotel from either the town centre or the train station using buses number 11 or 12; both buses run until well into the evening, including on Saturday and Sunday.
Adjoining the hotel is a pub-restaurant, the Morton Beefeater, which is where breakfast is served (if you choose to have breakfast at the hotel). The complex is very new and modern in that ubiquitous style that all Premier Inns have. It's rather sterile and bland but clean and serviceable and so far still in very good condition.
Check in was swift, we were done within a minute and had no problem finding our room. We were a little concerned to find it was beside a door which divided a long corridor and feared that we might hear it banging every few minutes during the night. Fortunately our concerns proved to be unfounded as the door closer was perfectly set up to close slowly and almost silently. Unfortunately the long corridors do create an ideal place for kids to sprint and early on Sunday morning we were woken by several doing just that; why are so many parents thoughtless? The room was pretty spacious and a simple tweaking of the design to create a small lobby that would block out some of the corridor noises.
The standard of the room was good; everything was spotlessly clean and in good repair, the carpet was unsoiled and the bathroom in particular was excellent. Unlike similar chains such as IBIS or Travelodge, the bathroom was made up of separate items rather than one moulded unit. The bathtub was a standard length rather than the somewhat abbreviated kind many hotels seem to favour these days in the interests of saving space.
On a small shelf in the bedroom there was a kettle, mugs and glasses and a small selection of tea bags and coffee sachets. When I went to fill the kettle I found it quite awkward to get it near the taps as the basin was small, yet the kettle was slightly bigger than the average travel kettle. I was pleased that this hotel provides mugs as I find that one teabag is wasted on small cups, but on the other hand, the glasses were pointlessly small and needed filling up several times in quick succession to quench the thirst brought on by the room being so warm in the first part of the night (and perhaps the alcohol I consumed that evening).
The mattress was far too soft for my liking and my back ached a little in the morning. I think the beds could be a little firmer without being too hard and that way would be more acceptable to a greater number. There were extra pillows which were appreciated because the pillows were quite thin, but no extra blankets which would have been useful when the room eventually started to cool down (I am so hard to please!).
As well as an excellent magnifying mirror in the bathroom, there was one large mirror on the wall over the desk, and one full length mirror on the wall next to this. The lighting around the desk and mirror had obviously been carefully considered but I did feel that in creating task and mood lighting, providing a decent overhead light had been neglected. Beside the window there was an occasional table and a tub chair, and an upright dining style chair at the desk. I think it would be better to have two tub chairs (and still have a chair at the desk) as this is a double room after all.
Other than benefiting from the attached pub-restaurant, the hotel has few facilities. There was a vending machine in reception selling soft drinks and snacks. We were informed that breakfast was available between 8 and 10 a.m. (it starts earlier on weekdays) and that we could either pay at check in or else the following if we decided we wanted it. A full breakfast costs £7.75 which I think was rather hefty considering that an A-board outside the pub was promoting Sunday roasts for £5.95.
This Premier Inn met the standards I expect from the chain and provided to be adequate for our needs. The staff we came into contact with were pleasant and efficient without being exceptional. I must say, however, that I was impressed that the young lady who checked us into the hotel knew the times of the buses into town as so often the staff don't have a clue, assuming that everyone comes by car.
Highly recommended for short stays
- this hotel has a number of wheelchair accessible rooms
- for an extra charge wi-fi is available in all rooms
We paid £29 in February 2010