“ Address: Worting Road / Basingstoke / Hants / RG22 6PG „
I recently had to stay in this hotel as we were invited to a surprise 30th birthday party on a Saturday at a country pub in Hampshire and were advised by the wife of the person whose birthday it was that this would be the best place to stay as we were travelling up from Devon.
We booked the hotel online via the Premier Inn website 2 months ahead of our stay in April. I am not sure how much it would cost normally as with all hotels it tends to vary depending on time of year/day of the week etc but I am quite savvy with this type of thing and had previously registered to receive Premier Inn e-newsletters which give me first notice of special offer, as such we got a double room for £39, which I was very happy with. We went for the cheaper Premier saver option which meant that we paid ahead of time but would not be entitled to any refunds or be able to make any amends which suited us fine as it was unlikely that this would be the type of event that would be cancelled or rescheduled. If your stay is not quite as certain as this, you can go for the Premier Flexible which can be up to £10 more expensive and will allow you to make amends up until 1pm on the day of arrival.
We were then given the option of ordering breakfast as there was a Chef & Brewer chain pub onsite. I went for the Continental Breakfast option which cost £5.25 and my husband had the most expensive Premier Breakfast option which cost £8.25. (More detail on this later)
In total, when including a £2.00 credit card fee (no fee for debit card - grumble) it cost us £52.50 which I actually didn't think was too bad.
We came to the hotel just after 2pm (which was the earliest you could check-in) having spent most of the morning in Winchester. The hotel was very visible from the A3 being prett The hotel was very visible from the A3 being pretty much on the road with a large car park. It is very much in the middle of nowhere so if you are planning to have a drink then you will need to get a taxi. It is approximately 7 miles from actual Basingstoke.
Check in was quick and easy and the staff were very friendly, even picking up that somehow we had been overcharged on our breakfasts between placing the reservation and the order going through to the hotel. We also witnessed them being very polite and patient to some rude people in front of us who were insisting that their key wasn't working and complaining that the staff weren't helping them enough, when actually it transpired that they had gone to the wrong room!
I was a little apprehensive as to what the room would be like with it being a budget hotel and also because I last stayed in a Premier Inn about 10 years ago (before the major rebrand) and wasn't massively impressed.
As it turned out I needn't have worried. The room far exceeded my expectations. It was a really good size, much larger than I expected and consistent with the now familiar purple and white branding which gave it a clean, modern, slightly minimalist feel. On the left as we came in was a decent sized bathroom with a bath which seemed quite newly done and was very clean. There was a shower gel dispenser attached to the wall. Also there were handles in the bath if you have trouble getting in and out of baths. The bath had a shower curtain rather than a screen and the room also had a large mirro.
The bed itself was equivalent to a king size and really large - I think it was 2 queen beds put together and had a headboard. Each side of the bed had a wall lamp and a bedside table. To the left was a decent sized desk and chair which had on it a folder with some information about the hotel and the food available in the pub attached. At the end of the bed was a large wooden unit which had open shelving on both sides and a wardrobe in the middle. On one side of the shelving there was a flat screen TV showing Freeview channels, a couple of cups and glasses with a few teabags and coffee sachets and a bin in the bottom shelf. On the other side of the shelving there was a hairdryer attached to the unit and a mirror.
There is a large radiator which we did not use as it was warm enough as it was. In addition there was also a full-length mirror on another wall which I was pleased with because it annoys me when hotel rooms don't have them.
We returned to our room after the party at about 11:30 and fell asleep very easily, finding the bed very comfortable and were very happily not at all disturbed by the road noise which we were pleasantly surprised by given how closely we were located to an A road.
We went down to our breakfast at about 8am and were the first ones there. My husband, who had purchased the more expensive breakfast option went for the Full English, however there were also options for your other standard cooked breakfasts such as a vegetarian cooked breakfast or scrambled eggs etc. I went for the cheaper continental breakfast which meant I could help myself to the quite substantial buffet that was available. This included croissants and toast both of which could be warmed, bread rolls, butter, jams, yoghurt, fresh fruit, fruit juices, fresh coffee and a variety of standard and herbal teas. We were both very pleased with our breakfasts which we felt were good value for money.
Finally we went to check out where once again the staff were friendly and polite.
As you can probably tell from the information given above I was very impressed with this hotel. I was under the impression that Premier Inns were a bit dingy and was very pleasantly surprised. The hotel was fresh and clean throughout and actually the room was a darn sight bigger and more pleasant looking than I expected. The rebranding to the purple and white furnishings works particularly well and makes the rooms more light. I was very impressed with the staff as they had a very friendly and helpful demeanour.
Would I stay there again? I cannot foresee a time in the near future where I would need to but yes, if I need to I definitely would. The price was very good and I had a far better standard of room than I expected and a very comfortable night.
A week before I officially left my current job, I organised a leaving do with the people I work with in Basingstoke. Basingstoke!!! I hear you cry, well yes. I live just outside Croydon and used to travel 70 odd miles each way to Basingstoke about 3 or 4 days of the week. This was one of the reasons as to why I got a new job as the travelling was seriously getting me down. The week before I left I thought to myself as the last train I can get to Clapham Junction from Basingstoke is at 2236, there is very little chance of me leaving early on this occasion to get home, besides I am probably going to be in the kind of state that not many people would want to sit beside me on the train anyway, on this occasion this included the other half, as she suggested I stay down and travel back the next morning, with the underlying instruction that I enjoy myself on the Friday night.
So after searching on the Internet I checked out the Premier Travel Inn website and found that there were a number in the Basingstoke area, the one that suited me better was Central Basingstoke. Please be aware that this was not my first choice, the Hotels that I had been recommended were further out of town and a lot pricier than where I stayed, hence my search criteria had changed slightly.
The Premier Travel Inn Central is located about a mile from the main town centre of Basingstoke and is a simple two floor building. It is situated on a busy Leisure Park on the B3400, next to the Milestones Museum. This is the main dual carriageway which links up with the M3 motorway and other A class roads running from Reading to Alton. As you can imagine the road at times can be pretty busy, the leisure park is set really all around the Hotel itself as there is a number of what can be called standard leisure park facilities located on it. For example directly behind the Hotel is a Cinema Multiplex, Gala Bingo hall and a Frankie and Benny's restaurant. Next to that there is also a Megabowl and a Water Slide complex as well. Not to mention just down the road a McDonalds as well as a KFC drive thru. At the weekends it can be a busy area with plenty of parking. The Hotel is in a very good location. There is also a pub called 'The Spruce Goose' which is part of the Hotel itself, this is where Reception is for the Hotel even though it is in a separate building to the rooms.
Opposite the Hotel is a BP garage, a roundabout and Basingstoke Fire Station. As I mentioned above next to the Leisure Park is the Milestones Museum, this had an open day on the Saturday and had its collections of Buses, Fire Engines and Ambulances on display outside. From what I have heard, it is a very good place to go and well within walking distance of the Hotel. The leisure park is served by a frequent every six minutes, bus service connecting the Leisure Park to Basingstoke Train Station. This will cost about £1.40 per person to get the mile into the town centre.
On arrival I was attempting to get through locked doors, obviously without any success and not realising that the Reception was in a different building. I thought that this was a bit strange to have reception away from the rooms themselves. I was hoping that the CCTV was working in case anything happened. I checked in at 3.30pm on the Friday afternoon after finishing work early, it was only a 10 minute drive from the office anyway so the fresh air came as a bonus. Parking the Car was not an issue as the car park had enough room for more than 150 cars, although the area directly outside the Hotel was for residents, I can only presume that the rest was for the Pub itself. After eventually locating the Reception through a door at the pub, I checked in. The staff on Reception welcomed me with a smile, good start, then asked my name and took my card for payment. That was when they continued the conversation between themselves and I felt that I had interrupted them by turning up to check in. As you can imagine this was not the first impression that I was looking for, the standard scripting about what time breakfast was being served and where it was being served was used. But the way it was being said could have been summed up as 'I am reading this and have said it 30000 times today'. What really annoyed me was the member of staff did not look up to speak to me. Basically I could've poured petrol over myself and set myself on fire and she wouldn't have noticed!!! I was in Reception for less than 2 minutes, felt as if I had an express service.
So off I went to find my room, whether she was taking the mick out of me or what I don't know as I was given Room 69. The directions I was given from Reception was not clear as she had not mentioned the room number or location as I was just told to go to the other block and up the stairs and along. Eventually I found my room; after walking through numerous sets of fire doors discovered that it was actually one of the farthest rooms at the farthest end from the entrance facing the dual carriageway and fire station, one door away from the fire exit.
Getting to the room was a struggle as well, especially if you have a fair amount of luggage. The corridor has a set of fire doors roughly about every 4 rooms on each side. Getting through these is a pain as they are loud and in some cases don't seem to shut properly. Walking past the smoking rooms, you could tell that is what they are there for as the odour wafted into the corridor and was not pleasant at all. Thankfully these are all downstairs as the non-smoking rooms are situated on the first floor.
I was surprised to learn that the Hotel did not use the card key swipe system; instead I was using a Yale type key into the lock and turning. Walked in and saw a good sized bed and what turned out to be a very comfortable double bed to sleep on, Coffee and Tea making facilities (with Biscuits) and the standard Television/ Radio combination. The room itself was well spaced out with a table and two chairs by the window. For me the décor of the room assists in my experience and in this case I found this room was relaxing because of the colour schemes that had been applied gave the room a relaxing ambiance making the room a place of calm. This was greatly assisted by the fact the windows were treble glazed and stopped all sound from outside entering the room. To be honest even with the windows open it wasn't too bad, this was mainly because of the position of the Hotel being about 90 feet away from the road with high bushes that segregated the parking areas helping to damper the noise.
The shower was a great bonus as well, as this was a proper power shower and was hot when needed and left me feeling clean and refreshed. It seems in all Premier Travel Inn's you have a bottle of Lux cream attached to the wall, in the shower. This can be used as shampoo and body wash.
I did get a goods night sleep, the bedding was fine and although a quilt did keep me warm. I found the room to get quite warm anyway so I turned the air conditioning down to counteract this, the windows did open, but as in many Hotels not that much to create a nice enough breeze to cool the room down.
My minor complaint is that even though you cannot hear anything between the walls of the room, it is the noise in the corridor that I heard most of. It seemed as the corridors were quite narrow, and the temperature was very warm as there was no ventilation, that the noise seemed to be a lot louder than it actually was. You could hear people going through the fire doors and back to there rooms, some being rather unaware that slamming there doors could be heard by others and having no consideration. But this was just a minor issue.
My major issue would be that there was a Fire Exit left open at the end of the corridor, there was no alarm going off at all and no one attended from Reception at all. My thoughts were because this was too far too walk! But seriously the Door did have a notice saying that this Door is alarmed, I would hate to think that this was left open to allow some air in. Mind you with the walk involved to get to the entrance, cannot say that I really blame them really.
Checking out was rather an impersonal experience as well, instead of handing the key into reception on the way out from your room you've just vacated, you just place them in a secure box by the exit where a sign politely tells you "Thank You staying with us, please place your key in the box before leaving, see you again soon." I didn't really think that much of this at all. Saying goodbye to a customer is a good opportunity to give feedback about any issues as a good opportunity to make anymore bookings. This opportunity was missed and therefore I felt that there was no closure regarding my stay. Again this is basic customer service.
After looking at other Hotels in the Basingstoke area on the Internet and deciding on this one, I paid just £52 for nights stay, but be aware that did not include breakfast at all as that would have been an extra £7.95. Mind you, you do have a McDonalds just round the corner as well. I can understand as to why the company charges extra for Breakfast, personally I am not a morning person and don't feel like breakfast if I don't want it. In other Hotels that I stayed in then it is included in the price, I feel as if I am made to attend Breakfast, so for me the option of not wanting a Breakfast whilst not paying for it is better.
I booked on-line, but they do take telephone booking as well on (08701) 977028. If I had booked for a Thursday night, which I was originally planning to do then this would have cost me £62.
With over 70 rooms available on two floors, availability is good. I was concerned that I would not get a room as I booked quite late, and as this was the week the kids were off school I was surprised at the availability. One main advantage is that Junction 6 of the M3 being only 10 minutes away, the Hotel itself is in a very good location for local attractions as well as ones further field like Winchester, Andover and even Stonehenge. I got the impression that the Hotel was geared up for the business traveller as there are Internet Access in every room. Especially with the manner that the table and chairs were set up, and also the fact that there was a pub next door as well. Even if you stayed local and didn't fancy Basingstoke itself then the Leisure Park offers a number of alternate suggestions from seeing a film to having a meal or a pint, or even both!
Overall I enjoyed my stay once the initial shall we say hiccups that occurred at reception when checking in were over and done with. With the size of the Bed I did get a good nights sleep and was back on the road before 10am the following morning with a clear head. The advantages of using a place like this far outweighs the downsides. I would use this Hotel again for something like a weekend break away or to start a journey somewhere to break down the mileage. For £52 a night from Friday to Sunday then you can say that this is good value for money, it is just the Customer Service aspect that would need to be addressed. If it is then this would then make this a far more enjoyable stay as it was the first impressions that did not really do any justice for the company.
As I had given my mail address when booking the room, I received an automated on-line survey to complete this morning. This was a very useful exercise as this gave a good opportunity to state what issues I thought the place had from my experience. Completing this took me no more than 7 minutes and the fact that this was on-line meant no hassling with attaching to a mail as this was effectively giving me access to the survey on the company's server.
In my mind if you have any issues this would be the more preferable place to effectively let rip with your views.