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Not a bad place to rest your head in Milton Keynes, but not the greatest either.
Ramada Encore (Milton Keynes)
Member Name: sakura8
Ramada Encore (Milton Keynes)
Advantages: Excellent location, reasonably priced
Disadvantages: Bed was uncomfortable, no toothpaste and no biscuits!
My fiancé and I stayed at the Ramada Encore in Milton Keynes for 1 night as we travelled up there from Surrey so I could do my Airkix experience (also reviewed!). We stayed in a Standard non-smoking room. Breakfast was not included.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
I paid £42.50 for the room for a 1 night stay on a Saturday. Prices vary depending on when you stay and as I booked the room 14-days in advance I got a special rate. You can easily check availability and book online via the Ramada Encore website, but I used Expedia to get some cashback.
~ * ~ * ~ So 10/10 for price ~ * ~ * ~
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
As we travelled up to Milton Keynes by train, the location was very important to us. It had to be near Milton Keynes Central train station and it had to be near the Xscape centre which is where the Airkix facility is located. The Ramada Encore ticked both boxes, as it was right in-between both these places. It took us about 10-15 minutes to walk from the train station to the hotel and then it was about the same walking distance from the hotel to the Xscape centre. Milton Keynes seemed to be like one big car park, so if you're driving then I'm sure you will find a space somewhere!
I'd downloaded a map from the Airkix website and it made everything look quite far apart, so we did consider getting a taxi, but we're glad we didn't as everything was so close together the fare would have probably been about 50p and we would have looked really stupid! The big shopping centre, imaginatively called The Centre, is also about 10-15 minutes walk from the hotel. There is also a massive Sainsburys near the hotel if you need any groceries, garden furniture or clothes!
~ * ~ * ~ So 10/10 for location ~ * ~ * ~
The hotel doesn't look amazing from the outside, but there is a big sign which is visible as you're walking from the train station, so it's easy to find. It is next to the Jury Inn hotel, which looked a bit more impressive (and therefore one I would consider trying next time I visit Milton Keynes) and it has a front door, which is easy to find, unlike the Ramada Encore's entrance, which is at the side of the building.
The reception area was very light and airy and the staff were very pleasant and efficient. They explained about the breakfast in The Hub restaurant and gave me a discount voucher for two of the restaurants in The Hub (that's the name of the area outside and not their own restaurant, which makes it a bit confusing!)
We were given a room on the top floor, which was the 7th. Entry to the room is by swipe card, which I always have trouble using and it normally takes me a few attempts before I can successfully open the door! You also have to put the swipe card into a slot in the room to activate the lights.
As it was a chain hotel, I expected the room to have minimalist décor and this is what we got. With the garish "art" on the walls (if you can call overlapping squares of different bright colours "art") and the square wall lights, it looked like it was straight out of an Ikea catalogue. The décor wasn't awful, but it wasn't wonderful either and actually reminded me of my student halls at University! So I wouldn't really recommend it for a romantic getaway, but it'll do for somewhere to rest your head for a night whilst you're in Milton Keynes.
~ * ~ * ~ So 7/10 for design and décor ~ * ~ * ~
The bathroom had the usual toilet, sink and a shower but no bath. The room was like a wet room, as there was just a screen separating the shower from the toilet and sink. It was a good powerful shower and the pressure from the tap was also excellent. It was clean but a bit worn around the edges.
I like hotels that are committed to saving energy and water and this one had signs in the bathroom asking guests to do their bit to save the planet. The toilet was one of those water efficient ones and I noticed that it was incredibly quiet when it flushed, so no need to worry when you go in the middle of the night. My fiancé commented that the toilet was a good height, as he has a thing about toilets that are too low - must be a bloke thing!
There were no individual toiletries like soap, shampoo and conditioner. Instead these were in dispensers fixed to the wall, but they were Dove and Lux which are good brands. My only real gripe is there was no toothpaste provided, which most hotel guests would expect, luckily I took my own as I'd read from a review that they don't provide it!
~ * ~ * ~ So 9/10 for the bathroom facilities ~ * ~ * ~
THE GADGET SHOW
Everything was very basic in the room, but it met our needs. TV and Internet were available in the room. There were only the 5 basic terrestrial TV channels plus a couple of Freeview ones, but we hadn't gone to Milton Keynes to watch TV so we didn't mind. You had to pay for the Internet in the room, but free Internet was available downstairs.
~ * ~ * ~ So 8/10 for tech ~ * ~ * ~
HOW CLEAN IS YOUR HOUSE?
The room had wooden floors, which my fiancé didn't really like as he said he wasn't as cosy, but I didn't mind them and they were very clean and I didn't have any fluff on my feet after walking around barefooted.
Overall the room seemed to be clean, including the bedding, the 2 bedside tables, the desk and chair. The cups that came with the tea and coffee making facilities were clean, which is something I always check! Although there was a nice selection of tea and coffee, there weren't any biscuits provided which was a bit disappointing!
The sofa-bed that was in there had a stain, but we weren't using it so it didn't bother us, but I wouldn't have liked to have slept on there!
Even thought the room was satisfactory, we didn't sleep very well at all. We couldn't get the temperature in the room right, even though there was an electronic system to fiddle around with. I felt cold and I was shivering, but every time I woke up (and I woke up about 4 times in the night!) I was sweating hot. My fiancé reckoned it was the bed cover, which wasn't a duvet but it was like a thin but dense blanket and he thought this prevented any hot air to escape from underneath. I also didn't like the bed, as it felt like a futon mattress and it looked quite old. Our bed at home which desperately needs replacing, as the springs are broken and keeps going "boing" was more comfortable!
~ * ~ * ~ So 6/10 for cleanliness and comfort ~ * ~ * ~
COME DINE WITH ME
As I briefly mentioned earlier, the hotel has their own restaurant called The Hub where you can have a hot buffet breakfast for £9.95 or there was a continental option but I don't know how much that was. They also serve meals for lunch and dinner and on the menu they had things like pizza, fish and chips and vegetable bake. Main courses were around £10 upwards or they had smaller meals like wraps from £6. I can't comment on the food as we didn't eat there, as there were so many other restaurants in the vicinity.
The square at the back of the hotel is also called The Hub and there were a number of different restaurants including a Zizzi's, Gourmet Burger, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge. Most restaurants had tables and chairs so it would be lovely to sit outside on a hot summer's day.
~ * ~ * ~ So 10/10 for eating options ~ * ~ * ~
I'd give the hotel 7/10 overall. The room was OK, but not fantastic and I've stayed at better chain hotels for the same price. I've just looked at the Jury Inn hotel and they offer rooms at a similar price, so I will try that hotel instead of going back to the Ramada Encore.
Check in 2pm, check out 12pm
Info taken from the Ramada Encore website:
- 159 bedrooms
- Direct dial telephones
- Tea and coffee making facilities
- Interactive colour TV with Sky, radio channels and pay movie channels,
- Internet access available
- Ensuite bathrooms
- Hairdryers are provided
- Same day laundry and dry cleaning service
- Irons and ironing boards can be borrowed from Reception.
Summary: Next time I'll try the hotel next door!
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