“ Hemel Hempstead Road, Redbourne, Hemel Hempstead, Herts AL3 7AF, Tel: +44 (0)8448 159 059 „
Our recent holiday to Kefalonia with Thomsons brought with it one significant drawback, the only London area flights available were from Luton. Now, Luton is not the most convenient airport for us. I have flown from there a few times and have always previously parked at the airport, in Long Term. However, apart from a short skiing break, all other visits have been on business, where someone else was picking up the parking bill!
Our usual preferred airport is Gatwick and there I always use the unbeatable Tudor Rose valet parking, which is cheaper than normal Long Term at the airport. Search as I may I couldn't find anyone offering equivalent service at Luton. So, what to do?
I decided to search for a hotel that would offer car parking in the hotel car park whilst away on holiday, for the price of an overnight stay at the hotel. A number presented themselves but the best offer seemed to be at the Ramada Jarvis hotel at Hemel Hempstead. They offer up to 15 days parking. The hotel is just twenty minutes from the airport and the hotel provides a minibus to take you there for your departure, although you do have to make your own way back when you return. They have an arrangement with a local taxi firm, who brought us back again for £15, £5 less than the normal taxis wanted.
The hotel is a little awkward to reach. Their directions suggest that you don't use the route through Hemel Hempstead even if travelling, as we were, from the London direction, but travel instead up the M1 to junction 9 and come back from there. This is a little bit of a problem at the moment what with the road widening that is still going on on the M1. We were happy to travel closer to the airport anyway as we were travelling out and back on a Tuesday and so wanted to avoid the morning traffic in this area.
The hotel is by no means modern and is a bit sprawling with steps up and down throughout the route to the bedrooms. Some have the benefit of a wheelchair lift for this who have this need, but not all by any means. I assume disabled accommodation is provided where easy access is enabled.
Our room was well furnished, comfortable and of a decent size. We really only needed it for a good night's sleep anyway, as we arrived the night before fairly late on. We were just looking forward to a decent meal and bed. The shower did prove to be a bit faulty but nothing that prevented it entirely from being used; annoying more than anything.
The hotel was by no means full and there were few in the restaurant when we went down to eat. As a consequence (?) the service was good and the food very acceptable. We washed it down with an nice bottle of wine. We got a good night's sleep, the hotel being quite quiet as it is located in a fairly isolated location.
The following morning we were up early and the minibus took us to Luton at 6.00am. The short journey was easily accomplished, despite more roadworks taking place approaching the airport. We arrived in plenty of time for our check in.
When we got back we phoned the taxi service and a car arrived within ten minutes. We were pleased to see our car still safe and sound in the car park and with the bags transferred we were soon on our way back home again.
The cost of all of this was a very economical £93. This included the parking, the night's stay at the hotel and the evening meal for the two of us. I doubt we could have parked at Luton, even in Long Term, for less. Under the circumstances this was exceptional value for money.
The Hemel Hempstead Ramada Jarvis is an unsophisticated hotel but perfectly comfortable and I'm sure our experience with the shower was an exception. The staff were helpful and friendly. I can fully recommend the hotel if you are planning to take a holiday flying out from Luton, not just for the parking but also for the convenience in reaching the airport for what is often, with a package holiday, an early morning departure.
Only a 5 minute drive away from the ancient Cathedral City of St Albans and within striking distance of Whipsnade Safari Park, Gardens of the Rose and Woburn Abbey. Located just outside Hemel Hempstead, this Ramada Hotel has a heated terrace and is an ideal base to discover the abundance of charm this historic old town has to offer.