“ Address: 17 Trafford Road / Manchester / M5 3AW / United Kingdom / Tel: +44 0 161 876 5305 „
The Ramada Hotel is located on Trafford Road, Salford Quays, Manchester. I stayed here in June as I was in Manchester for a training course and the Ramada came highly recommended from a couple of colleagues who'd visited Manchester for the same course. I had a terrible experience back in March when I stayed at the Travelodge in London's Kings Cross so my needs were simple; I wanted a temperate, clean and quiet atmosphere, a comfortable bed and a decent cup of tea so I could get a good nights rest for my training course.
I drove to Manchester, so I didn't need to find my way from the train station, however, my colleagues informed me it was around £11-£12 in a taxi from the station (should be factored in to the cost of the accomodation if you plan to stay there). The hotel is quite simple to find, but I do not recommend using the AA route planner as it sends you in a totally different direction I just stopped on my way down and bought an A-Z as I can follow a map much easier than a route planner (continue forward, continue forward, branch left, turn right, just bamboozles me!), so using the map I found it no problems. When I looked on the website before I left, it said there was only limited guest parking - the nearest secure parking facillity was quite a walk away so I didn't fancy walking when I got to Manchester with my cases after a 3 hour drive. To my surprise though, the car park was pretty empty when I arrived and although it is shared with the neighbouring hotel, it is quite large - I would estimate 40-50 spaces designated to Ramada guests (signed with a big red R). Parking costs £5 per night, it is a simple pay on foot / validate the ticket at reception, the car park is secured with CCTV, and I thought this charge was pretty reasonable, although ideally, parking should be free of charge for guests.
The entrance to the hotel is direct from the car park, past the designated external smoking area and the reception is situated to the right and side. The hotel is quite unremarkable, it is decorated in a contemporary fashion - think white wash walls, adorned with unusual artwork, plenty of light spilling in from the huge ceiling to floor windows and sky lights, with sliding glass doors at the entrance and a large overbearing reception desk; looking pretty much like the majority of 'chain' hotels I've stayed in. At the reception I was greeted with a smile after waiting patiently in line for almost 10 minutes for the ONE guest in front to be checked in. The girl who went through check in with me didn't seem too knowledgeable about BSI, the company who manage my employers bookings. Although the account was to be billed to BSI, along with car parking, Wi-Fi, dinner, breakfast and my Newspaper; she still asked me to pay for these things upfront with a credit card. I was just grateful I took the booking T&Cs with me from work, though I really don't feel there should be a need to do that. After the lengthy check in, I was ready to go and crash in my room...
I was located on the first floor which was good for me, as I do not like to be on the ground floor when I am travelling alone. However, after taking the speedy lift I realised that the first floor was partly conference facilities which you had to walk past to get to your room, this wasn't a problem for me, as I was out all day so when I got back the conferences had finished however, if you were nipping in and out of your hotel, then you would have to pass 4 large conference rooms to get to most of the rooms on the first floor.
My room was accessed with a standard key card, which needed to be inserted for the lights. The bathroom, immediately to my left was pretty standard with bath, over-bath shower, sink and toilet, stocked up with Gilchrist and Soames toilettries (lovely 2-in-1 shampoo), a hand towel, guest towel and bath towel, plenty of toilet roll and two plastic cups for mouthwash, etc. It was clean and tidy and although not very well ventilated (the extractor fan sound like a hamster running round a wheel was powering it!), I had a bath and a shower whilst I was there - the controls are shared, easy to control temperature and speed. The power shower provided a massaging and strong stream of water which was welcome after a long day of concentrating let me tell you! My only complaint, which is always a complaint for me, no bath mat? I just think it's strange and pretty dangerous if your standing in a slippy bath getting a shower. Aside from that, good, clean, working bathroom which I was very happy with.
Moving in to the room there was an average size double bed, with one pillow on each side (an extra one in the wardrobe if you need it), a duvet and a runner at the bottom of the bed in contrasting colours. This had a really nasty looking stain on it, but I just took it off the bed - they serve no purpose anyway! Lights could be controlled from bed, and the LCD TV was big enough to be seen from bed too - but in case you don't want to spend your stay in bed, then there is a really comfortable two-seater leather sofa, spacious desk and leather office chair. It's almost like a mini lounge; which of course a hotel room is for sleeping and living so they have the balance just right. My other gripe is the lack of 'big' light, it's just not bright enough in there to be doing a mixture of computer and hand written work with a small and not-so-powerful work lamp.
So after a comfortable night of sleep, you wake up, shower, iron (on the tremulous ironing board) and go down for breakfast. I won't go too much in to dinner because I have actually done a separate review on the restaurant - but the breakfast review should give you a pretty good overall idea of the food available here. Breakfast is taken in the Stresa Restaurant, again contemporary and light décor, modern music and cheery local staff. The coffee is great and they serve a selection of cereal, yoghurts, fruit, museli, juices, muffins and so on. However the hot breakfast is absolutely repulsive! On the first day I opted for a poppy seed bagel topped with mushrooms, sausages, tomatoes and scrambled eggs. The eggs were congealed and cold, more like rubbery mush with a layer of greasy water settled on the top. The tomatoes and mushrooms tasted of nothing except fat and the sausages which were the only edible bit were tasty, but cold. I reckon it had at least been out an hour, if not longer. The second morning the offering was even worse so I had cereal needless to say!
Check out was speedy and I left with a big smile after the staff wished me a good day and a safe trip home. The hotel is close to Old Trafford, the Trafford Centre, the Lowry Outlet Mall and the Lowry Theatre; it is potentially a great location and it isn't too expensive for Manchester - however, the restaurant really lets the place down. Also, it's a little bit awkward to get to and from on public transport (unless you pay for expensive taxis) so I would recommend staying if you were driving, or if you didn't want to go too far. The staff are helpful and sweet and the room was absolutely spot on except for the stained runner on the bed. Overall, I would give the hotel 3 out of 5, partly down to the absence of little touches I like to see when I stay away from home such as a room service menu for late night Lattes and largely down to the restaurant.