“ Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 0EH, Tel: +44 (0)1675 443221. „
A few weeks ago I had to attend a workshop for a course I am attending through work. Unfortunately for me the only available workshop was in Birmingham, quite a drive from Leeds. The weekend workshop was taking place at The Arden Hotel and Leisure Club, so it made sense for me to stay here too. It was located 1/3 mile from the National Exhibition Centre, 5 minutes from the LG Arena and 1/2 mile from Birmingham International Airport and Railway Station so it would be ideal for people needing accommodation nearby these venues. I had initially been apprehensive about finding the hotel, especially as we had to set off at 5am to get to the workshop in time, and the paperwork I had explained it would be difficult to find if using a sat nav. This wasn't an issue at all though and the postcode we used for the hotel (taken from the website) meant it took us right to the door. Initially arriving at the hotel, we were both fairly impressed. It did seem a bit dated, but in such a way that when it had been built, it was done properly. It was larger than I was expecting, and has 216 bedrooms. On our arrival reception staff were friendly and helpful. The bedrooms are all ensuite and include flat screen televisions, which include some sky channels and on demand movies. I didn't watch the TV at all, but my husband did as he was basically just killing time waiting for me all weekend (and the Olympics were on!). There is free wifi, which is always handy, especially for us who are iPad junkies! Tea and coffee making facilities are also in the room. The rooms were comfortable and clean, again slightly outdated but not horrendously so. Imagine lots of peach, stripes and flowers and you've probably got the general idea! We didn't have the opportunity for room service but this was available and the prices were pretty reasonable. We slept really well which surprised me. I expected to be disturbed by motorway or airport traffic but I didn't hear a thing. One bonus of the hotel which I was unable to use was the leisure facilities. The gym is really well equipped and also includes a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. My husband used the gym and said it was so quiet and relaxing. Just outside the gym are pool tables and two snooker tables. For those considering using one of the hotels 12 conference rooms they are really well equipped and were comfortable to use. There is wi-fi in the rooms and audiovisual equipment. Tea and coffee are continually provided by friendly and welcoming staff, as is still and sparkling water. I would imagine this venue is a poplar location for meetings due to its excellent location and transport links. There are two restaurants within the hotel. One is informal and appropriately named the Meeting Place. This is where we met for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was well stocked and provided options including a full English, cereal, fruits or yogurts. The food was lovely. This was also where we met for lunch, this was a wash out on day one as the bread on the sandwiches were stale. This wasn't the fault of the staff but of our tutor who over ran the morning session by half an hour. It would have been nice for the staff to have covered the sandwiches when they realised we were running behind, but like I say this was more the fault of the tutor than the restaurant staff. On day 2, the hot lunch was okay. Roast pork so definitely not one of my favourites but the vegetables were bland and was in general just a very 'okay' meal. The Burgundy Restaurant was a very strange place. Decor wise it was extremely outdated and I thought the menu also seemed a bit out of date but the food was absolutely delicious and it was silver service. I had chicken tagine to start with which I have to say I didn't like but the main (steak) was beautiful and so tasty. Everyone was impressed with their mains and the desert was delicious too (cheese cake). The choices weren't vast but it was from an a la carte menu which covered all the bases - meat, fish and vegetarian. This was all included in our package but although we weren't ever charged for my husband, it should have been £20 a head for the meal which I think was reasonably priced. The Burgundy Bar which is just outside the restaurant is a really good relaxing meeting area with couches and plenty of seating. The bar is reasonably priced with a nice bottle of wine costing around £10. The hotel is as you would expect a no smoking premises but there is a covered area outside with heaters. Disabled access is good with ramps and lifts throughout. Rooms vary from £65 to £120 per night. I can't comment on the price I paid as it was a price which included the workshop, so I'm not sure of the proportion of the room rate to the workshop cost. Overall I would recommend this hotel for anyone needing accommodation in the area. I wouldn't travel back to the hotel just to stay there but should the need ever arise for me to be in the area for another course etc I would be more than happy to book The Arden.
For a course at work I found myself going to the Arden Hotel and finding it a very nice hotel in a fantastic location for me to get to and I found everything to go smoothly for the whole weekend which for me is a fantastic achievement. I hate staying at hotels usually as I have a bad sleep and I find not everything is up to my standard but here I really had a good time and I think it was a hotel with a good atmosphere with a bit of life about it and here is why. ----- Location: The address is as follows; Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 0EH. The Hotel is in an amazing location not for views but how you get there and for commuters it must be a dream. The Hotel is in walking distance from Birmingham airport, a railway station and the N.E.C. I dread getting to places in Birmingham as it is busy and I get confused easily but this Hotel really does make it good for you. If you dont fancy walking then a taxi is about £3 which is nothing. Driving it is not far from the M42 motorway so easy peasy. ----- Parking: The car park is huge and for the amount of rooms there I do not think you will have any problems ever finding a space. We were there when a wedding was on and there were still places even though the Hotel was quite full. ----- Appearance: From outside to be honest the hotel does not really look like anything special with plain brick walls but everywhere looks clean and the reception walk way is lovely. As you walk inside you will see reception to your right and staff are there looking friendly and they are very helpful indeed. Also as you walk in there are these great big vase sculptures which look amazing. In front of you is a bar area which has the most comfortable seats and they have a very good array of drinks available to you. It is not open all of the time so you may have to ask when you get there as as I was on a course I couldnt really work it out too well. To the left of you when you walk in is the dining area which is where we ate which is very pleasant and has a good feel about it. As you walk through the bar you can also find the restaurant which looks lovely but as there was a wedding on that weekend we didnt get a chance to eat in there. The whole hotel is quite easy to navigate around and all rooms are sign posted throughout well so you cant really get lost at all which is good. ----- Bedrooms: The rooms are standard but they look nice and have a very clean feel around them. They do get cleaned every day so you dont have to worry about anything being dirty which is what I always worry about with hotels. The bed is very comfortable and I had a double to myself which was lovely. They give you enough bedding so you dont have to worry about that at all. The bathroom is quite big and the shower is very powerful which I loved as I dont have a proper shower at home. I know people who did have the room service and they said it was very prompt and not too expensive but I didnt give it a go. ----- Conference Rooms: The conference rooms in this place are huge and well equipped and more equipment is available if needed. We had mints, drinks, paper and pens on the table which was nice and made you feel more relaxed. I get the feeling they really look after their conference suites well as all of the furniture was nice and new looking. I think they have quite a good range of suites as well. We used two of them while we were there and one room was massive and the next pretty small and they were both lovely. ----- Leisure Facilities: This Hotel has an amazing pool so if you stay do remember to take your costume as it is lovely. The gym I didnt go to but had a sneak peek and they look like they had a good range of things but it was very busy when I looked. There is also a room that shows sports on a big screen which as predicted was filled with people on the Sunday as there was a big match on. ---- Food: The food here is lovely. I only ate dinner and one day I had a full buffet with curry and then followed by the best chocolate fudge cake I have ever tastes that I had three slices which was very greedy of me. The prices are reasonable at around £3-5 for a sandwich with crisps and salad and main meals are £6 13 and they do have a good selection such as mussels to start followed by salmon. I didnt eat there in the evening but my friend did and she said the meals were lovely and very filling. ----- Prices: For a room last minute it was £55 but the rates are more than that usually. I think for the service you get from the Hotel and the standard of everything provided and also the facilities that are on offer I do not think this is a bad price at all. ----- Verdict: This hotel is lovely and I will recommend it to everybody. It is in a great spot, has everything you could need and at a very reasonable price so what more could you be after? I think it is one of those places that commuters dream of as it is just that accessible and convenient. Top marks for being lovely and a very decent hotel. Plus it looked like it put a very good show on for weddings as we were talking to the bride and she had had a great time there. Thanks for reading. xxx