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A conveniently located hotel and conference centre
The Arden Hotel (Solihull)
Member Name: carlz2001uk
The Arden Hotel (Solihull)
Advantages: Good transport links, conference facilities, reasonably priced
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 The rooms were comfortable and clean, again slightly outdated but not horrendously so.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.
Summary: 4 stars
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