I have just taken a short break to Newcastle and stayed in the County by Thistle following an online search for a cheap hotel deal.
The hotel is conveniently situated directly across from Newcastle train station which is excellent if you are travelling by train. No need for a taxi or pulling your luggage through the City centre!
We travelled by car and found that once we have manoeuvred our way round the busy City centre, it was fairly easy to find the hotel. Access to its parking area was right next to the main entrance of the hotel which was very convenient. Having stayed in hotels where the parking is off site I thought this was great. It was also pretty reasonable at £10 per day (Premier Travel Inn was £16 per day).
It is in a perfect location to visit the local nightlife with the Gate, Eldon Square and the Metro Area all within easy walking distance. We walked to all of these locations including St James Park, the Life Centre and China Town.
Upon entering the reception we were greeted by some friendly staff. The reception was clean and bright and the staff were very helpful when we asked for directions or assistance.
You can tell that this is a very old building as the lifts up to the room were pretty slow and there is a very grand staircase at the main entrance. When we were looking for our room I did think the hall ways were a little dark and the doorways were narrow but I suppose this was all down to the age of the building.
We didn't have the biggest of rooms but the bed was massive! Well I say bed, it was actually two queen size beds put together so the bar in the middle was a bit of a pain. However my partner and I had plenty of room to stretch out.
There was only a small window that looked out onto the main road and the train station so the room was a little dark but there was a nice flat screen TV on the wall, two large mirrors and the bathroom was very clean and well lit. There was also an iron and ironing board in the wardrobe which was great as you usually need to phone reception for one.
I would also be aware that the floor boards are extremely noisy and we could here the people in the adjoining and above rooms walking around very clearly.
Overall the rooms were basic and clean which is just what you need. I think the hotel had recently been refurbished as everything looked quite new.
The hotel has the usual lounge, bar and restaurant which were nice and pleasant however we found them to be quite expensive and as we were only there a couple of days we thought it would be better to venture out of the hotel. We also noticed that the hotel bar closed at 11pm. We thought this was early as most hotels keep bars open for residents later but it would be useful to here if anyone has a different experience. You also have the option of using the leisure facilities at the local University I believe, however we didn't partake so couldn't comment on the quality.
The main benefit is the location as there are tons of facilities outwith the hotel but right on your doorstep.
As I was shopping around for a cheap deal, we managed to secure a booking at www.hotels.com for £42 per night which was a lot cheaper than the nearest priced hotel at £62 per night. This and the parking made it a reasonably priced trip considering the excellent location and nice rooms.
The normal room rate for a double is around £95 to £105 per night so I think we got a great deal!
I would recommend a stay at this hotel (especially if you get as good a deal as we did). However, we stayed during the week and the area was quiet whereas we have head that at the weekend can be very noisy with large hen and stag groups so if you are looking for something quiet then maybe avoid at the weekends.
I had a really terrible experience at the thistle Newcastle which really disapointed me as I have stayed at various Thistle hotel around the country before and they have been fine. The room I was in was so tiny there was only enough room to walk around the bed. The television was like something out of the stone ages and made a really funny noise the entire time it was on. The bathroom was really badly worn and needed replaced quite badly. The shower was really something else with no chance of warm water and only a trickle of water coming out of it. The breakfast in the hotel was quite good though and the staff were very friendly. The hotel is well located for the city centre and train and metro stations but they would need to refurbish the rooms to make it worth visiting again. The staff were very friendly though and are trying to do the best with what they have to work with.
The rooms are very clean and quite newly decorated. There is a warm welcoming feeling despite the rooms being decorated in the usual hotel fashion. The warms are on the warmer temperature side so make sure you don't set the heating too high. The public hotel areas such as the restaurant are freezing!!
I did notice that although there are lifts there are lots of stairs in the hotel, you go up a few stairs on one level and then two more stairs as you turn a corner in the hotel corridors. A bit of a pain if you have a suitcase!
Price of the hotel is around £100 for a double room, which is good value for money in my opinion. The breakfast is very nice and there is plenty of choice. I also stayed for a lunch and this was also lovely... although this was priced at £9 for what basically was 3 small skewers of chicken and a salad.... So if you have a large appitite its probably not the place to go for lunch!
Check in and check out is quick an efficient. Hotel location is excellent if you are travelling by train, you will step off your train... out of the train station and then you cross the road and you are at the hotel!