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Good dependable overnight accommodation that won't cost an arm and a leg
Travel Inn in general
Member Name: worst_trip
Travel Inn in general
Advantages: Good nationwide chain of motels
Disadvantages: Sometimes tricky to locate (and in city centres, to get away from again)
As all our relatives live at one of the country, and we live at the other, we've spent a bit of time over the years driving the length of Britain north to south and back again, and since the arrival of our sprog, it's been necessary to break up the stay by spending the night in a motel - having tried going 'off-road' to various good and worse, not-so-good B&Bs mid-way in the Lake District, we now always choose to stay in a Travel Inn.
The great advantage of Travel Inns is of course that they're geared up for passing traffic - most are on or very near motorways or A-roads; some in or near city centres. Their website is easy to use - with a clickable map showing Travel Inns up and down the country, and if by chance the hotel of your choice isn't aviailable the night you want to stay, they'll offer a selection nearby. By registering with the website you're emailed promotional offers for advance booking of rooms - often they offer £19 a night 'specials' if booked in advance, or sometimes two nights for the price of on. A double / family room usually contains a double bed and also a bed settee, with en suite bathroom. This'll usually cost approx £50 - £60 night.
Travel Inns are usually (though not always) sited beside a 'Beefeater' type chain-pub restaurant and often they offer breakfast meal-deals where you get a discount if you want to buy a breakfast there in the morning. Others I've stayed at sometimes offer you a 'continental' brekky that you can buy from the hotel; a hot drink or juice and a plastic-wrapped croissant; not worth bothering with unless you're desperate in my experience. There is ususally coffee / tea and kettle available in the room.
A very slight drawback - but not really a complaint - with Travel Inns is that few if any of them are located close to any scenic or intersting places where you might wish to take a weekend break - we've considered staying in an Inn as budget accommodation but as they're geared up for travellers in transit, we haven't found this a great option.
Until last summer, when we stayed at the Travel Inn on the M11 near Standstead airport the night before our early holiday flight, I'd have said these motels were all pretty much exactly the same inside. Happily, the rooms almost are all usually well-maintained to a good, clean standard. (Admittedly sometimes the bathrooms smell a bit stale, but the design of the rooms is such that the bathrooms never have windows, so this no surprise really.) The M11 place however we found quite dirty and in need of a refurb - but this was an exception to the general rule. The Travel Inn in Carlisle we stayed at most recently was in contrast brand spanking new and an unusually nice one - so there is a bit of variation across the chain.
The main drawback we've found with Travel Inns in general - and again, it's a minor, if irritating one - is that the website instructions on how to find them often aren't detailed / comprehensive enough. A lot of Travel Inns are situated in motorway service areas - it's difficult enough to navigate these types of places generally, but we've found that within the services, Travel Inns are quite poorly signposted as rule.
Summary: Good choice for customers in tranist
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