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Exceptionally central [warning: long review!]
Travelodge (Chester Central)
Member Name: jennikitten
Travelodge (Chester Central)
Date: 28/10/09, updated on 28/10/09 (143 review reads)
Advantages: Location, price
Disadvantages: Some noise, potentially the view, unreliable reception
About a month ago I had a short break with my boyfriend and we decided to go to Chester. He's still on crutches from breaking his leg, and so we needed to find somewhere very central. Also, we planned to spend money on days out, shopping and nice meals so we didn't want to pay a lot for accommodation we didn't plan to spend much time in anyway.
Travelodge was the obvious choice...I did try to talk him into the posh five star hotel with personal butler service, but at £1,000 a night, that will have to wait until we win the lottery :)
I went through cashback and got £5 off our stay, and also went through their cheap deals section which shaved a bit more off the price. It's worth booking far in advance for a better deal, and if you're staying for more than a night, booking nights individually often works out cheaper. You can get rooms from between £9 a night up to about £50 - the rooms are all the same, it simply depends on when you book and what date(s) you want. It's worth noting that Travelodge will send you emails with discounts afterwards, so if you know anyone who's been recently you could ask them if there are any offers.
There are two Travelodges in Chester, one out by the racecourse and this central one, which was built in 2008.
On getting to the Travelodge, the first thing that struck us was the location. We knew it was central, but almost everything you would want to see or do was within a five or ten minute walk, including the Cathedral, bus station (for Chester Zoo, Liverpool and the aquarium), a lovely Italian ice cream place, all the main shops, Zizzi's, Pizza Express, two tourist information centres, the river and the boat trip. This was incredibly handy for Joe, who couldn't walk long distances very easily. The only disappointment was the cinema; as the Oden has closed down, the only choice is a Cineworld which we had to get a taxi to and was only showing fairly old films (and even older advertising). If you want the very latest films you apparently have have to go to Queensferry or Cheshire Oaks.
The Travelodge itself overlooks (and is directly opposite) the Roman ampitheatre, which was a nice touch. Luckily our room overlooked it, so we had a great view, but if you're unlucky enough to be on another side of the building, your view will be of the backs of buildings and presumably will be quite dark.
The room levels also looked uneven from the outside; our floor of rooms has massive windows and high ceilings, whereas the floor above had much smaller windows and looked like it might be more cramped. However, the ceiling in our room was incredibly high, so you may not notice a difference.
Downstairs, and connected to the Travelodge itself but with a separate entrance, is a Pitcher and Piano (surely it's too classy to be associated with a Travelodge?!) offering wi-fi. The pub across the road also offered is, as did the tourist cafe 30 seconds' walk away (which also does a good selection of food). For these reasons, there's no point in paying the extortionate prices Travelodge charge for use of their own wi-fi, which can easily reach £20 or more.
When we entered the Travelodge (key card access is required in unsociable hours), we saw a small reception. There are a few vending machines with ice cream, sweets and chocolate, and a small reception desk. I think that out of all the times we went in and out of the Travelodge during our five day stay, there was someone on reception maybe twice. This was a bit annoying as I had to go down to ask for more toilet paper and ended up waiting ages for someone to come when I pressed the bell. Checking in was easy enough, but I wouldn't like to be hanging around with kids in tow or somewhere important to be what with the unreliability of reception.
The lifts were fully working and Joe had no problems getting up and down to our room. I used the stairs a few times because they were quicker. I'd say it was adequate enough for disabled people, though the main entrance is a little on the small side.
The room itself was standard Travelodge fare. A bed, a nice flat TV on the wall, and some interesting lighting (I read a review on tripadvisor before we went and someone mentioned having trouble turning the orange lights by the bed back on when they switched them off - I scorned them but had exactly the same problem! There's some kind of weird configuration about certain sets of lights being on at the same time). There was also a weird sideways wardrobe with about 6 hangers, a mirror, and a desk.
There were no extra goodies provided in the room - there was a kettle and that was about it. You're expected to bring your own tea, coffee, milk, shower gel and shampoo. We had two mini pieces of soap which we used to wash our hands, and a very stingy number of towels (so I was glad I brought my own). Travelodge say something about people preferring to bring their favourite shampoo or whatever rather than using theirs, which I think is a missed marketing opportunity to promote the environmental benefits of bringing your own toiletries.
Everything was clean and fully-functional, though the ceiling must have been as high as the room was wide and made me feel slightly claustrophobic at first, though I soon got used to it.
The main issue we had was that there was only one (double) plug socket, and it was positioned by the desk, making it useless for using Joe's laptop to watch films in bed, or even for people wanting to work more comfortably than from the hard, small desk chair. If I went again I would definitely take an adaptor. We ended up moving the bed (luckily it was on castor wheels) across to the side of the desk with the socket, which meant we couldn't watch TV easily but that was fine.
Also supplied is a door hanger that tells the staff whether you want to be disturbed or not. We hung this on the door every day, partly because we left Joe's laptop and other valuables around and the room was a bit messy, and partly because we'd moved the bed. However, a few days into our stay we noticed that someone had been in anyway and made the bed and left another towel, which I personally wasn't too happy about.
They were also very stingy with the (cheap) toilet roll; there was a small amount on a roll when we got there, and when I went down to ask for more I was given another half roll, which I found slightly odd (and according to Tripadvisor someone experienced a similar thing but got given two half rolls!).
The Travelodge is also situated on a fairly busy road, and can be quite rowdy at night as there seemed to be quite a few drunken people around; however if you aren't at the front of the building, it might not affect you at all, and they didn't really keep me awake.
Overall, I would highly recommend this Travelodge if price and location are important to you, as based on these factors alone I would give it five stars. I've knocked a star off for the inattentive reception (though they were friendly enough and maybe would be more on hand in peak season) and the rowdiness outside for a couple of nights.
Summary: Typical Travelodge fare in a great location
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