Newest Review: ... online and got a rate of £55.70 for the first night and £99.50 for the second night. Breakfast was extra - as is usual with Travelodges. ... more
Travelodge Docklands Hotel
Member Name: Mephit
Travelodge Docklands Hotel
Date: 25/05/11, updated on 25/05/11 (74 review reads)
Advantages: great location for visiting London, reasonable prices, good basic accommodation
Disadvantages: ventilation noise, heat
On our way back from holiday on the Norfolk Broads, we broke up the journey with an overnight stay at the London Docklands Travelodge.
We booked online a week or so beforehand. It was a struggle to use their newer website (possibly my security settings or Firefox arguing with it), but I entered our card details so many times I was quite frightened! Eventually we had the good sense to try their old website, to which they have a link on their front page. This version of the site was a breeze to use and the booking went through first time. We paid 15p extra to have the booking confirmed by text, and this came through a few minutes after completing the online order.
We booked a family room, with breakfast for two adults (children eat free, currently) and early arrival (which meant we would be able to get our room anytime from noon). We were planning to arrive in time to spend the afternoon sight-seeing in London, so wanted to get in, parked and away again as soon as possible. London Docklands is outside the congestion charge, which was part of the reasoning behind our choice of hotel. Parking cost an additional £5 for 24 hours. We'd seen that a station for the Docklands Light Rail service was within walking distance of the hotel, so it seemed like a good base of operations for us.
We paid around £65 for room, 2 adult breakfasts and early arrival. If you book well in advance, you may find better offers, but we were quite happy with the price.
Now we don't have sat-nav, so we used an online routeplanner to work out how to get there and printed it out in advance. This worked reasonably well to get us to the location, although failed us in the last half-mile. For we could see the Travelodge, but couldn't work out how to get to it! The routeplanner went a bit astray, so we ended up circling a roundabout and going up and down some roads in slightly panic-stricken style. Eventually we got to the road the Travelodge is on, where a security guard jovially sent us in. There were a number of spaces to choose from, so we parked in the shade and gratefully got out of the car. We'd done well, arriving at about 12.30 just as we'd hoped.
Booking in was easy: we had our print-out of our order. The receptionist checked our room was ready and then did our key-cards. She also explained about the parking, where you have to display both a receipt (that she gave us) from the hotel and a ticket from the car-park itself on your dashboard. You pay your £5 in the car-park. This meant the Other Half went out and sorted that while we waited in the lobby. In the lobby, there are several vending machines selling sweets and drinks. We bought some sweets, and they were about the price you'd expect for London x hotel x vending machine!
Our room was number 100, on the first floor. There were stairs up or a lift. Accessibility for those with low mobility seemed good.
The room was a nice, spacious and light. Travelodge accommodation is basic rather than luxurious, but it was clean and tidy. They hadn't made up the children's beds, which I had been expecting, perhaps wrongly. However, it was a simple matter to pull out the mattress beneath the sofa and remove the top cushion to create a second bed on top of the sofa. There was a bit of a stain on the lower mattress, which was off-putting. We made up the beds so if we were late returning, the children could go straight to sleep.
The en-suite was clean and roomy with bath & integrated shower. It had a shower-curtain (which I personally loathe in hotels - urgh! But that's my neurosis). The water pressure was good for showers and there was plenty of hot water.
Our window looked out onto a street and had restricted opening for safety reasons. We were provided with some towels, but not that many for a family of four, and a pillow each. There was a kettle and tea & coffee bits and pieces supplied, although weirdly only 3 cups.
The telly was large but didn't have a remote control. Wah. I don't know if that's a normal Travelodge deprivation or whether our room had lost its remote. Still, I'm not going to moan about walking a couple of feet to change channels (or have I just?! Haha.)
We headed out after a quick change and went to sample the many delights of London. The DLR station is called East India and is within about five minutes walking distance of the hotel. There's a statue, some ponds and fountains to pass by and a walkway over a major road, which were quite attractive. The station is accessible for wheelchairs and those with low mobility via a lift. By two pm we were at the top of the Monument near Tower Bridge.
When we returned to our room, we had eaten in central London and were pretty tired, so didn't try the attached bar-cafe for an evening meal or drinks. It does meals until 10pm and is open until 1am, and you can take some meals and drinks to your room.
The night's sleep was, well, a varied experience. For the Other Half and the children, it was not bad at all, although our room was far too hot. We turned off the radiators, but we all had to sleep on top or half-out of the covers. In the morning, when I went into the bathroom, I could feel heat radiating through the mirror and wall. Presumably the hot water pipes go through behind.
Unlike the rest of the family, I slept alright for the first couple of hours and then was woken by a hideous noise like someone vacuuming outside our room. Or turning a hovercraft on and off. I could have dealt with it if it had been a constant noise, but it was erratic. Sometimes it went on for minutes, sometimes it would blast for a few seconds, stop and then begin again. I counted fifty successive flurries and pauses, then it did a long drawn out one, then back to the wheezes. Argh!
I checked it wasn't coming from our bathroom, wandered the corridor and landing semi-demented, and eventually descended to talk to the hotel staff. It was unfortunate timing as someone was trying to check in and the hotel's system seemed to be running slowly. When I finally got to talk to the receptionist, he was decent but ultimately unable to do a thing: he couldn't do anything about the noise, saying it was an automatic system (I am grateful it wasn't some fellow in the cupboard turning a fan on and off just to drive me into mania, of course) to which he had no access. And the hotel was fully booked, at least for family rooms, so no way of moving us (even had I wanted that, given the rest of the family were fast asleep). It comes to something when you are actively waiting for London traffic noise to build and opening the window further hoping it will lull you to sleep! I was so so so tired. The bed was hard as well.
Morning came and I was really looking forward to getting home to my bed. I'm not usually a poor sleeper, so I was quite surprised I'd had such trouble.
Breakfast in the bar-cafe was a help-yourself buffet-style arrangement. It was a lovely cool room to enter after the heat of upstairs, with nice decor and tables. You're given your plate and cutlery and pick what you'd like. They provided scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, beans and fried tomatoes for cooked breakfast lovers, while you can toast your own bread, croissants, etc. There's also coffee, tea and juice to drink. There were cereals, yoghurts and fruit as well. On our first passing, the beans had almost run out, but we went back when the containers were replenished. The sausages were quite nice, and the scrambled egg just avoided rubberiness. All in all, it was a good basic breakfast.
Booking out is a simple matter of turning in your room key-cards and we left at about half-nine.
I can't say I exactly enjoyed my stay at the Travelodge, due to the noise of the ventilation system near our room and the uncomfortable heat. It was a good place to stay location-wise and at the price, 'though. Perhaps in other rooms, the noise wouldn't be as bad.
Summary: Good location to visit London
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