Newest Review: ... we noticed signs reminding us to pay and display. We were quite confused as we'd expected the parking to be free so went to check at recept... more
You get what you pay for...just!
Travelodge (Manchester Airport)
Member Name: redhead78
Travelodge (Manchester Airport)
Advantages: Close to the airport, price, dinner available on site
Disadvantages: Very basic rooms, appalling service at reception, parking charges, wifi charges
When we go on holiday to the USA our flights are usually quite early in the morning so we have to be at the airport for check in even earlier. To save rushing in the morning and worrying that there'll be hold-ups on the motorway we usually book into an airport hotel. The added bonus of these is that most of them provide parking for the duration of your holiday as well, so it also saves you the hassle of having to find your carpark and then get from there to the airport. We usually stay at a hotel called Bewleys, but this time, because we were going for alomst 3 weeks, we decided to look for somewhere else as the Bewleys parking packages only run for either 8 or 15 nights and any additional nights parking are £7.50. That doesn't sound too bad but when we got our total quote it came very close to £200 so we shopped around.
Through various website links we found a "chauffeur" parking service which meets you at your terminal and then takes your car away to park it for you so we then just had to find a hotel that wouldn't break the bank and was close to the hotel. We ended up choosing the Travelodge as, at the time, they were running a special offer. A room for the night was £32 for the two of us and we also booked a two course dinner at the same time for £9.99 each. So for £52 we got room and dinner, as long as we realised that this was non-refundable if we decided not to go in the end. The hotel sounded ideal. Ok, the pictures of the rooms looked quite basic, but all we wanted was somewhere to sleep really. It was close to the airport, had parking available and we could eat there too. Perfick!
Getting to the Travelodge at Manchester Airport was not an easy task, even with our sat nav. Getting to the vague area it was in was fine and we could actually see the hotel in the distance, but getting to the actual site proved somewhat more difficult. I don't know whether they've changed the road layout since we got our satnav maps (although they're only a couple of years old) but it really didn't know which way to send us at a huge junction that was half roundabout and half traffic lights and islands. We ended up circumnavigating this particular junction 3 times before we finally managed to work out which lane we should be in!
We finally arrived at the hotel site which isn't actually on the airport complex but is close enough that you can see the planes. There was another hotel right next door (a Premier Inn from memory but I could be wrong there). We decided we were glad we'd booked dinner as well as there were no other restaurants visible and we would have had to take the car back out again to find an alternative. The carpark for the hotel was big enough and there were plenty of spaces but as we parked the car up we noticed signs reminding us to pay and display. We were quite confused as we'd expected the parking to be free so went to check at reception and the not too friendly gentleman behind the desk told me we had to pay "like it says on all those signs". So my grumbling husband forked over £5 to the parking machine and displayed his ticket. Apparently the car park is operated by another company and, whilst it does state this on their actual website it didn't say it on the site we booked through, so we weren't particularly happy about having to pay £5 extra.
We entered the hotel lobby to check in but, after having the cheek to double check whether parking was indeed charged, I had obviously in the eyes of the gentleman behind the desk come to be seen as a "problem" customer and when he saw me coming in again rolled his eyes to the ceiling and pointedly looked at the automatic check-in machine. So much for the human touch! I didn't really care as one conversation with him had been unpleasant enough so we used the machine and were issued with a key card for our room and two pre-paid dinner vouchers. At least our booking was correct!
We tried to make our way upstairs to our room but the lifts were operated by the key card to your room and (I know this is going to make us sound really stupid!) there were no instructions on how to actually use them. Did you enter your card then press the button for the lift or vice versa? There was no way of knowing and we tried every combination we could think of but no lift arrived. We were in full view of the reception desk but no help or advice was provided and in the end another guest came to use the lift, inserted their key card and waited, but still no lift arrived. The other guest started mumbling about how this had happened earlier too and headed for the stairs. So we eventually did the same as well and carried our heavy suitcases up the stairs. Not the most welcoming of starts to our holiday!
When we got into our room first impressions were that it was clean enough but basic didn't even come close to describing it. There was a double bed with a small bedside table on each side that were built into the headboard, and when I say small, there was literally just enough room to have a book, my glasses case and a glass (well, plastic cup!) of water. There was also a built in console which housed the television stand (very old television, no flatscreen or even digital in sight) and an opening with a rail and a few coathangers. No suitcase stand, no spare pillows, no instructions on how to work the antique television set. There was a small kettle and tea/coffee etc, but we decided to wait until the morning for our coffee as there were only 4 tiny milk cartons so we would only have enough milk for one cup each.
The bathroom was fine enough, clean and tidy with a couple of towels hanging, but by the time we got around to looking at that my husband was grumbling much more loudly and I have to say I wasn't particularly happy with the room on the whole either. It was really quite warm in there but the window had a safety lock on it so only opened about an inch which made very little difference to the temperature. The most bizarre thing about the room was that it was an average sized hotel room and there was space in the corner for a table and chairs or a small sofa as you would expect to find in your average hotel room like this but not here. As this was obviously considered a budget room, every expense had been spared so the corner of the room was just a huge empty space. We didn't need the table and chairs/sofa, but the absence of one or the other of them just made the room look weird.
When we made it to bed, it was comfortable enough but an extra pillow each would have been appreciated and neither of got a particularly great nights sleep. Firstly the room was just too warm and even with taking all of the bedding off apart from one thin sheet, we were both way too hot for comfort. Our room was also quite close to the lifts and we could hear lots of noise from other guests coming and going. All in all we were glad when our alarm went off and we could get up and on our way again!
The dinner we had pre-booked was served in the hotel bar. There was no separate menu for those that had pre-paid for their meal, which we had been expecting, we had the choice of the whole menu. Granted, this wasn't overly extensive, but there was enough choice on it of your standard pub-grub type things; lasagne, fish and chips, burgers etc. We opted for the fishcake and potato skins to start and both went for the chicken makhani curry for main. I went to the bar to order and was pleasantly surprised to find that our pre-paid option also included a drink each. In fact, the gentlemant that served me at the bar was the most pleasant thing about our whole experience in the Travelodge. He was friendly, helpful and cheerful and in such contrast to the rest of our experience there.
The food, when it came, was nice enough. Nothing to rave about, but perfectly adequate and we both enjoyed the curry dish particularly, although the portions weren't exactly large. However, we struggled to enjoy our meal very much as the bar area was extremely noisy. There was a football match on which many people were huddled in the corner watching, but then at the same time they also had loud music playing, obviously trying to keep non-football fans happy too. But trying to eat a meal where you have televisions blaring a football match at one end and loud music fighting with it at the other is not exactly a relaxing experience and we had to lean over the table to be able to have a conversation. Needless to say we didn't linger over coffee and dessert and decided to partake of a little treatin our room from the vending machines as pudding instead!
As we were only staying one night we didn't need or look for any other facilities in the Travelodge at Manchester Aiport but in the lobby there was a computer station where you could pay to use the internet (£5 an hour! I don't think so thank you!) and a coffee station. There were also vending machines selling soft drinks, chocolate and crisps bu the lifts. (My husband was the unexpected recipient of somebody's mistake in restocking the machine as two bags had been put in the slot instead of one so when he pressed the button he got two bags! At £2 each this slightly mollified him with regards to the car park charge and he felt that he'd got one up on the place!!).
As I've previously said, we only had contact with two members of staff during our stay and they couldn't have been more different. The man in the bar/restaurant was what people in service should be like, in fact what people generally should be like. Friendly, helpful and pleasant. He actually made conversation with us and realised that unlike him, we didn't spend every day at the hotel and so wouldn't know the unspoken procedures for things and cheerfully explained things. The man behind the reception desk was like his grumpier, unfriendly brother. Yes, we had booked a very basic room and were payingminimally for it, but that man had a job to do behind that desk and should do it. He obviously didn't enjoy his job and found dealing with actual guests a chore rather than what he was being paid to do. Even if the rest of the stay had been without problems his attitude would certainly have put us off returning to this particular Travelodge.
Would we return to this hotel? On reflection, no, we wouldn't. I possibly would have done had it not been for the gentleman on the reception desk. Yes the room was extremely basic, but it was clean and (apart from the milk and spare pillows) had everything we needed for one nights stay and for the price we paid you can't really complain at that. The dinner was pefectly adequate and saved us going hunting elsewhere for food, so for £52 all in it was good value in that respect. But my husband is getting harder to please in his old age and his opinion of the place was formed in the car park when we had to pay extra to park. He only got more frustrated as the stay went on and the next morning, after a very disturbed sleep, wasn't happy at all. Luckily for us, this was by far the worst accommodation we stayed in during our holiday and didn't spoil our trip at all, but when we go on holiday again we will definitely be avoiding this one.
Summary: Could have forgiven the basic rooms if not for the rude receptionist
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