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Cheap and Cheerful
Member Name: i_am_joy
Advantages: Nice staff, clean and comfortable room, good location, morning cuppa provided!
Disadvantages: No restaurant, strange sofa bed
I spent the long Easter weekend in the beautiful little town of Porthmadog in North Wales with my sister and her two grandsons, it was a break that almost didn't happen as once we'd decided to go I rang around every hotel and B&B in the area only to find that most of them were fully booked for Easter and the few who did have rooms had vastly inflated their prices for the bank holiday. Now, I love to get away and was looking forward to catching up with my sister but refuse to be mugged by greedy hoteliers so we decided to leave it and have the break a couple of weeks later.
It's not often I have anything good to say about arch-meddler Martin Lewis, but for once I am singing his praises as his moneysavingexpert.co.uk email really saved the day - the whole weekend actually - when I noticed he had provided a link to a Travelodge special offer where I could book the weekend in a family room from Good Friday to Easter Monday for the bargain price of £90! You have never seen me get my credit card out so quick and five minutes later I was excitedly calling my sister to tell her the holiday was back on.
Booking was a simple process, simply a case of choosing my dates and giving them my contact details before checking the amount was correct and inputting my credit card details. There is a tiny £1.50 booking fee for using my credit card but I cared not a jot about that as the overall price was so low. I was emailed my reservation details which I printed out to take with me in case there should be any check-in problems.
Good Friday arrived and after a long drive through England and then the hair raising experience of traversing the hills and valleys of North Wales we pulled up at the Travelodge, bone weary but ready for our holiday to begin.
Check-in was extremely straight forward, it was simply a case of giving my name and waiting for my details to be called up on the computer. I then confirmed my address and was given the access card for our room which turned out to be on the second floor, the lady on reception was cheerful and answered all questions I had about our stay professionally and accurately.
Our family room was of adequate size, as with all of these hotel chains it was on the small size but considering we planned to spend as little time as possible in the hotel we weren't really bothered by the lack of floor space. There was a nod towards providing refreshments; Travelodge provide a couple of tea bags, sticks of coffee, sugar and pots of UHT milk but this is really for your morning cuppa so I do recommend you take some tea bags with you - and perhaps some of your own pots of milk filched from the Sainsburys cafe a'la my sister!
The sleeping arrangements in a family room are in the form of a double bed and sofa bed, although not like any sofa bed I've ever seen before. It wasn't until we were getting the boys into their pyjamas that we realised the bed doesn't pull out like the sofa bed I have at home, it's simply a mattress on wheels which is pushed under the sofa so that one can sleep on the sofa itself and the other can sleep on the mattress. This wasn't ideal if I'm honest as the boys are four and six so argued like a pair of tom cats about who was going to sleep where, it would have been so much easier to have been able to pull out a proper sofa bed and allow them to sleep side by side.
The beds were all very comfortable, I was impressed with the firmness of the mattress on our double bed and also the quality of the bed linen. We were a little disgruntled to find no bed linen had been provided for the two single beds but a quick trip back down to reception solved this problem, although I was annoyed to see my sister was left to struggle with two duvets and pillows alone. She later told me the staff member hadn't even offered to bring them up to the room for her which is unacceptable really considering my sister is a pensioner and the staff generally strapping Welsh lads and lassies!
There is a flat screen TV mounted to the wall which had a good picture and was simple to use, there were all the basic channels along with a select few cable channels including one kids channel (thankfully), BBC News 24 and a few others. The TV is situated in the perfect place to be seen from the double bed and sofa, a point worth mentioning as I have previously stayed in places where the TV is only visible from a small corner of the room and one Premier Inn has a TV that you actually have to stand in front of to be able to see the thing!
The bathroom is small but functional. It was spotlessly clean when we arrived and each morning was cleaned when the towels were changed and tea bags replenished. The shower is excellent; no tepid drips here, it has a powerful spray and was very easy to get the water to a comfortable temperature. The bath is deliciously deep and the taps so powerful that even a spot of bubble bath produced masses of thick bubbles, to be honest the bath was a little too deep for me and I only used it once before realising I was likely to become stuck but the boys' loved it. My only complaint was that there was only one large towel provided for a family of four, which seemed a little stingy in my opinion. We had brought our own towels so this wasn't really an issue but would have had problems if we hadn't as there isn't even a radiator in the room to dry the towel between uses.
Unfortunately there is no bar or restaurant in this Porthmadog branch of Travelodge, there's a small (and very over priced) greasy spoon cafe a few minutes walk away but to be honest you'd be better off walking into Porthmadog itself and finding your breakfast there. We found ourselves eating out and taking snacks up to our room in the evening, which is the only way of doing it really as there are no cooking facilities in the room and no surfaces on which to prepare a meal anyway.
For a base to rest your weary head I really cannot fault this branch of Travelodge at all, it's comfortable if basic and the reliable lift combined with adequate disabled parking meant I could enjoy my stay without worrying about climbing flights of stairs or walking miles from the car park. The views of the looming Welsh hills from our room were amazing, I spent the first evening watching the sun set above the hills and it was hauntingly beautiful.
Summary: A lovely base for seeing the sights of Porthmadog, Snowdonia and Northern Wales in general.
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