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Not the best birthday gift he's ever had.
Travelodge St Austell Hotel (St Austell)
Member Name: nursie_nursie
Travelodge St Austell Hotel (St Austell)
Advantages: Great base to see Cornwall, cheap, close to the Eden Project.
Disadvantages: Windows don't open enough, so was too hot!
This is going to be a very long review, I have decided the best way in which to make this as helpful as possible is to write it in clearly divided sections so that you can skip the parts which are not of interest to you.
THE BACKGROUND. THE PROBLEMS WITH OUR ORIGINAL BOOKING. WHY ST AUSTELL?
It is my partners birthday in July so a while before I asked him a question, did he want a to be lavished with gifts as I normally do for his birthday and Christmas or did he want me to book a hotel for a few days as his gift (as well as meals there etc)? He loves to get away from it all and explore new places so without any hesitation he said hotel. I said that I would book it all and he could stay in the dark until he wanted to know if he wanted, he loved the idea. He decided that if he could hold out he wanted to wait till the morning we were leaving.
I said to book his two weeks off work and then I would sort it. So he did. He always takes two weeks in July. We then go off for a few days here and a few days there. That is the way we have done it for the last three years and how I can see it being for a long time.
We don't bother with fancy hotels we would rather get a Travelodge and use the money saved on having fun while we are there. The thing is while we are away we are out all day and through the evening so why spend more on where your bed is? I can see why some people like the luxury of a fancy hotel but it just isn't for us.
I looked on the Travelodge website and found where I wanted to book, the Isle of Wight hotel. It was a new build and was opening just before the start of our holiday, ideal. Somewhere we hadn't been, something a little different and his lordship would never guess that I would pick it.
I couldn't book it on my electron card so I booked it on my other half's credit card and his Travelodge account and gave him the money. The location didn't show up on his credit card statement and he was none the wiser about the destination.
About a month after I had made the booking his lordship came home from work in a flap. He had received an answer phone message on his mobile from a woman at Travelodge saying that the hotel would not be open for our stay in the Isle of white. Ruined that surprise and the holiday in one. The message left a number for him to ring saying she would be there till eight that night, the number actually closed at five.
We talked about it that night and decided that even if they offered a nearby hotel as an alternative the trip to Isle of white was off. We picked out three hotels we would happily have the same dates for. All three were in Cornwall.
His lordship spoke to this woman the next day and she sorted it out for his first choice, St Austell. She bumped us up to a family room rather than a double for the inconvenience caused by the hotel we originally chose not being available.
We found the journey from Somerset to St Austell was far easier and quicker than we had anticipated. With only a very small portion of it being on the motorway it was picturesque and interesting seeing all the little villages and towns. It took us three hours and was rather easy (we live in Somerset), I would put that down to my excellent navigation skills but my other half would probably laugh at that! We didn't get lost so I am not bad!
We had printed out directions from the AA site, which was easy to do. To make your life easier, do the same.
The hotel is just off of a main road with a few other places it is in a busy location. The building itself is obviously a new build like a lot of the Travelodge hotels are.
There is a MacDonald's, Pizza Hut, Bath Store, Costa Coffee and dry cleaners around the hotel, which is rather handy. Just across the road there is a B&Q store.
There is a reasonable sized car park (57 spaces), which operates on a first come first served basis, as you would expect. At different times of the day it may be very busy because of the other shops around the hotel.
When we got there we went to reception, which is on the first floor, rather unusual, usually the reception is as soon as you open the door but not here.
Reception was empty and so we did not have to wait to be seen.
Checking in took just a few moments. We were asked what name our booking was in and told we were in room 211 on the second floor, given the key and done.
In the reception area there is also a bar and small restaurant area. We were told that we could have breakfast down there at a cost of £5 for a full English breakfast. We did not try this so I can't really comment on it, I'm sure this would be handy for some people though.
Your room key was a card, just like a credit card so easy to carry, you can put it in your purse or wallet. To open the door you push it (the key) in and pull it out of the slot, a little green light shows and you open the door, easy.
Our room was a family room, suitable for two adults and two children. There was a double bed and a sofa. The sofa had a drawer that pulls out and was a bed. The back of the sofa comes off and then that was another bed.
There was a large desk which had on it a small kettle which holds up to five cups worth of water a dish which had Tetley tea bags, Nescafe coffee sachets (and decaff) Splenda sachets and sachets of white and Demerara sugar. There were four cups and teaspoons provided.
Under the tea making area of the desk there was a small bin.
There was a small TV that will rotate on its base so that you can either watch it while in bed or sat on the sofa. (This doesn't have channel five.)
Above the desk there was a mirror and a light so that you can sit at it and use it in the same way as a dressing table or to work at. There was a standard chair, which I thought was rather comfortable
Either side of the double bed there are small shelves which are rectangular so you can put things in the centre of them (on one side there was a bible in this) and on top. There was a light either side with a switch to use in the same way as a lamp but they aren't at risk of having them stolen.
As we walked in through the door behind it there was a storage area, there was a hanging space with 6 hangers provided but they are not removable, well not in the usual way hangers are. There are also shelves. On the shelving there were two extra pillows and a single duvet. As there is room in the family rooms for one on the sofa and one on the pull out bed another duvet would need to be asked for and further pillows should you need them.
The bathroom was all white tiles except for blue behind the sink. There was a shower over the bath. Under the sink there was another small bin. Over the sink area there was a large mirror. I have to add to this description that our bathroom smelt a little, not to the point that it was truly disgusting. It just had a slight whiff of damp and not having been cleaned thoroughly enough but did not look dirty.
The room is big enough to easily be used by four people and to keep all your suitcases out of the way. It was clean with a good standard of decoration. The sofa is rather comfortable to sit on and I would have thought that sleeping on it for a few days would be comfortable enough. The bed was very soft and not all that comfortable to me but different people like different mattresses, I wouldn't hold that against them it is just me being fussy and having back problems.
There was certainly every thing we needed for a few days stay.
We did venture to the bar one night when we came back from a meal out and it was very quiet, only us down there most of the time only one other couple were there while we were and the television was on. No atmosphere but it was convenient and pleasant enough.
I bought the drinks, I had an Archers and lemonade, they don't sell coke or lemonade on pump only in small bottles at the price of £1.25 (seems rather over the top to me considering you can buy a two litre bottle for that!) and a pint or Carling. The two came to £5.65, not as bad as I have paid before but certainly not cheap.
ISSUES DURING OUR STAY
We were only there a few days but we still had a few issues on two occasions I had to go down to reception because housekeeping hadn't kept our room properly stocked. On two occasions they only left one bath towel and no hand towel and another day I had to go down because they had left no toilet tissue in the bathroom. They did not vacuum while we were there, which I found a little poor. They would just change the towels (or just take them!) and the cups.
While we were there it was not all that warm but not unpleasant weather, the fact that the window only opened out to about three inches meant that it was very hot, stuffy and suffocating in the room and had we not already suffered from this problem previously we would not have had the foresight to have taken a fan with us. Without it on the room would have been very unpleasant to have stayed in and awful had it been during a hot spell.
I do of course understand why they have the windows fixed to only open so far, so as not to have accidents but they seem overly safe by the fact that these are constantly fixed in this way rather than being able to be unlocked by the manager so that couples which are in a family room (they are the same in double rooms) can freely open the window. They could have them opening a little more with it still being safe.
One of the days we were there we came back from being out all day to find that our room had been left open by the cleaners, I just walked straight in, so if I could so could anyone else have. Not that we leave anything valuable in our room when away, as it would be foolish, it's just that should not have happened, you expect them to leave your room secure.
WHERE WE VISITED
One of the main reasons we decided to go to Cornwall was The Eden Project but we have saved that for another trip now, yes we will be going back, it is only 6 miles away from this hotel which makes it a great place to stay if that is your visits purpose. If gardens are your thing then this is an ideal area to visit, as there are the Lost Gardens Of Helligan just 7 miles away and lots of other gardens to visit signposted around the area.
Truro was not much of a journey away and was actually very nice. We enjoyed walking round the town one morning and the Abbey is worth a visit there too, it is free but you cannot take photographs inside without paying three pounds.
We drove to St Michaels mount on one of our days there which was very nice and drove on to lands end which we both enjoyed.
We took a trip up to Newquay and were lucky with the weather and enjoyed the sunshine and blue sea. The countryside and towns are gorgeous and staying in one place while in Cornwall would be a mistake, St Austell was a great base but St Austell itself wasn't the nicest.
As with any area there are places to visit and things to see it is just a case of finding out where you want to go. The hotel had a stand with lots of leaflets for attractions in the area which is very handy if you get stuck for ideas.
MY OPINION ON THE HOTEL
We enjoyed our stay and where we were very much but the hotel itself wasn't that good and there is a lot that could have been improved upon.
Keeping the room stocked with toilet tissue is a very basic thing to expect and one that was failed. I shouldn't have needed to go to reception and ask. The reception staff were friendly and didn't think twice about going to get what I had been to ask for though.
Even though it is right next to a main road we had no problem with the noise from it at all where there is a wall of trees and bushes in between and in the winter with your window shut you wouldn't even hear it.
My only real problem was the window.
DO I RECOMMEND?
Yes has to be the answer to that because the area is great BUT take a fan with you and book a room on offer! It is better to take a fan and find that you don't need it than not take one and feel like you are staying in an oven!
For the price it is a great way to have a holiday on a budget and the fact that you can easily have your children in the room with you without feeling cramped has to be a plus.
If you are not driving while staying then I am unsure about the public transport in the area, as St Austell is not that nice a different area may be a better option.
The cost of a room at St Austell without pre-booking through the websites offers is £65 I have to say that I would not pay that! I think it is over priced for what it is but with the £15 and £25 rooms through the offers on the website they are great value. They also do a flexible room rate which is £49 a night, better than £65 but I still wouldn't bother.
It has to be three stars as it was OK but nothing special.
There is a lift and there is a push button door opener for those in wheelchairs both indoors and outdoors, so disabled access is very good.
The safety side of the hotel is very good when it comes to people that are not staying at the hotel. To enter the main doors and each of the doors from the stairs after 10pm you must have a key card or reception must help you.
A little tip for those who like to sit up in bed and watch the television, you can take the back of the sofa off and put it against the wooden headboard, very comfortable!
On top of the television there was a cardboard stand up leaflet which said that there was wireless internet access available, as we weren't interested we didn't read up on it so I am not sure if there was any charge for this or not. I have looked on the website but can't find out anything about it.
While we were there we did notice that there was a guest staying with his dog so I have looked on their site and found that you can take up to two domestic pets with you at a charge of £10 per pet per stay. You do have to tell the hotel beforehand though.
Smoking rooms are still available at most hotels according to their website.
Should you need them hair dryers and irons are available from reception.
If you need a cot then you should ring the hotel before your stay, they say that availability is limited though.
Travelodge have hotels all over the place and do some great deals on rooms up to a year ahead so if you would like to find out more then have a look on their website www.travelodge.co.uk
Travelodge St Austell Hotel
Pentewan Road, St Austell
St Austell PL25 5BU
Tel: 0870 191 1660
Fax: 01726 74203
Summary: Ideal location but get it on offer and take a fan, you have been warned!
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