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samm65

samm65
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Member since: 09.12.2008

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      21.12.2008 01:17
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      nice hotel with good facilities handy for local sightseeing

      Nice hotel. Usual Holiday Inn standards.

      Have now stayed on a couple of occassions.

      Good location, easy to find, even with all the roundabouts in Telford! It is close to the M54 and adjacent to the Telford International Centre and the towns park. The railways station is only half a mile away and would cost around £3.00. The town centre is nearby, approx half a mile and is easy to reach also.

      The hotel has a good sized car park which is also free to use and has dedicated disabled parking bays too.

      Reception.

      Hotel reception is just to the left as you walk in the main entrance, the bar area is there too with the restaurant to the right. The staff were very friendly and helpful and check in was a simple and quick procedure. We took our dog and they were most accommodating - dogs are allowed here in the guest rooms but not public areas unless they are a service dog, they usually charge £1.50 a night for non service dogs, however they didnt charge us. They gave us a ground floor room which was great as it was easier for taking the dog in and out. They also let us check in early and check out late. Normal times are 2pm for check in and 11.45 check out, we were able to go in our room at 11am and check out at 2.

      The room

      Our room was a normal double with an extra bed for our daughter. They do also have excutive rooms and some suites i believe.

      Our double was a good size, light and airy with modern decor. We had the usual amenities of Satellite tv, in room movies were available to pay for, we didnt, tea and coffee facilites, the suites and executive rooms have a mini bar. the rooms also have internet access which you can pay for, workspace area, lamps, air conditioning, coffee table, chair/s, closets, trouser press, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and the windows open and the suites have dining areas. Only the normal rooms have sofa beds for children and there are also connecting rooms available for larger families, our friends have had these in the past and they were great.
      The bathroom was a nice size and very clean and had a bath tub with overhead shower, plenty of nice towels and some toiletries.

      Breakfast and Restaurant

      We had a breakfast rate but you can pay when you are there also i believe.
      The breakfast is in the restaurant on the ground floor opposite reception. It is a reasonable size but does get busy and the decor is fresh and modern with a mediterranen feel. The breakfast was a buffet with teas and coffees brought by the staff. There were the usual cereals, breads, toasts, preserves, cold meats, cheeses, some salad type items, fruit, yoghurts. The hot selection was your typical english breakfast fayre of eggs (fried, scrambled, boiled), sausages, bacon, mushrooms, fried bread, black pudding, tomotoes and hash browns. There were also some muffins etc. You could have as much or as little as you wanted and it represented great value in our inclusive rate.

      The restaurant is also open for Lunches and Dinner and i recommend you book if you wish to have dinner there as it is very popular and has what they call show dining each evening where the waiter cooks in front of you. The first time we stayed we ate out all the time but this last time we had one evening meal in the hotel, its quite good fun and the food was wonderful, service great and the prices reasonable considering it was a hotel too. There was a nice selection of wines and spirits and a choice of teas, coffees to end your meal if wanted. Our daughter loved the theatrics of the show dining and i expect we would have at least one dinner there if we stayed again.

      I cant comment on lunches as we didnt have any in the hotel but i think they offered a reasonable choice and price range.

      The Bar

      This is right next to the reception and we actually thought it a bit dark and dim as opposed to intimate. There isnt a great deal of seating and it seemed a little cramped really which was a shame as it could be lovely. The bar prices were average and we just had one drink here before dinner one evening.

      The Leisure Centre

      The leisure area is on the ground floor just past reception. Its really nice, reasonable sized pool and a jacuzzi thats quite big, seats about 8 i think, there are saunas, one for men one for women, a steam room for all a gym, sun beds (which are an extra charge i expect). Its just what was needed to unwind after a busy day out and you can relax with a drink by the pool side too. If the hotel is busy, particularly at weekends you may have to book a time slot to use the facilities, though thats pretty straight forward and we have never had a problem getting a suitable time. Children have to leave by 8.30 however so there is that to bear in mind too but we were always going out for dinner by then anyway.

      Other facilites

      They offer room service, there is a beauty salon and a florist, you can have your clothes dry cleaned and your shoes shined and they can do photocopying, faxes etc too.

      Attractions

      The hotel had an antiques fair on our last morning and that was great, hadnt known it was on but we enjoyed having a look around there before we left, they have events such as this at weekends quite regularly and have a large function room where they are held.

      Finally

      This is a nice hotel, clean, friendly and with good facilities. We got a great price and would definately stay here again.

      THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM - This is a more detailed review as i had stayed again since my Qype one was posted.

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      21.12.2008 00:40
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      Great way to see Queenstown

      Queenstown on South Island attracts visitors for the sports, the nightlife and the sights and scenery. The Skyline complex is a fantastic way to see some of the wonderful scenery as it overlooks the whole town.

      Access to the peak :

      It is really easy to reach from anywhere within the town, its around a 5 minute walk or so from most parts. My husband i went up in the gondola to see the specatacular views of Queenstown. The gondolas are typical glass capsules like those at ski resorts and seat around 4 people, both ways it was just the two of us in ours and all other couples i saw were the same, so not expected to share with others which is quite nice.

      It's quite a steep ride up to Bobs Peak and overall is a just over 700 metres in length to take you to the top terminal at 790 metres. It's a nice steady journey however taking about 15 minutes with lots of time to take in the views and get a few souvenir photos.

      From the top you can see right over the town area and beyond from the various observation points. There is one showing you the Lake view and Walter and Cecil Peaks and of course over Queenstown itself and you can view The Remarkables and Coronet Peak from another viewpoint. Wherever you stand the views are amazing and you can get a wonderful panoramic look at the area from here, it gives you a full 220 degrees panorama. Its such a beautiful setting, simply magnificent.

      The Gondola ride is open from 9.30 in the mornings and doesnt have a set closing time as its also used by restaurant goers so i expect its after the diners have left and the staff can leave!.



      The Luge

      Imagine an 800 metre track that twists and bends and you ride on a sort of plastic 3 wheeler tea tray/go kart affair by a matter of gravity - don't worry it does have brakes however! So you can actually control your speed etc very easily, in theory anyway, more on that later!.

      They say on their paraphanelia that its suitable from 'grankids to grandparents' ! -

      There are two courses, one is classed as scenic and is a gentler ride with easier bends and more gradula dips and has areas you cans stop for a break if you wish and you can take photos here as well. So i suppose it IS indeed suitable for all , though i can't see my mother in law trying it out anytime soon!

      The other course is steeper so is faster and its bends are more twisty with bigger dips and even has a tunnel.

      Both courses are 3 metre wide and made of concrete and both are the same length of 800 metres. The courses are scenic themselves as they are amidst trees and of course you have the fantastic view ahead, if you have chance to look that is!.

      We duly bought tickets for the luge and had a fantastic time hurling ourselves down the mountain side. We both tried the easy course first which enabled us to get used to the luge itself a couple of times and then we had a few go's on the faster course which was great. I was however most impressed as i managed the more difficult route without mishap whearas my husband crashed and burned on the easier route, most amusing to me anyway hee hee.

      Each time you reach the bottom there is a chairlift which takes you back to the top so you dont have to haul yourself up the mountainside, it seats 2.

      There is also a walking area over the route for friends and family who are not taking part to watch you and take some snaps as you fly past.

      You can buy single tickets or blocks of tickets which we did, you dont even have to use them all at the same time so thats quite good if you want to do a few goes then maybe do some another day as well. The prices no doubt change over seasons but its relatively inexpensive.

      The luge is open weather permitting from 9.30 and closes half an hour before dusk usually and also according to demand .


      The Bars/Restaurant/Shop

      You can relax with drinks in the bar or the skyline cafe and take in the views and you can even have a meal in the revolving restaurant which we did later that evening first having a pre dinner drink in the bar.

      The food we had was delicious and the service excellent, it was a really romantic way to spend an evening as the sun set and Queenstowns lights all started to twinkle, a truly memorable visit and one we would love to do again sometime.

      They have a 'Taste of New Zealand' buffet every night also which includes soups, seafood such as salmon , mussels, prawns, crab, squid and other local fish, salads, cold meats, then roasted meats including beef and lamb, vegetables, speciality hot dishes, seasonal specialities, they have live cooking displays, a huge array of desserts, cheese selection and teas and coffees. They also cater for Coeliacs by offering some gluten free dishes.

      The buffet is a set price $55 for adults and $25 for children and it is essential to book for this as they have different dining times. When we went we had an al a carte menu and not a buffet, we couldnt fault the food at all it was all fantastic and i expect the buffet is just as good, it certainly looked it.

      They also have a good selection of wines and spirits to accompany your meal, its definately a lovely dining experience. The tables also are tiered so if you are seated in the centre you should also have great views, we booked the day before and mentioned it was my husbands birthday, which it was, and got a window table.

      Lunch is from 12 till 2 and Dinner from 5.45 all year round.

      The Cafe

      The cafe also has a good menu serving snacks, drinks, alcohol, burgers, sandwiches, paninis, grill menu, kids meals, soups, salads , cakes, pastries etc. There is indoor and outdoor seating so you can take advantage of those views again and watch the people on the luge too!. the cafe is open from 9 till 5 or 7 depending on the season.

      There is also a souvenir shop which sells all the things you would expect, T Shirts, local New Zealand goods, Queenstown souvenirs, Skyline souvenirs, knitwear, Paua shell jewellery, local New Zealand Greenstone jewellery, Maoiri goods , mugs, guide books, sweets, chocolates etc etc.
      The shop is open each day from 9am.


      The other things on the complex are a helipad, A Bungy & Swing and Queenstown Tandem Paragliding i believe but we didnt use any of those so i can't comment on them.

      There are walks you can do from the peak too, the shop can sell you a walks guide book with the various ones, some easy 15 minute ones up to gruelling 6 hour hikes!

      Skyline Complex also offer a Skyline card which you can buy which i believe offers discounts and freebies, you can get more information from Skyline about that.

      All in all this is a great way to spend some time in Queenstown, a scenic ride, beautiful views, a little bit of thrilling fun followed by some good food. - I will add however that we didnt go straight to dinner, we did go back to the hotel to freshen up after our afternoon luge-ing, if you have arestaurant reservation the Gondola is free btw so we didnt have to pay again.

      THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM - This review has had additions made to it however.

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        16.12.2008 15:57
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        a fun way to spend an hour or so and suitable for all

        In the resort of Santa Susanna on the Costa Maresme in Spain here are little mini trains called - El Cuc

        There are two routes that run, the Blue Route and the Green Route.

        THE BLUE ROUTE

        The blue route goes through the resort along the promenade down to the Hotel Mercury, through the road underpass, along part of the beach front, then back through the underpass and out towards the old town of Santa Susanna via the steeped hillside residential area.

        This is a fun trip as you get to see some more of the resort leisurely plus you can get an insight into the local community. The train passes into the old town square and you can get off if you wish for a look around the shops, square or pop to a car or cafe for a drink.

        The train stops at many points enroute and outside many hotels so you can get on and off wherever you please. The pick up and drop off points are all well signposted. The round trip takes about an hour or so and the cost is a few euros with a reduction for children.

        The trains serve as a great way to see the area and as a way to get from A-B particularly useful if you are staying at a hotel a little out of the main centre. I believe some hotels offer special rates for using the service as a transfer (the all inclusive out of the way hotels especially) instead of paying each time. You would hoever have to clarify this with your hotel as i expect that can change with each season.

        THE GREEN ROUTE

        The Green Route takes you further out of the resort into the surrounding countryside and is a much longer trip.

        This train again takes you along the promenade through the resort picking up and dropping off along the way and then continues up into the countryside and the Montnegre Corredor Park.

        The journeys is very piqturesque and on the route you will see things like the Font del Boter fountain and there is breathtaking scenery from the 241ft peak at Turó de la Guàrdia. You also can see a few churches and roman bridge and a really pretty aquaduct.

        You can do a round trip or get off and take in the scenery and local fauna and fauna or you can do one of the many countryside activities such as Segway (which are wheeled motorised units with a long upright handlebar that you hold and ride through the countryside on - a bit like a skateboard only less precarious and anyone from young to old can do it!) or horseriding or the adventure park.

        The Green Route doesnt run as frequently as the Blue Route and the season is also shorter so again you should verify availablity in advance if you particularly want to do this. The height of the Summer should be no problem however.

        Finally :-

        You can prebook tickets at little ticket booths situated along the promenade or pay the driver when you get on board. There are timetables available and the all the stops are well signposted throughout the resort.

        This is great fun and definately a must if you have kids with you, our daughter loved it! Mind you, so did we !

        THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM - This review has had additions made to it however.

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          16.12.2008 15:42
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          fantastic excursion a must see and do in New Zealand

          Our day started in Queenstown where our tour departed from and would return to later that day.

          We left very early in the morning by coach with around 30 other people of mixed ages from Queenstown to head to Milford Sound for what would be a really memorable day.

          The coach follows Lake Wakatipu, then onto Kingston, Mossburn and onto Te Anau which is the door to the Fiordland National Park on South Island New Zealand and where we had a breakfast stop which was included in the tour price.

          The breakfast was pastries, coffee, tea, juices and rolls with cold cheeses and meats, cakes and fruit, you could have whatever you wanted and as much as you wanted. It was taken in a lounge of a hotel at Te Anau so was very pleasant and comfortable and you could sit wherever you wanted and with whom you wanted unlike some tours where they sit you all on long tables together with a set menu.

          Many tours start from te Anau also but as we were in Queenstown we did a full trip from there even though we are not in general overly fussed on organised excursions particularly coach tours and usually prefer to do our own thing.

          This tour was however different, the scenery was simply stunning and the journey comfortable and the driver and guide were fabulous. Our fellow excursion mates were all like minded and all there for the same reason of course so the same awed exclaimations could be heard up and down the coach.

          We travelled onwards to Eglington Valley and to the amazing Mirror Lakes, fab photo opportunities here and we didnt feel rushed or anything when we were allowed off the coach for a walk around the mirror lakes, we had plenty of time to take it all in. They are so called the Mirror lakes because the surface reflects back like a mirror which when you see it is absolutely stunning and such a picturesque setting.

          The coach takes in much more scenery and stunning creeks and valleys along the way before arriving at the Homer Tunnel which has been carved through the solid rock to enable us to pass through to the Cleddau Valley and Milford Sound itself. We stopped here for more photo chances as there were hufe snowdrifts taller than the bus which we all had to have photos next to!

          You see the sound looming as you approach and it is simply breathtaking. Once we had arrived we boarded our red boat for the cruise through the sound which i cannot begin to describe, this fjord has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the peaks with their cascading waterfalls, the wildlife that can be seen and the sheer majesty of the place is simply awe inspiring.

          You can opt for a lunch onboard which is a packed affair to eat during th cruise. Most people who were travelling back by coach were taking that as its a long drive back again. We didnt have the lunch box option, i doubt we would of eaten it anyway, we couldnt take our eyes of the sound.

          The other reason was we were not travelling back by the coach as we had booked to fly back over the glaciers.

          This was FAB FAB FAB...if you can do it!
          Even better, if you can do the one that lands on the glacier and do a hike DO THAT!

          We boarded a light propeller aircraft with 4 other people and the pilot , all donned our headphones and we were away. The pilot was a lovely lady and she told us what were the things to look out for and as we all had a window seat everyone had a fantastic view.

          I cannot emphasise enough how fantastic the flight over the glaciers is, seeing Mitre Peak ( the main peak at the sound) that close is a sight i will never forget.

          We did not do the trip that landed on the glacier as i would of been inable to hike sadly so our flight took in all the views before heading back to Queenstown.

          I actually cannot remember how long the flight was, it certainly wasnt a quick fly over and back but we were back in Queenstown mid afternoon. The runway used on the landing back was the grass runway...a fact the pilot hadnt mentioned so as your preparing to land and you see the grass looming up its a little scary when one is usually used to tarmac, until you realise its the runway!

          This is certainly a trip i would do again, its simply amazing. If you go to South Island, do visit Milford Sound and book whichever trip you can afford within your budget, you won't regret it.

          THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM ...I have added more information to this review however.

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            13.12.2008 00:19
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            Lovely way to spend an evening doing something different

            Queenstowns 'Lady of the Lake' ...the TSS Earnslaw is lovely vintage steamship dating from 1912 that is on Lake Wakatipu and used for pleasure cruises across to Walter Peak High Country Farm on the west side of the lake.

            There a few different trips you can do in the daytime or evening.

            We opted for an evening cruise with dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.

            This is a really realaxing cruise and full of nostalgia and you have plenty of times to explore the decks, the bridge and say hi to the Captain and the engine room too.

            There is a pianist onboard and you can join in a sing song, have a snack or a drink too (these are extra costs) We sat relaxing enjoying the scenery with a drink watching the world sail by.

            We arrived at the Walter Peak High Country Farm and shown to the Colonel's Homestead for a carvery meal. This included a selection of meat, seafood, vegetables and salad and there were a choice of desserts including of course Pavlova.

            The meal wasnt fantastic, its not gourmet dining, but it was enjoyable and made for a lovely evening as we ate watching the sunset.

            The food was included in our cost but we ordered wine and after dinner drinks as an extra.

            After dinner there was a farm show that was fun and then back on the TSS Earnslaw for the return sailing and another on board drink and singalong.

            The whole thing lasted around 4 hours and was a different way to spend an evening in the fun capital of New Zealand.

            THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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          • Tienne (Southport) / Shopping National / 4 Readings / 3 Ratings
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            13.12.2008 00:17
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            great place to get that gift you couldnt find elsewhere!

            Tienne is a lovely shop situated in Wayfarers Victorian Arcade on Lord Street. I believe they also have a shop in Longridge but i havent been to that one.

            The owner Joy is always really friendly and helpful and if she doesnt have something particular you want she will usually try to get it for you.

            Tienne stocks lots of my favourite things like Pandora bracelets and charms, jewellery by Kit heath, Hot Diamonds and Storm. They stock wallets, bags, purses, general gifts, unsual items, quirky gadgets, candles, lamps, photo frames and all manner of gifts.

            The price range would suit all budgets so even if you want a small token gift or a lavish statement Tienne can help you.

            They offer free gift wrapping instore and also run a reward card scheme which is great. You get one point for every £10 spent and the points soon add up giving you the following rewards :
            10 points = £5 voucher
            15 points = £10 voucher
            20 points = £15 voucher
            25 points = £20 voucher

            They also have special promotions and evening events when they offer special discount prices and a complimentary glass of wine.

            They are open -

            Monday - Saturday 9:30am - 17:30pm
            Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays

            *Christmas opening hours may differ however.

            This is a really nice airy shop with a good selection and is one of my favourites in Wayfarers, no, in Southport!

            THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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              13.12.2008 00:12
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              Fab nautical centre with expert guidance

              The nautical centre in Santa Susanna is one of the reasons we chose to stay a few days in this resort.

              Our hotel offered free kayakking and body boards and discount on other water sports.

              The hotels in Santa Susanna that offer this (subject to change i would imagine so do check each hotel) are :

              Aquahotel Onabrava
              Hotel Top Royal Sun
              Hotel Sirius
              Hotel Alhambra
              Aqua hotel Aquamarina
              Hotel Florida Park
              Hotel Indalo Park
              Hotel Mercury
              Hotel Marítim
              Hotel Sant Jordi
              Hotel Tahití Playa
              and
              Aquahotel Montagut Suites

              And the campsite:
              Càmping Bon Repòs

              We got an hours free kayakking each per day which was fab and we could of had the saem for body boards but didnt want that and they gave disounts on the other water sports.

              They offer :

              Windsurfing,
              Kite-surfing,
              Scuba diving,
              Jet skis,
              Catamarans,
              Banana boats,
              Kayakking
              and Sailing.

              We never actually saw anyone do jetskiing, banana boating , infact we never saw any signs that they had any but hadnt wanted those anyway.

              They have different size catamarans and they were fantastic.

              The discount was around 30% but did vary per activity and the costs will no doubt alter for next season but can be found on the website ive added the link for.

              The nautical centre is set further along the beach from the Hotel Mercury (the other reason we chose that hotel as it was closer for walking to the nautical centre) and is in a quite spot away from the main sunbathers.

              It meant when you were not doing water activities you could have a lovely secluded bit of the beach to sunbathe and relax.

              The staff were great and they do offer tuition if require and provide life jackets in suitable sizing. There is also a little bar attached to the centre so you could get drinks and snacks and it has toilet facilities and changing areas should you need them

              I would recommend the centre to anyone wanting to do some water based activities whilst on holiday, we thouroughly enjoyed it and thought the staff friendly and welcoming.

              THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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              12.12.2008 13:41
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              good fun

              We saw this a few times when going to the MEN Arena but hadnt had a chance to go on it until recently.

              It was great fun, last about 15 minutes and does 3 rotations and you get a commentary to point out the landmarks.

              They gave us a little capsule to ourself which was lovely as the private ones you normally pay extra for but it wasnt too busy i suppose so we were lucky (mind you they only hold about 4 - 6 people anyway i would say) and i can't imagine anyone wanting a private one on this wheel unless it was to propose or something.

              Private capsules are £48.00, Vip ones £55.00 and Vip with Champagne is £70.00 - I believe the Vip ones have a glass floor - not sure i like the sound of that anyway!

              It costs £6.50 for adults and £4.50 for children aged 3 -12 years. 1-3 years are £1.00 and under 1's are free.

              You can book online it says when youre there if you want for a discount, think it's 10%

              I believe it's open every day apart from Christmas Day and weather permitting of course, the next time we went and wanted to take our daughter on it it was closed due to the high winds unfortunately.

              Another trip last week enabled our daughter and her friend to go on it - they are 12 so fine on their own and we sat at the christmas bar under the wheel with a mulled wine watching them. There was no problem them going alone and they had great fun especially as it was early evening and dark by then so they could see all the lovely Christmas lights around.

              THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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              11.12.2008 13:51
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              Good location easy to find

              This was a good base for Telford and Ironbridge.

              We stayed here when there was a heavy snowfall and almost got snowed in and snowed out one day!

              Its positioned on the main dual carriageway and is pretty easy to find once you've navigated all the roundabouts!

              There is a pub further down the road and an estate with superstores on which we found useful on one day as the snowfall was so heavy the traffic wasnt going anywhere so we called there and got some wellies! and then holed up at the pub to thaw out while the traffic died down.

              The hotel itself is your usual Travelodge, rooms a reasonable size, it was clean and had all the usual amenities, tea and coffee making, tv etc. The staff were friendly and very helpful and were happy to provide extra pillows and tea and coffee supplies when asked.

              We would use this one again for short visits to the area as it isnt far to drive to both Telford centre and over to Ironbridge.

              THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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                11.12.2008 12:40
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                Would not go to again

                We stayed here for one night in June for visiting York as the website states its only 6 miles approximately to York.

                What they didnt say is that its on a dual carriageway that you can only come off and go onto from one direction so this meant a number of miles journey each time we came back from York so not ideal in that respect.

                The hotel itself was not the best Travelodge we have stayed in by any means. The bathroom had stains on the tiles and the hot water was scalding and the cold was hot, neither with any warnings.

                The kettle had loose wiring which meant it kept cutting out or wouldnt switch on and so was a hazard and the extra child bed was broken which we didnt realise until our daughter was going to bed, too late to do anything then.

                We had an awful nights sleep as the heating was on full with no way of altering that and we couldnt even get a glass of cold water.

                We did complain to the receptionist and she said she would look into it and apologised.

                On returning home we wrote to Travelodge and in their defence they did reply apologising and offering us an evoucher credit for the full cost of the night which we have since used for a break in Staffordshire which was a much better experience!

                We would not however use the Tadcaster one again even if we knew the room was fine as the detour to get back to the hotel is too inconvenient. I therefore could not recommend this particular hotel to anyone.

                THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED BY MYSELF ON QYPE UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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                  11.12.2008 12:38
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                  good location for a cheap getaway

                  Stayed here for 2 nights over the October half term, got a cheap offer for £19 a night.

                  We chose this one as it was near both Trentham and Alton Towers, both of which we were planning to visit.

                  This Travelodge is simple to find, you come off junction 16 on the M6, travel onto the A500 towards Stoke and take the 2nd turning onto the A34 towards Newcastle and its just there with a Little Chef also on the site, so really easy to spot and no problems accessing it so great from that point of view.

                  The hotel itself needs a good vacuum! I even commented each time i walked through reception that it needed one but we never saw any signs that anyone vacuumed here.

                  On saying that however our room was surprisingly clean and tidy and the bathroom spotless. There were some musty smells walking through one end of the corridoor but we only went that way once and never noticed it anywhere else nor was in musty in our room.

                  The room was your general Travelodge, double bed, sofa bed with pull out, chair, desk/dressing table, tea and coffee making facilities and a tv.

                  It was a reasonable base for Alton Towers, we left early to get there for opening and it took about 40 minutes without rushing or anything so a reasonably easy drive. I would be tempted to a closer Travelodge or something if going solely for Alton Towers however, maybe something in Uttoxeter but as we were going to Trentham Monkey Forest this was ideal for both places.

                  We didnt eat in the hotel and had breakfast at Alton Towers the first morning and at the Little Chef the second morning.

                  The hotel has parking spaces but there is a charge for this after the first 2 hwhich are free. the charge is £3 for 24 hours so not so bad unless you have a Blue Badge then they have limited spaces which are free.

                  The hotel offers early check in and late check out but they charge £10 for that, when we checked in it was 2pm - Check in is at 3. We asked if our room was ready we were told it would be ready at 3 but if we paid £10 it was ready now...needless to say we declined and went and found a nice place for lunch instead.

                  The staff were pleasant and helpful and offered advice on local places to eat and also information about the Outlet Mall nearby.

                  Overall not the best Travelodge but reasonable and we would go back on a cheap deal.

                  THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED BY MYSELF ON QYPE UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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                  • More +
                    11.12.2008 12:35
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                    Lovely family hotel, easy access in a good location

                    We stayed at this hotel during a multicentre holiday this summer - August/Sept,

                    We travelled here from Barcelona by local train which was simple and cheap, costing only a few euros each one way.
                    The train takes just over an hour and is a pleasant journey along the cost.

                    The train station in Santa Susanna is very handily right opposite the hotel so fantastic if you have luggage, you can just cross over the road to the hotel reception.

                    I must add the station is not rowdy to deter your enjoyment of the hotel and resort and trains though running frequently throught the day are not every 10mins and are quite anyway.

                    So to details.

                    The hotel is a 3* at the end of the resort of Santa Susanna.
                    Its position is great as you have unobscurred views of the beach from the front of the hotel, which is nice especially in the evening sitting on your balcony.

                    Though its at the 'end' of the resort it is by no means on its own or isolated. The resort actually 'starts' at this hotel and travels along eventually mingling into Malgrat de Mar.

                    The hotel staff are friendly and helpful though not all speak very good english as it is frequented by mainly spanish and some italians, french and a few germans, there were only a handful of english people when we there, we liked that mix though and our daughter had no problem making friends with other children.

                    The rooms are adequate in size and have an extra sofabed for a child, i dont know about the rooms that catered for more than 3 however. They have a dressing/vanity area with some drawer storage and the tv. There is wardrobe space, not massive, but ok for us as we were only there 3 nights and then a further 2 at the end of our stay. The bathroom is reasonable and had a decent shower and a hairdryer. There are room safes too, air conditioning and telephones.

                    The maids are lovely and look after your room each day refreshing towels if need be and the complimentary shampoos etc.

                    The facilities in the hotel are pretty good. The pool is nice, not a huge pool but a reasonable size with varying water depths and a lifeguard on duty. There are sunbeds around it but not enough in peak season especially with this european trait of putting towels on sunbeds even when they are not using them all day. Our first day we laid our towels on the grass area however and that was fine. The rest of time we went to the beach early and the pool later when it was quieter.

                    The hotel has what they call an animation programme, which is basically daytime and evening entertainment. The kids love the pool activities and our daughter joined in with water polo, basketball and various other things. They also have a mini club for younger children where they can do craft things and play games like skittles etc.

                    The evening entertainment programme is different each evening, with things like mr and mrs, flamenco dancing, mr mercury etc etc, we didnt stay in to watch any of this so cannot comment but it always seemed really popular with the bar area buzzing when we returned back in the evenings.

                    The hotel also has a tv room with various things showing day and evening and a games room with pool tables and electronic machines. There are 2 internet stations near reception that are really cheap, 50c for 10mins which was long enough for what we wanted, its a slot machine and you just pay as you go, really simple. They also have a tours booking service , again we didnt use that and an indoor and outdoor bar area which were both nice and the bar staff were great. Drinks prices were reasonable as were snacks.
                    There is also a cash machine by reception.

                    The lifts in the hotel are the glass elevator syle but painfully slow especially at busy periods even with 3 lifts. There is also another lift for wheelchair access from the lower level to the reception level which is hard to describe but its there if needed and would become clear if you did.

                    We did something we never do on holiday and went full board, it was only a few pence more for full than half and only about a pound more from bed and breakfast which would of been our usual choice to half board so seemed daft not to.

                    Meals were ok. They are all self service. Breakfast had an array of hot and cold dishes, meats, cheeses, bacon, different types of eggs, fruit, yoghurts, breads, etc etc Juices, water and coffee, tea and chocolate are included with breakfast and again thats self service. Peak times breakfast was very busy as most people arrived at the same time so queing was something you had to do and we found breakfast a little noisy most days.

                    Lunch was our first meal during the first stay and we were pleasantly surprised, there was a lovely choice of food, all european which we prefer when we are on holiday, including fresh local fish, meat dishes and some vegetarian options. There was always a selection of vegetables, potatoes, rice and lovely salads so you had a great choice. Deserts were usually alwasy fresh fruits, ice creams (various flavours) milk deserts including crema catalan and some cake varieties. Drinks could be bought from the bar area and they sell water, soft drinks, beers and a good choice of varrying priced wines. You can buy wine by the bottle and if you dont want to drink it all it can be labelled for you to finish the next day, something we are not used to here but ive experienced this in many european countries.

                    Dinner was a similar affair to lunch but obviously the menu was changed. They did a seafood night too with lovely fresh shell on prawns, mussels, etc. Drinks again same as lunch.

                    The staff clear the tabels efficently and we never had a problem getting a table for ourselves when we came down to eat. You can site wherever you like.

                    The only thing i would say is we would of got bored with the menus for a longer stay than we had, infact even on our first 3 nights stay we had one lunch out and on our return stay of two nights we had our last dinner out. The price we paid though it hardly mattered as we got such a great deal from their website direct.

                    The first child also goes free so even more value.

                    The beach is right across the road from the hotel, via an underpass, its clean, shingle and the water shelves quite deeply but its a nice beach.

                    We chose this hotel because we it offered free kayakking and other watersports discounts which is what we had gone for and that is just further along the beach, where we had the beach to oursleves for sunbathing! The kayakking was great and makes the hotel even better value when you take advantage of that.

                    The hotel was much quieter when we went back for our last 2 nights at the very end of August, the restaurant was visibly quieter and the sunbeds were available all the time. It was really nice and peaceful and very relaxing.

                    It was our anniversary and the hotel had put a welcome platter of fruit in our room and free bottles of water which was a nice touch.

                    As a final note the hotel has lots of shops and facilites close to it and as part of the extended site. I will review that more on a general view of Santa Susanna however.

                    Overall a pleasant hotel which we would go to again

                    THIS REVIEW WAS PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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                    • Nandos / Restaurant / Cafe National / 12 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                      09.12.2008 15:10
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                      ok for a cheap meal not an intimate dining experience

                      NANDOS SOUTHPORT

                      This is a nice friendly restaurant but i sometimes think on occassion has lacked atmosphere, how that compares to other Nandos in the chain i am not sure but would expect the layout etc to be similar to the Southport branch.

                      Its great for chicken lovers and its reasonably cheap. There isnt a huge choice of things, its basically chicken with spicy rice or chips and you can get corn on the cobs etc. The chicken comes in different varieties, spicy, mild or lemon and herb and you can order anything from a portion to whole chickens.

                      They have their famous Piri Piri sauces which are in bottles near the drinks dispenser which you can help yourself to to add a little extra spice to your meal.

                      The soft drinks are reasonable as they include free refills but you do have to get up and get them yourself, kids like that though.

                      They do have a drinks list but it isnt the most extensive choice.

                      Its ok for a cheap night out but not a place for an intimate meal.

                      THIS REVIEW WAS POSTED PREVIOUSLY ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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                      • More +
                        09.12.2008 13:24
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                        fabulous experience, don't miss it!

                        Milford Sound Excursion starting in Queenstown.

                        We left very early in the morning by coach with around 30 other people of mixed ages from Queenstown to head to Milford Sound for what would be a really memorable day.

                        The coach follows Lake Wakatipu, then onto Kingston, Mossburn and onto Te Anau which is the door to the Fiordland National Park on South Island New Zealand and where we had a breakfast stop which was included in the tour price.

                        Many tours start from te Anau also but as we were in Queenstown we did a full trip from there even though we are not in general overly fussed on organised excursions particularly coach tours.

                        This tour was however different, the scenery was simply stunning and the journey comfortable and the driver and guide were fabulous.

                        WE travelled onwards to Eglington Valley and to the amazing Mirror Lakes, fab photo opportunities here and we didnt feel rushed or anything when we were allowed off the coach for a walk around the mirror lakes, we had plenty of time to take it all in.

                        The coach takes in much more scenery and stunning creeks and valleys along the way before arriving at the Homer Tunnel which has been carved through the solid rock to enable us to pass through to the Cleddau Valley and Milford Sound itself.

                        You see the sound looming as you approach and it is simply breathtaking. We boarded our red boat for the cruise through the sound which i cannot begin to describe, this fjord has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the peaks with their cascading waterfalls, the wildlife that can be seen and the sheer majesty of the place is simply awe inspiring.

                        We didnt have the lunch box option, i doubt we would of eaten it anyway, we couldnt take our eyes of the sound.

                        The other reason was we were not travelling back by the coach as we had booked to fly back over the glaciers.
                        This was FAB FAB FAB...if you can do it, if you can do the one that lands on the glacier and do a hike DO THAT!
                        We boarded a light aircraft with 4 other people and the pilot , all donned our headphones and we were away. The pilot was a lovely lady and she told us what were the things to look out for and as we all had a window seat everyone had a fantastic view.

                        I cannot emphasise enough how fantastic the flight over the glaciers is, seeing Mitre Peak that close is a sight i will never forget.

                        THIS REVIEW WAS POSTED PREVIOUSLY ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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                      • More +
                        09.12.2008 09:55
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                        great day out

                        Visited here in June. It wasnt our first choice of place to go but had heard it was pretty good. I must admit we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The layout is great, the trains are HUGE! and the mock ups etc are great fun. We particularly loved the Bullet train from Japan and especially loved the Royal Trains through the ages, that was by far our favourite part. We would of liked to of gone out in the train yard but there was a special thing on for enthusiasts so we didnt do that this time. The cafe and restaurants are ok but not fantastic although the prices are average, seating in the restaurant is however a novel layout.
                        The stotage part is fascinating to go through, its like an aladdins cave of railway history and paraphenalia and the playform 9 and 3/4 sign is hung over here.
                        There is a big wheel situated at the side of the museum which is a seperate cost, we didnt do this but it did look fun.
                        The shop is big with a nice array of railwayana and train inspired goods including of course Thomas The Tank Engine items.
                        One thing to remember as well is most is indoors and its totally free to go in.

                        THIS REVIEW WAS POSTED PREVIOUSLY ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM

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