Thursday, 7 March 2013

Travelodge Tales

I have recently completed my sixth stay in a Travelodge, this time at Norwich Central. I’ve read some very mixed reviews about the budget hotel chain, but have to say my own experience has, on the whole, been favourable.

Our Travelodge stays around the country have cost between £19 and £35 per night for a family room (myself, my husband and our son), consisting of a double bed, sofa bed, bathroom containing a bath with a shower over it, TV and some basic storage. Towels have been provided (for the adults) along with a little tea and coffee. Ok, five-star accommodation it is not – but then the prices are hardly top notch so what do you expect?

Don't expect this level of luxury
Speaking to a few fellow guests, I’ve had the impression that they are sometimes disappointed by what they find, but have their expectations been too high? We know what to expect, and providing our room is clean and equipped with the basics we are happy. Of course, people with real grievances should report their problems, but need to be polite to the reception staff. I’ve seen a Travelodge employee being shouted at very loudly, when they had only just come on duty and could not possibly be responsible for the problem at hand!

Our most recent stay at Norwich Central was ideally located for the visitor attractions and shopping centres alike. Our room was very clean and comfortable – in fact the bathroom was the best we’d had – the staff were friendly and helpful (extra pillows were provided on request) and we had a very enjoyable stay.

Other Travelodge Experiences include:
Chichester Emsworth, an out of town location, although conveniently placed on the A27. We visited this one a few years back and had a reasonable stay although it was looking a little tired. Apparently it was due for refurbishment however, and we’ve not visited since.
York Tadcaster, another out of town location, but very easy to access York from here. We were provided with slightly more ‘rations’ (more generous with tea and coffee) here and staff were helpful – slight blip with the hot water though.
Acle, situated on a roundabout, but much more peaceful than we would have thought. We were ‘greeted’ (used loosely here) by a very surly man on reception, to whom being helpful didn’t come naturally. We arrived to find our room bereft of towels, which he would only provide following interrogation. Thankfully other staff members were more cheerful and the room itself was fine.
Rugby Dunchurch, a rural setting, with good country smells wafting through the window to prove it, but within handy reach of Warwick, where we visited the castle. We loved our first stay, great standard of cleanliness and friendly staff. However, a subsequent stay was very different. Our room on arrival was fine, but the following day it was not serviced – no clean towels, no fresh tea, coffee, milk etc. When we complained we were told there were ‘staff problems’, which may have been true, but it was disappointing after such an excellent first visit.

However, we will continue to use Travelodge for short breaks, family visits etc, as they are reasonably priced, convenient and largely clean and comfortable (in our experience). To get the best price be sure to book at least 21 days in advance, but remember you can’t expect luxury if you’re not paying luxury prices.

Next week I’ll be sharing some ‘Travelodge Tips’ to help you make the most of your stay.

What’s your experience of Travelodge?

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