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We are spoiled for choice these days for budget priced accommodation in the UK, the market leaders appear to be Premier Inn (formerly Travel Inn) & Travelodge. Between the two of them they cover most of the populated areas of the country & provide in general a decent level of service.
I have since found another chain that competes directly with Premier Inn & Travelodge who have the advantage as they will also accommodate dogs. Those of you have travelled throughout the USA will recognise the name, Days Inn; in the UK they have 35 hotels plus nine more in Ireland.
I have used Days Inn quite a few times but earlier this year we had to travel to Huntingdon & collected our rescue dog on the way back. Rather than endure him to a lengthy journey we broke it up in Gretna Green just on the English Scottish border & used the Days Inn for a nights stay.
You can book accommodation with Days Inn using two methods, website or phone. When we booked it was January, at this time of year & whilst we are in a recession prices were very competitive, a last minute booking was £39.00 for two adults & our four legged friend. Prices vary but most nights I paid between £39.00 - £55.00. Using their website is simple & although they will take your card details for the booking, nothing is charged until the day. Should you need to cancel without being charged they do have a cut off time on the day where by you need to inform them or you’ll end up being charged. My only issue with their website is, as I have since found out, they don’t always list the cheapest deals & class the room as fully booked rather than offer you it at a higher rate. Usually a phone call to the hotel confirms the cheap rate is not available but rooms are.
Booking by phone is simple & quick & the staff at Gretna Green are very efficient. If you are travelling with your ‘pooch’ just tell them in advance incase they don’t have any ‘dog friendly’ rooms available. There is a comments box on the website to confirm this or any other points you want to raise in advance & they do read it as they often phone & confirm information about my comments.
At Gretna Green the Days Inn is located at a Welcome Break motorway stop just off the M74 so although the hotel has no restaurant you are waking distance to basic food facilities such as KFC, Burger King & the like. Prices are high but if you don’t fancy travelling any further they are at least open until late.
If you want a more substantial meal I can only recommend somewhere in Gretna Green village but to be honest, on another night in February when I was there on my own I couldn’t find anything other than a chip shop.
Checking in is simple & quick, although they already have your credit card details & confirm the card is yours when you arrive, they don’t provide a receipt until you leave. Breakfast can be delivered to your room in the morning but you are advised to book it when you check in. Breakfast is basic, corn flakes (or similar) croissant, jam, yogurt, & orange juice, tea & coffee is already in your room. It cost less than £6.00 & was actually quite good, you tell them when you want it delivered & they have it delivered on time. Daily papers are available for free at reception all day long. For the dog there is no extra charge which is more than can be said for other so called dog friendly hotels, they normally charge £10.00 a night which is a bit cheeky as the dog gets nothing for £10.00.
What I liked about Days Inn who incidentally won an award in 2005 for being the most dog friendly hotels in the UK, they don’t give you a list of restrictions on what you must or cannot do with the dog.
Rooms are basic but clean; those closest to the main door are used for the dogs & surprisingly have no smells. The décor is best described as ………….plain. The beds are really comfortable with extra pillows available, TV with numerous channels provided, you can upgrade for films etc if you want. They provide a hair dryer, kettle with tea & coffee, electrical sockets, sofa that converts to an extra bed, loads of towels & wall mounted hand wash, nothing else. No fluffy dressing gowns or concierge here!!
Although this particular hotel is close to the main motorway linking Scotland to England, noise levels weren’t that bad.
Well there are none except some grass to walk the dog, you would need to travel with dog bowls, food etc as there is nothing provided. Luckily for us our ‘mutt’ travels light with no shaver, travel/wash bag or toothbrush to worry about.
Everywhere you go in the hotel there is information about Wyndham rewards, Wyndham is the parent company who own Days Inn along with Ramada hotels, USA Travelodge & loads of others. If you join their reward scheme it is free & they give you points, these points can be converted to reward vouchers or USA air miles. Its an American scheme with the majority of rewards American based but vouchers redeemed from points are available from Marks & Spencer, Starbucks & Thornton’s.
You don’t have to do much to get the points added onto your account, in theory they automatically add them on at the end of each month & you can check them on their website. However, after three bookings they forgot to add mine & it took me countless emails to the USA for three months before they eventually added them.
Days Inn is basic, with friendly staff, clean rooms, dog friendly (I think he enjoyed it) & conveniently located. Booking in is simple & quick & the breakfast they provide is quite good. The only down side is the lack of decent non fast food close by & their poor performance adding my rewards points to my account.