Advantages Warm, Dry, Basic
Disadvantages Not exactly value for money
A little personal information. I'm writing this in bed. With pocket PC in hand, I sit, somewhat bolstered by pillows, writing this op over two hundred miles from home. (To be honest I have no real idea exactly how far I am from home but I can tell you that it took seven hours for the coach to get me here, and it'll take another nine to get home).Any way, here I am in a strange bed absolutely compelled to tell you about my hosts. So here we go.
First of all I'd better let you Know that I'm staying at the Travelodge in Widnes. The 'Hotel' is situated in the middle of a sprawling commercial estate. As I look out of my bedroom window I look out over so far undeveloped land wondering how long it will be before Tesco or Sainsbury build a superstore to compete with Morrison’s and Aldi. (O.k. There probably are Tescos and Sainsbury’s in Widnes it's just that this stranger in town hasn't seen them).I suppose this isolation really matters none as this is simply a place for travelers to crash (no pun intended) after a long day driving, a motel if you like. And this will go a long way to explaining the sparseness of amenities.framed prints which add some much colour. Consider though that the frames are fake pine and the mount, yes magnolia. Even the duvet cover is magnolia. What ever happened to beige? TV's "Changing Rooms", only with magnolia pine melamine rather than MDF. And they call this progress. There's a clothes rail with no less than eight affixed hangers. Oh, and there's a shelf.
The table is the focal point of the room, which isn't saying much. Let's have a look.There's a fourteen-inch colour television with the five terrestrial channels, Eurosport and CNN, along with BBC radios l,2 and 4, and City FM.
There's a fake pine tray containing a teapot, two cups with saucers, two teaspoons and a natty dispenser (as sponsored by Nescafe) containing four sachets of each of the following, Nescafe coffee, Nescafe Decaffeinated, Tetley teabag, Tate and Lyle White sugar, the same in demerara sugar and Canderel sweetener. There are also four pots of Country Dale UHT Creamer. All in all enough for four cups, and if you require more supplies you simply need to ask at reception (assuming there's someone there).A kettle is provided and an iron is available on request. Other items on the table include three items of promotional material (one for the available meeting rooms, one for breakfast delivered to your room, and a full menu for the on site Little Chef restaurant). There's also a ring binder with all you need to know about your stay. This is nicely laid out and contains lots of useful local information such as chemists etc.
The final item on this thrilling wooden ledge is the essential "Travelodge" ashtray.I'm sorry, but that's the excitement of the table finished, it's all downhill from here!
The bed is made by Hypnos, indeed they even 'brag' about this in their information folder. Although mine is a single most rooms have a king-size bed. The mattress is hugely springy and well upholstered. The divan base is also sprung. I must say though that I just couldn't get comfortable on it. After my first full night my entire body ached. As a special test for Ciao I have just spent the last night in the bed and have woken with an aching lower back. The things I do for you guys.I spent the two middle nights sleeping on the sofa bed. These were much more comfortable and naturally I managed a much healthier night's sleep for it. Hypnos also produced the sofa bed, this time instead of an upholstered sprung mattress I was sleeping on a high-density foam bed. Quite simply this provided a much better support than its dedicated cousin. For sitting on though the Hypnos sofa bed was less comfortable than the corporate blue carpet. Who says you can have it all?
You're provided with 2 duvets 2 pillows and an extra sheet for making up the sofa. Extra bedding is available on request.Hidden under the sofa is a pull out drawer hiding a child's mattress. This is much thinner and coated in a sheen of plastic, much as you would expect to find in a cot. This ''cot" would comfortably sleep the average twelve year old.
There are two three-pin power points in the bedroom, one for the TV the other for the kettle. If you were planning to charge your mobile while brewing up AND watching Corrie then forget it.To finish off the bedroom there's two large mirrors (one full length, but with not enough room to really stand back and admire yourself before you bump into a wall) and a waste paper basket. There was also a resident large house spider until I relocated him on the second night.
The bathroom was nothing short of luxurious! I mean is they even provide two rolls of toilet paper. Seriously though the washing facilities were generally fine. I'm not used to hot water on tap usually waiting an hour for the tank to heat, or boiling a kettle for a shave. Travelodge really do have hot water on tap. Maybe I'm easily pleased.There's plenty of light to shave by (which made an explosive crackle each time I switched it on) and a huge mirror to cover with toothpaste spittle. You're provided with a small bar of soap (in a packet) and two towels (one hand towel, one bath towel) but not a thing else. Make sure that you take toothbrush, flannel etc. There is a ‘shop’, with a selection of essentials to buy from reception, IF there is someone there.
The bath, ha, the bath. I’m not joking here. I filled the bath to about three inches under the overflow, adding some bath salts for good measure, deattired, and carefully placed first one foot then the other into the abluting receptacle. How shallow is this bath? The water stopped at exactly ankle level. I know Travelodge want to save on hot water but when you can’t totally submerge your body while soaking what is the point? For the record I probably needed another six inches of bath depth to get fully covered. Also the bath is a few inches shorter than a regular bath so the whole relaxing process goes to waste. (For the record I am 11 stone and a tad under 5’10” (okay Darren, 5’8” and a half).There is a sign saying ‘Be careful you don’t slip on wet surfaces’ or something like that. Well, I nearly did. Put it down to the shallowness of the bath. The bath is built up to the normal level, it’s just that it doesn’t go down as far. Therefore when you get out you are actually taking a downward step. The first time you do this you are naturally going to slip. Or is it just me?`
There is the option of the shower which I never took. Sorry I simply don’t trust hotel showers. They have a tendency have rapid and unexpected temperature fluxuations. I can’t say that this was the case here, but I can’t say that it wasn’t. The towel rail I only used for fun, but it took an eternity to warm up.The toilet was clean, and a pleasure to use. No really, it was. You know how some ‘strange’ toilets are a little disconcerting, well that wasn’t the case here. And guys, there was no issue of a certain appendage, er, dangling against the bowl. I hate that!!!!! No, a perfectly fine dunnie.
There’s this little patch of spongy floor that I can’t explain, it’s almost like someone put springs under the lino. If your ever in Travelodge Widnes it’s in room 4 buy the bath.Travelodge did not actually supply food as such, but there is a Happy Eater and Burger King on site. I’ll be writing a short op on the Happy Eater shortly. Watch this space. You are encouraged to use the Happy Eater with a supply of £1 off vouchers in your room. However I found you only needed to mention the voucher if you forgot to take it to get your discount.
The place is fairly secure. The windows open wide enough to allow fresh air (and spiders) in but only the slimmest of thieves. There is also extensive CCTV of the car park.Service was good. The reception was always friendly and were happy to book my taxi for me. Maybe I was a lousy guest and they wanted shot of me! Room cleaning was acceptable and nothing went missing. I even tried the chocolate raisin test. I opened a bag of the treats and poured some into the ash tray. Not one went missing from the 124 in total. Excellent.
At 42.95 a night I wouldn’t use Travelodge personally but as the business were paying for it then I didn’t have much choice. If I had to sum up Travelodge in a word I would have to say “adequate”. Yes, a lodge for travelers.
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