Advantages Fabulous location for many local attractions plus close to the M1...
Disadvantages Looks like Colditz from the outside!
|Value for Money|
Now I am sneaky when it comes to hotel prices, refusing to pay full rates unless disease or pestilence is weighing down upon me…and even then I’d have to think twice! Therefore, when I received a select ticket alert preview of an amazing Rock Festival called ‘Sonisphere’ held in Stevenage at the beginning of August 2009 via a ‘Ticketmaster’ email, I was straight on the ‘Travelodge’ website trawling for a bargain before the actual event went public - and consequently the accommodation rates went through the roof.Told you I am sneaky!
Confident I would be purchasing three tickets as soon as they went on pre-sale release, I took the gamble of booking a Family Room that could sleep up to four people* at the Luton Travelodge from the 31st July – 3rd August 2009 inclusive for three nights.Fast forward a couple of years later and I was taking my daughter to look at last minute possible Universities on their open days, so we found ourselves staying here again on a flying visit. Not much had changed; the décor was still as it was although they were now serving hot food after a refurb.
*Two adults two children or three adults per room.The Luton’s Location…
Situated directly off Junction 11 of the M1, the Luton Travelodge is a huge austere grey and standard company’s dark blue building sat on the corner of Halfway Avenue - which is literally the second road turning right into the side road that leads into either the front of back car parks. There are two entrances – the main Lower Ground double electric doored entrance directly into an open foyer that leads to a lift up to the Upper Ground Floor where the clean Reception area is situated – or alternatively the back car park entrance that leads directly through to the latter floor.Décor was mainly plain cream with beech wood trims and doors – very neat and utilitarian in appearance throughout.
The Reception area is manned 24/7, although access into the building is by your magnetic room swipe key card only after 11pm. Credit card details are held until you depart in case of any damage. Staff were at all times helpful, polite and very neat in appearance; I could not fault any of them I am happy to report both times we stayed.Here in reception you find a stand full of local attraction leaflets, an Internet facility costing £1 for a 20 minute session on a modern computer plus a few vending machines with drinks; snacks and iced dessert treats respectively. One little patio table and a couple of chairs sit under a window, rather forlorn I thought they looked, bless them…
The Room Itself…
All rooms are ensuite - some contain twin beds - some a double, and the family rooms are my favourite as you get a couch as standard. Double rooms only contain a shower at this particular hotel. LCD colour TV with basic channels, beverage making facilities supplied with the usual teabags/coffee sachets/long-life milk (but no biccies, Boo!), ultra-clean bedding and pristine white towels which Travelodge encourage you to re-use for ecological reasons of course.Our room was functional, spacious enough for 3 given it was just a fleeting base to sleep and wash/brush up in with four plug sockets, a heater which we did not need, obviously, and an annoying roller blind that let huge gaps of light in every day from around 5am onwards. Austere in design, no drawers and only a single clothes rail, this accommodation is designed for functionality rather than visual pleasure and if you desire an iron or hairdryer you have to request such from the Reception.
The bathroom was spotless and contained within the usual large mirror, loo and bath/mixer shower and a minimalistic single bar of miniature soap (no nice toiletries freebies here, alas), although our cold water tap for the bath was defunct. On reporting this to reception on Saturday I was told it could not be fixed until the Monday so I was offered either a refund or a room swap.
Having no time to even breathe properly during our whirlwind time ‘Down South’ let alone up sticks in 2009, I took the full night’s refund at the end of our stay straight back onto my debit card thank you very much! In June 2011 all was well and I even paid the full price of £59+ as it was a last minute booking.
I had purposely requested a room on the back of the premises thinking it would be quieter than listening to the main road noisy traffic – what a mistake that was, folks! This hotel is used as a base for people travelling to Luton Airport as well as sight-seeing, so the noise from the excited or disorganised would-be tourists carries beautifully in the still early morning air waking a very light sleeping me, but not my annoying deep sleeping best friend or daughter, Grr!The Hotel’s Facilities…
The hotel is based on five levels and has two lifts, Floors 1 & 2 which we stayed on house 106 bedrooms currently, varying from single rooms through to the larger four person rooms.
There are also 2 disabled rooms and a Conference room on the Ground Floor, along with a modern, airy Bar/Café/Restaurant facility where breakfast and evening meals are served theoretically. We fell upon a rough time at our hotel on our first visit as hot food was unavailable according to a handmade sign and the lovely Receptionist whose brains I picked for lots of relevant information for my review.
The Luton branch’s Bar is open from 5pm daily with usually a 2 course Dinner option available in the dining area for a very reasonable £6 for either a starter or dessert choice with the main course being served between 5-10pm.Booking in is from 3pm and booking out is at 12pm although most Travelodge’s do offer a late checking out service (until 2pm) for an extra £10 which can be invaluable depending on your requirements. We didn’t eat there in June either as we simply did not have the time, so I cannot comment on the standard of food but the café looked pretty as we walked past to the car park.
There are 140 parking spaces in total including 4 spacious Disabled bays. During our stay although the car park got busy, bearing in mind we were there throughout a long weekend there was always plenty of capacity left.
On the same corridor as the designated rooms there is also an extra Disabled toilet situated next to the Conference room and almost opposite the Bar/Café.Pets can be accommodated at various hotels at the managers discretion (up to two allowed per room) for £20 per animal, although guide dogs are exempt form this charge. Please check beforehand what the rules of those particular lodgings are…
Varying Costs of Rooms…
This company also offer an option to book rooms via your mobile phone now via hhtp:// www.travelodge.co.uk/mobile, although the ‘Saver Rate’ I booked my break on had to be booked anytime from 7 days to a year in advance when we went in 2009. In 2011 I booked with only one day to spare and there was still plenty of availability.A more workable option for many is the ‘Flexible Rate’ which are available every night at every hotel which can be altered if anything last minute crops up. This way of booking means you can cancel up to the day of your journey and get a complete refund if you cancel the room before 12pm – however it can be notoriously difficult to get hold of a human at the end of their god-awful automated telephone lines - so be warned. Booking can be done over the phone or alternatively online which is a simple straightforward and secure procedure ending with a confirmation email.
There is a nominal charge of £2.50 per credit card payment, in addition I always take the extra £1.50 per booking insurance out when booking the Saver Rate just in case something unexpected crops up at the last minute so I can retrieve at least some of my money back.For the 2009 trip I paid a total of £89.50 for the three nights - an amazing price considering that was for a trio of travellers!
Misc Info & Places to Eat…
Directly outside this Travelodge there is a ‘Jet’ petrol station -great for re-fuelling- with a ‘Costcutter’ mini store within it. This proved invaluable to us during our stay for surreptious Kellogg’s Cornflakes with fresh semi-skimmed milk breakfasts in our family room!
Turning left out of the hotel onto the main dual carriageway and driving along through a couple of roundabouts you happen across the award winning Pepe’s Chippy – try it it’s fab! A Fish N Chip supper for 3 with extras like their fantastic mushy peas only cost £15 – a veritable feast of the highest quality, especially after a hectic day when you need something warm in your tum!
This hotel is situated right in the heart of a residential area despite being bang next to the M1, thus you won’t be stuck for provisions enroute.The Company’s Versatile Website….
The company’s website address is simply www.travelodge.co.uk, and is well worth signing up to. Full of advice and special offers, Travelodge are forever doing various promotions including Super Saver rooms starting from an amazing £9, plus competitions and regular interesting email newsletters.My Overall Opinion…
Having stayed all over the country in these hotels I honestly thought as far as location went and cleanliness this well situated accommodation ticked all the right boxes for me. The price was superb for what we got in 2009 and as a no frills base which is what Travelodge’s are all about then it did the job for our special time away. In June of this year I was just happy to get accommodation I knew and trusted, thus paying full price was not such a body blow as there were three of us staying in a family room once again in an area we were already familiar with.Bang next the M1 and interconnected nicely with a plentiful supply of both A & B roads, we had no problem getting around in this Southern neck of the woods and everything we required was close by.
As a pivotal point for a leisure trip then I could heartily recommend the Luton accommodation. At only 30.8 miles from the centre of London, Luton Airport a mere 4 miles away, the town centre even closer at 2.9 miles; Whipsnade Zoo is a stone’s throw away at 6 miles and Woburn Safari Park a mere 13 miles from here. We were situated at Knebworth House for our Sonisphere Festival, which is a stunning National Trust 16th century treasure of a building. So if like me, you adore architecture I could advice you to pop this little gem on your ‘To Do List’.Luton Travelodge for me had it nearly all, and ended up only costing me around the £20 mark per night the first time round.
Great food nearby, pleasant and professional staff who were all happy to help; and most importantly lovely laundered cool cotton white sheets to crawl in-between at night – what more could a weary traveller want?5 stars from me, one of the better Travelodge’s I have stayed in on my travels so highly recommended.
Telephone: 0871 984 8484/6355 Fax: 01582 505 249
Address: 641 Dunstable Road
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